Nearly two months later than originally planned, the first alpha for Mandriva Linux 2012, code-named "Tenacious Underdog", has been released for testing. The new development release upgrades the KDE desktop to version 4.9.0 from August and brings improvements to the distribution's installer, which is now said to be smaller and faster; the installer's text mode is also noted to be working again. Other changes include the complete removal of the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and the switch to Linaro's GCC 4.7 branch, as well as various package updates and bug fixes.
According to Mandriva Linux Project Leader Per Øyvind Karlsen, the alpha was delayed due to "a complex amount of reasons" within the project, including problems with the current build system, described as having become "terminally ill". Due to these build system problems, Karlsen, who is a Chief Architect for Russian firm ROSA, which develops a Mandriva-based desktop distribution called ROSA Marathon, says that the developers will switch to using ROSA's ABF build system, to "give us a more powerful and actively maintained build system for us to use". The move will also help the developers move closer "towards more direct collaboration with ROSA again", added Karlsen.