The deployment will be on Intel-powered Classmate PCs which will be manufactured and supplied by the Brazilian company, Positivo.
The number of PCs deployed is likely to be as much as 1.5 million, making it one of the biggest deployments of GNU/Linux.
The Classmate PCs are rugged netbooks suitable for rough use. They will be used by parents, teachers and students and will run Mandriva's Brazilian edition.
According to Mandriva, its Brazilian edition is based on the latest mini-notebook operating system, 2010 edition.
It has been designed for Intel-powered PC hardware with a launcher that makes it easier to access the most commonly needed open source applications.
Mandriva is a distribution that began life in the late 90s as Mandrake Linux. It used Red Hat Linux as its base but used the KDE desktop environment instead of GNOME; hence it was often called "Red Hat with KDE."
The company was forced to change its name in 2005 after it lost a case filed by Hearst Corporation which had the rights to the Mandrake name. It then became Mandriva; this coincided with its acquisition of Conectiva, another Linux company based in Brazil.
Mandriva has hit difficulties more than once: in 2003, it filed for bankruptcy and emerged from that state the next year. In 2008, the company was badly affected by the global financial crisis and had to jettison all its external contributors.
In June this year, Mandriva, which was in financial strife and had put itself up for sale, received a fresh lease of life when new investors came to its rescue.