I downloaded Beta 3 of Mandrake 8.1 last week sometime and set aside
some time last night to install it.
Install went practically flawlessly. I chose the expert install because
I didn't want it overwriting my other data, but even so I wasn't asked
many technical questions. It discovered all my hardware by itself, SB
Live, TV Card, Dexxa USB web camera, NIC, graphics card. There's a handy
illustrated mouse-check which is confusing until you read the large,
"MOVE YOUR MOUSE WHEEL", at the bottom.
You can choose from a number of filesystems, jfs, ext3, reiser, ext2 and
other. I went for Reiser.
I was able to select more than one language, but haven't got around to
making use of that yet.
Package selection isn't changed much although they break them up into a
lot more categories and have nice icons. I selected everything and then
added a few more specific programs using the nice tree structure of the
Installing the packages was weird. It displayed pictures of people
eating pizza and bottles of beer. That's one reason this is a beta I
guess! I powered up the GBA and played a few games of Super Mario Kart
while it installed everything off the 2 CDs.
Network setup was as we're used to, although you can setup modem, ISDN,
cable, ADSL, and LAN connections (and I might be missing one or two). I
don't have a dhcp server at home so I filled in the blanks to connect to
my dial-up server.
Boot setup allows you to use LILO with a text or graphical menu, or
grub. I selected LILO+graphics.
On reboot, I had to fiddle around to get the 512 byte boot sector off
/dev/hdc onto my C: drive for Win2k but I'll leave that to another day.
Needless to say, the documentation RPM installed instructions on how to
use the dd command. (I can never remember how to specify 512 bytes.. no,
don't bother mailing me, I posted the same instructions here a few
Finally, booted into a very nice looking soft blue screen where I could
choose what to boot. Once I selected "Linux", a nice screen came up
saying, "Welcome", in many languages. Now I know why they got back to me
asking what the Irish for Welcome was, "Failte" is there over to the
Aurora ran and totally hid the boot procedure then, although it stalled
at "Loading NMB" and I rebooted and went into "maintenance mode" which
can run either single user mode or linuxconf to fix things. Once I
disabled Samba it booted fine, although Sympa complained of missing Perl
modules so I removed that as well.
This version of Mandrake comes with KDE 2.2, Koffice 1.1 and Gnome 1.4
along with Evolution and Nautilaus. I had tried KDE2.2 and Koffice 1.1,
but this was my first exposure to the new Gnome apps.
Nautilaus is very nice and zips along on my relatively fast machine at
home. The different display modes are nice and it also displays the
number of files in directories, which could be a problem with large
Had a quick look at Evolution but not enough time to set it up. I don't
think I'll trust it quite yet with my email.
Mandrake have the Gnome and KDE menus setup in a very similar manner.
I'm not joking or generalising when I say I had to think about which
environment I was in. Gnome is looking ever more polished as time goes
by. KDE of course impressed.
That said, I'll probably be back to using Window Maker shortly, with
some favourite gui apps thrown in.
Now's when the trouble started. I had setup my box with 192.168.0.20,
but then discovered I had already allocated that IP address, so I
changed it in linuxconf and restarted networking. No joy, it was still
the same. I checked the /etc/sysconfig/ directory and that had changed.
I went into single user mode and back to run level 5 but no luck. I had
When I rebooted, the nice Vesa FB version of the kernel didn't work. I
had to choose the "failsafe" option. I forgot to look into it though as
it was late and I was getting tired.
This morning I tried to boot into Mandrake from the NT boot loader and
all I got was a measly, "LIL-". I'll have to look up the LILO man
page/docs and figure out at which stage it failed. Luckily I have
everything backed up onto another drive and Win2k booted fine.
It's coming along, Mandrake has a host of software and nice touches.
They warned me that I was installing and running servers, there's the
different security levels, firewall stuff.
Once Mandrake 8.1 is out of beta I'll probably buy it to support them.
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