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aRTee

In-depth review of Mandrakelinux 10.1 OE

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I had written a piece on linuxiso called "Phony reviews in Linux publications" because so many were after-install single use on one machine and all were positive to keep those freebies coming. Yours is the first review I have read anywhere that tackles installation on a number of different systems and I congratulate you for both completeness and objectivity. I also appreciated your footnote on contributing to Linux through other means than buying commercial packages or joining the Club. There are many ways to contribute to the Linux community and to include that in your review was a pleasant addition.

 

On the review side, I would say that it is time to bury urpmi and switch to apt-get as Texstar has done with PCLinuxOS. As to positives, this is the first Mandrake version that I have installed without issues going away back before their money troubles. I said that here with the Community Edition and it holds true for the Official Edition as well. It is easy to see the hands on the wheel of the new CEO. It took him some time but he has not only restored the company to profitability but also to quality-driven effort on the part of his empoyees. With this release, Mandrake has climbed back to first over Fedora in the one month summary at Distrowatch, testimony to the improvements that have been made.

 

Counterspy

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i would not give too much importance to the distrowatch rankings. most debian users or gentoo users do not go to the site once their system is up and running. why should they?

 

i read an article some weeks agon in a british linux-magazine (i do not remember the name now) and they had made a worldwide poll, which distro is most widely used. the result was 1. debian, 2. fedora/redhat, 3. suse, 4. mandrake. i guess the strong positions of the first three are especially due to servers and office-solutions.

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AussieJohn: While I don't doubt your experience with upgrading, I thought I would share mine.

 

I was wanting to get more room for Linux on my machine, as I was working in just the space that Mandrake normally partitions off from an existing Windows partition. I had over 30 Gig available in my Windows partition, so I tried to repartition things to get some of that space available. But Windows had apparantly messed with the partition table, because no matter what tool I tried, both in Linux and in Windows, I kept getting errors. Most errors were of the generic type : "<tool> has run into a problem, and will now exit." Partition Magic at least gave me an error number, but it was not documented in my manual, or on the net! :lol:

 

So I decided to heck with it, backed everything up on CDs, and wiped the entire system. I formatted about 10Gig up front for Windows, which left 70 Gig for any Linux partitions I want. 10.1 Official was not out yet for the general public, but it *was* available via urpmi. So I installed 10.1 Community, and then immediately set my urpmi sources to 10.1 Official mirrors, and did a "urpmi --auto-select". Everything came off without a hitch, and it is the best-running system I have ever had.

 

I even installed 10.1 Official Powerpack on a separate partition this weekend, and it doesn't run as well as my Download/upgraded version. :D (One thing I found hilarious is that the ATI-patched kernel I installed with Powerpack gives me a worse FPS rate than my unpatched Download kernel on my Radeon-9000 Pro card! 1640 fps patched, 1800 fps unpatched! :cheeky: )

 

Anyway, I will admit it might have gone so smoothly because it was a fresh install, with no tweaking or software additions until after I had Official up and running, but I would recommend anyone try upgrading. Then again, I would also recommend they be ready for a complete fresh install, in case things don't go well, like in your case.

 

Now if I could only figure out why 10.1 (any flavor) doesn't like my Palm USB cradle ....

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I've been able to uprgade via urpmi twice without any hiccups at all. I've a couple more boxes to upgrade to 10.1 - so I'm planning on downloading the iso's - be interesting to compare - though I imagine/expect that there will be little/no difference.

 

I don't agree with Aussiejohn's advise not to try an upgrade by urpmi - it's not super tecchy and you don't need to know lots of command line stuff and is actually 'quite' straightforward if you follow the steps. IMO if you have the CE disks, and back important data up - then at worst the install will screw up - so reinstall your CE disks, it might take a little while longer than imagined - otherwise, as a newbie, I'll get an upgrade and be learning something new. Anyone reading the threads elswhere will see that there are warnings that doing an urpmi upgrade has the potential to screw up.

 

Ands surely it's the same elsewhere - some people will have straightforward installs, others will have a nightmare - you only have to look round this BB to see some of the problems that people have installing for example Firefox. You'll not know till you try. As long as you prepare for the 'possibilty' of problems and if you can, have a contingency.

 

And while I could have waited a few weeks for the iso release (and the hours for a download are inevitable even with broadband), it took just a little while on an evening for me to urpmi an upgrade.

Edited by ChrisM

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I had written a piece on linuxiso called "Phony reviews in Linux publications" because so many were after-install single use on one machine and all were positive to keep those freebies coming.  Yours is the first review I have read anywhere that tackles installation on a number of different systems and I congratulate you for both completeness and objectivity.  I also appreciated your footnote on contributing to Linux through other means than buying commercial packages or joining the Club.  There are many ways to contribute to the Linux community and to include that in your review was a pleasant addition. 

 

Ah, such kind words, which I love to repeat here, especially from someone like you.

:D

 

BTW I had a quick look at the linuxiso thread you started, it seems indeed that I have more or less fulfilled your requested 10 points (4th post in that thread) - allthough some answers are on other pages on my site, not within the review. Can I still count that? I mean, they're only a click away... :P

 

Oh, by the way, I'm glad you think my review was complete - I was worried that people would fall all over me for not having benchmarked wireless cards and the like... No one has, luckily, and in the meantime I have gotten some data on wireless networking on Mdk - seems easy.

On a side note, yes I really try to be objective, I think too often people are told there are no problems, and when they try Linux and run into something, they go straight back to their old system, cursing Linux for having wasted their time. So I try to put things the way I truly believe they are (sure, I'm a person, so never completely objective), instead of telling a nice tale.

 

 

BTW Freebies? What freebies? Am I doing something wrong, since I've never gotten anything for any review or webpage on my site (except for the occasional email to say that someone found help and useful info on my site, and the feeling that I'm contributing something to further Linux).

 

 

On the review side, I would say that it is time to bury urpmi and switch to apt-get as Texstar has done with PCLinuxOS. 

 

I have yet to find any big issues with urpmi - except due to problems that you may aswell find with any similar system if not properly used.

 

On mdk10.1 OE, make sure you don't have pygame installed and urpmi pathological (in contrib I think). The package doesn't have pygame as a dependency listed. Surely it just won't work, and you have to understand from the error message that it's pygame that is missing - surely you have to realise that all you have to do is urpmi pygame to fix everything (and yes, I have mailed the packager).

Next to this, there are issues with keys (as I already mentioned in my review), for instance missing keys that lead to users just ignoring such warnings and clicking 'install anyway' - training them to let trojans in.

Lastly, there are issues with ftp mirrors that are not up to date. I believe this to be the biggest issue, if I read the urpmi problems here and elsewhere.

 

So, apt doesn't solve any of these problems.

Can you please state more clearly why you want apt to be adopted instead of urpmi?

I really don't see the point. What's important is that they make sure the ftp mirrors are up and package builders include the correct dependency information and sign with the right key - that has to get imported correctly too.

 

BTW Can apt install by pointing at a file, as you can with urpmi, for instance with a dynamically compiled opera rpm, just go to the dir where you have the rpm and do:

urpmi opera[[version info].rpm

does the trick fine. (This is an honest question, I'm not trying to insinuate that apt can't do this.)

 

 

As to positives, this is the first Mandrake version that I have installed without issues going away back before their money troubles.  I said that here with the Community Edition and it holds true for the Official Edition as well.  It is easy to see the hands on the wheel of the new CEO.  It took him some time but he has not only restored the company to profitability but also to quality-driven effort on the part of his empoyees.  With this release, Mandrake has climbed back to first over Fedora in the one month summary at Distrowatch, testimony to the improvements that have been made.

 

Counterspy

 

I agree that things have changed for the better, in terms of quality. I've been using SUSE on my laptop for 2 weeks now, and I must say that Mandrake was right in not going for kde 3.3 - not that the suse version is so terrible, but it does have some issues, and Mdk 10.1OE came out quite a bit sooner, so with lots less fixes.

 

 

 

Arctic,

trying to argue that Debian has the largest userbase due to some magazine poll is not more telling than distrowatch. On the contrary, I'd say. But Counterspy's point was that Mandrakelinux had made place for FC for some time, but now climbed back into the first spot in that ranking.

So the relevance is clear: there's only relative data, which does say something about the way things shift (public interest for Mdk in this case), whereas even the best research institutes cannot properly guess even the number of Linux installations, let alone which distro is really more popular.

I'm sure if I poll the visitors to my site, the nr 1 distro they use is Mdk, and possibly the nr 2 OS they use is MSWindows....

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Arctic,

trying to argue that Debian has the largest userbase due to some magazine poll is not more telling than distrowatch. On the contrary, I'd say. But Counterspy's point was that Mandrakelinux had made place for FC for some time, but now climbed back into the first spot in that ranking.

So the relevance is clear: there's only relative data, which does say something about the way things shift (public interest for Mdk in this case), whereas even the best research institutes cannot properly guess even the number of Linux installations, let alone which distro is really more popular.

I'm sure if I poll the visitors to my site, the nr 1 distro they use is Mdk, and possibly the nr 2 OS they use is MSWindows....

well i would score on both counts being as i dual boot, i could be using either of your suggested top 2 roflmao :juggle:

 

but it is a great review artee! very informative and balanced (refreshing for a review! ;0) )

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System moon, the Samsung laptop, wouldn't read the dvd+r so I had to reburn the iso on a dvd-rw disc. I don't know if this has anything to do with bitsetting, but for a dvd-burner/reader from last year, I'd expect it to read dvd+r(w) discs without problem. Thumbs down for this Samsung laptop. Emphasis mine

 

I think bitsetting (to DVD-Rom) is required in order for older drives to read DVD+R. I just tried to burn a Mandrake 10.1 DVD ISO with bitsetting enabled and it is now readable in my old Panasonic DVD-Rom drive, which was unable to read any DVD+R before.

Edited by zero0w

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Bitsetting is only required sometimes, my pioneer dvd105 slot-in drive needs nothing special, it just reads everything I've thrown at it during the ~5 years I've had it.

 

Then again, maybe I'm just lucky with the stuff I buy, my marantz cd50 cd player from 1991 plays cdrw without any problem - try that with any other pre ~1998 cdplayer, or even some that are sold today, and you may find yourself out of luck...

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aRTee, you are one of the lucky people I guess.

 

For now, both my old Panasonic and Pioneer DVD-Rom drives would only read DVD-Rom and DVD-R, but not DVD+R. So the bitsetting feature is a life-saver in my case. I am going to burn the SuSE 9.2 DVD ISO tomorrow and will report how bitsetting performs under Linux. Hopefully it will be as good as on Windows.

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Nice! Just one remark: when you speak about installation issues on dells, laptop..., it's getting a little "confused" (difficult to follow).

Otherwise, it's a very good read, and it even seems partial :)

 

Yves.

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Thanks for the feedback - I see what you mean, but since the article is so old I'm not going to do anything about it...

And being impartial is what I was trying for, good that you saw that too.

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Guest ronron

I realise that this is a place for comments on your review and this is request for help, but there is a bit of comment in the end. Here's my situation:

 

I have just replaced my ageing and failing CRT monitor with an LED Daewoo HL711S. I run three systems, each separately tray mounted: Windows XP, Libranet 3.0 (recently installed and not yet fully satisfactory) and Mandrake 10.1 Community (which contains most of my "stuff"). XP and Libranet display on the monitor with no problem but Mandrake shows only a message "PC out of frequency 68.6KHz - 85.0Hz" (A 'K' has obviously been omitted here.) My supplier (not a Linux person) tells me that the problem is with the refesh rate but when we hook it up to a CRT monitor, and Mandrake is properly displayed, there seems no way to get at the refresh rate and change it. Under 'Display' Belarc Advisor tells me that I have: SiS 630/730[Display adaptor], WY@17.1 [monitor] (17.1"vis, September 2003). Can anyone help me out of this situation? I am a stumbling inexperienced Linux user and so would appreciate a reply in really simple terms.

 

In the ISSUES section of your review there is a screen shot titled 'Config Display' (on my monitor the print is so fussy that I can barely make it out). The third item down seems to be 'Refresh rate?' with an arrowhead for selection. This seems to be where I can adjust my refresh rate but following the cascading menus from System through Configuration, KDE, System again and anything to do with Monitor or Screen I have been unable to get to this 'Config Display' Screen. Your paragraph on issues does not seem to say anything about this. How can I get to it?

 

It is difficult for me to investigate this (apart from inexperience) because I do not now have a monitor which will display my Mandrake. I have to take the machine to my supplier (where no one is knowledgeable about Linux) and work on it there. Good natured as my supplier is I cannot impose too much on him.

 

ronron

 

 

java script:emoticon(':wall:', 'smid_9')

:wall:

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