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yossarian

Why I'm disappointed with Mandriva 2010.0

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Hi everyone,

 

I wanted to share with you my personal impressions and feelings regarding Mandriva 2010.0. The total sum is not so good.

 

It started with trying to run the Live CD, as I always do before upgrade. Failing to load, I submitted a bug report back in RC1. I'm using Intel 810 graphical card, and apparently it is not supported well by the kernel or the driver (I'm not sure which to this very day). Although other users complained about the same problem, it was not fixed on RC2 and the official release of 2010.0.

 

since I do not have a DVD drive (my IBM X30 is quite old), I had to install from the network. I booted from the boot.iso file, and from there established connection and got connected to a mirror. After the upgrade Gnome didn't load. Since I didn't care too much, I did a fresh installation (again, from the network), and formatted the hard drive.

 

The second installation allegedly succeeded, but I quickly found other annoying bugs:

  • The laptop's monitor maximum resolution is 1024x768. If I plug an external monitor and move to 1280x1024 resolution, the picture is shaky (jumps all the time). Trying to change the refresh rate didn't help. I imagine it may have a connection to the driver problem, so I didn't open a new bug report, only updated the existing one.
  • If I plug an external monitor and then want to use the laptop's monitor, the second goes black. I had no problem using both monitors in 2009.1 (and before). Again, it may be connected to the driver issue.
  • 3-D with composite doesn't work. Again, probably the driver issue.
  • Epiphany keeps crashing due to some problem with webkit running on old processors. The problem is known and mentioned in the 2010.0 Errata page.
  • Octave-forge, a complementary package for octave containing many important toolboxes, cannot be installed (here is the bug report). For me, octave-forge is essential for my work.

 

 

To conclude: being the situation as it is, the computer is not usable for me. I had many difficulties installing Mandriva (and had to format the hard disc on the way), when I plug an external monitor I can't work with its optimal resolution and the laptop's monitor becomes unusable, and important programs like Epiphany and Octave don't work.

 

I'm aware to the fact that besides the Octave issue, the other issues should go upstream, and Mandriva can't (and are not supposed to) fix everything by themselves. But Mandriva have let me down because of the way they handle the bug reports and the response they provide (or more accurately, do not provide) to the users. In general, unless I keep asking about the bug report, it can go unnoticed for weeks before someone sees it (the Octave bug has been lying there for almost two months, and I don't know how much longer it will have to wait). Even if I keep asking and someone is assigned to track it, After a week or two I just can't get any response.

 

I know it's an open-source project based on good will and that no one owes me anything. I'm a big fan of open source in general and Mandriva specifically (yes, still, and for the rest of my life :) ). I don't expect everything to be solved in no time, I'm aware to the fact that these technical problems are sometimes really difficult to overcome, and Mandriva people are working hard and doing the best that they can - and I appreciate it. But at the same time I expect Mandriva to understand that when it comes to crucial bugs that make the computer unusable, they must make a special effort to update the users on the status at least on a weekly basis, and not leave them hanged on the air with a non-functioning system.

 

On a more general note, my subjective feeling is that while projects like Linux kernel or Gnome are advancing, they leave behind the users with the older hardwares. I feel the support is not as good as it used to be. I remember that three years ago everything actually worked for me out-of-the-box, it wasn't just a slogan, and my hardware wasn't new even then. As my hardware gets older I feel the OS is "running away" from it. Linux were always proud (rightfully) for giving much better performance than the competitors when it comes to old machines. I hope this point will not be neglected.

 

Sorry for drilling down like that, I just wanted to rant a little (I feel better already :D ). I don't want to to sound bitter. In case someone from Mandriva is reading this message: if there is anything I can do in order to be productive and help, don't hesitate to let me know. I'm not a linux expert but I see myself as part of the community, and it is my obligation to contribute where I can.

 

And of course, if you have any insights of your own, whether you agree or a disagree, I'll be happy to hear what you think.

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There will of course always be a time when older machines are not supported anymore. Mainly because that the hardware no longer exists, or is extremely rare to come across, and so it's support is dropped. This is to be expected, other the kernel would become so huge and so bloated that it wouldn't be of any use anymore. The same happens with Windows, so older hardware will always become obsolete at some point.

 

That is why a newer distro cannot always be seen as usable for you and as such you'll always be better sticking with an older distro at this point for older hardware. The saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind :)

 

You know I have a really old machine at home that I always thought about using some day as a Linux firewall, or something because it's a Dual Processor P133, 128MB ram, 2GB + 4GB disks and Matrox G200 video card. The stats aren't great, and I know that probably even now most distros simply won't run on it. I've not attempted to do anything with it, because for a start, it won't boot from CD-ROM, which means I'd have to make a floppy disk set to get it to start and read the installation CD. That might not even be possible now, so my chances of getting that machine going are next to nothing, unless I want to put Windows 95 on it or something like Windows NT 3.5x or 4.x.

 

Maybe Red Hat 9 or something real old would be a goer on this if I am able to make a floppy disk set.....oh, and I do remember putting maybe Mandrake 7.1 on this machine I think or if not this one, it was definitely the one I had after which was an AMD K6-2 450MHz, forget amount of ram but probably 256MB or 512MB, forget amount of disk space but probably 10GB.

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Yeah, too bad about older hardware. I have been trying to install Mandriva 2010 on a ThinkPad 600E with a 400Mhz Pentium 11 CPU and 196Mb RAM. I successfully booted a Fedora 12 Gnome Live CD, but it took about an hour. I never could fully reach the desktop on Mandriva 2010 Gnome. It would have the wallpaper and taskbar with icons at the top, but a Gnome splash would remain, and the desktop icons would not appear. I left it for hours, and the CD and HD just kept thrashing. I am trying to see if I can boot up a Mandriva 2010 XFCE Live CD to working desktop. If that works, I will attempt to install it to the hard drive. I would use the DVD, but I have no way to boot a DVD from this 600E. The network install sounds interesting. Maybe I should give that a go. Never tried that before.

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@Ian and David: Maybe I should take you advice one step further. I remember 2008.1 running perfectly on my machine. Do you recommend installing it? The only problem I see is: Where will I find repositories with all the updates and the programs I need (such as Octave)?

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If 2008.1 is running good, go with this. You can always add all repos from easyurpmi, including enabling the backports repos to see if it will give you what you need.

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The official repositories are still up. Mandriva 2008.1 was a sweet edition. :)

ftp://ftp.proxad.net/pub/Distributions_Linux/MandrivaLinux/official/

 

ftp://ftp.proxad.net/pub/Distributions_Linux/MandrivaLinux/official/2008.1/i586/media/

 

I never got the Mandriva 2010 XFCE Live CD to boot to the desktop on my 600E. I tried a network install, but the boot.iso could not recognize my PCMCIA ethernet card. Looks like I have a solution though. I booted the boot.iso CD and have my external DVD drive plugged into the USB port with the Mandriva install DVD in it. Installing now.

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I'm using Intel 810 graphical card, and apparently it is not supported well by the kernel or the driver (I'm not sure which to this very day). Although other users complained about the same problem, it was not fixed on RC2 and the official release of 2010.0.

 

I also have a computer with Intel 810 graphics. Note that this is antique hardware (667 MHz computer) which I got for free out of a local dumpster. Even though I am a novice Linux user I easily solved this problem. I then reported it in Bug 55438. Two guys from Mandriva responded promptly and I expect the problem will be fixed by the next release.

 

 

since I do not have a DVD drive (my IBM X30 is quite old), I had to install from the network. I booted from the boot.iso file, and from there established connection and got connected to a mirror. After the upgrade Gnome didn't load. Since I didn't care too much, I did a fresh installation (again, from the network), and formatted the hard drive.

 

You should at least get a CD ROM reader so you can try booting Mandriva Free, Gnome, or KDE.

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I also have a computer with Intel 810 graphics. Note that this is antique hardware (667 MHz computer) which I got for free out of a local dumpster. Even though I am a novice Linux user I easily solved this problem. I then reported it in Bug 55438. Two guys from Mandriva responded promptly and I expect the problem will be fixed by the next release.

I tried running with both 'intel 810' and 'intel 810 and later'. The first one failed to load (as you reported in your bug report), and the second one is not exactly successful (limited to 1024x768 resolution ,does not support two-screens display, does not support Composite). Does your 'intel 810 and later' driver run smoothly (does all the things I have just mentioned)? Maybe it's a problem with my hardware, although I see others reporting same issues.

 

You should at least get a CD ROM reader so you can try booting Mandriva Free, Gnome, or KDE.

I have a CD ROM reader (actually I used it to load boot.iso). I was forced to use the network because as I previously mentioned, the live CD didn't work (probably the same driver problem again). The problem is that Free comes only in DVD now, no CD's version.

Edited by yossarian

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@Ian and David: Maybe I should take you advice one step further. I remember 2008.1 running perfectly on my machine. Do you recommend installing it? The only problem I see is: Where will I find repositories with all the updates and the programs I need (such as Octave)?

 

2008.1 with KDE 3.5.9 is still the best Linux desktop distro of the last few years IMHO, I'm still using it on my main desktop PC and have no intention of changing that anytime soon (before 2008.1 I had been using Mandrake 9.2 for 4 years).

I have always believe in: if it ain't broke don't fix it!

(that said I have also 2009.0, 2009.1 and 2010.0 running on other PCs, just not on my main desktop PC which is for doing work, not for playing around with distros)

 

So if you were happy with it, I'd suggest reinstall 2008.1, there are still repositories available that have all the software and updates for it, but not all repos have still 2008.1 stuff.

 

If you miss any specific software in 2008.1, just ask here, if it's not a too complicated backport I could package it up for you. You will find that I already backported some stuff to 2008.1, which is available in the downloads section of my web site.

Edited by tux99

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Thanks! I can see the repos, but under "install" folder there is only boot.iso, no live CD's or free CD's. I can install from the network again, hope it works. I'll try it tomorrow, until then I have to decide whether to go with 2008.1 or 2009.0 (can't remember which of them was superior for my needs).

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If you miss any specific software in 2008.1, just ask here, if it's not a too complicated backport I could package it up for you. You will find that I already backported some stuff to 2008.1, which is available in the downloads section of my web site.

Thanks! I may use it. I already see that octave 3 is available in the 2008.1 repos , which is good enough for me. Maybe after I install I'll try running on it also FF 3.5.

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Thanks! I can see the repos, but under "install" folder there is only boot.iso, no live CD's or free CD's. I can install from the network again, hope it works. I'll try it tomorrow, until then I have to decide whether to go with 2008.1 or 2009.0 (can't remember which of them was superior for my needs).

You just need to navigate around a bit. Click on the sublinks at the top (directly under Folder Listing) to move around. ;)

ftp://ftp.proxad.net/pub/Distributions_Linux/MandrivaLinux/official/iso/2008.1/

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I tried running with both 'intel 810' and 'intel 810 and later'. The first one failed to load (as you reported in your bug report), and the second one is not exactly successful (limited to 1024x768 resolution ,does not support two-screens display, does not support Composite). Does your 'intel 810 and later' driver run smoothly (does all the things I have just mentioned)?

 

It runs smoothly but I didn't try any exotic configurations. I am using a single monitor at 1024x768.

 

I have a CD ROM reader (actually I used it to load boot.iso). I was forced to use the network because as I previously mentioned, the live CD didn't work (probably the same driver problem again). The problem is that Free comes only in DVD now, no CD's version.

 

You say there's no 2010.0 Free version on CD? What about the file mandriva-linux-free-dual-2010.iso at this site?

Edited by boatman9

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You just need to navigate around a bit.

Thanks. The site is temporarily down, but I'll download later. I don't know how I missed that.

 

You say there's no 2010.0 Free version on CD? What about this and associated md5sum file?

Dual-arch version is not the same as Free, it contains only the core packages, and, if I'm not mistaken, LXDE. I'm running Gnome. I could upgrade with that and then do the completions from the network, but If I must use the network, I prefer to do it from scratch.

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I have not yet completed an installation using mandriva-linux-free-dual-2010.iso, but I did run the CD and it appears to have everything found on the live CDs including Gnome, KDE4, LXDE, OpenOffice, gimp etc.

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