posted by David Donley on Wed 9th Jun 2004 18:53 UTC
IconI have been using Linux since 1993. I installed the first version of Slackware on a 16MB 386sx-25. Since then I have been using it almost exclusively on one or more of my PCs. So I consider myself as a bit of an expert. I have been using computers since 1982 mostly PCs, but also VAX mainframes and SPARC systems. Operating systems (and GUIs) I have been using include CP/M, DOS, Windows from Version 2 to XP, Geos, Beos, SCO Unix, Solaris, OS/2 and quite a few Linux Distros.

Computer Hardware

The review is based on this specification:

AMD Duron 1Ghz
320MB Ram
Primary Drive 40GB
Secondary Drive 6GB
ATI Radeon 7200 64MB
KV7MM Motherboard - Via 8233 Integrated Audio Via Rhine Integrated Ethernet
Avermedia TV Studio
Creative Webcam Go
Concord Eye-Q Digicam
Canon BJC1000 Printer

Installation Type

I did a custom install of Mandrake 10 on the above setup. I installed the root partition as a 15GB partition on the primary drive and /swap as 800MB on the secondary drive. I also installed /home on the remainder of the secondary drive.
/ is formatted as reiserfs
/home is formatted as ext2
The installation took 2.5GB and 16 minutes. The only hardware that was not detected was a Creative Webcam GO

Software Installed

I did a custom install first, installing both KDE and Gnome, Openoffice and Koffice. After the installation had finished, I ran Mandrake Update and picked the nearest repository to me and installed the rest of the software over the net. This included all the multimedia I use, Mplayer, Xine, Xmms, The Gimp and Tv-Time. I could have installed these from the installation disks, but I preferred to use the Internet update just to make sure I got the latest versions.

Daily Use

Mandrake included almost all the software I need on a daily basis. I use Mozilla for surfing, Kontact for E-mail, OpenOffice for writing. There are a few thing missing however. Xosview for example. I use this to keep an eye on the various resources that my machine is using at any time. Gkrellm is included and it does an excellent job of giving a quick idea on how things are running. Kbiff is also not included. I use this to monitor all my mail boxes. There is also no software included for file sharing. GTK-Gnutella was found on the same repository as Xosview and Kbiff.

A quick browse on the net also found the main repository for Mandrake 10 development. It includes over 2000 packages in RPM format. Installing any of them worked like a treat as they were for Mandrake 10 rather than generic Mandrake. There was no dependency problems at all.

The default KDE theme looks extremely ugly to me, so a quick trip to http://www.kdelook.org soon sorted that out. I downloaded the Baghira theme and Window Decorations and now KDE looks very sweet indeed. Sort of Linux, sort of MacOS X cross. Best from both I think.

Mandrake 10 is extremely responsive on this computer. From reboot it is up and running in KDE in 23 seconds. Indexing files is a directory is extremely quick compared to all other versions of Mandrake. Although to be completely honest, I think that has more to do with reiserfs than the system itself. Mozilla and OpenOffice both take a few seconds to boot up, but once they are running, they are lightning fast. Mandrake 10 is also really stable. I did have the KDE panel crash once when I installed some software and update the menu. It restarted without a problem though without restarting X.

I have installed Mandrake 10 onto a variety of machines since, both desktops and laptops, and none has shown any problems. I installed it onto a friends, (Windows Fanboy) computer. As the only system. I was expecting it to be removed within hours. That was 3 weeks ago, and he is still using it. He did have a few problems. He tried to install Limewire, and the install for this has to be done at the command line. He had not got a clue how to do this, and did not know it is case-sensitive. He picked up the command line very easily once this was pointed out... and also how to use the TAB key in the console ;) He has two other computers running Windows XP. He asked for a copy of my Mandrake disks so he can install it onto the main computer. I do not know if he is a quick learner, or if it is because he knew that if he got stuck he could give me a shout.

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