There already exists a good deal of reviews of Mandrake 10 already. Instead of doing the typical review, I’m going to do things a bit differently. You see, there are a few things my OS needs to do perfectly, to warrant it a chance to stay on my PC longer than an hour or so. If any one of these necesseties fail, I may end up not liking the OS altogether. My OS needs to support good hardware acceleration, it must be able to play MP3’s, I absolutely need Zsnes, and it has to be fast and stable.Seems simple enough, right? Nope. I’ve went through Suse 9.1, Linspire and Fedora Core 2, and none of those three worked good enough for me. I was hesitant at giving Mandrake 10 a chance, seeing as how horrible 9.2 was for me, and MandrakeMove didn’t impress me at all.
This is going to be very short. In my opinion, the entire point of an operating system is to allow you to do what you need it to do. In the end, that’s all that matters. Length of installation, nor snazzy boot screens matter at all to the end result, which is usability and what you can get out of the system.
500mhz Pentium III
Geforce 2MX 64MB
80GB Western Digital
20GB Western Digital
The first thing I did when I installed MDK10, was downloading and installing the latest NVIDIA driver for my Geforce 2MX video card. Then, all hell broke loose. My system would only last ten minutes before locking up so bad, the only salvation was the reset button. This happened at least ten times, due to something along the lines of “badness in PCI subsys” in the kernel messages. My next course of action was disabling the nvidia driver and going back to the stock “NV” driver. Much to my dismay, it didn’t crash at all, then it dawned on me: Nvidia’s drivers caused the instability problem, not Mandrake. And I was right, I searched google for the “leaked” Nvidia driver 5341, and my system is now stable WITH hardware acceleration!
Next mission: Will I be able to play my Super Nintendo games on Mandrake? The answer was a definite yes! This may seem like no big deal to most, however, it is; neither Suse or Fedora 2 could do this correctly, and with Linspire I had to PAY to install this freeware program. (Can you believe that?!) Mind you, ZSNES worked on Fedora Core 2, but it was VERY slow and choppy, and the sound didn’t match the action. Mandrake 10 runs ZSNES (for me, anyway) extremely fast, and flawless. Playing Super Metroid in all it’s OGL glory really made my day.
MP3 and Audio:
Congrats to Mandrake: This is the first 2.6 kernel Linux OS I have used that didn’t suffer from the “hissy sound” problem. With both Suse and Fedora 2, the sound “hisses” on my left speaker, and the only way to stop it was to turn off the surround on my speakers. With Mandrake, I can have the surround without the static, which is very cool.
On the downside, for some reason, XMMS was only stable when running in Konsole. If I initiate it from the Kmenu, as soon as I tried to play a song, it crashed. Upgrading to XMMS 1.2.10 fixed the problem, though.
Problems with Menudrake:
I really don’t like the Menu layout Mandrake chose for me. For example, K3B is called something like “Burn CD’s” and not “K3B” like it should be. Alot of programs are like that, named after what they do, rather than their actual title. I understand it’s good for beginners, but I don’t like it, I wish there was a way to turn it off.
There is, in essence, Menudrake which “should” allow me to change the names of my programs. However, there seems to be some sort of protection against renaming items in the Kmenu. For example, there is a program group called “Administer your system” and I wanted it to be simply “Administration”, so I renamed it accordingly. What did Menudrake do? It made a copy of “Administer your system” and then added “Administration” so now I have two program groups for the same programs. In fact, if I rename anything, it copies it. It won’t allow me to remove the copy in Menudrake, either. I’ve been fighting with it for over an hour, and I can’t figure out how to “hack” it so that I can get it to work right, but I shouldn’t have to do that. (If anyone knows what I am doing wrong, you may email me).
In any case, as sad as it is to say, that was something I did like in Windows. The start menu was nothing more than shortcuts in folders. I could drag all the program group icons to my desktop, reorganize them, and copy them back. That was easy, and I should be able to do this manually in Linux, if I so choose.
Speed and Usability:
One of the problems I had with Suse was that everything was huge, no matter what resolution you set the desktop to. I remember trying to find a way to get the Kmenu to NOT take up the entire left side of my screen (very large icons on the Kmenu) and I gave up. Window borders, icons, fonts, everything in Suse, seemed to be set as if I had it set to 800*600. One of the things that I like about Mandrake is that if you have it set to 1024*768, it actually looks like it is. In fact, Mandrake 10.0 gives you the feeling of “simple and to the point” everywhere you go. I actually like that, and it makes for a very fast system. In fact, MDK10 is faster than Fedora 2, Linspire and Suse hands down. This is easilly the fastest Linux distro I ever used. The downside to the KDE desktop configuration (I chose not to install Gnome, btw) is that it didn’t get alot of attention, all Mandrake really did was add their logo to the Kmenu and a few Mandrake bookmarks here and there, and that’s it. But in a sense it goes into the “simple and to the point” style of this release which I like very much. I wonder though, does a full featured, custom desktop really slow down the system, or were other distro’s I’ve used just slow to begin with?
While I still can’t get my system to play WMV files, nor DVD’s, I have to say that this is the best Mandrake version I’ve used yet, and has become my favorite Linux distro at the moment. Few distro’s stay on my hard drive longer than an hour, and it’s been almost two weeks with this one. I haven’t touched my Windows partition in so long, I forgot what it looks like.
I feel that MDK10 more than makes up for 9.2, and it’s definitely an apology well accepted!
you need to use the mandrake menu config program (in “system/configuration”) Mandrake locks out kmenu from changing the menu because it uses the same menu accross a variety of window managers(such as gnome/xcfe etc.)
didn’t suse have a bug that set your screen resolution to 800X600? I feel like i read about it here on osnews. That’s probably why it seemed to the reviewer that the screen was so small in SUSE, it’s because it was so small.
If you install xine or mplayer and libdvdcss through urpmi you can play virtually anything in Linux. You will need win32 codecs from PLF repository for Mandrake or download them from this site http://xinehq.de/index.php/nightly and you can play wmv and wma.
Mandrake has really come a long way since I started using linux. I remember back when the version # was 5.3. Boy was that hard to use more of a ruff scetch of what linux could be.
Companies need to make money. Distro companies make money by adding value to freely available software .. that means everything from having a FTP for you to d/l it to customizing application and event doing some testing.
For instance, if Linspire is charging you for d/l something, it is because they invested money in someone to grab code, make proper packaging, probably make some testing, sometimes financing the freeware project, etc.
If you don’t want to pay them, you are completely allowed to go and grab CVS code for the application you want, compile it, and use it for free. If that is too much work, think again why companies charge for something you take as free for granted.
I’ve always used Debian, but decided to try Mandrake because i was looking for something more “desktop oriented”, and i’ve heard good things about Mandrake 10.
Well, what people has been saying is true; Mandrake 10 is great. I’ve had bad experiences with Mandrake 9.1, but this new version is almost perfect. Congrats to the Mandrake team, keep up the good work.
To have a good set of rpm repositories just go to http://urpmi.org/easyurpmi/index.php and follow directions. PLF rpm’s will allow you play almost any kind of video, audio and DVD’s… the only drawback is that I don’t know how legal are some of the RPM’s in your state: PLF hosts many things that are not included into the Mandrake distribution for legal reasons.
Add your plf repository and do the following:
After that put a DVD in the drive and Totem will begin to play it, menu support and all.
Mandrake 10 is one of the best Linux distributions in the market right now. I have tried Fedora 2 and Suse 9.1 and Mandrake is far more stable and faster. To me it also has the most mature software installer of the three. Even after installing apt-get for Suse, I couldn’t get many of the packages that were not included on the disks.
Apt-get for Suse was not as stable as urpmi either and is not officially supported by Suse. Suse’s Yast is nicer looking, I’ll admit, than MDK’s control center, but it is also a lot slower.
I used Mandrake 9.1 for a while, then did a round of other distros, and really felt let down (Mandrake is the most easy and plug-and-play distro I’ve ever tried).
10.0 was a very good surprise!
But still, I can’t honestly suggest Linux to friends: I am using almost only XPPro since a couple of months, and got no regrets… mozilla, openoffice etc, they all are *quicker* and still free, plus XP supports standby on my notebook (a 1+year old centrino, standy is fundamental after you try it), and it’s *easy* to get all sorts of media from the web, streaming and not.
Seeing something like Mandrake makes me feel sad, ’cause after 8 years of Linux, because the truth is that in terms of usability and applications, we are still facing a Win95 vs. Slackware 3 match… only XPPro *never* crashed on my laptop, despite several standby-resume cycles per day…
I really hope that things change in Linux, because apart from the drawbacks, software like MDK10 is just fantastic to use…
People, can we please keep this related to Mandrake and the review? Not DistroX is much better. Every one has their favorite distro, and that is fine. Stuff like that really ruins the comments.
10.0 community was (slightly) disappointing for me… I had to configure mouse, change resolution etc after installation. It was nothing big, only little bit annoying, as with MDK 9.2 they worked fine.
Then I after 10.0 official was released, I upgraded community installation. After that everyting just worked.
“and with Linspire I had to PAY to install this freeware program. (Can you believe that?!)”
how unnecessary comment again… 🙁
you do not need to pay for it with Linspire… but you have an option to have an easy way to install it for a fee… otherwise you are free to install it on Linpire as well from source or via apt…
The xmms freeze issue can be easily solved by opening the menu editor and changing the command for xmms from “soundwrapper xmms” to plain “xmms”.
How MDK missed the fact that xmms didn’t work properly out of the box is a bit beyond me, but it’s the only issue I’ve personally had with 10.0 Official. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually considering making my “production” machine a MDK 10.0 Official machine…I just can’t bring myself to say goodbye to my faithful Slackware install yet…
People report various distros and setups as slower than others, but I haven’t run into it personally. I run Fedora Core 2 on an Opteron and it’s considerably faster than Windows XP Pro. Maybe the speed is more of an issue on lower end machines. Most power-users don’t complain as much from what I’ve seen.
I run the audio in FC2 in surround 4.0 and haven’t noticed any noise. Maybe it’s just one mode of surround that has the trouble. Overall, I haven’t noticed any of the problems most of the Fedora Core 2 reviews reported. Maybe I’m just lucky… I’ll take it any way I can get it. I’ve got the latest Gnome running on the latest NTFS kernel with xmms and xine and ogle and FireFox everything else that makes a distro usable.
I think that a lot of the people who are saying that their system “feels” faster under MDK 10 are those who are using XFS or ReiserFS as their file system; ext3 is pretty slow (although it is one of the most thoroughly tested and stable file systems out there).
didn’t suse have a bug that set your screen resolution to 800X600? I feel like i read about it here on osnews. That’s probably why it seemed to the reviewer that the screen was so small in SUSE, it’s because it was so small. “
I had that problem, but I wouldn’t really call it a bug. Suse 9.1 improperly set my monitor’s horizontal and vertical sync rates. A quick google for my monitor and a small update of my sync settings and I was ready to go!
I do believe there was a bug mentioned somewhere that made the application menu appear much larger than it was suppose to be… Perhaps this was the same issue?
For DVD playing, MP3 ripping, console emulation and other legally uncertain packages, go to the Penguin Liberation Front at http://plf.zarb.org/ or add it as a urpmi source at http://urpmi.org/easyurpmi/index.php .
As for the “Burn CD’s” vs “K3B”, this could be for 2 reasons. First go to the KDE Control Centre, choose “Look and Feel”, then “Panels” then the “Menus” tab, there’s and option there to display Name or Description or both. The other option is in the Mandrake Menu Editor, Menudrake, where you can change your menu style between “All Apllications” and “What to Do” style. The “What to Do” style is a simplified menu using functional descriptions instead of names.
Mandrake does not use the KMenu editor, instead using the Debian menu system which allows you to synchronise your menus across all Desktop Managers, and also auto-updating the menu with aplication links under their correct menu group on adding and removing RPMs (much better than the MS way of dump and forget). Anyway, you can find this either in the Mandrake Control Centre (MCC) or as Menudrake under the Configuration menu, and use it to re-arrange the menu structure to your hearts delight.
what a man! i spent 5 days compiling and now my system boots in 89 seconds instead of 95. what a saving!
re: the most reliable and most optimised solution is to download mplayer and compile it yourself. its not hard. and install the pre-collected codecs… and you can play dvds (even without any 3rd party libraries, mplayer can do its own decoding via libdvdkit), wma, wmv, qt mov, mpeg, rm, ram, ra, asx, … i’ve not found a file it won’t play.
>and with Linspire I had to PAY to install this freeware program. (Can you believe that?!)”
Of course, zSNES is not a freeware program; zSNES is free as in free speech, covered by the GPL licencse.
<<<what a man! i spent 5 days compiling and now my system boots in 89 seconds instead of 95. what a saving! >>>
I dont know about you but mine loads much faster. KDE for the first time looks like a usable WM. With Mandrake I would be looking at the Loding KDe window then If I fired Mozilla Wait for a while. And besides stuff like compiling I’d dream about an optimized executable. Take for example Mplayer what a difference with the Compiled version. Basically all I do is emerge foo leave it overnight baam There you are.
I think the author must be a n00b, he doesn’t know anything about Linux. I run ZSNES on FC2 with max speed, even better than SuSE 9.1 and for sure surpass **** Mandrake 10. For the author: don’t make up some “jokes” to promote Mandrake 10, most Linux distros are similar, the factor is the users, the badass users always dream in their illusion!
As others have mentioned, easy urpmi is a great resource for setting up your internet sources for Mandrake. My ISP hosts a Mandrake mirror, so the only source outside of my ISP is PLF (main, contrib and updates are served via my ISP).
Once you have contrib, updates and PLF setup, you can keep up to date with
Beware that the downloads are often quite big, so it’s good to have broadband (I didn’t bother keeping up to date when I had dialup). I wish Mandrake would distribute patches rather than the full rpm’s again (why distribute 50MB’s of something when only 150k has changed?).
I personally use Totem (which uses xine) to play DVD’s and most media files. For ones that don’t work in xine, I use mplayer. PLF has a package win32-codecs that you’ll want to grab in order to play all the windows formats (and you’ll need a plugin for xine in order for it to be able to use win32 dll’s).
So you played with linux. You feel elite ;-). Your colleagues think you’re eccentric. Sorry but if you replace your current distro with Mandrake 10.0, you won’t feel that anymore. In a good sense, it is dumber than Windows. You’ll probably feel insulted by it’s simplicity, speed and stability. Nobody wants to spend more time configuring their OS anymore than necessary. This version just saves you that.
Not to start any DE war but has also been my experience that kde is a lot faster if gnome is not installed. I have a dual 450 mhz P3.
For playing wmv files (or any sort of windows media) and divx/xvid movies try installing mplayer (GUI gmplayer). It’ll install everything you need. And for the menu try running menudrake. BTW Mandrake really kicks ass. I have tried fedora2 but couldn’t get hw acceleration on my ATI Radeon9600.
i do belive that you can cahnge the menu styles in there, so that you can have a menu that gives you a task based name for everything, you can have one that shows the software in groups but with its original name or a combo of both. im not at my mdk install right now so i will have to come back to you about where its hidden:)
as for mister j. lee’s comment about zsnes and the authors leetness, please! he comments on it from a frresh usres pov, people that will go “this sucks compared to the same task on windows, back to windows”. sure it can be made to work in fedora or suse but the fact that it works from go in mandrake without tweaking is a plus…
I know this will sound strange, but on my Mandrake 10 installation i have divx and wmv support out of the box. The only wmv i couldn’t play was some encoded with wmv 9.
Oh, and it played with Totem.
If you want WMV support and other propietry drivers and libarary’s then you should pay for Mandrake Official. Then those are also included when you set it up. You can’t expect Mandrake to pay you for MP3 and DVD and WMV…
When patents will be legal in Europa MP3 will also disapear from the MDK distro!
Loaded 10.0 offical last night, and ran updates and a few urpmi “installs” and I’d have to say Mandrake 10.0 is fast, easy and very usable. Getting java impletmented in Mozilla 1.6 took a little work, had to link the gcc32 version of the .so file, but other than that, everything works great and is the fastest linux version I’ve tried in the past five years. Not too shaby for a freely available distro that gives you the .iso’s (you listening suse!!!).
If you haven’t got problems with your /dev/hands you would use Gentoo. It’s source based (you can even use it as linux from scratch – the portages) and the fastest and most customizable OS you have ever seen.
MDK suxx definitly, Suse is better ( on my opinion ) but MDK isn’t customizable cuz it hasn’t kernel-sorces built in ( at least i haven’t found aby in 9.2) and…..
Okey, if you like it – use it but visit http://www.gentoo.org forst
The review says ZSNES doesn’t work with suse 9.1. I got ZSNES working fine on Suse 9.1, no problem. I just downloaded a 3rd party rpm and installed it with yast and it worked straight off.