the date i stated is definitely not the install date.
I checked the Mandrake 9.0 iso cd i burnt and the VERSION file says:
Mandrake Linux 9.0 Dolphin-i586 20020923 15:18
which means Mandrake 9 was built 2002 09 23 so that's our starting date which we can go from.
i still have no idea when the system was installed.
You'd think there was a file which keeps that info?