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I've been at lq.org for a few weeks, but have done more in those few weeks than many do in a few years. I've installed Mandrake 9.1, Mandrake 10.0, Fedora Core 2 test 2, and ASP (Russian!) distributions. I've also ran kernels 2.4.21, 2.6.3, 2.2.x. I've compiled custom kernels (most of which booted!) at least a dozen times. The above distros I've installed a total of at least 25 times combined.
So far the best for general ease of use and hardware compatability is Mandrake 9.1. I've not had to jump thru any hoops to make it see my SB Live! Value PCI sound card, nor has it had any problems with my DE21041 network card, on eth0. My USB printer works fine (a Cannon BJC 2110), and all else is good.
Really, this is just a reminder to myself that, if all other distros fail, I should fall back to this one. Especially since I've got a 5 year old PIII Gateway box.
Check my sig for my system configuration. Just make sure that you do the "ide=nodma" on installs - you can let dma do its thing after an install, though.
Thanks GNU/Richard Stallman/Linus Torvalds! You guys are the best friends I've never met!