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Mandrake 10.0 RC1 is the final release candidate before the big "Community edition", which has been released the day before this product is being reviewed. It sports the 2.6 kernel, KDE 3.2, Gnome 2.4, and a few refinements over previous offerings. The default Graphical workstation brings the user enough packages of relavence that they can start right away.
Distribution: Something alpha or beta, binary or source...
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 8
Nice package selection as default, 2.6.3 kernel, KDE 3.2 rocks, new menu layout is organized
Installer not quite polished to the usual Mandrake standard, missing the excellent XFCE in the standard install, bland artwork (minor gripe)
I'll start with a description of my hardware so we know what works. :) I installed on a P-III 700 machine. The motherboard is a ASUS P3B-F (slot 1). I have 256MB SDRam (pushed to 2,2,2), Linksys Network Everywhere 10/100, SB Live! Gamer, ATI Rage 128 Pro 32mb. Inside are two hard drives, one a Fujitsu 20G and a small 4.3G Quantum. I have disabled the serial and parallel ports, as I have no legacy hardware. Plain 104-key kbd and a Microsoft optical wheel mouse.
I had tried 10.0 Beta2 and was impressed by the speed and power my computer had suddenly aquired. So, after a bunch of distro-hopping and a decision to commit my hard drive space better, I wiped everything (after backing up my files). I hauled out my Windows 98 disk and fired it in and installed it on the quantum drive, giving it all the space for the 3 old games I can't be bothered to try under WINE (what the hey, I payed for it, may as well run native). After that long driver search, I set about the real fun and pulled out the freshly downloaded and burnt Mandrake disks.
I've been a Mandrake convert for a while now (so much that I am saving a bit aside every payday so I can pony up for MandrakeClub), so it was destined to be my 'working' OS. Due to my limited disk space I had to budget, so I fired up diskdrake and set about busting up what I had for partition and creating new ones. Good thing! Here's my only real gripe about RC1: the partitioner didn't seem to 'see' my current partitions. No matter for me, as I was cleaning house anyways (I left the Win32 drive alone and let it be sorted out later). The rest was the usual Mandrake easy ride.
It brought me to the package selection screen. I saw the KDE was selected by default, as well as 'internet workstation' and 'office', so there were a few packages already selected. I picked a few of my own and selected the box at the bottom - "individual package selection", so I could weed out some of the duplicates. Well, there were fewer than with previous installs, which was a nice change. Seems the folks at Mandrake have listened to their cooker and MandrakeClub members and followed a few recommendations. I like it. Everything's a bit more organized than before. It followed after package install to configuration. Contrary to Beta2, RC1 recognized my tulip clone and actually activated it (with beta2, I had to force the module to load). Of course, I don't DHCP with my router (filesharing reasons) and I had to configure the static address. It was a snap and it stuck. The installer correctly found my Rage 128 Pro and installed the r128 module, giving me a 3d acellerated ATI box when installed (less after-work for me) and my sound card was detected properly. So, I chose to install lilo graphical (MDK choice) as my bootloader. It recognized my Win32 drive and added an entry for it. Also a mount point, as I found when I rebooted, which was next.
Booting into the desktop, brought the now familiar KDE desktop. Well, I must say that the polish is being applied IMO. This desktop looks professional and organized. Items were available in the menu and easy to find.
I fired up Konqueror to see if I actually had an internet connection and BEHOLD I did. Nice to see that hotplugging bug that forced me to learn about modprobe.preload was gone. I put in a cd with a DiVx movie and it automounted and placed an icon on the desktop (I have since noticed that the placement of the icon has little consistency, except its always on the left of the screen). Totem was called up (I had figured that mPlayer would have been the default). It performed well. I was impressed. XMMS played music well. My mixer wasn't set to zero like one usually finds. All seemed well. There are more things that I just haven't had time to get figured out, as I am learning other things, but I did fire up OpenOffice to see if it functioned. It did, and the fonts seemed a bit crisper than I remembered. Come to think of it, the default screen fonts are easy on the eyes and the anti-aliasing is quite nice (no need for the recompiled Freetype hack this time around :))
The slightly rearranged Mandrake Control Center (from 9.2 days, anyways) seems to have a better layout and it calls up quickly. As a matter of fact, this system has never felt more responsive or powerful. The addition of the 2.6.3 kernel to the arsenal was a great idea. This system really can handle a load. i thought this aging machine was to be relegated to fieserving or to the kids, but I think I'll hang on to it for a while yet.
As those two silly's on the movie-rating show say, two thumbs up!