Mandrake Linux 10: The Future Looks Good - Using Mandrake Linux 10
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Mandrake Linux 10 Official came with some nice and up to date software:
KDE 3.2, GNOME 2.4
When it came down to using it, however, I had mixed feelings.
For example, I'm used to the standard menu system provided by KDE, and it's been replaced with a much simpler, categorical menu system. This is a good thing, since I had no problem finding anything from OpenOffice to the media players to the chat programs. Even my mother was able to navigate the menu screens to find Mozilla when I asked her to 'get on the Internet' -- and she didn't know what Mozilla was until now. It's since grown on me.
GNOME felt good too -- the menus are laid out in a very similar manner to the KDE menus, so switching between environments was painless. The GNOME menus did have some GTK programs not mentioned under KDE, such as X-CD-Roast. I'm not sure why - it makes consistency a bit harder. There are some Qt programs not listed in the GNOME menu, but K3B was still available.
It became apparent that the "Install Everything" option in the installer didn't install absolutely everything, but it seems that it installed one of everything. For example, the Totem Movie Player and Kopete were installed, but I like XMMS and GAIM better, and had to manually install them from the Control Center. RPMs for XMMS and GAIM were available on the CDs so I didn't mind too much.
Having never used the Totem Movie Player before, I gave it a whirl. I'll admit that I'm an mplayer fan, and I normally have to download a bunch of codecs designed for Linux to play my movies. Totem handled every DVD, video, and MP3 that I have beautifully. I suspect Mandrakesoft is using Totem Movie Player as the answer to Microsoft's Windows Media Player.
To burn your CDs, K3b and Nautilus CD burning is available. K3b comes highly recommended, and those who aren't command line junkies who need to burn a CD will find it resembling Roxio Easy CD and DVD Creator. It automatically detected my burner too and actually got the speed right - something every Windows burning software I've tried can't get right.
I tried to switch to using the 2.4.25 kernel Mandrakesoft provided, and in the process horribly broke my sound drivers. Although the 2.6 kernels come with ALSA, Mandrake provided ALSA 1.0.2c compiled against a 2.6 kernel. When I installed the 2.4.25 kernel, no new version of ALSA was provided, leaving me to compile my own version.
On the Pentium 3 laptop I mentioned earlier, Mandrake 10 Community flew. Compared to Windows 2000 (which takes a while to boot but is otherwise fine) and Windows 98 SE (boots fast but is, well, Windows 98), it seems to be doing extremely well. The Pentium 4 felt no sluggishness whatsoever, and that was a welcome change from the world of Windows.
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