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DistributionWatch Review: Linux-Mandrake 7.2 - page 2

Discrepencies between boxed and ISO versions

  • November 1, 2000
  • By Brian Proffitt

The area of hardware configuration was where Linux-Mandrake really shone. The Xfree86 4.01 configuration picked up my exact monitor, Kudzu nailed the sound card, and the new CUPS server not only had the right driver for my OfficeJet 600, it installed the Samba client for me so it was completely ready when I sent a test page to the printer, currently sitting on the lone Windows machine in my network.

I found CUPS to be a pretty good printer manager both for local machines and remotes. It was quite intuitive to use, which is what a new user would need.

Hardware is mostly managed with HardDrake, which is essentially Linux-Mandrake's big ol' Device Manager. HardDrake did an excellent job in letting me tweak my current software, and found every piece of hardware on my PC except the internal modem. Winmodems, it seems, still can trip it up.

HardDrake is accessed through the DrakConf configuration tool, which also contains several other configuration tools, all spelled out in plain English. X configuration becomes "Change screen resolution," and so on. There are lots of good tools in DrakConf, including old standbys like Linuxconf.

Of these tools my favorites were MenuDrake, which lets you configure the application menus in any of the desktop environments; CUPS, mentioned before; and RpmDrake, Linux-Mandrake's package manager. I liked RpmDrake because it isn't as slow as GnoRPM and is certainly more intuitive than Kpackage. This is a straightforward package manager that made locating new stuff pretty simple.

Related to RpmDrake, in that it has a similar interface and functionality, is Mandrake Update, which goes out to FTP sites around the world, based on a list downloaded from the Linux-Mandrake FTP site, and pulls down a list of updates for any outdated packages for your current version.

The only problem was, while this looked good on paper, I could not test it. The popularity of the Linux-Mandrake download version has drastically slowed down the mirror sites' synchronizations, sources at MandrakeSoft told me. This is actually a bigger problem than you might think for a brand-new out of the box software release, because Mandrake Update will be a very necessary tool for devout KDE users. Because, depending on where you buy Linux-Mandrake, you will need an update pretty quickly.


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