February 22, 2019

Mandrake Is On The Move - page 4

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  • March 29, 2004
  • By Kurt Wall

Mandrakelinux 10.0 Community installs as smoothly and far more quickly than I would have expected. The ease of the installation process alone makes Mandrake worth a look. The hardware detection was first-rate--it even detected my Epson Perfection 1660 scanner, attached via USB. The sound (ALSA, I might add) worked right away with no fiddling or twiddling required. I cannot say enough good things about DrakX. It just works!

Most of my unfavorable impressions amount to nits. If you select the LSB package group, DrakX warns you it will install a 2.4-series kernel in order to ensure LSB-compliance. This is not a shortcoming of DrakX, but I would have preferred this caveat to be made clear when I selected the LSB package group--as it was, I had to go back and disable LSB because I wanted the 2.6 kernel. A second nit is that DrakX defaults to automatically logging in the mortal user added during post-installation configuration--auto-login should be disabled by default. In the favorite annoyance department, I really dislike the User Survey wizard that confronted me the first time I logged in. While I sidestepped it by clicking the convenient, Skip Wizard button, I much prefer if MandrakeSoft found a less intrusive way to gather marketing information. Of course, I downloaded three full CD-ROMs of software for free, so I suppose the survey wasn't utterly odious.

One unpleasantry, however, is more than a nit. Boot loader installation is clumsily-handled, or, rather, mishandled. DrakX detected the bootable Windows partition on my first hard disk, /dev/hda, and included it as part of the LILO configuration. Unfortunately, DrakX did not notice the bootable Linux partition on the second hard disk, /dev/hdb (/dev/hdb2, containing my primary Slackware /boot file system). Moreover, it wasn't immediately clear how to add that partition in the post-installation configuration screens. Consequently, I was not able to boot my Slackware system until I manually added that partition to the /etc/lilo.conf file.

I appreciate that getting boot loader configuration right can be a tricky issue, but it is one of the points vendors simply must get right. My situation isn't that uncommon: a working Linux installation on a secondary disk that is booted from the primary disk.

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