23 Jul 2001
(updated 23 Jul 2001 at 02:42 UTC) »
I'm back to Campinas for another round of job interviews.
Last weekend I was in my mother's house. I took one of the
Mandrake 7.2 shrink-wrap boxes Mandrake gave me on New
York's Linux World Expo. The only time I tried to install
one of these on a friend's computer here in Campinas it
failed completely to detect the partition table on the hard
drive (while RH 6.2 and FreeBSD 4.2 detected it fine, same
Here goes a report of the epopea:
After deciding that repartitioning was a bad idea (no backup
media around), and as Mandrake's manual said the Linux4Win
install was a bit slower, I decided for it. I boot
from CD 1, start installing... the progress indicator starts
saying "34 minutes total, 34 minutes left". It just keeps
increasing. 40. 55. 1h20. 1h40. I came in later and it was
reading '2h09 total, 4 minutes left'. Those must have been
the longest 4 minutes ever, they lasted like half an hour,
after which I started hitting the Cancel button on screen.
The button went 'down' and 'up'. I must have hit it about 50
times. Nothing happens. I peruse the VTs, RPM says it's
working. Reboot, remove C:\lnx4win, try again with less
packages... I notice also that you can't go back and forth
in the installation.
After another 2 hours, installing only the basic, it's done.
GRUB fails to load the newly installed Mandrake system.
fdisk /MBR to restore it, and start it from the .exe in
Windows. It takes eons to load. It was a K6-2 500 MHz/64MB
it took like 6 minutes to get past the green OKs part
of the boot process. X, which worked so cute during the
install, comes in without mouse. DrakXConf uses a
non-standard widget to present the 'clones of Control Panel
items', making it impossible to select the 'Configure Mouse'
item with the keyboard. All in all, it was too sluggish to
Now, the most funny thing is that I hear lots of people
saying Slackware is not well suited for newbies and that
Mandrake is the most 'user-friendly' Linux distro around.
I'm using Slackware since late 1996, have tried RH and
Conectiva just to come back crying to Slackware. Some
1. Slack seems to use a regular, unmodified kernel. It never
failed to detect the partition tables on me.
2. Slack uses text mode. It's not so cute, but when I 'hit'
a button, it works (unlike Mandrake's Cancel button).
3. Slack never lied about the time left to finish for me.
4. I can go back and forth in Slack's installation.
(Everything I say about Slack above applies to FreeBSD's
Not to mention that I had to manually edit
/etc/X11/XF86Config-4 to configure the mouse on this
experience. Recommending Mandrake for newbies looks
It's been some weeks since I last touched the code, better
work a little on it tonight.
...currently brainstorming some interesting way to protest
against Adobe (first PDF (Pifious Document Format), then
KIllustrator, now this...), send suggestions if you have any