OK, I decided to install this puppy on my laptop, so I wouldn't be left without my big box in case of problems.
HP Omnibook 4100
PII 233MMX/64meg ram
1.7 gig as /
300 meg as /home
Already having Drake 8.1 on it, I figured I'd try an "upgrade", since I'd never done that with linux before. Since I have no cdrom on it, I have to install via FTP via my pcmcia NIC. So I downloaded the ISO images for the first 2 CDs, mounted them, extracted the necessary files, set up the ftp server, and proceeded to make an install floppy from the pcmcia.img included with the distro. Due to a piss poor floppy drive, I ended up using about 12 floppies, as well as a couple of hours, but I finally got the machine booted up and the pcmcia card fired up as expected...woohoo! I filled in the necessary network info and went on my way, telling the installer to "upgrade" my current installation. Package selection seemed to go without a hitch, and it started to install.
BIG problems. Package after package after package failed to install. everything from the kernel headers to tetex. Over 2 hours had passed since it started, and I still was being prompted to continue or not due to package installation failures. I finally canceled it and did a hard shutdown of the machine...I was *pissed*. I examined the rpm pool on the ftp server and sure enough - they all showed as fine and dandy. Five hours shot to hell for nothing and to top it off, the previous 8.1 install was hosed. I grabbed the glue and picked my hair up off the floor and decided to take a break and walked away from the machine before I did something stupid. I reiterate...I was *pissed*.
I came back an hour later determined to get my laptop back up and working. I decided to do a clean install, via expert mode. This went smooth...really really smooth. No problems whatsoever. Package selection was the normal Mandrake fare. I was *thrilled* to NOT see imwheel and that stupid friggen Aurora thing that had plagued me in the past. I was disappointed not to find ABIWord, xgammon, and xwc in the listings though. Netscape is no longer included either. I chose what packages wanted and went on with the installation without a hitch. I was dumbfounded for a moment though, during the X setup. Normally, when X is tested, it shows the screen with the colorful penguins in the background and asks "Are these the correct settings?". I never did see any colorful penguins, but the settings were correct, so I went on, made a rescue floppy and rebooted the machine.
I am *thrilled* with the end result. KDE 2.2.2 is such an improvement over 2.2.1. I can't wait to see how 3.0 turns out. Though still a bit bloated to use on my laptop, I tried it just for the hell of it and was impressed. I'll stick with Blackbox however..at least on the laptop, just for speed's sake. With just a little bit of tweaking, I'm loving it. I also came across a little gem that I hadn't expected. Whilst using the Software Manager to install some dependancies for a couple of things I had to compile from source, I ran across Xine!! Xine!! Xine!! My favorite video player...it's on the CDs! It's killer when a lowly 233 can render DivX movies Thank you Mandrake for including such a fine piece of software in your distro(lol..it can be a BITCH to get compiled from scratch). Later, I'll hunt through the CDs more closely and see what else might be hiding there.
Though I'm completely dumbfounded by the "upgrade" fiasco, the end result was well worth the effort. My laptop has never been better utilized. With the clean install, setup is a snap,and I'd imagine even the most clooless of newbies could handle it in expert mode...in fact, I'd recommend using expert mode install all the time, since you have more control over what goes on...and isn't that why you decided to try linux in the first place?
Drake's maturing beautifully. 8.2 is a far, far cry from the clunky, almost haphazard releases of the past. Though they still have almost zero documentation of exaclt what's included on the CDs (one of my biggest beefs with them), all in all I'd recommend that people give it a try..I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it.
Over-all I'd rate it a B+...due mostly to the "upgrade" fiasco.
There's one major thing that I haven't had a chance to check out yet. Previously, the Mandrake Update tool allowed for the installation of new kernel packages - which completely hosed the systems that they occured on. Sure, they gave a "warning" in the Manager, but it wasn't right in your face, nor could anyone expect a newbie to find it immediately...especially if there were many updates available at the same time. I hope to god that Mandrake has taken care of that little "feature" so that newbies and oldbies alike don't get caught offguard and endup with any more hosed installs.