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Whilst wondering what my first op should be about, I noticed that nobody had reviewed the latest Mandrake release, even though this release is a great improvement on the last one. Mandrake is really only for the Linux beginner, but if you're reading this then you probably fall into that category. The installation is fast, simple and intuitive, to be honest I was blown away by it - Mandrake can be setup however you want it, but without losing it's ease of use. The installer's GUI is equally impressive, and I'd say it's more friendly than a Windows installation.
Moving from Windows to Linux is never easy, and given Microsoft's monopoly it's something most of us have to or have had to do. This is where Mandrake comes in, it's the ideal Linux Beginner distribution - it's based on the popular Red Hat distribution but has support for a massive amount of devices and removes the need for any linux knowledge. The beauty of Mandrake is you don't need to know Linux at all, it's just as easy as using Windows, but the power of Linux is still there under the pretty interfaces. As with all major Linux distributions, Mandrake comes with a massive range of software (and it's all free!). Most of this software is on two optional CDs, with only one of the three CDs being neccessary for installation. I only used the one CD as I can always download the programs I want afterwards, so I can't tell you exactly which applications come on the optional CDs.
Being based on RedHat, Mandrake uses RPMs for package distribution, RPM files are like windows installers - you just double click. In my humble opinion it is always better to compile your prorgrams yourself whenever possible, this requires a fair bit of Linux knowledge though and until you learn how to do this the RPMs should more than suffice. My only complaint about Linux is that a few of my favourite programs (X-Chat for example) couldn't be installed, they seemed to be unable to find packages I know were installed (GTK for example, which *had* to be there), friends told me they had similar problems with Mandrake, but this does little to dent my recommendation for Mandrake to Linux beginners. The following doesn't just apply to Mandrake but to most Linux distributions, however since this is aimed at Linux beginners Im throwing it in. Linux has a reputation as being hard and ugly, which couldn't be further from the truth nowadays (especially with Mandrake) - there are more than one desktop environments (Linux equivalent to Windows' Explorer) and it's really up to you which you use, although in my opinion KDE looks a better. The OpenOffice.org Project is great and should be able to handle your documents and work from Microsoft's Office.
There's no shortage of applications for Linux, and it's not hard at all! Before long you'll be running your own servers (not as root =P), using long, complex shell commands any maybe even writing your own programs (Linux is great for software development, and is what started me learning C). I can't recommend Mandrake Linux enough if you're on Windows and have an interest in computers, download it, burn it, and enjoy a whole new level of computing.
*edit* addes spaces between paragraphs - thanks for the tip, also when you first try Linux it's a good idea to leave windows on as well, Mandrake will automatically create a menu so you can choose which OS at bootup.
I disagree with your statement that Mandrake is only Linux for beginners. Sure, it is one of the more approachable distros for the desktop, but that gives it a broad appeal. I have worked with various flavours of Unix for the last 12 years and use Mandrake on my desktop and laptop for the simple reason that most of it works "straight out of the box" which means that I don't have to spend hour tinkering if I want to re-install or upgrade. I agree that it is a good choice for beginners but is also offers pretty much everthing that the experienced user could want.
deft_uk 15.06.2003 21:00
Very good OS, although I would have to agree that it is aimed more at the beginner user. I am also a user of the Alcatel Speedtouch USB broadband modem... maaan it can be a buggar to install, but if you look carefully, there are some automated scripts that you just excecute in BASH that will do everything for you and even set it up so you dont have to press "Connect", broadband is just "on", unlike Windoze of course ;)
Comhaq 04.06.2003 18:33
Truesatan, Mandrake is most definitely based on Red Hat, in fact a quick google search gave the following site: http://www.linuxnovice.org/main_distro.php3
Which should help bring you up to date on all the major Linux distros.