Mandrake: First Impressions

I finally got Mandrake installed, and it took a while. Here are notes and thoughts…

I finally got Mandrake installed, and it took a while. There are normally two parts of the “taking a while” to deal with. There is the “this doesn’t work I need to find the answer on [search engine of choice] before I can even get the install to start” and there’s the actual install process, which always seems to take some time.

Remember, I’m attempting to install Mandrake Linux 9.1 PPC on a old Beige G3 PowerMac. I suppose we can ditch that “attempting” word, as I got it to work, but not easily…

First, there was the issue of just getting the installer to launch. Mandrake has some simple tools to do this, but they didn’t seem to work. I used BootX, and tried many variations, and finally found this thread on Mandrake 9.1 install problems that fixed things. Giving BootX the proper parameters got things going, below is what I used:

root=/dev/ram3 ramdisk_size=40000 
install-text automatic=method:cdrom

Once BootX kicked the install, things went smooth, until I started to get errors installing some things. I’d guess I hit the ‘OK’ button at least 100 times after seeing ‘There was an error installing foo-1.0.1’ (or whatever the exact phrase is. Still the install finish after a few hours (hours?!) and things seemed ok. (I really should check the ISO’s against the md5sum and such when doing these things, as it may have been a bad CD, but the system did eventually get installed.)

Time to login! Hmmm, Mandrake is supposed to be so friendly, why is the menu, which is usually full of apps and such, almost empty? Ahhh, another useful thread on empty menus lead me to run update-menus, and menudrake to fix things.

Success! Mandrake 9.1 on a PowerMac…

But now what? I started using the system, and it seems ok, but certainly doesn’t wow me yet. I was pretty impressed with Fedora after using it, but Mandrake is taking a little time to get comfortable with. I suppose I’ll have to get used to what makes Mandrake, well, Mandrake, as it were.

Who knows? I might ditch Mandrake by next week and install Yellow Dog instead. ;)