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Mandrake Linux 9.1 Power Pack Edition

Another Step Forward

By Eric Vaughan, May 22, 2003

Mandrake Linux 9.1 is another big step forward for MandrakeSoft and Linux. After my introduction to Linux while writing the "Newbie"ginning article I was impressed enough to stick with it. At the time I only had it on one computer which was basically a glorified stereo. Now, due in part to hardware changes, I'm running Mandrake Linux 9.1 on 3 computers. The best way to describe my experience with 9.1 is...WOW! MandrakeSoft has done it's homework. Mandrake 9.1 has a professional and clean looking interface and it's easier to use than ever.  This article isn't so much of a review as it is my experience installing and using it. I'll let the pictures do much of the talking. It should be noted that while I now have some experience (5 months) with Linux, I still consider myself a newbie.

***note - Throughout this review there will be thumbnails of screen shots. Click on the image for a larger picture. Once any picture is open you can scroll through all images in that section.

The Software and Manual

The Mandrake Linux 9.1 Power Pack consists of the standard 3 CD's plus 4 CD's of additional software. While the Standard CD set offers a wealth of applications, the Power Pack offers lots of extra goodies. Things like Real Player, Flash Player and Acrobat Reader are included. The basic features are listed here.

The manual (Starter Guide) shows marked improvement from the 9.0 version. At 260+ pages it does a good job at covering the basics and getting the newbie up to speed.

The Computers

All computers share time with Windows XP. My main rig uses a Trios II to switch between OS's. The multimedia box uses swappable drive bays and the laptop dual boots. The two PC's are using wireless optical USB mice and the laptop has a wired optical USB mouse.

The Computers
 Multimedia BoxMain RigLaptop
CPUAMD Barton 2500+P4, 2.26GHzP3, 1GHz
MotherboardTyan KT400Asus P4PECompaq 2701US
Memory512mb DDR333512mb DDR366512 SDRAM
VideoATI Radeon 8500DVATI Radeon 9500 ProATI Radeon Mobility
SoundSB Audigy w/live driveSB Live Plat. 5.1Onboard
Hard Drives

Maxtor 20GB

WD 100GB

Maxtor 80GB (8MB Cache)

WD 40GB (on ATA card)



I started off with an initial installation on my Main Rig of everything save the server packages that weren't required for something else. This allows me to get familiar with everything and I highly suggest this method for newbies to Mandrake Linux 9.1. After playing around with that for a while I now know what I do and don't want to install on each computer. I can now customize each installation.

Installation on all three computers was flawless. Once you get used to the fact that it looks different than a Windows installation you'll find it's actually easier. Installing 9.1 offers more options than Windows during installation . The "wizard" like screens allow for as much, or as little interaction as you desire. If you prefer, clicking "next" the whole way through can work too, including auto allocating (partitioning/formatting) your hard drive. The only thing you'll need to choose is the packages you wish to install. All devices were identified correctly with the exception of the winmodem in the laptop. I could sit here and bore you with the details but hey, everything just worked! Click on the image below to scroll through selected install screens.


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