Today I tried out Mandrake 9.1 on my ze4430us laptop. I tried Debian the other day with mild success, but I’m looking for something that ‘just works’ out of the box. The Mandrake 9.1 install went just fine. The install process was extremely easy and quite pretty. One thing to note is that if you configure your mouse as a ‘Microsoft Wheel Mouse,’ you’ll be able to use the scroll pad to the right of the touchpad.
The major problem that I have with Mandrake 9.1 is that it hangs while initializing PCMCIA, which is a classic death scene for many Linux distros. I was able to get around it by passing PCMCIA=no to the kernel at boot. Unless there’s a reasonably easy fix, Mandrake 9.1 probably isn’t going to work for me, since I need to use a PCMCIA Wi-Fi card. I am currently downloading 9.2-rc2 to see if that will solve my problems.
Overall I was impressed with Mandrake. The install process was easy but at the same time allowed me to put various dialogs into ‘expert’ or ‘advanced’ mode. The package selection was pretty straightforward, and it allowed me to select individual packages.
Once I was able to get it to boot, everything looked nice. The desktop is minimal yet functional, with pretty much everything you need on the start menu (the foot or the K depending on your environment of choice). I have not really had a chance to poke around, but it seems quite zippy with clean lines.
I’ll be installing another OS this evening, but I think I’ll be keeping a Mandrake partition, at least for now.
Update: 9.2rc2 still hangs at PCMCIA init. 🙁