Mandrake Linux 9.0, Desktop Magic You Can Use: A First Look
Mike Angelo -- 13 November 2002 (C) -- Page 2
Installing and Updating Software
Perhaps installing, configuring, and updating software are the system administration and maintenance tasks that many computer users most often encounter. Installing, configuring, and updating software usually has been a simpler and more user-friendly task with the Microsoft Windows operating system than it has been with the Linux OS. This is another Linux v. Windows gap that is closing.
Mandrake Linux 9.0 has several installing, configuring, and updating software tools that make these tasks just about as easy to do in Mandrake Linux 9.0 as it is to do them in MS Windows. One of these tools is the KDE 3.0.3 desktop-suite tool, KPackage 3.0.2, which is available for most Linux distributions. Two other neat software installation and update tools that are specific to Mandrake Linux are RpmDrake and URPMI.
More and Better Free Software
The Mandrake Linux 9.0 Standard edition is much more than a user-friendly desktop operating system. It comes with lots of software -- much more software than what you get with the MS Windows operating system.
Please keep in mind that much of the free software that you get with the Microsoft Windows operating system is pretty darn basic and feature-poor. On the other hand, much of the free software that comes with Mandrake 9.0 is feature-rich and close to, if not as good as, the commercial Windows software that does not come free with the MS Windows operating system -- the stuff for which you have to pay extra in the big-bucks, excessively-commercial, world of Microsoft Windows. All in all, that makes Mandrake Linux 9.0 a much better bang for the bucks than Microsoft Windows.
There's lots of other productivity stuff included with the basic Mandrake 9.0 distribution too. There are several e-mail and newsreader clients. Additionally, Mandrake 9.0 includes project management, address book, calendar, and financial programs.
There are lots of Internet applications for work or play too. Mandrake 9.0 Standard offers a nice selection of Web browser, messaging and chat, telnet, SSH, and FTP clients.
Whether you work with and edit photographs for play or profit, Mandrake 9.0 comes with the GIMP, an excellent photo-editing and image-manipulation program. GIMP is just about as good as Adobe PhotoShop -- but it is free and it comes with Mandrake 9.0.
In the amusement category, Mandrake 9.0 comes with more than fifty games including 19 arcade games, 20 board games, 19 card games, and 10 strategy games. Compare that to a measly four games that you get with Microsoft Windows.
There are lots more goodies that come free with Mandrake 9.0. Check the Mandrake Web site for the details. (Link in the Resources section at the end of this article.)
Mandrake Linux for Power and Enterprise Users
Don't let Mandrake Linux 9.0's easy-to-use desktop fool you into thinking that Mandrake 9.0 is not a power-user, server, or enterprise operating system. Mandrake Linux 9.0 is a powerful command-line and server Linux.
The free download edition of Mandrake Linux 9.0 comes with a nice collection of free, powerful servers including the Apache 1.3.26 AdvancedExtranetServer (Web), Bind (DNS), DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), MySQL 3.23.52 (database), PostgreSQL 7.2.2 (database), ProFTP (FTP), Postfix (e-mail), OpenSSH (secure shell protocol), SMB/NMB (Samba), and more.
A nice thing about Mandrake 9.0 is that system administrators that like to work from the command line have a powerful command-line Linux from which to do that with Mandrake 9.0. On the other hand, system administrators that prefer, or feel more comfortable with, a graphical desktop have that with Mandrake Linux 9.0. Because Mandrake Linux 9.0 is both a powerful command-line Linux and an easy-to-use desktop Linux, system administrators and enterprise IT managers have their choice of using either the Linux desktop or the Linux command-line -- or both for that matter.
So far in our testing, Mandrake Linux 9.0 is very stable and rock solid. Mandrake Linux 9.0 is an operating system that you can run non-stop, twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week (24/7).
To date, we have tested Mandrake Linux 9.0 on three computers. The most powerful of the three boxes is a multi-boot desktop machine with a 1-GHz Pentium III CPU, PowerLeap Renaissance motherboard using a SiS 630E chipset with integrated everything, 512-MB of RAM, and 100-GB Maxtor D536X hard drive. A Netgear EA101 USB Network Adapter is used to connect this box to a LAN.
The second box is a desktop machine with a 300-MHz AMD K6 CPU on an Amptron motherboard with 128-MB RAM and a 40-GB Maxtor Ultra DMA 66 hard drive. This box is connected to the LAN via an integrated SiS 900 PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter.
A Hewlett Packard OmniBook 6000 Notebook PC was used to round out our initial tests Mandrake 9.0 tests. This HP 6000 has a 900-MHz Pentium III CPU, Intel 440 BX AGPset chipset, 128-MB RAM, ATI Rage Mobility M1 2xAGP graphics, ESS Maestro PCI Audio, a 20-GB IBM DJSA-220 hard drive, built-in 3-COM 10/100 Mini PCI Ethernet Adapter, and a Proxim Skyline PC Card.
Partition Magic and Partition Commander, non-destructive partition management tools, were used to configure the test machines for multiple booting. Boot Magic is used for boot management and GRUB to load Linux. Please see our articles Dual-Boot Linux & Windows to Get the Best of Both Operating System Worlds and Triple-Boot Caldera OpenLinux, Red Hat Linux, & MS Windows for Best of Three Worlds for more information about partition and boot management.
All told, the MandrakeSoft technicians and wizards have put together a darn nice, easy-to-use, and user-friendly Linux operating system and collection of software applications. The MandrakeSoft folks give you plenty of choices too. You can use Mandrake 9.0 as an easy, friendly desktop Linux, a powerful command-line Linux, or a very cost-effective enterprise and server Linux -- or all of these. Your choice.
Mandrake 9.0's overall stability, plus the choices of included desktop suites and applications make Mandrake 9.0 a Linux you can run all the time -- and get your work done or have fun too.
If Linux is going to be an effective alternative to the Microsoft Windows operating system(s) it can not merely be as good as MS Windows, it must be better than MS Windows. Linux must be easier to install than MS Windows. It must be easier to use than MS Windows. It must be easier to maintain than MS Windows. It must be more secure and more stable than MS Windows. And Linux must have more and better applications than MS Windows. Moreover, the total cost of ownership (TCO) for a Linux-based system or enterprise deployment must be less than the TCO for an MS Windows-based system or enterprise deployment.
Mandrake Linux 9.0 is one reason that Linux is getting closer to being as good as, if not better than, Microsoft Windows. In some areas Mandrake 9.0 surpasses MS Windows. Moreover, Mandrake 9.0 and its included software are close enough to MS Windows that unless you need the full-functionality of the Microsoft Office suite products such as MS Word or MS Excel, you can use Mandrake Linux 9.0 as your primary, and perhaps only, operating system
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