that Sam guy

1 Month On: Mandriva 2007 Spring – Laptop

Since it’s been a while since I last posted, I thought I’d bring you all up to date with the new Mandriva release. Spring beautiful spring!

For the last month (and a bit) I’ve been running Mandriva 2007.1 Spring PowerPack on my Toshiba Satellite 2410. To avoid people having to skip to the conclusion, I’m sticking with Mandriva Linux Spring on my laptop permanently!

In the past I’ve only run WinXP as my primary operating system on this laptop (feel free to flame away), and either dual booted to Mandriva, or run a MandrivaOne disc. However, due to certain apps and features not working correctly or stably previously, I haven’t permanently converted. These apps/features include:

  • Hibernate to RAM
  • Hibernate to Disk
  • NTFS-3G on FUSE (writing to NTFS)
  • Power Management and CPU Scaling
  • OpenOffice 2 (matching my desktop + OpenDocumentFormat etc.)
  • Easy wireless management
  • Proprietary nVidia driver
  • MS fonts

Laptop Specs:

  • Toshiba Satellite 2410
  • Intel P4-M 1.7GHz
  • 784MB DDR RAM
  • nVidia 32MB GeForce4 420Go (not 16mb as per my previous reviews)
  • D-Link DWL-G680 Wireless 802.11b/g (Turbo and XR) [Atheros PC-Card]

Installation & Configuration

I did a fresh install from the PowerPack DVD with only one unexpected problem. When installing the grub bootloader, it would hang. Using Ctrl+ALt+F1, killing the grub install via console, returning to the installer (Ctrl+Alt+F7) and clicking “retry” fixed the problem and it installed the bootloader fine the second time. Not sure why it happens but it did occur with the previous Mandriva Linux with grub but not with lilo. However grub is now the default for Spring. 1st problem solved.

Mandriva Spring: Power Management (click to enlarge)As I knew that my Toshiba Laptop screen can be funny with the proprietary nVidia driver, I picked the free driver during install. First boot worked great. I particularly liked the new KDE splash screen (image to come). I noticed that both my wireless card and the power management was installed correctly (along with beagle which I removed) and were very easy to configure. The new wireless (or at least updated) system works great.

Mandriva Spring: Wireless Configuration (click to enlarge)After configuring the power management I tried out the Hibernate to RAM and disk functions. Hibernate to RAM works well, and even disables and enable my wireless properly. 1st time I ran Hibernate to Disk it worked great, however ever since then it instantly starts up again. I’ll have to work out a fix for that in future.

As Spring comes with Firefox 2 (which I prefer) and OpenOffice2, I didn’t need to worry about upgrading. I don’t really like the Mandriva Firefox theme, so if you change to EVG theme then back to default and restart Firefox you will have the normal theme again.

As usual my laptop has a problem running the proprietary nVidia drivers due to the screen blanking. After scouring the web, nVidia forums and with great help from the Mandriva bugzilla team I found that this thing is common for this range of Toshiba laptops. Thankfully this has been resolved before. It involves setting up a special binary file, but if you need more info check out my bugzilla listing.

Mandriva Spring: KDE Main Desktop (click to enlarge)

Proprietary drivers up and running, I tried out metisse, compiz and beryl on the laptop. Metisse worked great but I’m not sure I’ll need it for my workloads. Compiz and beryl looked great, but really my itty bitty p4-m 1.7 and a 3mb graphics card don’t really cut it. I only saw one problem with compiz/beryl, where the background will go black whilst the current window shows normally. Either resizing the window or flipping to the console and returning seems to fix it temporarily, but I don’t think I’ll try to fix this due to my laptop speed.

As usual I setup my update repositories via easyUrpmi, however I have now moved to using the distrib-coffee mirror as my default.

There is a great setup guide for Mandriva 2007.1 Spring for free users at HowToForge but there are some tips for PowerPack users too. From the tips on page 7, I installed the MS truetype fonts, and hey presto! stuff looks the same as on a windows box. Make sure you add your update repositories before installing the fonts as there are a few prerequisites.

Installed the ntfs-3g package with success, and managed to mount my NTFS formatted external hard drive with no problems. I can’t wait for someone to integrate this with the KDE automount system *hint hint*

Extra FeaturesMandriva Spring: Google Earth (click to enlarge)

Some nice features have been added for this release. Namely very tight virtualisation with Xen, qemu, VirtualBox and VMware Player. I’m yet to have time to play around with these to much yet. The other feature I love was the install script for Google Earth on the menu. Worked great with no messing about. Just one question. Why does the install script stay in the menu after the program has been installed?

Gone Missing

Last time around Mandriva added LinDVD, a proprietary DVD pack from the same guys that make WinDVD. However it isn’t there now. I shall be going back to my old disks to install it, but what about everyone else? Desktop linux users should be able to legally play dvds.

A month on…

After using this as my primary OS (well only OS) on my laptop, I’m happy to keep it this way. Great stability, great apps and excellent configuration with only minor hiccups. I may still try and fix Hibernate to Disk, but it isn’t high on my priority list. Mandriva seems to be heading in the right direction with this release, despite some internal reorganisation. A couple of great releases on the trot, let’s hope they we can make it three.

Creating interest in linux

As a side note I love playing SuperTux and the odd Frozen Bubble. When sitting I’m around at Uni, taking a few moments to relax, I usually whip out SuperTux. It seems this is quite popular and I usually get a small crowd watching over my shoulder, with the odd call out of “can I get that?”. :) Maybe we should all play a game in public to promote linux!


Categorised as: Linux, Tech


23 Comments

  1. rubso says:

    Thank you, I’m downloading Mandriva right now :D

  2. JJ says:

    It’s nice to hear a good report about Mandriva.
    So many reports I’ve read so far have been quite a put down.

    I attempted running MandrivaOne a few months back and unfortunately it did not perform to my expectations.
    One of my most major Linux hang ups is not ever being able to get my Wifi correctly working.

    I’ll definitely give Mandriva 2007.1 a try.

  3. Henrik says:

    “Intel P4-M 1.7GHz”?
    I guess you mean Pentium M 1.7GHz (aka Centrino), not Pentium4-mobile (which was very different)?

  4. Jay says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for the review. Would you mind telling us which KDE windeco is featured in your first screenshot above (the one with the KPowerSave settings).

    Good luck getting the hibernation working!

    Jay

  5. cyprix says:

    Henrik: “Intel P4-M 1.7GHz”?

    It sure is a P4-M :) Runs nice and warm too.

  6. Rughalt says:

    You have said you have problems with beryl and it’s speed. I’m also running Mandriva 2007.1 on my laptop, which specs are quite similar to yours (P4-M 2 GHz running at 1.2 – temperature problems, ATI Radeon 7500 32mb, 512 RAM, standard screen resolution 1400×1050), and had problems with beryl speed until I’ve changed screen depth to 16bit (not a big loss I must say). After that change it is running very well – you may want to try it. I don’t know a lot about architecture of NVidia drivers, but you should be able to run beryl smoothly.

  7. kazuya says:

    mandrake was my first distro used sometime in 2003. It was the easiest to use back then. Alas, many others distros have swooped in and taken over. Today, most distros are at the same level of simplicity with a few like PCLOS and Ubuntu, Mepis, leading the way.. Well, not exactly true..

    I am glad to see Mandriva rising again. I liked the review very much as it has been a while one has seen a positive review on Mandriva. The OS or distro is great also. I will have to give it a try now again to see the improvements for myself..

    Performance and stability are two reasons I steered off it.

    I would try it out for curiosity sake, but it would be hard to make it my primary OS. For that I’ve got three primary OSes – Ubuntu, PCLOS, Zenwalk, and now playing and liking puppy linux…

  8. cyprix says:

    Jay: Would you mind telling us which KDE windeco is featured in your first screenshot?

    I assume you mean theme. It’s the Ia Ora for Mandriva Spring Powerpack. One, Discovery, Powerpack and free have different Ia Ora themes.

  9. bosoboss says:

    Nice review. I’ve just switched to Mandriva 2007 1 spring and is planning to keep it as my primary OS. I had no problem whatsoever in installing and using this distro. Everything worked right out of the box. No tweaking required. Metisse was a big plus.

  10. EmyrB says:

    Several weeks ago I borked up my Grub on my Ubuntu box, so decided to give the free version of Mandriva 2007 1 Spring Gnome edition a go. The Live CD booted with no issues and the install went well. When I rebooted into my new Mandriva Spring desktop, Gnome was broke, I mean seriously broke. So I booted my Windows PC, fired up a VMWare session and proceeded to install Mandriva Spring 2007 Gnome edition and the same thing happened :(

    I am now back running Ubuntu 7.04 as my main distro. It may not be as beautiful as the Mandriva La Ora theme, but at least Gnome works. Maybe I will try again one day.

  11. Emyr: sorry to hear about that – could you possibly give more details of what went wrong?

    Just for info, I run GNOME as my only desktop, we’re definitely not just a KDE shop at MDV :)

  12. Jonah says:

    Installed 2007 Spring s week ago, Msi Mobo AMD 3000 Prosessor, 2 Gb RAM, Nvid FX5200 Video and a Audiggy 4 Soundcard.

    This is a test box for specifically checking out Linux Distros.

    Madriva 2007.1 is the easiest install and set up yet, very quick to pick up. I got updates from coffee & plf mirrors so all my Media / DVDs etc work fine.

    Installation was fine, no problems. The only aggravation I got was the usual Samba nightmare and setting up printing to a Windows box shared printer.

    SMBk4 fixed the one and I found a lovely printer install app to set up network printing. I now have a system in a week that can do everything my production Win 2000/XP machines can do and more. This one is going onto a main PC, the first distro ever made it from the garage to the office.

    Very pleased and surprised to be so impressed with a Distro, usually takes a week to figure out where the config files are scattered about the place and WTF is the command line for Kwidgetthingummyjig

    Jonah

  13. Lars says:

    The 16 bit problem seems to be a “toshiba” problem.
    The machine implies it is 24 bit while in reality it is 16.
    Making the bit change fixes the problem compleatly.
    I have a very old Toshiba Tecra 8000 with that problem.

  14. Ben says:

    I’ve been using Mandriva 2007 Spring on two laptops (an Acer Aspire 3100 and an HP nx6125) since it came out. The HP has a well-documented problem with the fan control under Linux, which can possibly be fixed if you have the time, but the Acer runs perfectly, even with the free ATI driver. Only the built-in card reader doesn’t work at all. It looks brilliant with my GNOME desktop, and naturally it never crashes. Both laptops are 64-bit, but there are no problems with drivers. Give it a try!

  15. jensjk says:

    I installed Mandriva One Spring 2007 on my HP DV6000 and everything worked right out of the box – including suspend to ram, webcam and cardreader – only hardware nout found was the digital TV card, but no linux driver exist for that so far. Have also PClinux 2007 on same machine, fine distro also, but did not install the hardware mentioned.
    Only problem so far (install yesterday) is, that I so far cannot find my windows partitions on the machine -

  16. ROMANO says:

    Hello all Mandrivausers!!!

    I invite on website: http://www.frappr.com/mandrivalinux. There`s nobody from Austrlia yet.

  17. Tom says:

    Good to see a good review on Mandriva 2007.1 I have read alot of bad reviews I dont know why i have had no problems with it I am running an IBM Thinkpad T22 and evrything was detected and setup very fast I use beryl and thats works great too at 24bit color depth, They only minor issue I had was playing DVD’s but I hae fixed that issue, I have tried Suse 10.2 and the new ubuntu and must say I found Mandriva the best for me everything simple and easy to setup and run

  18. Hi there,

    I’m a linux newbie and this was probably my third or fourth attempt at an intall. I have an HP Compaq nx6110 laptop. I downloaded a Live Cd of Mandriva Spring 2007 Discovery. When I popped in the live CD, initial attempts to “fool around” showed great promise even the wireless card (Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200BG)was working albeit with Win XP SP2 underneath.

    Afterwards I decided to do a dual boot experiment, (so I backed up all my data first) and formatted the HDD then installed Linux this time from a DVD of the POWERPACK version.Only problem is that the wireless card isn’t working even now that everything has been updated from the official sites, anyone have any advise for me as I would really like to be “A FULL CONVERT” as everything else seems to be far better than WINDOWS

  19. RajDeep S. Randhawa says:

    I am Downloading Mandriva 2007 today…
    And reply soon about my experiences :)

  20. Jemmy Surya says:

    I’m currently working and using Mandriva 2008.1 for a month right now.

  21. I’m trying this today……

  22. [...] in Review • Linux.com • OSNews • LinMagazine (Hebrew) 2007: OSWeekly • Polishlinux • Planet Cyprix • FRLinux (French) • Planète Béranger • Lunapark6 • Everlinux (Portuguese) • Linux.com [...]