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
- 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.
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.
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.
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*
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?
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!