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15 May 2005
I'm writing this entry from Linux which makes a nice change. Even though I've just reinstalled Windows and only installed the commercial applications it's still not particularly stable. Linux on the other hand just keeps going no matter what you throw at it.
I've been using Ubuntu for a while which is a non-commercial community driven distribution, but recently I've come back to try a commercial distribution. Mandriva is the result of a merge between Mandrake and Conectiva. Mandriva Press Release. Before Ubunut I'd used various version of Mandrake Linux, and am running this website on Mandrake.
The version I have installed is Mandriva Linux Limited Edition 2005, provided as cover discs from Linux Format. I had one minor problem during the install, in that the Wireless Card was changed port name after install, but other than that it went very smoothly.
There is a small issue with the rescue mode of the CD. After windows had taken over my Master Boot Record (see recent Windows reinstall saga) I had to reinstate the Linux bootloader so that I can switch between Linux and Windows. This was done by booting into rescue mode from the CD (Pressing F1 for more options at the Mandriva Splash Screen, then Rescue). There is then a rescue menu which offers the option to reinstall the bootloader, however this tries to resinstall Lilo, whereas Mandriva now uses Grub as it's bootloader so it doesn't actually do anything. To actually fix it I choose the option for a console after mounting the filesystems into /mnt. Then simply cd /mnt/boot/grub and ran ./install.sh and then grub was up and working again. Whilst this sounds a little complex it's no worse than the Windows equivelant of booting into rescue console and using the fixmbr command.
Now I have Linux back up and running and it works great. Unfortunately it doesn't have equivelants of all the applications that I use. Most of the applications I use and have paid several hundred pounds for are replicated in Linux for free, however there are still a couple missing. The two most important to me are Macromedia Flash MX which will hopefully work under WINE in the near future, and a good video editing application. Good progress is being made with Kino which may help with the video editing, it has the basic functionality in now, but still has some way to go to compete with some of the more advanced features.
Until these applications are ready for Linux I'll still be swapping between Windows and Linux, but after my experience with reinstalling Windows and the problems with software activation I'm now looking forward to the day I can switch to Linux permanently.
Find out more at: www.mandriva.com.