Trying out a couple of Linux distros, chose Windows98 in the end

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Mark Vergeer
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 Tux 32x32 pixels What to do with a spare but perfectly functioning system? I decided to try out a couple of Linux variations. I did experiment with BeOS 4.5/5.1 and Zeta but found those platforms too limited and outdated so I opted to try Mandrake 2008.1 on my 1.4Ghz PIII, Radeon 9600 AGP, 512 Mb spare machine.
Installation went supersmooth. Everything seemed to be running out of the box. But Oh, what is that 'Elisa'? An open source multi media program? Cool.... well not... When I run it it crashes the KDE desktop - consistently - and I have to log in again and again also after a reboot. So 'Elisa' won't be for me.
Of course had to download and install things like Vice, Basilisk II, Zsnes for me basic emulation needs.
But what is this? Wine-Doors? Some sort of installer/program management thing for the wonderful Wine 'emulator'. It allows me to download a whole range of windows programs that will be installed into Wine by the Wine-Doors application. It even sports Halflife, DirectX and 3DMark2000. Now this I have to try. Winamp, Quicktime, Windows Media Player 9 is downloaded as well. Trial versions of Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver are also in the mix. Hmmm perhaps this Wine business really has taken off. Compatibility seems to be far higher than last year. Quite amazing integration.
I must say that the desktop integration of both Windows and OSX are better and error checking and monkey-proofing crazy user interaction works better than with the KDE desktop running on Linux. Applications sometimes hang when you behave impatiently on the old computer.

I am wondering what the better Linux distro will be today - oktober 7th 2008?
Mandrake 2008.1 Spring seems to be very complete with good multi media support, even on older computers.
OpenSuse 11.0 comes on DVD and seems to be even completer. Hardware support seems to be on par with the Mandrake distro.

The software managers of both distros are quite good, expanding the amount of software on your machine is very easy. It is a matter of click and install. You do need to configure the appropriate software mirrors though. And be sure to select the full software mirrors and not only the update/patch mirrors, otherwise you won't be able to 'expand' your system. I must say freeware/open source software has come a long way. As the Linux system matured, along with the programmers the quality went through the roof and it is amazing to see how professional everything looks and works. Albeit not as smooth as the Windows XP/Vista/OSX experience. It is free! There's no activation or serial numbers and that is a big bonus!

Linux won't be on my main system just yet. But I do have it handy on my old spare system.

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Matt Barton
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The only distros I've really

The only distros I've really spent any time with were Ubuntu and SimpleMEPIS. Ubuntu seems like the best to me, though I've heard good things about Mandrake (think that's the one David was always talking about).

I think having all the distros is probably a bad thing ultimately. It's not like Microsoft has a few dozen competing "distros." If all that talent could get behind one or another distro (heck, even three main ones), i think we'd see faster evolution.

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Mark Vergeer
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Windows 98

Great software, extra software is easy to access from the package managers. But if you want to run a Linux program on your setup that the programmers have not provided a package for you need to make and compile the source codes yourself. That ain't always fun. Especially with all the dependencies etc. I am in need of a retrogaming / dos / windows machine so I have stopped my Linux experiments for now.

I have given up - although it seems nice I cannot get the distros to work properly like I want them to. It is easier to get OSX up and running all singing and dancing on your PC.

I have moved to setting up the machine as a Windows98 games machine so that is is able to run quite a few games not compatible with my Fast Vista and XP systems.

I even got the latest directX 9.x compatible Radeon drivers for Win98 up and running.



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.
www.markvergeer.nl

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Mark Vergeer
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Wine-Doors - hangs - onto OpenSUSE

Well it seems Wine-Doors seems to hang on my system. I am doing a re-format and boot-up the OpenSUSE-DVD 11.0 and see how the Linux system will behave compared to Mandrake 2008.1
I have been a user of Suse Linux 6.0 for quite some time. It was better than Windows98/ME at the time.

Wow I must say the green-grey interface of the installer looks different, but the quality of the icons and the graphics used in the installer is of a very high quality. Better done than the Mandrake Icons/graphics so far.



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.
www.markvergeer.nl

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