Mandriva One 2010 RC2

I set about installing the new Mandriva One 2010.0 RC2 distribution today, on all of the various netbooks and notebooks around here.
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor

I set about installing the new Mandriva One 2010.0 RC2 distribution today, on all of the various netbooks and notebooks around here. It has taken significantly longer than I expected it to, because I have run into a couple of problems. I'm posting this, with the work-arounds I have used, in hopes of saving others some time.

First, though, I want to mention a couple of lesser irritation/problems that I have come across, just to get them out of the way:

- The LiveCD takes a long time to boot. A long, long time. Really long. I thought this might be a quirk of the first machine that I installed it on, but it has done exactly the same thing on five different systems now, so that's obviously not the case. This isn't a exactly a problem, because if you just leave it alone it will usually boot, but I'm sure a lot of people will get tired of waiting or decide that it has hung somehow, and will either try again (and again), or will just give up.

- During the installation, the disk partition selection window is created too small, and has no scroll bars, so one or more of the options is lost off the bottom of the window. I had to resize the window, making it larger, in order to get at the "custom disk partitioning" option.

- There is supposed to be an easy way to convert the LiveCD to a bootable USB image, using a script called mandriva-seed.sh. I gave this one brief try, and it failed to do anything useful, so I didn't bother with it. I may well have been doing something wrong, though.

Ok, now on to the larger problems.

- on three of the five systems I have tried so far, the LiveCD failed to boot. The first of those was my Fujitsu Lifebook S6510, which is a pretty standard Intel Core2 Duo CPU / 965 graphic controller based system, so I don't see why the hardware would confuse it. The other two were both AMD CPU / ATI graphic systems. In all three cases, the problem was that the Mandriva installation process tries to create an xorg.conf file on the fly, and gets it wrong, so the X display server is unable to start. However, this Mandriva distribution is using the latest X.org server (1.6.4), so it doesn't even really need a configuration file, it is able to figure out everything for itself on startup. When the X startup fails, the system is eventually left with just a normal text console login prompt. I was able to fix the problem by logging in, removing /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and then starting X manually with startx. From that point, I just proceeded with the normal LiveCD graphical installation procedure.

- After the distribution is successfully installed, the laptop screen resolution is incorrect. Once again, the problem was an incorrect xorg.conf file having been automatically generated, and once again the solution was to remove (or rename) the configuration file. In fact, I ended up removing that file on all of the systems, whether it had a problem or not, because as far as I know that file is really not necessary or terribly useful for the X server, so why not make it simple and consistent. I have not seen any ill affects from this yet.

Once I got past these problems, the RC2 distribution seems to work very well on everything I have tried. That includes systems with Intel and AMD CPUs; Intel, ATI and nVidia graphic controllers; Intel and Broadcom wired ethernet controllers; Broadcom and Atheros wireless network controllers, and assorted other hardware bits. It seems to boot reasonably fast on everything I have, and it feels quick in ordinary use as well. It has all the wonderfully useful Mandriva bits and bobs that make things nice, pleasant and easy. It is available in both KDE and Gnome LiveCDs, and the release notes say that both Xfce and a Moblin user interface can be easy added after installation. I have only tried the KDE version so far.

On the HP 2133 Mini-Note (VIA C7-M CPU), it still did not get CPU frequency scaling activated. I had to make the changes which I have previously described for that system, and then reboot. Frequency scaling then worked properly.

jw 14/10/2009

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