Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rediscovering Mandriva with 2008 edition.

I began my tryst with linux by installing Mandrake Linux 9.1 on my then brand new Laptop in Sep 2004. In July 2005 I shifted to Ubuntu 5.04. Since then I have been an Ubuntu lover.

My love for Ubuntu is slowly fading with the RAM requirement going up with new versions. When I saw Mandriva 2008 DVD with Linux for you magazine I decided to give it a try.

I don't have DVD drive in the laptop, even the CD drive does not work. I install new versions of Ubuntu directly from iso. I have spare 1 GB partition to copy the contents of the iso. I converted Mandriva DVD into iso on another machine and copied it to my Laptop by connecting the two machines. I had to increase the spare partition to 4.5 GB since DVD is much bigger then a CD.

After reading the README and install.txt files I discovered that I had to go to this page to get the lines to write in menu.lst file of Grub boot loader. After entering the partition # on which i had copied the contents of the DVD I got the following lines:
title Mandrake Install
root (hd0,3)
kernel /i586/isolinux/alt0/vmlinuz ramdisk_size=128000 root=/dev/ram3 acpi=ht vga=788 automatic=method:disk,partition=hda4,directory=/i586
initrd /i586/isolinux/alt0/all.rdz

I copied the above lines at the end of /boot/grub/menu.lst file. On reboot I scrolled at the end of Grub menu and clicked on the line "Mandrake Install". The installation began.

Since I did not want KDE or Gnome I looked at other option which was Icewm. I decided to see what happens if I don't select any desktop environment. I was surprised to find that even then X window system was being installed. The installation was smooth. The Grub boot loader detected Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04 installations on the machine correctly.

After reboot I logged in the command line and entered startx command. The X window system started and I got into Window Maker. There was no panel but I got a Menu on right click. In the Menu there was an optopn to start IceWM session. I selected it and I got the bottom panel and blue Mandriva wallpaper. I checked the memory usage by clicking on xterm and got the following:
$ free -m
total used free
Mem 312 91 221
buffers/cache 35 277

This means Mandriva 2008 with IceWM is suitable for 128 MB machine and the memory required is less then what I got on Ubuntu Cli and LXDE desktop.

Just out of curiosity, I installed XFCE and created .xinitrc file with following lines to boot into it on startx command:
#!/usr/bin/env bash

exec startxfce4

I got following figures on XFCE:
$ free -m
total used free
Mem 312 136 176
buffers/cache 58 253

I think XFCE may also work on 128 MB RAM but IceWM is preferable to have more memory for the applications to run.
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