Subjective performance is very good. I attribute this largely to the move from the XFree86 3.x series of releases to 4.0.3. The move to KDE 2.1.1 may also contribute—most of the review is conducted under KDE except where noted. Performance on SMP systems should also be markedly improved due to improved SMP support in kernel 2.4. One issue that anyone intending to install Mandrake 8.0 should be aware of is that the default configuration (XFree86 4 and KDE 2) needs quite a bit of RAM. I would strongly recommend 128 or 256MB of RAM. I would also recommend installing a graphics card with good 2-D acceleration under Linux, such as a Matrox G200 or ATI RAGE PRO (note: these are two inexpensive cards I have personally found to work well, but there are many others out there), as this will improve the subjective performance of X applications greatly. Between the video card and RAM you should be able to get Mandrake running acceptably without much trouble.
Mandrake 8.0 has a few technology updates and niceties that made my life significantly easier. One is fairly good support for USB. While it still doesn't allow transparent hot-plugging of USB devices, Kudzu did detect my USB mouse at boot without problems, and even the scroll wheel—extremely useful to those of us who are on the Web a lot—worked without any user configuration. While hot-plugging still isn't supported (as noted above) and USB and PS/2 mice sporadically cannot operate simultaneously, support is good enough for a desktop system. I looked specifically at support for the 2.4 series of kernels, especially with respect to issues with building and installing modules. I had no issues save one involving the menu entry for the correct USB controller not appearing in menuconfig, and I believe that this is fixed in kernel 2.4.5. Overall, the move to 2.4 appears to be a good thing.
I also appreciated the inclusion of Galeon—one of the better browsers available for Linux—along with the usual Konqueror, Netscape Communicator and Mozilla. Overall Mandrake is becoming a complete system suitable for everyday desktop use.
There are, however, a few gotchas associated with the version upgrades. Be sure that your graphics card is well supported under XFree86 4 because this is potentially the cause of all manner of apparent application instability and general glitching. At one point I had problems getting my graphics card to switch to 1024 × 768, but manually editing my X config took care of this. I expect the X configuration issue to be fixed in an update to Mandrake Control Center. Another thing to be aware of is that the downloadable version of Mandrake 8.0 is not exactly the same as the retail version. There is the obvious difference that the download edition comes with two CDs rather than the four that the retail version includes (it omits the commercial packages), but I noticed that the download version did not have the graphical overlay to the kernel boot process enabled. While I didn't notice any other concerns, it is possible that there are more hidden differences lurking in the details of some package's configuration. Overall, though, I found no problems that make Mandrake 8.0 any less usable than the previous release.
Mandrake 8.0 is certainly worth consideration for workstation and desktop use, especially when deploying to users who are not already trained in using Linux systems. It may be a highly useful tool for migrating users to Linux from other popular platforms; version 8.0 appears geared toward minimizing retraining costs for migrating users. The real downside to Mandrake 8.0 is its resource usage; if you are already running a number of Linux workstations on low-end hardware—perhaps 233MHz machines with 64MB of RAM, a likely configuration for an older network—you will probably need hardware upgrades to get reasonable performance out of your machine. To put it shortly, Mandrake 8.0 is best as a desktop environment and is definitely a top candidate when a user-friendly interface is high on your list of priorities.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide