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Mandrake 7.2 install guide

Mandrake 7.2 (Odyssey) is available as a two CD download. There is a installation and a extension CD. The installation CD is fine for most people but the second CD carries a lot of useful applications.

Make your machine bootable from the CD drive, insert the first CD and you are ready to roll. The installation process is amazingly easy with emphasis on flexibility and choice.

Having got that under way, we explored the various install options. Pressing F1 gives you info on available options. Just pressing enter starts the default graphical install.

Mandrake offers you the widest choice of installs currently available on any Linux distro. Apart from the usual expert and text based install you have:

* 'vgalo', for low resolution graphic installation, Good if you're having trouble with the detection of your video card.

* 'lnx4win' for standard graphic installation using Linux for windows. This will create two files on your Windows partition which will carry the Linux installation and swap. Great if you don't want to get into some messy partitioning.

* 'all' for a complete choice of available installs, including a choice of install media, turning off auto hardware detection, etc.

You can also pass specific kernel options, such as specifying the amount of available RAM in case the kernel did not detect it correctly.

We went for the standard install and minutes later got a install screen with a difference. The left side of the screen has all the install steps, listed down. An orange star by the side shows the step you are currently in. You can jump back to any point at any given time by just clicking on the star. Sure beats pressing the back button! However, we found no way to abandon an install once you began, short of booting the machine.

Installation Class:

We got the regular choice of Recommended, Customized or Expert.

'Recommended' is the easiest. It offers you a choice of minimum 300MB, recommended 900MB and complete 1200 MB and gets going immediately without any further ado.

'Customized' offered us a choice of type of application: workstation, server or development and an opportunity to select which programs to install. These have been divided into 18 groups adding to a total of over 2000 MB. You can select packages individually but there are over a 1000 packages here so you might want to stick with what's selected. You can also select what percentage of each group to install in case space is a constraint. In this case only the most important packages are installed.