Caveat for Linux newbies:

Under no circumstances are you to choose the "beginner" installation. The reason: the beginner installation has two options, a 300 megabyte barebones install, and a 600 megabyte behemoth install. No middle ground. Not to mention, it installs GRUB/LILO on hda1, that is to say, it overwrites the bootloader of whatever is on the first partition (usually windows). It does this without asking you, or telling you before it's too late. And it doesn't make a boot disk!

I would also reccomend that you avoid the "advanced" installation unless you are indeed "advanced." When Linux says advanced, it usually means it.

Update as of Mandrake 8.1: If you have installed or used Linux before, and/or if you don't have anything terribly important on the target computer, or if your curiosity outweighs the importance of said computer, then go ahead and choose the advanced installation in Mandrake.
When Mandrake says advanced, it usually doesn't really mean it.

Disclaimer: Back up your fucking data. This is important. I am not responsible if you lose gigs upon gigs of mp3s and pr0n due to an unintentional partitioning/reformatting.

I'd recommend Mandrake Linux to anyone who thinks that Linux is not suitable for the desktop. If you've installed the latest RedHat distribution only to end up stuck with a broken system that's never even heard of your graphics card, then Mandrake is practically calling your name.

It autodetected all of my hardware, including a GeForce 2MX, a Soundblaster Live and a network card connected to my Cable Modem. The install process is almost as user-friendly at the Microsoft Windows equivalent. Basically, you just work through these steps:

* Select a partition to install to
* Select the target role for the system (Desktop or server)
* Select additional applications to install
* Select a printer
* Select your internet connection method

And 20 minutes later, you'll be surfing the web using Netscape or Mozilla under KDE or Gnome.

Mandrake even includes an auto-updater to keep your libraries up to date without having to get your hands dirty.

I'll admit that it's still quite easy to break your newly-installed Linux system, especially if you play around with the Mandrake control panel, but to me, the Mandrake distribution is still a major step towards making Linux a credible desktop operating system.

Hmmm... Downvotes... I guess maybe the above writeup could be considered patronizing or something, but I don't see how. After all, I am the guy who downloaded both RedHat CDs and couldn't get it to install...

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