Mandrake Linux 9.2. A nice look back at this old distro.

After testing out Mandrake Linux 9.2 in Virtualbox, I am amazed at how fast this Linux distribution is on modern hardware. Sure it is emulated with 512 megabytes of RAM and a 4 gigabyte hard disk in the Virtualbox machine, but 512 megabytes of memory is a lot for such an old Linux distribution like Mandrake. KDE 3.1 is quite pretty, the nice icons and the lovely styles are awesome. Konqueror 3.1 does not render many websites very well at all, Google.com displayed quite well, but Slashdot does not, but no one else would be using such an old browser in the first place. Testing out very old installations of a classic KDE distribution is heaps of fun though.

I can not believe how easy and fun Mandrake Linux was to install. But it is a release of Linux targeted towards new users and it shows in the nice and easy installer and the lovely desktop theme with the Penguin featured prominently in the theme and the nice greeting window. This distribution uses the 2.4 kernel and is an old favorite of mine from way back. The old bootsplash themes that allowed you to have wallpapers for the framebuffer console were pretty cool, now that we do not need the vga=0×307 parameters now that we have KMS support in the latest kernels. Are modern Linux distributions taking away the fun that was present in older Linux distributions?

The old OpenSUSE distribution would greet you at the text console with the message. “Have a lot of fun!”. You do not see that anymore. Linux is not plagued by malware and debug code left into production releases that exports all of the users passwords in plain text. That has happened with the Macintosh operating system. That is pretty stupid. Having code like this in a debug build is useful to test out various tweaks and see what is going on, like littering your code with printf() statements to have some output to the console that can give you insight into what is going on. But leaving it in and releasing the application with this vulnerability is an obvious sign that Apple do not peer-review their code well enough before it is released.  Sony corporation were also guilty of this crime, they stored user passwords in their system as plain text instead of using an MD5 hash.

Modern Linux distributions can use Blowfish encryption to secure your passwords. That is a step above MD5, which is pretty old now, but still used by MySQL.