I’ve spent the last few hours trying to perfect my installation of the already-excellent Mandrake 10, and have that tinny taste in my mouth that comes with being up way too long.

Most of the delays came because I have a Sony VAIO laptop, and if you know anything about Sony, it’s that they love proprietary solutions. The problem for people in the open source community then is that it’s harder to find a critical mass of users with the same problems, which is usually how things get solved. So I was up last night trying to install sonypid, which includes support for my jog dial, function keys, bluetooth (who am I kidding? I don’t even have bluetooth).

Other hiccups along the way include support for my external firewire hard drive, ACPI for battery monitoring, Java in my Mozilla Firefox browser, and the biggie, a missing Wi-Fi installation.

I’m sure, though, that installation and setup would have been a breeze with a slightly more common laptop.

On the plus side, there’s a lot to be happy about. The 2.6 kernel is really fast, and KDE 3.2 is a gorgeous interface – I’d say it’s prettier than XP, but still not as pretty as OS X. There are lots of cool things I’ve come across along the way, like the “Most Popular Applications” menu in KDE, anti-aliasing, and refinement of Konqueror (probably thanks to the fact that Apple uses Konqueror as a base for its Safari browser).

Combined with a program like Crossover Office (which lets you run Windows programs in Linux), I’m getting really close to the point where I’ll wipe my Windows installation completely.

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