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Mandrake 9.2 Tips

2004-01-04 19:39:30

Mandrake can be a fantastic experience for both the new and experienced Linux user. However, problems can occur. Here are a few solutions that Spot has found when setting things up after a fresh install.

My menus have disappeared

quick: Log in to a terminal as root and run the following command:

update-menus -v

details: Sometimes during system updates the menu building process fails. It will ususally complete correctly when invoked again separately.

DVD's won't play

quick: Find a libdvdcss rpm and install it.

details: Someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to double or triple dip into the consumer's pocket for DVD technology. When you buy a DVD, you don't get the right to view the content. When you buy a DVD drive, you don't get the rights to view a DVD's contents, either. Seems you have to work in another very abstract layer in there involving a player license, too. Worse yet, some legal systems support this rather bizarre view point with threats of substantial penalties. This abstract layer is called CSS, the content scrambling system. It is a simple encryption system that alleges to be to prevent piracy, but in reality seems little more than a way to enforce player licensing, since copying a disk for mass piracy doesn't require decrypting the content first. Anyway, Mandrake is simply staying out of legal trouble by not supplying the aforementioned abstract layer. If it is legal in your locale, or you feel inclined to buck the system, the supplied multimedia players, such as xine and totem, are ready to call a library, libdvdcss, to bridge that gap.

I need a package not included in Mandrake

quick:Add a 'contrib' source for urpmi or rpmdrake to use. See EasyURPMI for assistance.

details: Software for a Mandrake system typically comes in the form of rpm packages. Rpm packages contain information on dependencies, the common need for one package to require libraries or other functionality from other packages in order to function. With plain rpm, you need to locate all the rpm's and specify all of the related rpm activity together to avoid the condition known as 'dependency hell'. urpmi is an extension to rpm to add automatic handling of dependencies. urpmi combines a database of sources of rpm's with a dependency resolver so you simply have to issue a single command, such as:

urpmi packagename

and every thing will be taken care of, which might include asking for specific Install CD's and/or downloading packages from predefined sources on the net. Mandrake further extends this by calling urpmi from rpmdrake, the standard Mandrake graphic software configuration tool.

For all this automatic magic to occur, you may need to add additional sources for rpm's. One easy way to add a source (with a huge package list) is to join the Madrake Club. There are other sources, some including software which may not be available through Mandrake for various reasons. This is where EasyURPMI comes to the rescue, helping to identify new sources and generate commands you can issue to add those sources to your system.

Article 5 was last updated 2005-07-16 15:57:33

Some small things can seem to be big problems. Here are a few quick solutions to make the Mandrake experience a positive one.