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Neon Samurai

I have GParted on various liveCD but I still prefer to pop in my handy Mandriva install and use the disk manager custom partitioning too cut up the platters. Once it writes the partitions to disk, you just hit the power and pop in whatever OS install you actually want. I even use it to prep the drive for Backtrack and Debian installs. I've found the "auto partition" well done in recent versions. I do like the drake tools.

You might try the Mandriva 2008.0 One liveCD, another distro liveCD or the Mandriva Free install disks. It may be some oddity in Mandriva that does not like your older hardware or it may just be 2008.1 giving you recent release grief.

For DVD, I'm a fan of VLC. Pop in the disk, open VLC, (File -> Open Disk), choose the option too open without menus if the option to the left most does not play. I've had a disk or two that would not play but if it does play, there have been no further issues.

It seems the 54g issue is still there. (Welcome to the world of Patents and other BS being more important than what benefits the end user.) I've an older notebook with a 54GS pcmcia that I've not tested since being issued a Lenovo T60. The T60; all hardware recognized and working excpet suspend to disk.

With my Linksys 54gs pcmcia, I had to use ndiswrapper. You'll want the driver file (whatever the .ini or .sys for the NIC is, check under hardware properties). Copy it too a handy disk. In the Mandriva network wizard use "use Windows driver" or "setup Ndiswrapper". It's been a while so I can't remember what the ndiswrapper specific option is but I know there is a "use Windows driver" which results in the same thing. I pointed the browse box at the windows .sys driver file, Mandriva did some quick stuff and the NIC worked.

- track down the correct .sys and have it available by diskette, flashdrive or patition
- try the Mandriva network wizard with "use Windows driver" as a first research try
- read on how to setup wifi through ndiswrapper (it's cli work so judge your own readiness) - if the Mandriva wizard worked, this will be for knowledge sake
- read on how to setup the WPA suppliment library which may be required - if the Mandriva wizard worked, this will be for knowledge sake

The cause of your grief is Broadcom. Linksys favours the broadcom wifi chips which are known to have no nonWindows drivers or details available so drivers can be written properly. Things are changing slowly but Broadcom is still a big red flag.