Mandrake was the Ubuntu of its time, before it was gutted by a combination of bad calendar (IPO while the dot-com bubble was bursting), stupid investors (who wanted Mandrake to spread itself into other activities like e-learning), Hearst Publishing (Mandrake the Magician wanted his name back, Mandrake had to pay them to shut up and change their name) and overall crappy management (Mandriva communication was the anti-Ubuntu: bad, bad, baaad).
Technically, they were a mix of Redhat and Debian (Redhat layout, but debian menu, the first RPM equivalent to apt and online repositories) with KDE and good administration tools that still allowed for old-school configuration. Good stuff, but their Q&A was not always up to snuff (the joke was a good release followed by a crappy one).
Good luck to them, they did much for early Linux useability, and the distribution remains a cut above most of the crowd. I've been using them since the 5.2 days, and all my forays into other distributions have been disappointing.