Unfortunately, we've all had similar problems. If I were you, instead of contacting the manufacturer, I would talk to Mandrake directly and let them know about your problem. They might surprise you. I've used Mandrake and I like their support. If they can't help you, then reach out to the Linux community and find out if someone has already developed a device driver already for the specific hardware that you have.
I can understand manufacturer reluctance to provide drivers for Linux, as Linux still has a way to go before it can compete with Windows on the desktop. If you really want to try this sort of thing yourself, here are two resources for you. The first is an on-line tutorial and the second is an O'Reilly book on writing device drivers, aptly named Linux Device Drivers.
This was first published in May 2006