Mandriva had been around a long time and is a popular desktop distribution. I was intrigued to find that Mandriva now has a fork called Mageia. The first release of Mageia came out recently and I finally found some time to sit down and give it a go. Mageia was created by former Mandriva contributors. For more background, be sure to read the original announcement about Mageia.
Here’s a brief snippet from the announcement that explains why Mageia was created.
Paris, September 18th 2010
As you may have heard, the future of the Mandriva Linux distribution is unclear.
Most employees working on the distribution were laid off when Edge-IT was liquidated. We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project.
Many things have happened in the past 12 years. Some were very nice: the Mandriva Linux community is quite large, motivated and experienced, the distribution remains one of the most popular and an award-winning product, easy to use and innovative. Some other events did have some really bad consequences that made people not so confident in the viability of their favourite distribution.
People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.
Corporate shenanigans are always irritating for everybody, but it sounds to me like the Mageia developers saw some bad things happening and decided to do some good anyway. I commend them for their foresight and willingness to take the bull by the horns and press forward with this fork. They seemed to have had the best interests of Mandriva users at heart, and that speaks very well of these developers indeed.
What’s New In This Release
Since this is a first release, there’s no real “what’s new” to cover. But here are some tidbits about Mageia.
Available in KDE 4, GNOME 2.32, XFCE 4, LXDE
Also available are Openbox, WindowMaker, ICEWM, Fluxbox and Fvvm2
Includes kernel 2.6.38
Includes system config tools drakconf, drak3d, drakguard, rpmdrake, drakx-net, userdrake.
Includes package management tools urpme, urpmf, urpmq, urpmi.update, urmpi.addmedia, urpmi.removemedia
Please note that if you are an existing Mandriva user who wants to migrate to Mageia, be sure to see Mageia’s migration guide. It speaks well of the Mageia developers that they took the time to try to make migrating from Mandriva as easy and trouble-free as possible. It wasn’t something they had to do, but they did it anyway. Kudos and thanks for having the foresight to know that there would be some folks interested in switching over existing Mandriva systems.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
- Processor: any AMD, Intel or VIA processor;
- Memory (RAM): 512MB minimum, 2GB recommended;
- Storage (HDD): 1GB for a minimal installation, 6GB for a full setup;
- Optical drive: CD or DVD depending on the ISO you use (network, USB key installation available);
- Graphic card: any ATI, Intel, Matrox, nVidia, SiS or VIA graphic card;
- Sound card: any AC97, HDA or Sound Blaster sound card.
Mageia comes in DVD or CD formats. You can also opt to download a Live CD ISO that will let you preview Mageia without needing to install it on your system. The install is not difficult and shouldn’t take very long. However, it’s always nice to have the option of simply booting into a Live CD to get a taste of a distro before installing it.
The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.
Booting & Login
Here’s what the boot menu and login screens look like:
Since I installed the KDE version of Mageia 1, the screen shot below shows you a KDE 4.6.3 desktop. The desktop isn’t cluttered up, there are just three icons: Home, Join Mageia Community and the trash can. Everything is where you’d expect it to be in the menus, so it’s quite easy to find your way around even if you’ve never touched Mageia before.
If you click the Join Mageia Community icon, a page will load in Firefox that lets you see different roles that you might be able to play in the Mageia project. I really like this approach since it makes it easy for people who might want to help Mageia grow by helping out in various roles. If you really like Mageia, it’s a good idea to check that page out and see what you might have to offer the project.
There are three themes to choose from: Air, Air for Netbooks and Oxygen. You can click the Get New Themes button in the Workspace Appearance menu in System Settings to spice things up by adding additional themes.
To change your wallpaper, right click the desktop and choose Folder View Settings. There are some beautiful wallpaper available in the default install, and you can easily get more.
Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.