Mageia 3 has been out for a while, and I’ve finally had time to do a review. Mageia is a fork of the Mandriva distribution, and offers quite a bit to desktop Linux users. It comes with a great selection of preinstalled software, and it is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions on DVD (3.96 GB). You also have the option of getting it on CD (700 MB).
Mageia offers a number of different desktops including KDE, LXDE, XFCE, Razor-QT, Enlightenment and GNOME. I picked the KDE version for this review. You have the option of choosing your desktop environment during the install.
What’s New in Mageia 3
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
Linux kernel 3.8.13
Grub 2 available
Steam for Linux in repositories
System Requirements for Mageia 3
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 3 Download
You can download Mageia 3 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 3.96 GB.
In addition to the classical install downloads, you can also download live DVDs and CDs for GNOME and KDE. The live DVDs weigh in at about 1.4 GB, and the live CDs are about 700 MB. The live CDs are 32-bit only, however, while the live DVDs come in 32-bit or 64-bit.
There are also 32-bit and 64-bit network install options available for download as well. They range in size from 35 MB to 55 MB.
Mageia 3 Installation
The Mageia installer is quite easy to use. There’s no manual partitioning required though you can do so if you prefer it. At one point you’ll have the option of choosing your preferred desktop environment. You can pick GNOME or KDE, or choose the Custom option in the desktop selection menu if you want something else.
It’s not quite as slick as Ubuntu or some other distros since there’s no slideshow to watch while you do the install. But this is a minor point, and I wonder how many people bother to watch slideshows while installing a distro anyway.
I opted, by the way, for the classical installer and skipped the live version. My install took about twenty minutes or so. Please note that toward the end of the install you have the option to download updates, I recommend that you do so you don’t have to bother updating after your system is installed.
The Mageia 3 Desktop
One thing I really liked about the Mageia KDE desktop is that it defaulted to the classic KDE menus. There are no “sliding menus” to be found when you boot into your KDE desktop. I’ve always loathed the sliding menus, they just seem too inefficient to me compared to the classic ones.
The Mageia 3 desktop is uncluttered with icons, and it’s quite easy to find your way around. Just click the blue button on the far left of the panel to access application menus, the software management tool, and the Mageia control center.
Everything is laid out in a clear way so you’ll feel right at home even if you’ve never used Mageia before. You can also access system settings and the control center right from the panel, along with Firefox and the Dolphin file manager.
Linux Software Included in Mageia 3
Mageia 3 comes with a very good selection of desktop Linux software. Here’s a sample of what’s included in the release. Browse the application menus to see a full list of software.
Available in the software manager
KDE IM Contacts
KDE IM Log Viewer
PulseAudio Volume Control
Linux Software Management Tools in Mageia 3
Mageia 3 uses RPMdrake 5.49 for software management. It’s functional but not particularly elegant. Applications are listed according to category. There are no user reviews or star ratings available, unlike Ubuntu’s Software Center or Linux Mint’s Software Manager tools.
To install an application, just find it in the software manager. Click the checkbox next to it, then click the Apply button. Removing an application works the same way, just uncheck the already installed application’s check box then click Apply.
Problems & Headaches Found in Mageia 3
Mageia 3 worked very well for me. However, there are some problems that have been noted with this release. Be sure to browse the full errata list on the Mageia site before doing an install.
If you’ve noticed any problems with Mageia 3, please list them in the comments below for the benefit of other readers.
You might also want to check out the Mageia support page. You’ll find documentation there, as well as links to community and professional support.
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Final Thoughts About Mageia 3
Mageia has matured in this release, and it certainly should be considered by anyone looking for a full-featured Linux desktop. It deserves to take its place alongside Ubuntu, Linux Mint and some of the other top desktop Linux distros.
Mageia is also a good option for those seeking to leave Windows behind. It offers plenty of software to replace most Windows applications, and it provides a range of desktop environments for users to enjoy. It’s a good place for a Windows user to land if they want to try Linux as an alternative.
Mageia 3 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.
What’s your take on Mageia 3? Tell me in the comments below.