Mageia 3

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.

Mageia 3 Boot Menu

Mageia 3 Boot Menu

What’s New in Mageia 3
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Linux kernel 3.8.13
Updated installer
Firefox 17.09
Grub 2 available
KDE 4.10.2
GNOME 3.6
LibreOffice 4.0.3
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.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

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.

Mageia 3 Install Desktop Selection

Mageia 3 Install Desktop Selection

Mageia 3 Disk Partition

Mageia 3 Disk Partition

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.

Mageia 3 Desktop

Mageia 3 Desktop

Mageia 3 Menu.ping

Mageia 3 Menu.ping

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.

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Comments

  1. Balaji Pooruli says

    I consider myself as a distro hopper and I have been trying several linux distributions since late 90’s. The first linux that I tried was Redhat 5 and at that time, it did not support my SiS6326 graphics driver and hence the desktop ended with an incorrect resolution. I still liked working on it for some time. Then I changed the distros on and off even though my primary OS was windows during these times. In 2011, I completely ditched windows and have been using Linux as my developer/primary OS for work. I switched between arch, ubuntu, salix, sabayon, linux mint, fedora, opensuse, pclinuxos and several others. Currently I am using Linux Mint at home and at work and it is good to use.

    One of the major issue that I am seeing with almost any distribution is the lack of automatic docking station support. I want the following things to be taken care from my OS.

    1. When I dock the laptop on the docking station and have the laptop lid open, the display should be available on both laptop and external monitor with correct resolution on both.
    2. When I dock the laptop on the docking station and have the laptop lid closed, the display should be available on external monitor with correct resolution.
    3. When I undock my laptop from the docking station, the display should switch to laptop screen with correct resolution.
    4. When I undock my laptop, the network connectivity should switch from wired to wireless automatically. I have configured it and it works fine. The issue I am seeing is with the CIFS shares. When I have the SMB/CIFS shares mounted and if I undock the laptop, the connectivity switches, but opening the filemanager takes a long time. Workaround is to unmount the CIFS shares before I undock. However, I want these things to be taken care automcatically.

    Is any one aware of a linux distro that handles all these?

    Apparantly, windows handles all the above automatically.

    Thanks,
    Balaji.

    • ML says

      Please install the proprietary video driver provided from the manufacturer like what you did in Windows. Some distro will pack with. As example, Mageia packed with ati while you will need to download for Fedora and Mint.

  2. Brian R says

    I am a distro shopper and to be honest I really haven’t found a distro that meets all of my needs, so I literally switch between versions.

    I’ve been using Mageia 3 since it went live, in fact I ran the beta and had tried Mageia 2

    The KDE version is solid and the screens are quick. It doesn’t give that sluggish feel I get from Ubuntu 12.04 on the same hardware. I wish it had a search for applications in the menu, I think OpenSuse had that and it was nice.

    – By default the firewall is working, I noticed this when I set up a share, which is nice that it is on and it was easy to figure out how to open the port
    – This provides one of the best experiences for the Citrix Receiver client, Debian editions seems to fragment the screens some, especially Ubuntu 12.04.
    – It is missing some of the applications I’ve grown to love in the Debian realm, of course because it isn’t Debian
    – You really can shoot yourself in the foot with this package manager, which will force you to command line at times. I’ve done this a couple of times.

    I am really looking forward to their next edition.

    • Brian Masinick says

      I am interested to find examples where you can “shoot yourself in the foot” by using the package manager.

      I have seen cases when running test releases and blindly doing updates, if one of several scenarios occur: either the network or the mirror repo lacks one of the package dependencies, the test software is in a state of flux, there is a test defect present, or some combination of these, there can be installation failures that require you to back something out.

      I have not seen those kinds of problems in released software. Historically in the Mandrake -> Mandriva infrastructure, when you are using what they call “The Cooker” you can run into problems, but I have to say there that considering the number of changes that occur in that space, the instance of failure is not unreasonably high. I’ve gone for a couple of years between failures of this type, even when doing rather “blind” updates, accepting hundreds of changes without questioning them – just to see how well the testing environment behaves.

      So yes, I can find instances where I can break things, but I hasten to note that these were ONLY in TESTING configurations, not in the released software. So I’d like to know if the “shooting yourself in the foot” scenarios occurred while running test software or released software? My guess is that this happened between releases when using test software.

      • Brian R says

        I can’t give examples at the moment – in the office.

        I’ll try to pull the scenario and the package stranding I experience over the weekend

      • Brian R says

        Here are the packages that were stranded. At the time I was trying to get memcoder to work properly.

        The following packages:
        lcms2-2.5-1.mga3.i586
        transcode-1.1.7-5.mga3.tainted.i586
        are now orphaned.

        You may wish to remove them.

        • David W. Hodgins says

          Brian, orphan packages doesn’t mean the packages are “stranded”. It means the packages that required them have been un-installed. The admin is notified that they are now orphans, so they can use “urpme –auto-orphans”, to remove them, if they want to.

            • David W. Hodgins says

              I should add, that if you want to keep the package, but remove it from the list of orphaned packages, just run the command to install it again. For example, running “urpmi transcode” will tell you that it’s already installed, and will remove if from the list of orphan packages.

    • M.Z. says

      ‘I wish it had a search for applications in the menu’

      Isn’t that available in all recent versions of KDE by switching to the ‘Application Launcher’ style menu? If you right click on the desktop & click ‘unlock widgets’ you should be able to switch menu types by right clicking on the main menu button.

  3. Brian Masinick says

    I agree with Gary Newell. Mageia is a decent distribution, and as a “free”, community based distribution, I like that aspect of it better than what preceded it, Mandrake, Mandriva, and the Rosa variant.

    It is a solid distribution, and it is pretty easy to manage, but let’s face it, very litle in it that is distribution-specific has changed since the creators of Mandrake did some great stuff WAY BACK in 1998! There is room for change since then; because the only changes are in the applications, not in modernizing the interfaces, Mageia is solid, but unspectacular in just about every way.

    That’s not BAD, but that’s not GREAT either.

  4. says

    I think Mageia occupies the same space as other larger distros and doesn’t do it quite so well.

    It works but the Ubuntu/Debian installers are better especially with regards to partitioning.

    When I first tried Mageia I found RPMDrake to be a hassle but after getting used to it I have to say that yes it is actually quite good.

    Where does it sit against other distros? Well it isn’t as slick as Mint, isn’t as forward thinking as Ubuntu, isn’t as fun as Fedora, isn’t as solid as Debian, isn’t as stable as openSUSE and isn’t as easy as PCLinuxOS.

    • RyanMcCoskrie says

      The appeal of Mageia to me is that it’s concept of User friendliness is centred on making it easier for users to configure hardware, set up firewalls, etcetera rather than sweeping those problems under the rug like Ubuntu does.

      • Brian Masinick says

        That is a good point, Ryan. In that sense, Mageia is certainly strong. One other nice thing about Mageia that it shares with its Mandrake and Mandriva heritage is that you have the choice of using either the simple configuration tools or command-based tools, so you can more easily get right to the core of configuration issues better than some of the distributions that tend to really obscure the details.

        Distributions tightly based on Ubuntu and its derivatives tend to be more “Microsoft-like” in their tendency to “do things for you”. For those who want more control, you can do better elsewhere. Mageia doesn’t “get in your way” in that respect, yet it’s still relatively easy to manage. In that respect, the “friendliness” and the “configurability” are less at odds with one another than they are in some distributions.

        MEPIS is another distribution that has simple tools, yet it still has the Debian-based tools to allow you to do what you want with it. A MEPIS derivative called antiX, to me, does an even better job of this, and it’s extremely easy with antiX to build precisely what you want. As a result, antiX is one of my favorite distributions, along with MEPIS and the pure Debian distribution.

        • RyanMcCoskrie says

          I would describe Ubuntu as taking a Mac OS approach my self. Thanks for telling me about MEPIS. I’ll check it out.

    • John Marcus says

      I had a horrible partitioning experience with Kubuntu, though. The installer could barely partition LVMs properly, and after many partman crashes, I decided to do the partitioning manually, á la Arch. At least Mageia’s installer was much better in this regard than Kubuntu’s.

      But I agree that their approach up to now is way too conservative for my liking. I think, though, this might be explained by lack of manpower to do more radical changes, understaffing and overworking. It’s still much better than Windows, though :-P

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