Spotlight on Linux: Mageia 1

Mageia represents the magic one can find if they harness the power of community with a good codebase and selfless coordinators and developers. Mageia is a fork of Mandriva Linux, a worthy distribution in its own right. Most forks happen because of differences in opinion of the way the code or project is headed. Perhaps someone thinks a particular focus or feature should be followed or added. But lately we've seen two major forks out of concern for the future existence of the project. Mageia is one of those.

Since it is a fork and uses Mandriva 2010 as its base, the system will be very familiar to users. And since Mandriva is very user-friendly, it and Mageia would be easy for users of other distributions to adapt to using. But Mageia's primary philosophy is rooted in the community. When the founders began the early stages of forking, they invited the community to participate. When they began packaging, they recruited community and even inexperienced maintainers. These "new guys" were giving mentors and taught the "business." Today Mageia proudly proclaims, "Mageia is about people - the people who make and the people who use Mageia the Linux distribution. We're completely community based, with everything that implies." The main thing that implies is that Magiea is "not dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company."

The Mageia System

From the user-who-just-wants-something-that-works perspective, Mageia is there. Mandriva was the original user-friendly Linux distribution, and Mageia continues the tradition. Starting with the installer, like most today, it's a graphical wizard that walks users through the process. The partitioning step is made easier with Mandriva's graphical representation of your drives. It's easy to decide how to partition if you can see a depiction of what's really going on. The remainder of the install is really just answering questions as to your preferences.

To configure or change configuration settings the Mandriva / Mageia Control Center is the place to start. From there you can setup or change settings for just about any bit of hardware or system configuration necessary in a graphical app using mostly a mouse. Network settings, 3D desktop effects, firewalls, or bootloader are just a few of the configurations available.

You can start the software manager from the Mageia Control Center or stand-alone from the menu. From within MCC, you will also have access to other package management operations. In either case, the graphical package manager is another point and click application that makes use a breeze. Basically, just tick the box beside the software title of interest and click Apply. RPMDrake, as it is sometimes known, will install your software and any needed dependencies automagically. Again, RPMDrake was one of the first graphical easy-to-use package management tool in Linux and today it is the results of years of refinement. Mageia ships with a nice selection of software, but there are over 14,000 more packages in 161 languages in their repositories.

The desktops are reassuringly familiar. Panels and menus are where one expects them to be. Windows and buttons behave as most expect, as do the system trays, pagers, and task bars. Mageia will most assuredly have to move on to GNOME 3 in future releases, but for now those that prefer the familiar can get a bit of a cushion with version 1. Mageia features KDE 4.6.3, GNOME 2.32.1, Linux 2.6.38.7, X.Org X Server 1.10.1, GCC 4.5.2, and Firefox 4.0.1.

Summation

Magiea takes all the good cumulative work that made Mandriva an excellent desktop Linux and moved it into a community-based environment that won't disappear. Uncertainty is a debilitating stigma and might explain why Mandriva continues to slide down Distrowatch.com's Page Hit Ranking. Some users are probably leery of moving into a distro that could quite possibly disappear. Mageia takes that uncertainty away and users are free to invest their time without worry. Magiea has over 100 developers and more are jumping on-board every month. So, come on in, the water's fine.

Relevant Links

______________________

Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.

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Opportunity is now

KnockKnock's picture

It's reassuring that Mandriva has been forked by this group that appear to have the right intentions in regards to supporting the original goals (i.e. user-friendly Linux distribution, Panels and menus are where one expects them to be, etc.)
After reading this article, however, I didn't get the impression from this author that the group behind Mageia are really up to the task of taking the GUI to the next level to compete with innovations that have, for example, been introduced with tablet-based operating systems (i.e. iPad or Android's equivalent) where you can, for example, pan and scroll with the swipe of a finger. There's 100 developers so far and growing, as this article indicates but, I hope they include some Human Factors Engineering types that can evolve the GUI so that Linux can seize the opportunity of an eroding Window's desktop platform by pushing the innovative envelope. Have you seen, for example, what has been going on with new releases from Apple this month (i.e. IOS 5, iCloud and Lion)? IOS 5 and iCloud have solved the backup/sync issue where they will be using their version of a cloud to deal with automatically backing up photos, address book data and other information on the iPhone, iPad and Mac desktop. This backed-up data is also automatically shared with each of the Apple devices that belong to a given user. This is such a great time to be involved in the computer industry as a software developer. The innovators are finally back in a position to wrestle the corporate mongers to the ground. I have no doubts that the open source community is capable of answering this call. The question is will you seize this opportunity?

When you devs want to fork something >>>

Anonymous's picture

>>> then why can't you guys fork the hell out of everything it's based on? For example; why bother with KDE and GNOME variants (the second I loaded http://mageia.org/en/downloads/ I went "Meh... -.-") when that's already done? There's e17's nice scalability to go right down to tablets and then there's XFCE.Take some chances for crying out loud.

Homeward-bound to Mandriva

Barista Uno's picture

I plan to soon go back to Mandriva from Ubuntu-based distros using the lxde or E17 desktop. Mandriva was my first distro of choice shortly after I dumped Windows in early 2009 and switched to Linux. It was stable and elegant-looking then. I might also give Mageia a spin, and it may well be a toss-up between the two for my workstation OS.

Thanks for the Mageia review. Interesting and fair introduction to the promising Mandriva fork.

THANX

Enes's picture

thanks for sharing, ıt is a nice post:)

Same condescending comments elsewhere

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous has been parroting same things on "every Mageia review lately" the very same words elsewhere - take with a grain of salt!

Keep up the good work Mageia.

I just know mandriva

McAir's picture

Hi

I don't know mageia,
for linux I ever install mandrake/mandriva and Ubuntu.

re: I just know mandriva

Anonymous's picture

Me, too, I'm a (satisfied) Mandriva user.

As I understand, many of the folks in Mageia left Mandriva and Mageia itself is starting to the Mandriva I'm running as I type.

If you know Mandriva then you know Mageia, because both pretty much are the same at this moment of time.

Only the future will tell where it will go, but I wish lots of success to the Mageia team and thank you for the beautiful work you did before. It really made a big difference to me and my family.

My daughter learned English when she watched videos in Mandrake/Mandriva. I really, really want you to keep doing what you have done so well -- now at Mageia, too.

You're a true source of inspiration, folks.

Not fully baked

Super-Hype's picture

This release is not fully baked. After enabling 3D effects, told me to logout for the settings to be applied.
Did so. Was presented with a text screen informing me that logout failed. And it just sat there. I tried to login to tell it to shutdown. It did not recognize my password. Did a hard reset. Upon restarting, it still refused to accept my password.

No, I did not report this to Mageia. As far as I'm concerned, this behaviour should've have been corrected by the devs (if they fully tested their stuff)

There has been so much hype about Mageia, tried it out of curiosity.

Staying with mint 11.

Hype and reality

Anonymous's picture

It seems every Mageia review lately ends up parroting Mageia's "hype" about how they are all about the users.

Mageia's forums are a great place to see firsthand Mageia's attitude towards its user base. There we see Mageia leadership treating users with an obstinate disrespect, as children to be policed, rather than as full partners who are trusted, valued, and respected.

Remember, you heard it here first: Mageia's persistent and unyielding condescension towards users will ultimately be their undoing.

??

Davis's picture

Maybe you really acted like a child. So, were treated like one.

troll???

Anonymous's picture

Before instelling a new distro I always check out the forum. So I did for Mageia. Nothing seen that even pointed towards condescending behaviour from the Mageia people. On the contrary. When I asked for the only application I use that I did not find in their repositories, they immediately started to work on it.

I'm reading the forums, and I

Anonymous's picture

I'm reading the forums, and I don't see what you're talking about.

Any specific link ?

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