Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Mageia 1 Alpha2 -- A Status Report

Filed under
Linux

Mageia Linux—A Little History
On September 18, 2010, in response to Mandriva's liquidation of its “Edge-IT” subsidiary and the attendant layoff of a substantial share of its developers, a group consisting of former Mandriva developers and Mandriva community contributers announced their intention to form a non-profit organization and release a fork of Mandriva Linux called Mageia Linux.

The original announcement with background details and rationale can be found here.

Six months later, on February 14, 2011 the Alpha 1 version of Mageia 1 was released, two months later than originally planned. However, the Alpha 2 release was right on time, appearing a month later on March 15, 2011. For more information regarding Mageia's development timetable, look here. Note that the beta 1 release target date is April 5, 2011.

How is the Mageia 1 release shaping up? This status report takes a look at Mageia Linux 1 Alpha 2 release (updated daily), from a KDE-user perspective.

The Install

Hardware
I chose to do a fresh install on my Acer Aspire 6930-6560 laptop. This particular model of laptop sports a built-in Nvidia video (GeForce 9600M GS) controller. Along with this, it came with 3GB RAM, Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 processor, Atheros wired ethernet controller, Intel wireless network controller, and a 1366 x 768 native resolution display. The only hardware change I've made to this laptop is to swap in a 7200 RPM Western Digita hard disk vs the original 5400 RPM hard disk.

I chose to install the 64-bit version of Mageia 1 Alpha 2. To make it short, the install was flawless. Mardriva's wonderful graphical partitioner was there, as I chose a custom install and installed both KDE and Gnome.

All hardware components on my laptop after the install are working great.

RPMDrake Issue Fixed
RPMDrake is Mandriva's GUI package installer inherited by Mageia. At first, when doing a search for packages, the search didn't work. The (clumsy but functional) workaround was to type in the search term, press Enter, then pull down the File menu, and select “Reload the packages list”. Fortunately, this was fixed two days ago, and a search for packages now works as expected.

Updates
The Mageia devs have been extremely active. I get anywhere from 60 to 200 packages being updated daily. Today, the most recent Libreoffice version packages (version 3.3.2) made theirselves at home on my computer.

New packages are arriving daily too, as Mageia replaces Mandriva built packages with their own package builds. For example, the Codeblocks (wxWidgets based integrated development environment) arrived yesterday.

What's There, What's Not
The alpha version of Calligra-office (formerly Koffice) is there, as well as Firefox 4.0. The devs are doing a very good job of keeping this distro up to date.

Although Mageia has a “tainted” repository with non-free packages, I did not find Adobe's flashplayer there (some may consider this a good thing). I did however, download the 64-bit adobe flashplayer from Adobe's site, and install it by hand—which works fine.

The Delphi-like rapid GUI development package, Lazarus (and fpc, the free pascal compiler) are missing. Also missing was my favorite terminal program, mrxvt, and a the non-graphical text editor, Joe. (No, I'm not an Emacs or VIM guy—I'm a Joe, Nano, Kate, KWrite guy when it comes to text editing). I've downloaded, compiled and installed these programs, and all is well.

Stability
There have been two kernel updates in the last few days, which is now at kernel version 2.6.38.

After first installation, Alpha 2 was a little crashy. But updates over the last week appear to have stabilized it—no crashes for the last 2 days.

Comparison to Mandriva's Alphas
Bear in mind, I haven't looked at the latest Mandriva install updated from Cooker (their development repository). So, a week ago is the last snapshot I have of this emerging release. Mandriva is switching from RPM 4 to RPM 5. Last time I checked, rpmdrake, the GUI package manager was crash-prone. But the major difference I observe is desktop responsiveness under KDE.

I don't know whether the Mageia devs are stripping all debugging/delay code from their builds, but the desktop responsiveness from Mageia Linux is the best I've seen on this laptop, and has been noticable enough to make me prefer the emerging Mageia to the emerging Mandriva.

Conclusion
I go through a phase of intense distro-hopping about once a year. After trying out countless distros, I typically end up returning to Mandriva based releases. This last year, I've alternated between PCLinuxOS and Mandriva, using mostly PCLinusOS on my production machines.

I really like the way Mageia is shaping up. I plan to continue with Mageia on my laptop, which I'll be taking with me to the Northwest LinuxFest Conference in Bellingham, WA, at the end of April.

For an Alpha 2 release update to an imminent beta 1 release, it's becoming very stable. The repositories are getting deep, and the performance is remarkable.

Hats off to the Mageia folk. Keep up the good work.

More in Tux Machines

The top 10 rookie open source projects

Open source has become the industry's engine of innovation. This year, for example, growth in projects related to Docker containerization trumped every other rookie area -- and not coincidentally reflected the most exciting area of enterprise technology overall. At the very least, the projects described here provide a window on what the global open source developer community is thinking, which is fast becoming a good indicator of where we're headed. Read more

First thoughts on KaOS 2014.12

The latest snapshot of this rolling release distribution includes initial support for UEFI, the KDE 4.14 desktop, systemd version 218 and the Qupzilla web browser. I mention Qupzilla because I feel it is a rare gem in the open source world, a quick capable browser that perhaps does not get the attention it deserves. KaOS is available in just one edition, a 64-bit x86 build. The ISO we download for KaOS is 1.6GB in size. Read more

6 big changes coming to Fedora 22

Hold on to your (red) hats. Fedora 22, the next iteration of the "move fast and break things" version of Linux sponsored by Red Hat, is set to arrive on May 19. After the multiple editions introduced in the previous Fedora, what's in store this time? The answer lies with the proposals received by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo), whose deadline for proposed changes passed last week. Here are some of the more notable and head-turning proposals for Fedora 22 that seem most likely to make it to the final product. Read more

Sorry, Windows 10 Fans, but This Is What Icons Should Look Like

The icon theme of an operating system has more importance than people might imagine. Microsoft has updated the icons for the latest Windows 10 preview and they actually look terrible and they lack consistency. We listed a few Linux ones for a better comparison. Read more