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

today's howtos

GNOME Development and Events

  • Dependencies with code generators got a lot smoother with Meson 0.46.0
    Most dependencies are libraries. Almost all build systems can find dependency libraries from the system using e.g. pkg-config. Some can build dependencies from source. Some, like Meson, can do both and toggle between them transparently. Library dependencies might not be a fully solved problem but we as a community have a fairly good grasp on how to make them work. However there are some dependencies where this is not enough. A fairly common case is to have a dependency that has some sort of a source code generator. Examples of this include Protocol Buffers, Qt's moc and glib-mkenums and other tools that come with Glib. The common solution is to look up these binaries from PATH. This works for dependencies that are already installed on the system but fails quite badly when the dependencies are built as subprojects. Bootstrapping is also a bit trickier because you may need to write custom code in the project that provides the executables.
  • Expanding Amtk to support GUIs with headerbar
    I initially created the Amtk library to still be able to conveniently create a traditional UI without using deprecated GTK+ APIs, for GNOME LaTeX. But when working on Devhelp (which has a modern UI with a GtkHeaderBar) I noticed that some pieces of information were duplicated in order to create the menus and the GtkShortcutsWindow.
  • GLib/GIO async operations and Rust futures + async/await
    Unfortunately I was not able to attend the Rust+GNOME hackfest in Madrid last week, but I could at least spend some of my work time at Centricular on implementing one of the things I wanted to work on during the hackfest. The other one, more closely related to the gnome-class work, will be the topic of a future blog post once I actually have something to show.
  • Introducing Chafa
  • Infra Hackfest
  • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 3 (conclusion)
    I'm back home now, jetlagged but very happy that gnome-class is in a much more advanced a state than it was before the hackfest. I'm very thankful that practically everyone worked on it!
  • GNOME loves Rust Hackfest in Madrid
    The last week was the GNOME loves Rust hackfest in Madrid. I was there, only for the first two days, but was a great experience to meet the people working with Rust in GNOME a great community with a lot of talented people.
  • GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 Now Works With Elogind, Allows For Wayland On Non-Systemd Distros
    GNOME Mutter 3.29.1 has been released as the first development snapshot of this window manager / compositor in the trek towards GNOME 3.30. Mutter 3.29.1 overshot the GNOME 3.29.1 release by one week, but for being a first development release of a new cycle has some pretty interesting changes. Among the work found in Mutter 3.29.1 includes: - Mutter can now be built with elogind. That is the systemd-logind as its own standalone package. This in turn allows using Mutter with its native Wayland back-end on Linux distributions using init systems besides systemd.

KDE: Plasma Widgets, PIM Update and More

  • 3 Students Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2018
    Since 2006, we have had the opportunity for Google to sponsor students to help out with Krita. For 2018 we have 3 talented students working over the summer. Over the next few months they will be getting more familiar with the Krita code base and working on their projects. They will be blogging about their experience and what they are learning along the way. We will be sure to share any progress or information along the way. Here is a summary of their projects and what they hope to achieve.
  • Plasma widgets – Beltway Bandit Unlimited
    The concept of addons is an interesting one. At some point over the past decade or two, companies developing (successful) software realized that bundling an ever-growing code base into their products in order to meet the spiraling tower of requests from their users would result in unsustainable bloat and complexity that would not warrant the new functionality. And so, the idea of addons was born. Addons come in many flavors – extensions, plugins, applets, scripts, and of course, widgets. A large number of popular programs have incorporated them, and when done with style, the extra functionality becomes as important as the core application itself. Examples that come to mind: Firefox, Notepad++, VLC, Blender. And then, there’s the Plasma desktop environment. Since inception, KDE has prided itself on offering complete solutions, and the last incarnation of its UI framework is no different. Which begs the question, what, how and why would anyone need Plasma widgets? We explore. [...] Conclusion A good mean needs no seasoning, indeed. And Plasma is a proof of that, with the widgets the best example. Remarkably, this desktop environment manages to juggle the million different usage needs and create a balanced compromise that offers pretty much everything without over-simplifying the usage in any particular category. It’s a really amazing achievement, because normally, the sum of all requests is a boring, useless muddle. Plasma’s default showing is rich, layered, complex yet accessible, and consistent. And that means it does not really need any widgets. This shows. The extras are largely redundant, with some brilliant occasional usage models here and there, but nothing drastic or critical that you don’t get out of the box. This makes Plasma different from most other addons-blessed frameworks, as they do significantly benefit from the extras, and in some cases, the extensions and plugins are critical in supplementing the missing basics. And so, if you wonder, whether you’ll embark on a wonderful journey of discovery and fun with Plasma widgets, the answer is no. Plasma offers 99% of everything you may need right there, and the extras are more to keep people busy rather than give you anything cardinal. After all, if it’s missing, it should be an integral part of the desktop environment, and the KDE folks know this. So if you’re disappointed with this article, don’t be. It means the baseline is solid, and that’s where you journey of wonders and adventure should and will be focused. 
  • My KDE PIM Update
    This blog post is long overdue, but now that I’m back home from the KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse, which took place last weekend, there’s some more news to report.
  • KDAB at QtDay 2018
    QtDay is the yearly Italian conference about Qt and Qt-related technologies. Its 2018 edition (the seventh so far!) will be once more in the beautiful city of Florence, on May 23 and 24. And, once more, KDAB will be there.
  • Google Summer of Code 2018 with KDE
    It’s been 2 days since the GSoC accepted student list was announced and I’m still getting goosebumps thinking about the moment I saw my name on the website. I started contributing to open source after attending a GSoC session in our college by one of our senior and a previous GSoC student with KDE: Aroonav Mishra. I was very inspired by the program and that defined the turning point of my life. [...] Then I came across GCompris and it caught my eye. I started contributing to it and the mentors are really very helpful and supportive. They always guided me whenever I needed any help  or was stuck at anything. Under their guidance, I learnt many things during the period of my contributions. I had never thought I would get this far.

GNU/Linux Distributions