Mageia: Enjoy The New Fork Of RPM-based Mandriva [Linux]

Danny Stieben 20-12-2012

mandriva rpm basedThe “fragmentation” of the Linux desktop market is a double-edged sword: while it isn’t the best strategy to achieve greater overall desktop market share, it does offer the informed user a plethora of choices, where surely at least one of them should suit his or her every need. We’ve looked at many distributions in the past, including some favorites such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Linux Mint Linux Mint 13 "Maya": A Very Stable Release With Long-Term Support The "Linux release season" is starting to come to an end as the last few major distributions are coming out with their latest release, most notably Linux Mint. This time around the Linux Mint developers... Read More .


However, there’s a relatively new distribution out in the wild which is catching the attention of Linux users, grabbing the #2 spot on DistroWatch’s most popular distributions list over the past 6 months.

About Mageia

Mageia is an RPM-based Linux distribution which forked off Mandriva Mandriva 2011: A Different Linux Experience Mandriva isn't considered to be a major player in the Linux world anymore, but it used to be back when it was still called Mandrake Linux. A couple months ago, Mandriva let loose their 2011... Read More (formerly Mandrake) in September 2010 when Mandriva was experiencing severe financial difficulties. It’s first release was in July 2011, and after just about a year and a half later it’s been creating quite the buzz. In fact, there are three main aspects of Mageia which are grabbing people’s attention.


mandriva rpm based
The young distribution places a strong emphasis on stability without becoming outdated. It keeps somewhat older software, such as Linux kernel 3.3, LibreOffice 3.5, and Firefox 10 ESR, and maintains the series throughout the life of the release. As you can tell, all of these versions aren’t the newest, but it’s not necessarily old, unsupported software either. Do note that when a release of Mageia first comes out, the software will be fairly new, but the team only does security and stability updates until the next release. I think it creates a nice balance, because it’s not as unstable as a distribution like Fedora, and not as outdated as a distribution like Debian. If you don’t absolutely need the latest and greatest out of everything, then Mageia’s package selection will do just fine.

Custom Tools

linux mandriva rpm
One of the most iconic features of Mageia is the included Control Center, something it received from its Mandriva/Mandrake heritage. Mageia’s Control Center is a custom tool for configuring different aspects of your system, such as installing printers to setting up network connections to enabling parental controls. It’s nicely organized, and surprisingly effective. Don’t necessarily expect these tools to be entirely beginner-friendly, however, because there are still some highly technical settings which need to be configured. As a power user, I love to see these settings that I haven’t seen in any other distribution (or in a GUI!), but it may not be ideal for someone who’s testing the waters of Linux. Also, I cannot say whether these tools are better than openSUSE openSUSE 11.2 - A Linux System Perfect For New Users and Pros Alike Read More ’s, although I do believe that they’re a little easier to navigate.


linux mandriva rpm
Last but not least, Mageia does evoke some sentimental feelings in old-time Linux users. For many who started out with Linux 10 years ago or longer, their first Linux distribution was most likely Mandrake as it was the most popular distribution before Ubuntu came around. In fact, Mandrake was my first dab at Linux way back when I was still too young to know what Linux really was. While it wasn’t very good back then when compared to how far Linux has come today, it still has a place in my heart as the first ever distribution. As Mageia is the continuation of the old Mandrake Linux, there will surely be a handful who will be using it for just that reason.


Software Selection

mandriva rpm based
While Mageia does have its positive points with its stability, custom system tools, and rich history, it does have a fair-sized problem in that the package selection for Mageia is rather limited. I’m not giving it harsh criticism about this because it’s still a young project, but users with high expectations might be a little disappointed. Mageia does come with many applications that people will want to use, but there are those occasional ones that simply cannot be found. For example, Mageia forces you to use an older version of Chromium as downloading Chrome directly from Google leads to installation issues. Another package that I could not find was FileZilla — I suppose I’d have to compile it myself (something I’d rather not do) or find an alternative.


Mageia can be installed onto your system like most other Linux distributions. You’ll first need to download an ISO of the release. You have the choice of the free-software-only DVD or the Live CD which includes proprietary drivers in case you need them out of the box. You also have the choice between 32-bit and 64-bit, where I would recommend 64-bit if you have 4GB of RAM or more. With the correct ISO downloaded, you can either burn the ISO to a CD/DVD, or write it onto a USB drive. Then, restart and configure your system’s BIOS to boot off the CD/DVD or USB drive, whichever you ended up choosing. Your computer will then boot from the installation media, and then you’ll simply follow the installation wizard to complete the process.


Mageia is an impressive distribution that has plenty of potential for new, innovative features. Again, while I wouldn’t quite recommend it as a distribution for absolute beginners, it might be a pleasure to use for power users or those who feel they are adequately knowledgeable. We’ll be able to see in a few releases down the road how it will compete with other top distributions.

What’s your opinion of Mageia? What do other distributions offer that Mageia doesn’t? Let us know in the comments!


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  1. Papa blogger
    February 4, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I loved Ubuntu 10.04. Then I used another computer for a while and then decided to reinstall the OS. I installed Ubuntu 11.10. The UI immediately pissed me off. It was also incredibly slow for some reason. I am now using Linux Mint, and I love it.

    You can read article on SolusOS Debian based [Broken URL Removed] It is awesome

  2. Biobaku Collins
    January 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for this information. I have been using linux distros for some time now, but have never heard of mageia. will check it out now.

  3. Ashwin Divakaran
    December 30, 2012 at 3:29 am

    Linux Mint is The Best !!

  4. Arxadius Stark
    December 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    After reading this, I suddenly remembered about my first Linux OS. Now I feel really old! :'c

    • Danny Stieben
      December 31, 2012 at 4:31 am

      Trust me, I took that same stroll down memory lane while I was writing that article.

  5. Junil Maharjan
    December 21, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I have tried a few linux distros but have never felt the ease that i have found in ubuntu 10.4. I still don't like the new versions of ubuntu.

  6. retired trebor
    December 20, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I have used DOS/Windows for more years than I like to think about. I recently tried Linux, really tried it. Complete hard drive format, total wipe. I tried Ubuntu, Mint (both iterations and two different releases) and Fedora. Things just never worked quite right. From a senior citizen's point of view (yes, that long in Windows/DOS), there are some things that the Linux community are not doing correctly. For me, the primary thing is that there is no "equivalency" chart/table. I know what my hard drive is in Windows/DOS, what is it called in Linux?, type of thing (Ihave figured that one out, but have no idea of why). The Linux community wants Widows converts, but still tries to be different, tool bar on top, close button upper left, start button upper right. If you want the converts, and I hate to say it, you need to be more like Windows. I know Audacity works on my laptop under Windows, but never could get it to work under any of the Linux versions tried. I am not berated or belittling, just stating Linux is just a little too different to get the converts, IMHO.

    • Danny Stieben
      December 31, 2012 at 4:30 am

      I'm sorry that your Linux experiences haven't gone so smoothly. It's true that there are differences between Linux and Windows, and there always will be, at least underneath all the graphics. While I myself am quite happy with how far Linux has come, maybe it'll take some more time for development before you can say the same.

    • Anonymous
      January 1, 2013 at 4:25 am

      You could check out Zorin OS, which Danny also made another review on:

      It seems really easy to switch from windows to Zorin as they let you choose the desktop look, ranging from Windows 7 to Gnome linux to Windows XP.

    • dragonmouth
      January 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Were you born knowing Windows/DOS? Or did you have to learn the Windows/DOS terminology before it became easy? There is a similar learning curve with Linux. Why should Linux use the same terminology as Windows? If it did then it would not be called "Linux", it would be called "Windows". The problem with many Windows users who are thinking of switching to another O/S is that they expect that O/S to be exactly like Windows. Mac OS does not use the same terminology as Linux even though most of it is Linux code. Mac OS does not use the same terminology as Windows, but I don't hear anybody complaining about that.

      Microsoft is VERY protective of Windows' "look and feel" and its terminology. Linux cannot use the same terminology because Microsoft would have them in court in a New York minute. In fact Microsoft has already claimed that some Linux code has been stolen from them.

      As a poster has already suggested, if you want a near-Windows look-and-feel, try Zorin Linux.

      BTW - I started in personal computers with an Apple II+, so you're not the only old timer around.

  7. Anonymous
    December 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    ummm...i think...ubuntu for newbie’s and opensuse for power users..isn't it?

    • Danny Stieben
      December 31, 2012 at 4:28 am

      Depends on who you ask. People tend to say either Ubuntu or Linux Mint for beginners, and then a large array of answers when it comes to power users. Gentoo, Arch, Fedora, openSUSE, you name it.

  8. Timothy Liem
    December 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I still like Ubuntu (or Kubuntu if KDE is involved). although there was an incident about the 'spyware' thingy, I can uninstall the so-called 'spyware' easily. I love Unity too. faster than Gnome Classic. I never tried Mageia before but I'll give it a try.

  9. Anonymous
    December 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I like the look of this... reminds me of the first time I used linux

  10. boklm
    December 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Filezilla is available in the packages media, so you should be able to install it from the packages manager. Are you sure you enabled the online medias ?

    • Danny Stieben
      December 31, 2012 at 4:26 am

      I believed that I did, but maybe I missed something. However, since it's in the package database as you have linked, I'm convinced that it's there. Whoops!