I am also a dedicated Mandriva user since those times when it was known as Mandrake and was one of the two Linux distributions on the market – it means, since late 1990s. True, there were some interruptions in my love story with Mandrake (I cheated on it with Windows for a few years), but apart from that I was true and faithful to this distribution.
So, what was the trigger that made me think about divorcing Mandriva?
I hoped that WiFi would work again on 2010, but both 2010.1 and 2010.2 were too slow to work at all – it was normally taking 3-4 minutes for the system to respond a mouse click! True, the core issue with 2010.1&2 failures might have been the ATI video card, but, as you gather, it is much easier to change a Linux distribution than a laptop’s video card.
So, both times I rolled back to 2009.1. Even not to a pure 2009.1 – since this version came out I ran a dual boot of 2009.0 and 2009.1 using the former when I needed WiFi and using the latter when I had a LAN cable.
Do you want another reason I didn’t like Mandriva 2010.x? It has a monstrous KDE package. I use KDE since the same time I use Mandrake – late 1990s – so moving to something else is painful, for both practical and emotional reasons. Mandriva 2009.0&1 had a reasonable KDE implementation. It was lightweight and fast. But KDE setup by Mandriva 2010.x was monstrous. I hate all the 3D elements (icons and so on) which many reviewers praise – as I pointed out above, this might have been the reason for responding 3-4 minutes to each mouse click. Well, again, I could probably recompile and redo everything– but, let’s be honest, if I were up to this challenge, I would have gone with Gentoo in the first instance.
Why did I decide to try Mageia?
It’s simple: Mageia has forked from Mandriva, so it was interesting to see if the new system got rid of some the annoyances Mandriva had. The initial review was good, so I though, it might be the time to change habits.
So, I had an IBM X31 laptop mentioned above, a DVD with Mageia 1, a comparatively quiet weekend, and a willingness to try something new. What was the result?
Mageia 1 took a long time to install.
To start with, Mageia recognised my Mandriva 2009.1 and wanted to upgrade. It took 4 (four!) hours for Mageia to attempt this upgrade, resulting in breaking everything. Thus, the installation was finished, but I could not boot the system since the old operating system was partially demolished, the new operating system was partially installed, but none of them even partially worked.
At this point of time I had to start from scratch and re-start the installation including formatting of hard disk partition. This time the installation was successful and I was able to boot my new Mageia 1 KDE.
So, what are the first impressions?
First, Mageia 1 works faster than the latest Mandriva versions, but still slower than Mandriva 2009.1, which both boots up and runs faster.
Second, unfortunately, many utilities which didn’t work in Mandriva 2009.1 also dodn’t work in Mageia 1. To mention just a few, I am speaking about disk encryption, KDE session saving, and my wireless card.
You can argue, of course, that non-functional disk encryption and KDE session saving aren’t Mageia’s faults, but the faults of encryption utility, KDE, or whatever. This might be true, but these issues do not leave a good impression from the new distribution, especially taking into account that same functionality works in other distributions, in fact, in most of them. These features are very serious functionality aspects in my everyday work and I definitely need them.
In addition to these [potential] issues [which I was not surprised to see], Mageia became the first distribution which could not correctly set up my video card. It did not produce any errors, but the colour schemes on the screen looked different from what I saw in the internet screenshots and were quite a bit more creative than would be expected from an operating system GUI.
To cut the story short, I still don’t see any benefits to move from my Mandriva 2009.0/2009.1 dual boot to Mageia 1 or even to Mandriva 2009.0 / Mageia 1 dual boot.
As a home user for my personal desktop, I would definitely prefer Mandriva 2009.1 and LAN cable.
As an IT security consultant (yes, I am an IT security consultant in professional life) I would not recommend clients to take a risk of using a brand-new system which has issues with installation and basic configuration.
It would be interesting to see what Mageia 2 will look like. It is widely known that some systems which look and behave inferior in the beginning make it up to the level very fast, gaining market share from established long-time leaders. Let’s see if this happens with Mageia. So far I am not particularly impressed.
|This post was written by DarkDuck & Vasilijs based on the trials conducted by Vasilijs on September 24-25, 2011. Vasilijs is an IT security consultant in a leading multinational company, and Unix-like operating systems security is one of his major professional interests.|
This post continues "The Week of Guest Posts".