test of Mageia 1 made by one of my guest authors confirmed this.
After almost a year after the first release, Mageia 2 saw the world at the end of May 2012.
I could not get my hands dirty with the new release for a few weeks because of various reasons, but finally I got the time to try it.
As you may know, Mageia 1 KDE is one of the systems I have installed on my laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Therefore, I could simply run an upgrade for my existing system.
But this would not be that interesting. Or, otherwise, this could be too risky.
That’s why I decided to try a Live run of the Mageia 2 KDE operating system first.
You can either download the ISO image file of Mageia 2 KDE from one of many mirrors, or use a torrent. I chose the second option. The ISO image itself is 696 Mb for the Live CD version. The entire downloaded size, though, is 715 Mb, because it includes additional files like MD5 sum.
The official guide says that you can create a Live USB from the ISO using command dd or application mandriva-seed. Unfortunately, neither of them worked for me. The USB stick, created using these methods, was not bootable. The very likely reason, though, is in the BIOS of my laptop.
Unetbootin was slightly better. I was able to see the boot menu and even the splash screen. But after approximately 15 minutes of waiting at the splash screen, I decided to give up. Live USB boot did not happen.
Finally, I burnt the ISO image of Mageia 2 KDE onto the DVD-RW disk.
So, the disk was ready and loaded into the optical drive of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let’s go!
First bootThe operating system refused to boot on my main laptop. I could see the boot menu with different boot options (language, screen resolution and so on). I tried different combinations of them. But whatever I did, the boot process stopped after the 2nd bubble appeared from the Mageia-cal bowl on the splash screen. After that, the screen became black, the optical drive stopped and no visible effects of life were seen on the computer for few minutes. I think something similar happened during the Unetbootin Live USB boots too. Or maybe I did not have that much patience? Anyway, I expected the system to boot faster.
Update 22.06.2012: The possible error is described in Mageia Bug Tracker. Solution is in 6th comment. Thanks to my reader who posted comment with this advice.
Finally, I gave up the attempts and I decided to try a Live run of the Mageia 2 KDE on a less powerful laptop HP Compaq nc6000. This is the computer I usually use as a fileserver.
Second bootTo my surprise, the boot process went OK on the Compaq nc6000. It means, first of all, that non-pae processors are supported by Mageia’s kernel.
Of course, the boot process was not the quickest and the most simple I've ever seen. But, once you have tried Mandriva and its derivatives (Mageia and ROSA) several times, you can get used to the long boot time and 1001 unnecessary questions asked during the boot.
The only thing, which I’d like to mention separately, is that the image on the splash screen is not well-rendered. The edges of the bowl on the Mageia logo are ragged.
But that is only valid for the splash screen. The wallpaper image does not have this problem.
Default desktopUnfortunately, there are only 2 wallpapers in the default distribution of Mageia 2 KDE: Mageia-specific image and KDE's "vertical stripes". They are both in blue tones, which is kind of standard for both Mageia and KDE.
The panel is at its usual place, at the bottom of the screen.
The left side of the panel has a button with Mageia icon. This button calls up the menu. Next to it, sit the Show Desktop button, Activity manager icon, switch between 4 virtual desktop (square 2*2) and a set of quick launch icons: file manager, System Settings, Mageia Control Centre (MCC) and Firefox browser. There is nothing unusual, apart from the fact that the icon of MCC is reworked since Mageia 1.
The taskbar itself, though, is not usual. Applications, appearing on the taskbar, only have their icons shown. Also, running applications have a small white triangle at the bottom of the icon, while the active application also has a triangle at the top. In general, it is similar behaviour to the Unity Launcher. The KDE analogue is named "Icon-only Task Manager", which has many more configuration options compared to the above mentioned Unity.
For example, the icons have additional animation when application starts: a moving circle around them. You can switch this animation off, of course.
The right part of the panel has the usual suspects in the set of notification area elements: clocks, volume control, network centre, clipboard monitor and a few more. The only unusual item there is Telepathy's icon. Moreover, this icon is different from the others, because it animates when you hover mouse over it. Telepathy is a KDE-native instant messenger.
For those people who like numbers, I tell that Mageia 2 runs KDE 4.8.2 on Linux kernel 3.3.6.
Right after the boot, I added two of my favourite widgets onto the desktop: CPU and memory monitors.
The memory widget showed me values in Gb instead of usual Mb. That’s why I can’t tell you precisely how much memory was taken by the fresh Mageia 2 KDE system. This is something in the area of 0.3 Gb. That makes very little sense. The explanation, though, maybe in the fact that my Compaq nc6000 laptop has 2 Gb of memory, rather than 1 Gb on my Fujitsu-Siemens one.
|Default Mageia 2 KDE desktop with 2 widgets|
Desktop effects were available from the very start. Shadows and virtual desktop movements were working fine for me. I have not tried to activate or deactivate anything else during my Live run.
Network connectionMageia 2 KDE automatically recognised and configured the wireless network card Intel 3945 ABG. A few usual clicks and keystrokes, and I am connected.
It just works…
Keyboard layoutsYou can configure keyboard layouts in 2 different places in KDE. Mageia 2 is no exception.
First of all, System Settings has the standard tool under Input Devices section.
Second, you can follow the Xfce route and add a keyboard layout indicator to the panel before configuring the layouts themselves. You can call up the configuration from the right-click menu of the panel item.
The second option has a downside: once you have more than one layout in the list, the system automatically places the indicator in the notification area. Thus, you end up with duplicated elements on the panel.
What is included in the menu?The distribution image of Mageia 2 KDE is averagely stuffed with additional software.
Firefox 10.0.4 and KDE’s native Konqueror are the two included web browsers. Apart from those two and the above mentioned Telepathy, the Internet section of the menu contains KPPP dial-up tool, KNetAttach, Network Centre and BlueDevil bluetooth manager.
LibreOffice applications are the main ones in the Office section of the Mageia 2 menu. These are only the core LibreOffice applications, without the less common Draw, Base or Math. You can also find Okular viewer and couple of DigiDoc applications there. It was quite strange to see DigiDoc applications, because, as far as I understand, DigiDoc are applications for Estonian ID cards. They are not too popular in other areas of the Globe. Though, I may be wrong in interpreting the application.
The same Okular viewer is available in the Graphics section of the menu, as well as GIMP, KSnapshot, Gwenview, DNGconverter and AcquireImages scanning tool.
Amarok is the central part of the Sound & Video menu section of Mageia 2 KDE. Other than this powerful tool, you can find DragonPlayer, KsCD, Pulse Audio control, Kmix and even the TVtime Television Viewer. You may have noticed it right: the multimedia section of Mageia 2 KDE menu does not contain any disk burning software. Moreover, no disk burning tool is present in default Mageia 2 distribution at all!
The usual Ark, Calculator, Konsole, KWrite and some other utilities can be found in the Tools menu. Other than these standard programs, you can see there are some less popular ones. For example, ChBg is the tool for automated change of background image. The name of the application "ID-card utility" tells what it can be used for.
To add moreIf you need more applications in your Mageia OS, the Mageia Control Centre (MCC) is your place to add more packages, like in all Mandriva family tree members. Although, before doing this in the Live session, you first need to add media into the list of available repositories, and then update the list of available packages.
The initial list of Media is empty. I think this is inconvenient for the unfamiliar user, because it quickly throws an error when you try to update the repository for the first time. I would prefer at least the main repository to be active by default.
To test the installation process and to give me some personal convenience in the Live run, I installed couple of applications.
The first was Chromium. The installation went smoothly. It was Chromium 18. It is a slightly outdated version of the browser, because version 21 has been available since mid-May 2012. But, after all, the Mageia team is not known for quick updates of their repositories. I feel it in my installed system, too.
The second application was Skype. Though, the Skype package itself is not in the repositories, but rather an installer which downloads the package from the main Skype server. Anyhow, the result of the installation was positive.
Unfortunately, I could not find my favourite internet messenger Qutim in the repositories yet.
MultimediaMageia 2 KDE includes necessary codecs for multimedia playback. I was able to start an MP3 file immediately in Amarok, without any additional installations.
Although, Amarok again disappointed me by the question related to my region... This is a commercial part of the project, which wants to earn commissions on my potential purchases of multimedia content through Amazon. Of course, I clicked the "Cancel" button on that dialogue window.
As opposed to MP3 codecs, Mageia 2 KDE does not include Flash player. Neither Firefox, nor Chromium were able to start video playback from YouTube.
|Mageia 2 with Chromium and Flash plugin|
The installation of Flash plugin sorted this out for me, but unexpectedly required a restart of the Chromium browser. I always thought that Chrome and Chromium activated plugins on the fly, but this was not the case.
System performanceSystem performance was very good. Even on low-resource laptop Mageia 2 KDE was responsive and quick. I noticed some slowness, but this is OK for the Live run working from optical disk on the single-core 1.6 GHz processor. You can see a processor usage diagram in the widget in the screenshot above.
What is next?So, I am happy with the first glance at Mageia 2 KDE. It may have some applications, which I would need to install or uninstall. It may have lack of desktop wallpapers. But that all is tolerable and can be easily fixed in the installed system.
What would be my next step? To upgrade my existing installation of Mageia 1 KDE to version 2 on the Fujitsu-Siemens laptop. I will do it using the upgrade process. I'd like to see how Mageia manages the process. In the unfortunate case of system breakage, I can install Mageia 2 KDE from scratch… or try something else.
Update: upgrade from Mageia 1 to Mageia 2 as it happened.
Have you tried Mageia 2 KDE yourself? What are your thoughts and experience?
If you have not tried yet, but want to get your hands dirty, then why not order a disk from the Buy Linux CDs site? It will be delivered into to your mailbox.
Video used on the screenshot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npBrsHeycCI.
You may also like to read other reviews of Mageia 2:
|This post was edited by djohnston.|