At the same time, Mageia continued the old Mandriva strategy, and released their distribution with two options: KDE and GNOME.
I have only tried Mageia KDE so far, and had no chance to try GNOME.
But there was an order from BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site which let me do something new. The customer ordered a CD with Mageia 2 GNOME. I always check my CDs before dispatch, so I finally got a chance to try Mageia 2 GNOME myself.
The ISO image of Europe1-Americas version of Mageia 2 GNOME is 670 Mb in size.
I burnt it onto the CD-R which I intended to send to the customer and inserted that disk into the optical drive of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from the optical drive. Let's go!
The stumbling paceMageia 2 KDE: it did not boot on my Fujitsu-Siemens laptop. If you remember, one of my readers pointed to the bug report, which gave the workaround. The reason of failure is poor driver for Intel video cards, in my case Intel 945GM. The workaround is in putting the parameter xdriver=vesa into the kernel boot string. It worked perfectly for my Mageia 2 KDE boots, and that's why I decided to try the same approach with GNOME.
So, the second attempt was with xdriver=vesa kernel parameter. This time I was more lucky. At least, I was able to see the usual Mandriva/Mageia questions regarding location, language, time and so on. But after that, I got an unlucky message saying that GNOME was not able to load properly, and went to the fallback mode. OK, that's fine, at least I can try the Mageia 2 GNOME operating system with the fallback mode.
NetworkMy Fujitsu-Siemens laptop has an Intel 3945 ABG wireless card. I was very happy to see that Mageia 2 GNOME could recognise and configure the card. At least, I was able to see my home wireless network in the configuration window.
The next logical step for me was to type in the security key and to connect. Unfortunately, that was the end of the story. Mageia GNOME refused to connect. The command dmesg listed a message stating "Regulatory domain changed to country: US", whereas I live in the UK. This is the very likely reason for my inability to connect.
Give it another chance
Unfortunately, Toshiba stumbled with the same issue in the boot: system refused to load without the xdriver=vesa parameter. Hence, it went to the same GNOME 3 fallback mode after the loading. Is it an issue with all the Intel video cards?
Was Mageia 2 GNOME any better in networking running on my Toshiba laptop? Unfortunately, no. The same issue with inability to connect to the wireless network appeared here too, even though the laptop has a WiFi card from a different manufacturer: Realtek RTL8191SE. The positive moment, though, is that Mageia 2 automatically configured this wireless card, which was a difficult task for quite a lot of distributions in the past.
At this moment of time, I gave up.
ApplicationsEven though I was in despair about the network and graphical abilities of Mageia 2 GNOME, I decided to have a quick glance at the applications available "out of the box".
Mageia 2 GNOME comes with two browsers included: Firefox and Epiphany. You also get quite a lot of other Internet tools: Remote Desktop Viewer, Desktop Sharing, Evolution mail, Ekiga Softphone, Empathy messenger.
The Office applications are represented by core LibreOffice tools: Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw. There are no optional applications in the distribution, like Base or Math.
GIMP, Image Viewer and Shotwell photo manager are the only items in the Graphics section of the menu in Mageia 2 GNOME. But who says that you don't have enough, if GIMP is here?
The Sound&Video section is well-represented. Rhythmbox and Movie Player are the available players. You also have TVtime television viewer, Cheese Webcam booth, Sound Juicer ripper and Sound Recorder.
There is no disk burning utility in the Sound&Video section of the menu, but you can find Brasero in the section Tools. Other than Brasero, it includes more or less standard package: Calculator, gEdit, file manager (Nautilus), Terminal, Archivers and so on.
There is a separate section for System Tools too, which includes System Monitor, System Settings, Mageia Control Centre, PulseAudio preferences, User manager and similar tools.
In other words, Mageia 2 comes with a pretty much standard set of tools, which makes it usable for the wide range of users from the very beginning.
ConclusionUnfortunately, I have faced too many issues with Mageia 2 GNOME to announce it as a system recommended to many users. Even though the system is well-packed with applications, it is only the secondary parameter to consider. First of all, you need to boot the system up. And Mageia 2 GNOME failed to boot and operate properly on two of my laptops with different hardware. Not a good sign.
If you want to try Mageia 2 yourself, then why not order it from the Buy Linux CDs site? The disk with the distribution will be delivered right into your mailbox.