18 Jun 2013

Anne Nicolas: Mageia project is a viable and mature

"This is a good time for the next interview", DarkDuck thought. And there was a good reason for it.

DarkDuck's favourite distribution Mageia has just jumped into the version 3.

Let's cut this story short. My today's guest is Anne Nicolas, the chairperson of Mageia.org association.

DarkDuck: Hello Anne! Thanks for the second visit to my virtual interview room! So many changes since the first time you were here.
Anne Nicolas
Anne Nicolas: Indeed!

DD: Mageia 3 is now out. Do you feel relieved?
AN: Well releasing a new version is always a big stress for everybody. This time the list of release critical bugs was huge due to the big moves we did. When we speak about release critical bugs we speak about bugs that cannot be fixed through further updates. It deals mainly with install media and all their components but also with all the upgrade process.
While we knew it could happen, we just faced a bottleneck in our development and packaging process for all the Mageia specific tools like installer, mcc, rescue system... Very few people do have a global knowledge for it as it's a huge piece of software. About 317 000 code lines for all these tools in 2 or 3 brains only :). We are working at the moment to find a solution and have a development team focused on it.

DD: What's the major improvement in Mageia 3 compared to Mageia 2, from your personal point of view?
AN: Well we had zillions of major updates for Mageia 3. People used to say "this new version is much better, faster than the previous one". Well my opinion is we have released the third one and this was important as a sign that the project is a viable and mature project.

DD: I can confirm that saying. Even though I had some issues with Mageia 3 installation initially, most of them are now resolved.
AN: Great to read this! It would have been nice not to have any problem at all :). Still we try to reduce them as much as possible. We hope to be able to work on automatized tests for Mageia 4 to detect some of them in early stages of the development.

DD: ROSA team told me that their third release (ROSA Desktop.Fresh 2012) since the formation of a new company was the first truly independent. Can you say the same about Mageia?
AN: Well I would say we did it since the first release. Mageia and Mandriva have always been 2 independent projects. Still we do have the Mandriva Linux history inside and all the past development effort and we will never deny this.

DD: Mageia is a fork of Mandriva to a certain extent, as well as PCLOS and ROSA. Are you aware of any forks from Mageia? Would you support them if there are any?
AN: Don't know any others. Forks are distributions like all others :). I guess we would work with them as any other distribution unless we have common targets, organization, technical views... Then the point would be rather to join efforts.

DD: Mageia is now #2 in the 6-months Distrowatch rating. That's already an amazing result for the operating system which was first released less than 2 years ago. Are there any plans to be on the top?
AN: This is indeed a result that exceeds all our expectations. But even if we should be pleased with this result, Distrowatch is only an indicator of the popularity of the distribution. This means that we are interested in the project. The remains unknown as to the exact number of more permanent users.
It remains nevertheless a huge encouragement to all for their efforts and for almost 3 years.

DD: Mageia 3 is dedicated to Eugeni Dodonov. It is a very nice touch. Who's idea was it?
AN: It's a common decision as many of us knew Eugeni as part of Mandriva community and after Mageia community. On my personal side I met Eugeni several times and we worked together also on Mandriva releases. I really appreciated him, someone out of the ordinary and very human. I was devastated when I heard the news and it seemed natural to dedicate Mageia project in his memory.

DD: Is Mageia primarily aims desktop market, or you want to extend presence on the server market as well?
AN: When we started Mageia, we decided not to restrain the aims. In fact the only constraint is about finding maintainers for the software. When we have some for both desktop and server stacks then we will go ahead on both sides.
The "problem" for now is to know who is using Mageia, what are the main profiles. We do discover every day new kind of use of Mageia and it's quite exciting! The last one we heard about is Alcasar, an open source project of access control portal to Internet for opened consultation networks.

DD: Do you plan to invest in marketing of Mageia?
AN: Well we do have already a marketing team leaded by Patricia Fraser (aka Trish). She is doing an amazing job for now so that we can have all ready for our new releases (press release, web site, blog posts, ...). Still we think we can also go further in marketing especially towards our users and the local communities.

DD: Will Mageia team take part in any exhibitions, conferences and other mass events?
AN: Of course. We are trying to attend as many events as possible, mainly in Europe but anybody can work on it, we can give a hand to prepare it. In 2013, we went to FOSDEM (Bruxelles), Linuxtag (Berlin), Solution Linux (Paris). We will also attend RMLL (Bruxelles), FrOSCon (Germany) for the main one.

DD: Do you plan to start Mageia 4 straight away, or you want to have a truce first?
AN: Cauldron (the development version of Mageia) was reopened a few days after Mageia 3 was released. Still we are working at the moment on post-mortem for Mageia 3. All Mageia team are listing all the good things of this release but also all the one that should be improved. We will then work on it and try to find solutions.

DD: Does it mean there will be Mageia 3.5, or Mageia 3 SP1?
AN: Not at all. It is rather a reflection following the release of this release. How can we improve the difficulties and incorporate these improvements in the next version. Still we plan to open backports section in coming weeks. This will allow people who want it to get some brand new versions for some packages.

DD: Last time you told me that you'd love to visit East Asia and India. Are you closer to your dream now?
AN: Hum... I was not able to go further than Bruxelles :). Even if Bruxelles is a lovely town I do hope to be able to have such trips some days when planning is a bit less full...

DD: Thanks for coming, Anne! And I wish all the best to you and your wonderful team!
AN: Thanks for supporting Mageia!


  1. Thank you DarkDuck for a great interview with Anne. I'm a new Mageia user and am very pleased with the performance. I'm running it on a 12 year old Dell 8200 with only 512 meg of ram..."512 MEGS of FREAKIN' RAM!!!!". Yeah, its not running gang busters, but its not horribly slow either.

    My best wishes to the Mageia team. Great Job!!!!

    1. Thanks Dogbert for your nice words and for your support of both Mageia and my blog! :)

  2. "Mageia is a fork of Mandriva to a certain extent, as well as PSLOS and ROSA."

    That should be "PCLOS".