Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mageia 3 KDE Review: Simple, refined, elegant and fantastic!

To be honest, I have used quite a few KDE distros in last couple of years but never saw a resource efficient distro like Mageia 2. Under similar conditions, Mageia performed better than almost all the KDE distros I have used. Plus, with Mandriva Linux going commercial and PCLinuxOS becoming independent of Mandriva, Mageia and ROSA are perhaps the limited ways to know what's brewing in the Mandriva camp. Incidentally both the Mandriva derivatives present really beautiful KDE distros!
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

With such a background and rich legacy, it is not surprising that Mageia enjoys a huge fan following in the Linux world. For me, the release of Mageia 3 was one of the most anticipated releases of the first half in 2013, after Debian Wheezy and Ubuntu Raring Ringtail. The release announcement of Mageia 3 promises of absolutely the very latest version of Linux kernel and applications, another reason for me to test Mageia's to ascertain it's stability.

"All grown up and ready to go dancing - Mageia 3 is out. We still can't believe how much fun it is to make Mageia together, and we've been doing it for two and a half years. Major new features: updates to RPM (4.11) and urpmi, which has been given a good turnout and cleanup; Linux kernel 3.8; systemd 195; GRUB is the default boot loader; GRUB 2 is available; revamped package groupings for installation and rpmdrake; KDE 4.10.2, GNOME 3.6, Xfce 4.10; LibreOffice 4.0.3; Steam for Linux...."
I downloaded the 32-bit LiveDVD KDE (~1.4 GB in size) for this review. I used Imagewriter (Linux Mint one) to first create a live USB. I did a live boot followed by installation on my Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. Mageia 3 KDE version has KDE 4.10.2 with kernel 3.8 with Dolphin 2.2 as the file manager.

Aesthetics

Mageia 3 looks simple but elegant and a refined operating system. Refinement is evident from the boot splash itself and is carried forward to the professional looking KDE plasma desktop interface. Artwork of the default wallpaper is very good. However, it is the only good looking wallpaper available pre-installed in the DVD I downloaded. The developers could have put some more wallpapers in there. Anyway, elegance of the distro more than makes up for it.


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Additionally, I could create desktop cube and cylinders from the KDE desktop effects using OpenGL with native (Intel) graphic card.


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Hardware recognition
Mageia 3 could recognized the display, wifi, touchpad and sound card automatically without any manual intervention. From hardware recognition point of view, everything worked as expected.

Applications
Mageia 3 is rich in pre-installed applications. I could locate majority of the basic applications that I look for in a distro, namely
  • Office: LibreOffice 4.0.3.3 Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Digidoc client, Digidoc Crypto, Okular Document reader
  • Internet: Firefox 17 ESR, Blue Devil, KDE IM, KNetAttach, Konqueror, KPPP, Network center
  • Graphics: GIMP 2.8.2 photo editor, Aquireimages, DNG converter, Gwenview Image viewer, Ksnapshot
  • Multimedia: Amarok music player, Dragon player for video files, KsCD, TVtime television viewer
  • Accessories: Ark, ChBg, Klipper, Konsole, Kwrite, Apper, K3b, KDE Wallet Manager, etc.
Overall, it is a healthy list with the latest LibreOffice (even Ubuntu 13.04 has LibreOffice 4.0.2!) and more or less updated versions of other applications as well. 

Adobe flashplugin is not pre-installed though multimedia codecs are. Post-installation, I downloaded Adobe flashplugin from the repositories and it worked as expected with Konqueror, Firefox and Chromium browsers.

From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Apart from the really helpful and integrated KDE settings manager, Mageia has an additional Control center. I found it to be useful, providing additional user settings like autologin, software and hardware management, etc.


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Installation
Mageia installed on my system pretty quickly. I guess it took only 10-15 minutes and involved simple steps like choosing hard drive to install, location to install grub and user ID creation. Mageia wiki provides clear guidelines on installation from a live CD for Mageia 2 here. The steps didn't change for Mageia 3.


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
One surprising element for me was nowhere it asked for my location and time zone! It is a bit unusual and I haven't encountered the same in any other Linux OS. Anyway, I could set the time and date post installation.

Repositories
Mageia 3 has three official repositories:
  • Core: contains free open-sourced packages
  • Non-free: contains packages which are closed source
  • Tainted: contains packages that are released under a free license but may infringe patents and copyrights in some countries.
Each media has 4 sub-medias: release, updates, backports and testing.
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

To access and update the repositories, open Mageia control center -> Software Management -> Configure media sources for install and update.


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
The front end GUI to add/remove software is RPMdrake 5.49. I installed the latest Firefox, Chromium, Conky, Adobe flashplugin and Skype 4.1 from the repositories (using core and non-free only, didn't try tainted!).


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
RPMdrake is good in resolving dependencies and installing the applications. It works similar to synaptic package manager and is good to use with clear categorization of packages.
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Further, users can use terminal/konsole to download packages as root, e.g.
$ su
#urpmi firefox-beta
will download and install the latest Firefox 21. Even a search for Firefox beta in RPMdrake will show you the packages. KDE has it's own package manager, Apper. I didn't use it for Mageia.


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Conky-lua for Mageia
Also, I modified conky-lua and created my own version for Mageia (it works in KDE!). Anyone interested can download it from here.


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Performance
Apart from highly refined and elegant interface, Mageia 3 actually performs as good as Mageia 2 on my system. With system monitor running, it consumes 233 MB of RAM and 1-5% of CPU. Just on resource usage, it is still the number one among the KDE distros I have used and the list is quite long! All the distros reported here are 32 bit editions and CPU and RAM usage is recorded on Asus K54C in 2012-13, under identical conditions (at least I tried to keep them identical!).

Operating System Base Desktop Linux kernel CPU Usage RAM usage
Mageia 2 KDE Mandriva KDE 4.8.5 3.3.6 1-10% 221 MB
Mageia 3 KDE Mandriva KDE 4.10.2 3.8.0 1-5% 233 MB
OpenSUSE 12.3 KDE OpenSUSE KDE 4.10.0 3.7.10 1-10% 244 MB
Kororaa 17 Fedora KDE 4.8.4 3.4.4 1-10% 247 MB
PCLinuxOS 2013.02 KDE PCLinuxOS KDE 4.9.5 3.2.18 1-10% 250 MB
Fedora 17 KDE Fedora KDE 4.8.3 3.3.4 1-10% 255 MB
Mint 14 KDE Ubuntu KDE 4.9.2 3.5.0 1-10% 255 MB
Mint 13 KDE Ubuntu KDE 4.8.3 3.2.0 1-10% 270 MB
Kubuntu 13.04 Ubuntu KDE 4.10.2 3.8.0 1-10% 276 MB
Debian Wheezy KDE Debian KDE 4.8.4 3.2.0 1-10% 290 MB
Fedora 18 KDE Fedora KDE 4.9.5 3.7.2 1-10% 300 MB
Slackel 14 KDE Slackware KDE 4.8.4 3.2.29 1-10% 300 MB
Chakra Archimedes 2012.07 Arch KDE 4.8.3 3.4.3 1-10% 310 MB
Kubuntu 12.04.1 LTS Ubuntu KDE 4.8.4 3.5.0 1-10% 310 MB
Kubuntu 12.10 Ubuntu KDE 4.9.2 3.5.0 1-10% 314 MB
Sabayon 11 KDE Gentoo KDE 4.9.5 3.7.0 1-10% 320 MB
Bridge KDE Arch KDE 4.9.3 3.6.7 1-10% 330 MB
Sabayon 10 KDE Gentoo KDE 4.9.2 3.5.0 1-10% 334 MB
PCLinuxOS 2012.08 KDE PCLinuxOS KDE 4.8.3 3.2.18 1-10% 340 MB
ROSA 2012 Marathon KDE Mandriva KDE 4.8.3 3.0.38 1-10% 340 MB
Slackel KDE 4.9.2 Slackware KDE 4.9.2 3.2.29 1-10% 355 MB
Manjaro 0.8.5 KDE Arch KDE 4.10.2 3.8.8 1-10% 358 MB
Sabayon 13.04 KDE Gentoo KDE 4.10.2 3.8.0 1-10% 380 MB


From Mageia 3 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Apart from numbers, Mageia is really smooth to use. Except in one occasion while playing media in dragon player, I experienced a freeze, which disappeared once I installed VLC; otherwise, Mageia worked really smooth.

Overall
Mageia 3 is, undoubtedly, a top notch KDE distro and possibly one of the top three KDE releases in 2013. I know it is too early to say but the performance I recorded from Mageia is very hard to emulate. It is buttery smooth to use, has got stability and is aesthetically pleasing without being unnecessarily complicated. Further, it is backed by a reasonably good documentation and an active community support. Though I didn't try out, but now Mageia 3 has Steam as well for active gamers.

Bottomline: Mageia 3 is a perfect distro for both Linux novice as well as expert. I fully recommend Mageia 3 for everyday use and you can download 32 and 64 bit versions from here.

52 comments:

  1. Mr. Arindam, please review sphinux os (from egypt) using LSX kernel. Are they really faster than linux?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have install the KDE-32bit livecd version and it doesn't shipped with video player.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Oh! OK, I downloaded the live DVD version and mine had Dragon player pre-installed. Anyway, I had to install my favorite video player VLC from the Mageia repositories.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  3. Hi Arindam, small type, under Overall I suppose it should read Mageia 3, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barnaby:

      Thanks for pointing it out. Corrected now.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  4. Hi.
    Great review.
    I've installed Mageia 3 Gnome but Mageia 3 didn't recognized wifi! In KDE I haven't any problems with Wifi...
    Can you help me, please?
    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @M.Coelho

      Try to configure it via Mageia Control Center and tell it not to give control to Network Manager. If it works this way, problem is "flaky" support for your wifi equipment in Network Manager

      Delete
    2. You have to edit the connection in their network manager (not gnome's), tell it to let Gnome's network managed handle things, then connect. From there on out Gnome's network manager SHOULD be able to edit the wifi connection. It works fine in KDE because KDE's network manager isn't as deeply buried in the infrastructure as gnome's.

      Delete
    3. Possibly another reason why Gnome3 sucks :(

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Just a comment for the reviewer (@arindam sen): as you installed a live distro, an image of the live environment is transferred to the disk, and you could have configured the time zone and location in the live and the configuration would have been ported to the image on disk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Palin:

      Thanks, got the point. I guess Mageia would have prompted time zone and location had I tried out the full installation DVD (~3.5 GB).

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
    2. If you have a good connection, installing a subset of the distro from the dual-arch cd is even better, as you can then configure online sources and do a:

      urpmi task-kde
      or
      urpmi task-gnome

      and install whatever you need (e.g. urpmi libreoffice and so on)

      Installing via live is useful because it gets your hardware up and running in no time but you have fewer options at install time (you have them before, at boot time)

      Delete
  7. wallpaper has cc rights http://blogdrakeart.deviantart.com/art/Mageia-CristalNegro-2-212005923?q=gallery%3Aartdriva%2F26048268&qo=31 and http://blogdrakeart.deviantart.com/art/Mageia-CristalNegro-1-212012875?q=gallery%3Aartdriva%2F26048268&qo=32

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the wallpaper is from Deviantart. They have some amazing wallpapers for Mageia.

      Delete
  8. Thx for another nice review arindam!
    I have never been a fan of KDE but KDE 4.10 and Mageia 3 and also OpenSuSE 12.3 really manage to change that slowly. OpenSuse is now my favourite for workstation pcs because it manages to offer a lot of advanced features but still being easy to use and aesthetic.
    Mageia on the other hand is a really beautiful and smooth distro that has such nice little features like the very handy tab for network shares in the Mageia control center. That makes it a real great distro for the day to day usage and is really challenging the trusty mint on my hard drive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking my review!

      I agree, I am very impressed with OpenSuSE 12.3, missed out writing a review of it. But, with all its artwork and advanced features, OpenSuSE 12.3 KDE impressed me a lot! Even Mageia, as you mentioned, is very good for day to day usage and I have already replaced my LM 13 KDE with Mageia :).

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  9. There are additional backgrounds - they are shipped in /usr/share/mga/backgrounds
    Also, there is a kde-background package, it is split out to save space on the cd images as other things are more important.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cannot download the conky lua.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please check this link if you are able to download. It contains KDE specific conky's for other distros as well.
      http://rapidshare.com/files/1603401083/conkylua.zip

      Delete
  11. Good review, so I thought I would give it a try. Installed it through Imagewriter, it would not work in Unetbootin, just stalled on opening screen.

    Though I tried a dual boot with Mint XFCE. it somehow broke my XFCE installation. However I carried on. A real pain installing printers, even then it could not find my HP Deskjet 3050A. Loaded Chromium, but Chromium would not update my synchronised files. Firefox would not import backed-up bookmarks. Lack of alternative backgrounds a bit of a pain. No Spotify installation. Seemed to be more of a resources hog than Mint KDE 14.

    So I re-installed Mint KDE 14. No problems, printers recognised straight away, Chromium works perfectly, Added Conky LUA, no problems. Much smoother and more included apps. for me Mint 14 KDE is THE KDE distro.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mageia iso's are hybrid, and boot directly from media.
      Use dd to copy to a usb key, and not something like unetbootin.

      i.e.

      $ dd if={path}/{Mageia*}.iso of=/dev/sd* bs=8m

      where {Mageia*} is the name of the iso
      and /dev/sd* is the usb key
      and 8m is a block size of 8 megabytes
      (A larger size tends to be much faster. It defaults to 512 bytes)

      Delete
    2. Linux Mint Imagewriter (I guess OpenSuSE Imagewriter as well) works without any issue to create a live USB of Mageia. However, Unetbootin doesn't work.

      Delete
    3. Hi Bernard,

      Thanks for your inputs. I don't have a printer and hence, couldn't check out the printer settings. However, Firefox and Chromium worked without any issue in my case. I had only Mageia installed - possibly this is because of grub in Mageia and not grub-2. Possibly if grub-2 is installed and updated post-installation, it will recognize the other distro in case of a dual boot.

      Thanks for the good inputs from your side. Those who are willing to install Mageia, should be aware of the issues you pointed out. By the by, for me, Linux Mint is THE DISTRO in Linux world, works everywhere and anything you throw at it :).

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
    4. I thought I would try another distro coming from Mandrake, as I used to use Mandrake many years ago. So I've tried the latest version of PCLinux OS. So far it has been fine. Recognised my printers, and uploaded the required software. No trouble with Chromium, and easily installed Spotify through Wine. Seems to be fairly easy on resources as well, so I am giving it a longer trial.

      I'm using Mint 14 Cinnamon as my main distro though and it seems extremely good.

      Delete
    5. Last week I tried out PCLinuxOS LXDE and was very impressed with it. I haven't seen a better looking and functional LXDE in my life. PCLinuxOS is very stable and performs really well. Only issue with PCLinuxOS is slow update of repositories.

      Linux Mint is the best distro undoubtedly out there in the Linux world. It just works on any machine and on any configuration. Amazing distro!

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
    6. Hi Arindam, great review as always, I've always visited your blog for couple of months now, since it offers great review and distro benchmarking.

      I usually don't have much problem with installing a linux distro, even arch, but my Mageia 3 KDE just can't get pass boot screen / plymouth, some boot function, I've tried unetbootin, it failed to pass the plymouth.

      After I get a closer look at your post I've tried imagewriter on Linux Mint Olivia, now I get the right Mageia menu but the problem is still remain, can't get pass plymouth.

      Do you have any solution for this problem?
      And a review request, please review SolydXK it s

      Delete
    7. Hi YoWis:

      Unetbootin didn't work but LM Imagewriter worked for me. What graphic card you have on your computer? Could you please check if the graphic card driver is there by default in Mageia?

      And sure, will review SolydXK pretty soon.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
    8. Hi,
      I use Acer Asppire V5-431 with Intel HD Graphics 4000 if I'm not mistaken.
      I've seen many reports on similar bugs in mageia bug tracker but haven't got a solution.
      How could I check it, if my graphic card is already in mageia by default?

      Delete
  12. I don't know why but KWin's cover switch doesn't function prorperly. It's still the same as the default switch which I don't like after changing the setting in desktop effects.

    My GPU is Radeon HD 6310 and I'm using the proprietary driver. But, KWin's performance is very poor too. Video playback is horrible whereas in Windows is just fine.

    It has internet connection issue too on my Asus 1215b.

    Seems like not a good distro for my netbook. But still Mageia is very easy to use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Boby:

      Mageia worked really well with Nvidia as, I guess, the drivers are pre-installed. You can please search Mageia forums for the appropriate drivers, e.g. what I found here:
      https://forums.mageia.org/en/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4982

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. I was mistaken. The alt+tab switch shouldn't be configured in Desktop Effects but in Window Behavior.

      Delete
  13. ROSA Fresh don't present in you list... I d'like see it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Keleg:

      I reviewed ROSA fresh earlier and it is really good. Also, OpenMandriva is another Mandriva derivative, and very similar in look and feel with ROSA. You can please check it as well.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have been a long-time user of Mandriva, back to the Mandrake 8.0 days. I have Mandriva 2010.2 running on 3 pcs, one is a laptop. I recently installed Mageia 3 64bit from DVD on a desktop pc. I am very pleased with ease of install and the way it has been smooth to use while retaining a lot of the Mandriva "feel." I agree with the comments about the smoothness and functionality present in this very pretty distro and look forward to getting my other machines up to speed on it soon.
    Thank you for posting your review. It is good to see this distro getting the attention it deserves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Please check out OpenMandriva as well. I am currently using the alpha release for testing. Look and feel is pretty similar to ROSA but OpenMandriva KDE works quite well on my laptop. Mageia performs better but OpenMandriva looks different.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  16. I have too mageia 3 with kde,changed from gnome shell and i can say that gnome 3 sucks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KDE 4.10 is better and more intuitive than Gnome3 anyday. I was a big fan of Gnome2 and look what they have done to Gnome 3 :(

      Delete
  17. I have too mageia 3 with kde,changed from gnome shell and i can say that gnome 3 sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Surprised that Arch & Arch derived systems were so bad in your table. Is your table really meaningful; no cache or readahead optimizing for anticipated work loads, etc?

    I use Unetbootin, so thanks to the comment on how to use dd - cos my usual usb-installer fails here. On my 'buntu-drivatives (eg Zorin) - it's easy to upgrade to the latest kernel, version. Just find the right PPA or terminal commands via Google. So running kernel 3.9.7 now. Is it as easy with Mandriva-derived op systems?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Greg:

      For Arch, the high RAM usage happened, possibly, due to absence of proper graphic card drivers. Chakra performed really well on my system. Additionally, if you see, the range of RAM usage is between 220-380 MB. In the age of minimum 2 GB RAM, I guess, it may not be that high. Win7 itself takes about 700MB to 1 GB RAM to boot the desktop.

      I used Mageia for sometime and found it very easy to use. Just like Zorin or Linux Mint, the update manager will notify about system upgrades and it is just matter of a click. Mageia, ROSA and PCLinuxOS are all very easy to use. In fact, Mandriva was the first easy to use Linux OS and these derivatives retain the same.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  19. that OS is amazing, I want to install it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mageia 3 is stable and offers the best performance among KDE distros. I hope you'll enjoy it.

      Delete
  20. I have installed Mageia 3 KDE dvd install, not live cd, been using it for 2 weeks now, I haven't had any kind of problems at the moment, nor any single crash, Mageia 3 is IMO one of the best Linux distro with kde DE around, easy to install easy to use, I have used in the past more than 10 linux distros and tested more than 30 linux distros, Mageia looks like a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to heat that. Even I like Mageia as a stable, almost trouble free distro. I have used Mageia sporadically but not on my main production machine. Based on your experience, I am tempted to use Mageia for sometime on a more continuous basis. Actually, I tested Mageia for a couple of weeks and then moved on to other distros :).

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  21. What distro would you choose and why? Mageia or ROSA?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joaquin:

      It is an interesting question. Both Mageia and ROSA are Mandriva spins but offer pretty distinct proposition. While Mageia resembles simplicity with elegance and efficiency, ROSA ships tweaked KDE with eye popping interface. Personally, I prefer efficiency more than aesthetics and hence, Mageia is my choice. If you see the table above, Mageia is the most efficient KDE I have used. Hope it answers your query.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  22. I've been using Mageia for a few weeks now.

    Tried other distros, but felt Mageia was smoother to use, so as I had a separate /home partition it was a simple matter of reinstalling Mageia and the installation was fast and easy.

    Mageia is rock solid. Best KDE distro out there.

    I really like that the liveDVD has a small selection of basic apps. I hate cluttered menus in most KDE distros. The Mageia repository has other applications if you need them and both urpmi (command line) and rpmdrake work well for installing packages.

    Mageia = easy to use, fast, beautiful and has friendly forum.

    I will be using it on my production machine. (Didn't boot Windows in weeks now)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to know your experience with Mageia! I hope yiu don't have to go back to windows ever :)

      Delete
  23. Thanks for sharing, nice article!. Thank you
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    ReplyDelete