All posts by Linux Admin

Mageia 1

Mandriva had been around a long time and is a popular desktop distribution. I was intrigued to find that Mandriva now has a fork called Mageia. The first release of Mageia came out recently and I finally found some time to sit down and give it a go. Mageia was created by former Mandriva contributors. For more background, be sure to read the original announcement about Mageia.

Here’s a brief snippet from the announcement that explains why Mageia was created.

Paris, September 18th 2010

As you may have heard, the future of the Mandriva Linux distribution is unclear.

Most employees working on the distribution were laid off when Edge-IT was liquidated. We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project.

Many things have happened in the past 12 years. Some were very nice: the Mandriva Linux community is quite large, motivated and experienced, the distribution remains one of the most popular and an award-winning product, easy to use and innovative. Some other events did have some really bad consequences that made people not so confident in the viability of their favourite distribution.

People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.

Corporate shenanigans are always irritating for everybody, but it sounds to me like the Mageia developers saw some bad things happening and decided to do some good anyway. I commend them for their foresight and willingness to take the bull by the horns and press forward with this fork. They seemed to have had the best interests of Mandriva users at heart, and that speaks very well of these developers indeed.

Desktop

The Mageia KDE Desktop

What’s New In This Release
Since this is a first release, there’s no real “what’s new” to cover. But here are some tidbits about Mageia.

Available in KDE 4, GNOME 2.32, XFCE 4, LXDE
Also available are Openbox, WindowMaker, ICEWM, Fluxbox and Fvvm2
Includes kernel 2.6.38
Includes system config tools drakconf, drak3d, drakguard, rpmdrake, drakx-net, userdrake.
Includes package management tools urpme, urpmf, urpmq, urpmi.update, urmpi.addmedia, urpmi.removemedia

Please note that if you are an existing Mandriva user who wants to migrate to Mageia, be sure to see Mageia’s migration guide. It speaks well of the Mageia developers that they took the time to try to make migrating from Mandriva as easy and trouble-free as possible. It wasn’t something they had to do, but they did it anyway. Kudos and thanks for having the foresight to know that there would be some folks interested in switching over existing Mandriva systems.

Migration Guide

Migration Guide

Hardware Requirements & Installation

Hardware Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

  • Processor: any AMD, Intel or VIA processor;
  • Memory (RAM): 512MB minimum, 2GB recommended;
  • Storage (HDD): 1GB for a minimal installation, 6GB for a full setup;
  • Optical drive: CD or DVD depending on the ISO you use (network, USB key installation available);
  • Graphic card: any ATI, Intel, Matrox, nVidia, SiS or VIA graphic card;
  • Sound card: any AC97, HDA or Sound Blaster sound card.

Installation

Mageia comes in DVD or CD formats. You can also opt to download a Live CD ISO that will let you preview Mageia without needing to install it on your system. The install is not difficult and shouldn’t take very long. However, it’s always nice to have the option of simply booting into a Live CD to get a taste of a distro before installing it.

The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.

Install 1

Install 1

Install 2

Install 2

Install 3

Install 3

Install 4

Install 4

Install 5

Install 5

Install 6

Install 6

Install 7

Install 7

Install 8

Install 8

Install 9

Install 9

Install 9a

Install 9a

Install 9b

Install 9b

Install 9c

Install 9c

Booting & Login
Here’s what the boot menu and login screens look like:

Boot Menu

Boot Menu

Login

Login

The Desktop
Since I installed the KDE version of Mageia 1, the screen shot below shows you a KDE 4.6.3 desktop. The desktop isn’t cluttered up, there are just three icons: Home, Join Mageia Community and the trash can. Everything is where you’d expect it to be in the menus, so it’s quite easy to find your way around even if you’ve never touched Mageia before.

Desktop

Desktop

If you click the Join Mageia Community icon, a page will load in Firefox that lets you see different roles that you might be able to play in the Mageia project. I really like this approach since it makes it easy for people who might want to help Mageia grow by helping out in various roles. If you really like Mageia, it’s a good idea to check that page out and see what you might have to offer the project.

Contribute to Mageia

Contribute to Mageia

Themes
There are three themes to choose from: Air, Air for Netbooks and Oxygen. You can click the Get New Themes button in the Workspace Appearance menu in System Settings to spice things up by adding additional themes.

Wallpaper
To change your wallpaper, right click the desktop and choose Folder View Settings. There are some beautiful wallpaper available in the default install, and you can easily get more.

Wallpapers

Wallpapers

Bundled Software

Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.

Games
Various K games (arcade, boards, cards, puzzles, strategy and others)

Graphics
AcquireImages
digiKam
DNGConverter
ExpoBlending
GIMP
Gwenview
KColorChooser
KolourPaint
KRuler
KSnapshot
Okular

Internet
Akergator
BlueDevil
Ekiga Softphone
FileZilla
Firefox
KAddressBook
KGet
KMail
KnetAttach
Knode
Konqueror
Kontact
Konversation
Kopete
KOrganizer
KPPP
KRDC
Krfb
KTorrent
Network Center

Multimedia
Amarok
Dragon Player
Kdenlive
KMix
KsCD
Movie Player
PulseAudio Volume Control
Sound Recorder

Office
LibreOffice
Okular
Scribus
skrooge

Others
OpenJDK Monitoring & Management Console
OpenJDK Policy Tool

Software Management
Mageia uses Rpmdrake 5.26.10 as its software manager. It’s a reasonably attractive and very functional software manager. You can easily read descriptions of software packages, see details, files, changelog, dependencies, etc.

However, it lacks user reviews and ratings so it lags a bit behind some other desktop software managers. I’d like to see those features added at some point, but if those things don’t matter to you then Rpmdrake should be fine as your software manager as it is.

Rpmdrake

Rpmdrake

Adding & Removing Software
It’s simple to add or remove software. Find the package you want to add or remove, and then click or unclick the check box next to it. If you are installing an application you will see an “additional packages needed” menu that pops up. Just click the Okay button and then click Apply. You’ll see a confirmation menu; just click the Yes button to install your packages.

Adding Software

Adding Software

Sound and Multimedia
YouTube & Flash
Flash didn’t seem to be installed in Firefox by default. It is available though if you search in Rpmdrake. After I installed it I had no problems running flash based content.

No Flash

No Flash

Add Flash

Add Flash

Flash Installed

Flash Installed

Multimedia Applications
Mageia comes with Amarok, Dragon Player, Kdenlive, KMix, KsCD, Movie Player, PulseAudio Volume Control and Sound Recorder. It’s a pretty good selection of basic multimedia apps, and you can find more in Rpmdrake.

Kdenlive

Kdenlive

Problems & Headaches
Mageia ran pretty well for me in VirtualBox. I initially thought I had a problem with it since it was trying to install software off the CD; then I realized that I’d left the CD mounted. I removed it and restarted, and then Mageia downloaded the software properly. So I can’t blame Mageia for my own forgetfulness. Heh.

That minor burp aside, I didn’t see anything that gave me a problem in Mageia. It ran well for me; everything seemed stable and pretty fast. I’m glad to see that it’s in such good shape given that this is a first release. It bodes well for the future of this distro.

Have you run into any problems with Mageia? Share them in the comments section below. I’m interested in knowing about any burps or headaches you might have had.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum; everybody is welcome. Feel free to post a message in the forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, as well as other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the Mageia support page, forum and wiki.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
It’s unfortunate that as venerable a distro as Mandriva ran into some corporate trouble. However, I’ve always been the type that believes you should make lemonade out of lemons and so apparently are the Mageia developers. They have taken a bad situation and turned it into something very positive indeed! Mageia is off to a very good start and I look forward to seeing more releases of this fine distro.

I particularly like how community-oriented Mageia is; the Mageia developers have made it very easy for users to participate and help develop this distro. That’s a great approach and I think it will reap a lot of dividends for Mageia as the years go by and this distro matures.

Mageia should work well for beginner, intermediate or advanced users.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux opinion columns and distro quick looks; visit JimLynch.com for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Mageia 1
Web Site: http://www.mageia.org
Price: Free
Pros: Offers an upgrade path to current Mandriva users. Easy install, good selection of software. Comes in a number of different desktop environments including GNOME and KDE.
Cons: Software manager lags behind Ubuntu and Linux Mint since it doesn’t include user reviews and ratings.
Suitable For:  Beginner, intermediate and advanced users.
Rating: 4/5

 

 


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Amazon Computer Deals
Save big bucks on desktop and laptop computers, tablets, monitors, home networking, accessories, and peripherals.

Amazon Software Savings
Why pay full price when you can save lots of money with great software deals for your computer?

Amazon Digital Deals
Great deals on music, movies and TV shows, ebooks, software and video game downloads.

Amazon Outlet
Online shopping for overstock, clearance, and closeout products.

Amazon Warehouse
Find deep discounts on open-box, like-new, and used products.

Mageia 1 comes from the Desktop Linux Reviews blog.

Read More

Sabayon 6

The last time I looked at Sabayon Linux it was up to version 5, this time around it’s version 6. Sabayon Linux is based on Gentoo and, as you may already know, Gentoo has not always been considered the easiest version of desktop Linux for non-technical users to install and use. Sabayon Linux does a pretty good job of making Gentoo available to those who simply want to install and use Gentoo without having to roll their own or otherwise deal with Gentoo’s potential headaches.

Sabayon Linux comes in a number of different spins including GNOME and KDE. For this review I’ve installed the KDE version. Note though that there are other spins including SpinBase, CoreCDX, ServerBase and OpenVZ. Most desktop users will probably want to simply opt for the GNOME or KDE spins rather than the others.

Here’s some additional info though about the other spins for those who are curious:

SpinBase is a very minimal environment that can be used for many different purposes: didactical, home server deployment, but even for custom Sabayon ISO images creation, using our tool called Molecule). Any Sabayon release we make is based on SpinBase.

CoreCDX instead, is geared towards very minimal graphical environment setup, no fancy tools, browsers, whatever, just Fluxbox and command-line. You set the rule.
ServerBase is very similar to SpinBase, but powered by a server-optimized Linux kernel (package: sys-kernel/linux-server)

OpenVZ is our official OpenVZ template.

All of them have a smaller footprint making them fit into a single CD, or USB memory sticks.

SpinBase and ServerBase are provided with a very minimal Anaconda Installer and CoreCDX should be preferred for non-standard filesystem/partition layouts.

Splash

Splash

What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Linux Kernel 2.6.39.1 and blazing fast, yet reliable, boot
Providing extra Server-optimized, OpenVZ-enabled, Vserver-enabled kernels in repositories
Natively supporting btrfs filesystem
Completely reworked artwork and boot music intro, thanks to our little Van Gogh (Ian Whyman)
Improved theming for 16:9 and 16:10 widescreen monitors
Transform Sabayon into an full-featured HTPC Operating System (Media Center) using XBMC
Entropy 1.0_rc10, bringing outstanding speed and reliability. Entropy Store (Sulfur) went through a massive speed rework. Entropy Web Services foundation library has been introduced in order to support User Generated Content contributions in a more powerful way, bringing our Package Manager in the Social Internet age. Added support to delta packages downloads, parallel packages download, differential repository update through simple HTTPS protocol
Several Sabayon Installer improvements, especially with dealing with crypt, LVM and swRAID environments
Added a non-intrusive firewall tool called “ufw” and its frontends for GNOME and KDE
X.Org Server updated to 1.10
Sane Desktop Compositing now enabled by default
Switched to IcedTea6 as bundled Java VM
Switched to jpeg-turbo library, boosting JPEG images rendering speed
Switched to LibreOffice 3.3.3
Switched to Chromium/WebKit as bundled Web Browser
Split nvidia-drivers and ati-drivers into userspace and kernel modules, improving reliability over kernel migrations
Updated to GNOME 2.32.2 and KDE 4.6.4
Updated to GRUB 1.99
Introduced the “kernel-switcher” tool, to easily switch between available Sabayon Linux kernels
Python toolchain updated to version 2.7
Updated to GCC 4.5.2
Dracut and Plymouth ready (expect them in Sabayon 7)
Thousands of updates and bug fixes that flew in, during these last 4 months
We’re still here! (it’s a feature), only thanks to your donations, please keep donating, donate now!

There’s obviously quite a bit of new stuff in this release. Much of it isn’t necessarily obvious to most desktop users, especially those new to Sabayon Linux.

I’m very happy that LibreOffice 3.3.3 is now included as the default office suite. I’ve been using LibreOffice for a while and it’s shaping up nicely.

I am also glad to see that Chromium is the default browser rather than Firefox. I still like Firefox but I’ve found myself gravitating toward Chromium for a while now and it seems that many distro developers are moving in that direction too. Firefox is still available to install if you want it though, so no worries there.

GNOME and KDE have both been updated in this release. I’m glad to see that the Sabayon developers did not use GNOME 3, given what a mess it is right now.

Hardware Requirements & Installation

Hardware Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

Minimum requirements (aka, we don’t underestimate them, like everybody else does):

An i686-compatible Processor (Intel Pentium II/III, Celeron, AMD Athlon)
512Mb RAM (GNOME) – 768Mb RAM (KDE)
8 GB of free space
A X.Org supported 2D GPU
A DVD reader

Optimal requirements

A Dual Core Processor (Intel Core 2 Duo or better, AMD Athlon 64 X2 or better)
1024Mb RAM
15 GB of free space
A X.Org supported 3D GPU (Intel, AMD, NVIDIA) (esp. for XBMC)

Installation
Installing Sabayon Linux is on par with installing Fedora (they use the same installer, though the install is slightly different in terms of steps). The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.

Install 1

Install 1

Install 2

Install 2

Install 3

Install 3

Install 4

Install 4

Install 5

Install 5

Install 6

Install 6

Install 7

Install 7

Install 8

Install 8

Install 9

Install 9

Install 9a

Install 9a

Install 9b

Install 9b

Install 9c

Install 9c

Booting & Login
Here’s what the booting and login screens look like:

Boot Menu

Boot Menu

Login

Login

The Desktop
The Sabayon 6 desktop contains 3 icons: Donate to Sabayon, Entropy Store (software management) and Get Live Help. The wallpaper is dark and subdued for the most part.

Since this spin uses KDE as its desktop environment, I switched the menu to the classic version. The sliding menus drive me crazy after a while. I recommend that you do so if you find yourself irritated by them. Just right-click the kicker button on the panel and you can easily make the change.

Navigating the application menus, etc. is easy and everything is where you’d expect it to be.

Desktop

Desktop

Themes
You can access the Desktop Theme choices by pulling up the System Settings tool. There are a few other choices if the default theme isn’t to your liking.

Themes

Themes

Wallpaper
If the default wallpaper is a bit blase for your tastes you’ll find some much brighter and more upbeat choices included.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper

Admin Tools

System Management
Here’s a screenshot of what you’ll find in the System Settings tool that lets you manage your Sabayon Linux system.

System Settings

System Settings

Bundled Software

Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.

Games
Various logic, arcade, board, card & strategy games

Graphics
AcquireImages
DNGConverter
Gwenview
KSnapshot
LibreOffice Draw

Internet
Akregator
BlueDevil
Chromium
KNetAttach
Konversation
Kopete IM
KPP

Multimedia
Clementine Music Player
K3b
KMix
VLC
XBMC Media Center

Office
Kontact
KOrganizer
LibreOffice
Okular

Software Management
Sabayon uses Sulfur as its front-end to Entropy’s package management. Sulfur is usable but not nearly as slick or easy on the eyes as Ubuntu’s Software Center or Linux Mint’s Software Manager (more on that in the problems section of the review). Users can rate software packages though so that adds some helpfulness to Sulfur.

The screenshots below give you a good idea of what you’ll find when you click the Entropy Store link on the Sabayon Linux 6 desktop.

Sulfur Updates

Sulfur Updates

Sulfur LibreOffice

Sulfur LibreOffice

Adding & Removing Software
It’s easy to add or remove software. Just find the application and click the checkbox then choose Install to install an application. To remove one, find it and then right click the green box and choose Remove.

Sound and Multimedia
YouTube & Flash
Flash is installed by default so you can experience YouTube content without having to install anything. Here’s a very cool video of a penguin that managed to escape a bunch of killer whales by jumping into a boat. He’s a very lucky and very smart penguin.

YouTube

YouTube

Multimedia Applications
Sabayon 6 comes with Clementine, K3b, KMix, PulseAudio, VLC and the XBMC Media Center. It’s a pretty reasonable selection of default multimedia applications. You can find more in the Entropy Store if these don’t cut it for your multimedia needs.

VLC

VLC

Clementine

Clementine

Problems & Headaches
I recommend booting Sabayon Linux without the music. I find the music annoying and distracting. It’s not really a problem though since you can choose whether or not you want to boot with it.

The sulfur interface needs some work in the area of color design. It’s rather on the garish side to look at and makes it less pleasant to use than it should be. I know that this is a subjective opinion but pink text? WTF? Damn, it just irritates me to stare it. I suspect I’m not alone in that regard either. It might seem like a minor thing but it sort of hits you in the face when you open the Entropy Store to manage your software.

While I’m on this subject, why is it called the “Entropy Store” anyway? It makes it sound like you have to pay for the software. That is potentially confusing to newbies. Perhaps a better name such as “Sabayon Software Manager” or something else that is more obvious? I know that some people will think I’m nitpicking here but it’s these kinds of things that tend to confuse people new to Linux.

One other problem I ran into was the XBMC Media Center, which wouldn’t load when I tried to launch it from the multimedia applications menu.

Beyond that I didn’t have much in the way of problems with Sabayon Linux 6. It was pretty stable and speedy for me.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum; everybody is welcome. Feel free to post a message in the forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, as well as other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the Sabayon forum, mailing list and wiki.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
The Sabayon developers have done a good job at making Gentoo accessible for less technical users. However, this distro is in need of some software management improvements as I noted in the problems section. The Entropy Store needs to be a bit more aesthetically pleasing and it could also use a name change.

Overall though my experience with Sabayon 6 was pretty positive and there’s not a whole lot to dislike about it. It’s a solid desktop distro that should get the job done for most people.

Sabayon 6 is probably best suited for intermediate and advanced users. Beginners can certainly try it out but might find other distros to be a more comfortable fit.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux opinion columns and distro quick looks; visit JimLynch.com for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Sabayon 6
Web Site: http://www.sabayon.org/
Price: Free
Pros: Comes in various spins. Updated KDE & GNOME desktops (GNOME 2.32.2 and KDE 4.6.4). LibreOffice 3.3.3 is the default office suite. Installer improvements. Reworked art and boot music. Speed increase for Entropy. Chromium is the default browser.
Cons: Sulfur front-end needs color overhaul. The Entropy Store needs to be renamed.
Suitable For: Intermediate and advanced Linux users.
Rating: 3.5/5

 


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Amazon Computer Deals
Save big bucks on desktop and laptop computers, tablets, monitors, home networking, accessories, and peripherals.

Amazon Software Savings
Why pay full price when you can save lots of money with great software deals for your computer?

Amazon Digital Deals
Great deals on music, movies and TV shows, ebooks, software and video game downloads.

Amazon Outlet
Online shopping for overstock, clearance, and closeout products.

Amazon Warehouse
Find deep discounts on open-box, like-new, and used products.

Sabayon 6 comes from the Desktop Linux Reviews blog.

Read More