Mageia is a user-friendly, stable, and versatile Linux distribution, originally forked from the Mandriva Linux in 2010, focusing on ease of use for new users.
It is a community-driven project offering a choice of several desktop environments, including KDE Plasma, GNOME, Xfce, and LXQt, which uses RPM for software packaging and distribution.
With roots traced back to Mandrake Linux, Mageia and OpenMandriva, who just recently released ROME 23.08, are the two modern successors to this once-legendary distribution.
And now, two and a half years after its previous eighth release in February 2021, Mageia 9 is here to the delight of all supporters of this user-centric Linux distribution. So, without further ado, let’s see what’s changed.
What’s New in Mageia 9
Mageia’s in-house DrakX installer continues to be used in Mageia 9. It is designed to help make your installation or upgrade as easy as possible.
In addition to installing the core packages, the installer includes non-free ones that provide proprietary drivers for the underlying hardware on your computer. Of course, non-free packages can be disabled during installation.
And now, we go straight to the most exciting part – the desktop environments. In this respect, Mageia 9 won’t disappoint as you get everything up-to-date that has been released to date.
KDE Plasma is Mageia’s flagship desktop environment, and here you’ll find (almost) the latest and greatest Plasma 5.27.5, built on top of Qt 5.15.7 and KDE Frameworks 5.105, accompanied by KDE Gear 23.04 apps collection.
GNOME users have received the GNOME 44.2 release. It now runs on Wayland by default, although there is also an option to run “GNOME on Xorg.” While using Nvidia’s non-free drivers, GNOME starts an X11 session by default.
Xfce in Mageia 9 shines in its latest 4.18 release, LXQt is in its most recent 1.3 version, and besides them, you get the latest MATE 1.26 and Cinnamon 1.26. Enlightenment and LXDE are also available for installation for those who prefer super-light desktop environments.
Under the hood, Mageia 9 is powered by Linux kernel 6.4.9 and systemd 253.7. In addition, RPM has been upgraded to version 4.18.
Furthermore, since Mageia 6, the DNF package manager has also been included in the arsenal of software management tools along with the Mageia-specific URPMI, as in Mageia 9, DNF has been bumped to v4.14.
It is important to note that Mageia 9 has also switched from the obsolete and unmaintained BerkeleyDB to SQLite as its RPM database back-end.
The Welcome app, presented to users when they boot into a fresh Mageia installation, has now been completely rewritten to take a linear approach, with consecutive steps following in a logical order of essential things to know and perform after installation.
About the video experience, the distro ships with X.Org 21.1.8, XWayland 22.1.9, and Mesa 23.1.5 as NVIDIA’s proprietary drivers are provided in the nonfree repositories.
Moreover, Mageia 9 supports both PulseAudio and PipeWire as sound servers as, by default, both get installed, but only PulseAudio is enabled. You can easily switch between them with the help of the Mageia Control Center.
And speaking of it, Mageia Control Center, one of Mageia’s unique features, allows you to configure all software and hardware settings through it virtually.
Software in Mageia 9
As expected, almost the entire spectrum of client applications has been updated, so we will only list the most important ones here coming preinstalled with Mageia 9:
- Firefox 115 Web Browser
- LibreOffice 7.5.4 Office Suite
- FileZilla 3.64 FTP Client
- GIMP 2.10.34 Image Manipulation Program
- Strawberry 1.0.17 Music Player
- VLC 3.0.18 Media Player
- Kdenlive 23.04.3 Video Editor (part from KDE Gear 23.04)
- Vim 9.0 Terminal Text Editor (with NeoVim 0.9.1 also included)
Developers will receive updated tool stacks, including GCC 12.3, Python 3.10.11, IPython 8.10, Perl 5.36, Ruby 3.1.4, PHP 8.2, Java 17 (Java 8 and Java 11 are still available), and Mono 6.12.
Finally, the distro includes out-of-the-box Flatpak support, adding Mageia to the growing family of Linux distributions that bet on Flatpak as an additional software source.
You can refer to the release notes for detailed information about all changes.
If you want to give Mageia 9 a try, the installation ISO images are available for download from the project’s website with a choice of three installation options:
- Classic Installation: The traditional (and recommended) way to install Mageia directly.
- Live Media (Plasma, GNOME, and Xfce editions): Let you try Mageia 9 without installation. If you are happy with the Mageia experience, install it onto your hard drive from the Live media. DO NOT use Live Media ISO to upgrade from the prior Mageia release! Use the Classic ISO instead.
- Network Installation (Free and Nonfreee firmware ISO versions): Minimal footprint, but you need a working Internet connection to perform the installation. It is most suitable for advanced Linux users.
After a patient wait of two and a half years since its last release, Mageia supporters have every reason to rejoice, as Mageia 9 brings updates in every aspect.
It is a Linux distribution you can rely on, continuing the legacy of providing a stable foundation for your everyday computing needs. If you haven’t tried it yet, we highly recommend you do. You will not be disappointed.
Although it is less popular than the leading names in the niche, such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, and so on, you get everything you need backed up by user-friendly GUI tools.
At the same time, for those of us who remember the glory days of the then legendary Mandrake (the distribution with which I took my first steps into Linux 20+ years ago), Mageia, along with OpenMandriva, will always be something we look back on with a drop of nostalgia but also with a smile because the legacy has been successfully carried on!