The developers of the Mageia Linux distribution have announced their second release. As the official Mageia blog puts it, the distribution is “growing up”. Where the initial version was mainly designed to get a stable first release out after the fork from Mandriva, the second major version of the distribution attempts the first significant changes to the code base: Mageia 2 has switched to systemd for its boot process and the GNOME desktop has been updated to the 3.x branch.
Mageia’s installer, which now supports many more hardware configurations, lets the user choose from a wide variety of desktop environments once the partitioning of hard disks has been taken care of. Both the CD and DVD images come with KDE SC 4.8.2, GNOME 3.4, Xfce 4.9 and up-to-date versions of LXDE, Enlightenment E17 as well as various window managers. The system now uses dracut to create the initial ramdisk and the developers have switched to the increasingly popular systemd init system to take care of the boot process. At release time, Mageia 2 ships with the 3.3.6 Linux kernel and the non-free repository includes version 295.49 of the proprietary graphics driver from NVIDIA and version 8.961 of ATI’s fglrx driver. These drivers have to be enabled by the user after the system is installed as the repository is included but not enabled by default.
Other software updates in Mageia 2 include version 2.0 of PulseAudio and version 1.11.4 of the X server, which now handles hardware completely via udev instead of HAL. As far as desktop software is concerned, Mageia ships the ESR version of Firefox as its default browser, and stable, beta and unstable flavours of Chromium are also available. Email clients depend on the desktop environment the user chooses to install but KMail 4.8.2, Evolution 3.4.1 and Thunderbird ESR are all available to choose from. For its office suite, Mageia has chosen LibreOffice 3.5, and the latest version of the GIMP graphics editor is also included.
Mageia 2 can be downloaded from the distribution’s official mirrors and via BitTorrent. Options include DVD-sized installer images for 32- and 64-bit and a dual architecture CD-sized version. The installer images do not include proprietary drivers – users who need proprietary Wi-Fi or graphics driver support at install time are advised to use the Live CD image that is also available. More information about Mageia 2 can be found in the official release notes on the distribution’s wiki. A detailed listing of packages compared to the first Mageia release is also available.