I decided to replace a Raring Ubuntu install on my laptop with Mageia 3. I used the “dualarch” iso downloaded with bit torrent (transmission), ~700MB. I have crap bandwidth so the DVD was out of the question for me, plus I could set up the system the way I want.
The install went pretty smooth except for my wireless connection. The laptop is a Compaq CQ-60, Intel Cantiga graphics, Celeron T1600 (dual core) processor, I GB RAM, Atheros Communications Inc. AR242x / AR542x Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01). Note that the iso includes both X86_64 and i586 binaries and the installer decides itself which to install. In my case the 64 bit version was chosen.
What happened with wireless was a known issue on Mageia 2 and my particular wireless chipset. Unfortunately the Mageia devs haven’t got this fixed for 3. For some reason, at every boot, rfkill manages to hard block the wireless. Luckily I have Slackware64-current on this lappy so I pilfered the rfkill binary from that install and inserted into /usr/local/bin. Strangely enough no other distro exhibits this issue. If you use any other wireless chipset you should be fine as non-free firmware blobs are included.
I’m sure there is a work around for my case which I will employ.
The only browser included is Midori. That’s ok for finding your way around the web. But I prefer one of the big boys like Firefox or Chrome. I decided on Chrome and got the latest stable 64 bit version from the google servers. It was a simple matter of double clicking the file in my downloads directory once it had downloaded. Mageia automatically resolved all the dependencies and I was browsing G+ within minutes.
I tried out the GUI package manager. It seems ok, pretty much unchanged since the old Mandrake days. That’s good for familiarity, plus it’s a nice simple interface.
Still, I prefer the commandline version, urpmi. I proceed to install gimp, libreoffice, vlc, audacious and a few other small things.
With LXDE on the desktop, a nice and snappy experience is encountered, nothing flashy but it stays out of the way. Who sits there and looks at their desktop anyway? 99% of the time I’m either in a browser, text editor, terminal emulator or word processor.
I might keep this one for awhile. I didn’t like Ubuntu raring on this machine, too slow with Unity or Gnome 3. Probably LXDE would have been the go, but the Amazon stuff kind of turned me off. When I want Amazon to know my business I’ll go there myself. At least with Google, you can go to the Dashboard and delete everything, clear out all the tracking cookies and you are back to square 1. No such thing in Ubuntu/Amazon, even tracks your desktop search!