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Happy Belated Birthday, Mageia

I absolutely have to stop for a moment to wish a big happy birthday to the folks at Mageia.

A year ago, when I wrote about a group of Mandriva former employees and contributors who’d decided to create a fork called Mageia, I had no idea whatsoever whether the project would survive to actually release a product. Well, a year has come and gone and Mageia not only released Mageia 1 in June, it’s now a distro with a year’s worth of organization under it’s belt. That may not sound like a lot, but to my mind it’s quite an accomplishment.

Last year at this time Mandriva was suffering through yet another financial crisis and appeared to be at death’s door. Workers were being laid off left and right, and a rumor began circulating that the distro had been sold to a Russian firm that planned to move development from Paris to Moscow. This was particularly troublesome to me, since this distro had been my first Linux love.

It was about 2003 that I finally had enough of Windows’ nonsense and loaded Mandrake 9.0 onto the desktop I’d bought new about three years earlier – the only new computer I’ve owned in my life. I’d purchased a shrink wrapped copy of the distro’s PowerPack edition at a Best Buy store for about $70 or so. As a Windows user, that seemed to be a bargain for an operating system which included, according the the package, “over 2,500 programs.” Wow! With Windows, the OS alone would cost much more than that, before purchasing a firewall and antivirus protection.

In those days, Mandrake was considered a “newbie friendly” distro, much as Ubuntu is now, and it certainly lived up to it’s name. For the first time, I partitioned a disk, scared to death I’d somehow destroy my Windows 98 install, which would be my fall back in case I couldn’t figure out how to use this Linux thing. Except for tax time (Tax Cut didn’t offer a Linux version), I never booted into Windows again on my home computer.

I eventually overwrote the Windows install with Mandrake 9.2 and used that for a brief while, until somehow X got corrupted and I couldn’t go to run level 5. But I used that first 9.0 install on that box until last year when the hard drive finally failed and what was left of the computer got gifted to Goodwill.

I don’t use Mandrake/Mandriva anymore. Somewhere down the road I developed a personal dislike for the company’s business practices. But I was still happy to hear that, with Mageia, some people would be turning Mandriva into a true community distro.

I haven’t tried Mageia and I doubt I ever will; I’m not the type to try on distros for size like some folks. I generally install an operating system once and use it until the computer gives up the ghost. Maybe when I replace the laptop I’m using now…. Or when I buy a new desktop to use at home…. I doubt it though. I’ve been hankering to try Debian on for size, so that’ll probably be my next project.

I’ve read, though, that Mageia is a fine distro. FOSS reviewers seem to like it. That makes me happy. I knew Mageia’s parent. I’m glad the distro’s made it through it’s first release and through it’s first year. I wish the folks behind Mageia many more birthdays to come.

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