Mageia 2, the second edition of the Linux distribution forked from Mandriva Linux, was released late last month, May 22 to be exact. Made available for download, were Live CD installation images for KDE and GNOME 3, and other ISO installation media that allows you to install desktop environments and window managers other than KDE and GNOME 3.
The other desktop environments and window managers supported by Mageia 2 are E17, LXDE, WindowMaker and IceWM. Aside from the Live CD installation images for KDE and GNOME 3, users are offered dual-architecture CD installation images, DVD, and network-based CD ISO installation images for 32- and 64-bit architectures. This presents a minor issue of determining which installation image to download and use.
It all depends on the desktop environment that you want to install. Obviously, the Live CD images for KDE and GNOME makes choosing easier, but what about the other installation images? I will answer that question further down. The image below shows what the boot menu of the DVD, network-based and dualarch CD looks like.
And this is the boot menu of a Live CD installation image.
Depending on the installation image used, the installation process can be a 1-stage or 2-stage process. Using the dualarch CD, network-based, or DVD image, the installation process is a 1-stage affair, while for a Live CD image, it is a 2-stage process, with the second stage reserved for setting the root password and creation of a standard user account, just as in Fedora.
If using a dualarch, DVD or network-based installation image, you have the option to choose what desktop environment to install. For a dualarch CD image, the default, and in fact the only error-free option, is the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE). Choosing any desktop environment (KDE workstation or GNOME workstation) other than the default (LXDE) will produce a system that fails to boot into a graphical desktop.
This screen shot shows the message on the screen when the system fails to boot to a graphical desktop. And logging in and executing the suggested commands will not change anything. The lesson here is if you want to install a system running KDE or GNOME 3, do not use a dualarch CD installation image.
The Summary step, on which you are given the option to change default installation settings, comes towards the end of the installation process and is presented only if a dualarch, DVD or network-based installation image is used. You will not see it if a Live CD image is used for an installation. It is especially important with these installation images because it is the only step where you have the opportunity to modify the default boot loader settings. Unlike the Live CD installation process where the boot loader configuration step is a distinct step, that same step zips by in a flash if other installation images are used for installation.
This image is of the boot loader configuration step I am referring to. Unlike ROSA Marathon/Desktop, another distribution derived from Mandriva, this step is exactly as the one on its parent distribution. In ROSA Marathon’s version of the installer, LILO (LInux LOader) is not an option, and the Security section has been removed.
A brief look at the main desktop environments, starting with LXDE.
A default installation of an LXDE desktop offers very little in terms of installed applications. This screen shot shows what the menu of a default LXDE desktop looks like. You can see that there are very few Internet applications and that most of the other standard menu categories are missing.This just means that if you intend to run a Mageia 2 desktop powered by LXDE, be prepared to install most of the applications yourself – after the system is up and running.
The E17 desktop offers a little bit more than an LXDE desktop, and more features and fancy desktop effects too. E17 desktop is said to be fast even on computers with low resources, despite all its fancy effects. This might be another alternative for the lightweight desktop group to consider.
The configuration of a GNOME 3 desktop installed using a Live CD image is slightly different from that resulting from using a DVD image. This screen shot, for example, is from a system installed using a Live CD image. The one resulting from installation using a DVD image does not have the desktop icons shown here.