Package Management: Rpmdrake is Mageia’s graphical package manager and it works similarly to Synaptic, the graphical package management application on most Debian-based distributions. Access to it is password-protected, and no further authentication is required to install packages. Packages may also be queued for batch installation.
By default, the system is configured to check for updates five minutes after booting, and every three hours thereafter. Installations made with a DVD image do not have the package repositories enabled, so unless they are added from the Mageia Control Center, you will not be able to install the latest updates. On the other hand, installations made with a Network-install image have the Core and Nonfree repositories enabled.
Graphical Administrative Applications: On the GNOME desktop, the graphical administrative tools are accessible from System > Preferences, System > Administration and Applications > Tools > System Tools. Most are the same available on any GNOME desktop.
On a test installation I made using a Network-install image, the Expedite and Elementary applications were installed by default. Expedite is a full test suite for Evas, a core component of the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL). And Elementary is a widget set based on EFL for mobile touch-screen devices. It is part of the Enlightenment DR17 desktop shell. I am not very familiar with Enlightenment development applications, but why are these two applications installed on the GNOME desktop of Mageia 1.0?
In the KDE installation, the desktop graphical administrative applications are in System Settings. On both desktop environments, Mageia’s system-wide graphical administrative applications are located in Mageia Control Center. This, of course, is the same as Mandriva’s Control Center, with some of the best, professional-grade management applications available on any Linux or BSD desktop distribution.
Security Posture: Out of the box, there are no open ports on Mageia 1.0. Courtesy of Mandriva excellent security applications, Mageia has a very good security posture. The security applications are accessible from the Security section of MCC. The Shorewall-based firewall is enabled and configured, with interactive and port scan detection capabilities. There is a Squid and DansGuardian-powered parental control system with IP address blacklisting, application and user-blocking and time-of-day access control.
There is msec, the Mageia SECurity package (or is that the Mandriva SECurity package?), which provides an easy and newbie-friendly method to configure and manage system-wide security. With msec, you can set one of two security levels for the system (Standard or Secure, default is Standard). msec will perform specified regular security checks and display an informational message on the desktop, with the option to email the administrator.
With these security features and its support for disk encryption, boot loader password protection, and the password and user account security options on the user management application, Mageia can be configured to achieve the highest physical security rating possible for a desktop system.
Final Thoughts: Out of the gate, Mageia packs all the features one would expect from an excellent distribution, and that is due, of course, to its being a fork of Mandriva. The question in my mind is, will the developers be able to extend the features and functionalities of the inherited applications, especially the system-wide graphical management applications? PCLinuxOS, another distribution that was derived from Mandriva, has not be able to. I am especially interested in what they do with installation program, which I think is due for a major overhaul, not just a cosmetic makeover, but a deep structural overhaul.
Regarding the Tainted repository, I do not think that I completely understand the developer’s stance on Free/Nonfree software. If you must include “dirty” applications in your repository, which means you are distributing, you might as well install it by default, especially if it makes the system to “just work.”
On the Network-install ISO image, I think it would make a lot more sense if the same set of applications are installed by default – all the time.
Screenshots: View a few more screenshots from KDE and GNOME test installation of Mageia 1
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