Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 23:54

I am honored to review Mageia 8 today as an ex-Mandriva user and long time Ubuntu user at Ubuntu Buzz. Mageia version 8 just released this year in February with a ton of useful features and improvements by an enormous worldwide team of developers. Mageia is a French originated, desktop computer operating system that is user friendly and looks very beautiful derived from Mandriva GNU/Linux and is a Red Hat family thanks to its RPM software package format.Now it's time to the review that I divide into several parts below. I wish you will like it.

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About This Review

Hardware set used in this review are Lenovo ThinkPad T430 with Intel Core i5 CPU, Intel HD GPU, and 4GB of RAM. Operating system version used here is Mageia 8 x86_64 Plasma Desktop Live edition.

1. Where to Get Mageia 8
2. Availability
3. System Installation
4. Mageia Specials
5. Software Availability
6. Software Installation
7. Internet & Connectivity
8. Multimedia & Amusements
9. Comparison with Mandriva and Ubuntu
10. Conclusions

1. Where to Get Mageia 8

Download Mageia version 8 by clicking here.

2. Availability

- Full Installer 4GB no LiveCD for x86_64
- Full Installer 4GB no LiveCD for x86_32
- Live Installer 2GB x86_64 Plasma
- Live Installer 2GB x86_64 GNOME
- Live Installer 2GB x86_64 Xfce
- Live Installer 2GB x86_32 Xfce
- Netboot installer

Mageia 8 is available for both old and modern PC computers -- meaning it as a whole is available for your 64 and 32 bits architectures including the software and the updates too. For the sake of user's tastes, Mageia is available in three edition choices of desktop environments namely KDE Plasma, GNOME, and Xfce. For users with technical advantages, Mageia is also available as Netboot just like Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora are. Important thing to notice is that right now Mageia is no longer available for CD as the smallest installer size is now 2GB (CD is 700MB) and this follows how Ubuntu now is. Technically, in short Mageia 8 supports x86 completely but does not support other than that such as ARM -- that means we can run Mageia 8 on PCs but not in Raspberry Pi and PineBook-like computers -- when at the same time Ubuntu and Mageia sibling, OpenMandriva, is now dropping x86_32 and already embracing ARM32 as well as ARM64.

3. System Installation

The installation is as quick and easy as Ubuntu's by about 10 minutes -- with device drivers included. All my hardware detected completely, for example, my wifi works, as well as my 3D graphics acceleration and bluetooth. Tools included in the LiveCD are GParted partition editor as well as basic commands like lsblk and df. Click here to learn how to install Mageia.

4. Mageia Specials

- The Sound Effects
- Mageia Welcome Screen
- Mageia Control Center
- Mageia Documentation
- Desktop appearance
- Start menu
- File manager
- Oxygen & Wonderland Themes
- Parental contol
- 3D desktop

First login, I greeted by the old Mandriva's welcome sound effect that now lives within Mageia 8. What a nostalgic experience! 
(Plasma, the desktop of Mageia)

Then, I welcomed by the Mageia Welcome -- a thing similar to the Welcome Screens of Ubuntu Budgie and Ubuntu MATE-- that explains nicely what Mageia is and where to get help. Such a friendly welcome! 
(Mageia Welcome that greeted me when I logged in for the first time)

Next, I see my favorite desktop of all, Plasma, which is the user interface of Mageia 8 by the latest version 5.20. All the user experience here is mostly sculptured by this Plasma. 

(3D cube desktop effect is still awesome with Mageia 8)
Following that, the thing I wait for long, finally Mageia Control Center (an obvious continuation of Mandriva Control Center) and I see it got improved a lot since the last time I saw it before. This MCC was the thing that made Mandriva the most user friendly distro before Ubuntu and now it is on my hands once again! It is a graphical collection of all user settings in one place and right now even includes Parental Control when we can set which apps forbidden, which websites blocked, in a certain duration of time. 
Not only that, MCC was known for its easiness to control hard things like services and security, so you can quickly enable/disable any systemd services, and also shape your firewall allow/disallow rules so conveniently by clicks only not Terminal. We do not find that on Ubuntu's or Fedora's system settings and that's a Mageia's advantage over them.

5. Software Availability

- Firefox web browser
- LibreOffice 7
- KDE Plasma Desktop 5.20
- Clementine and Elisa audio players
- Dragon and VLC video players
- Digikam and Hugin photography tools
- Epson, HP, and Lexmark printers supports
- PhotoRec file recovery/undelete

Starting from first step, we see the Plasma 5.20 as our user interface of Mageia 8. Then, when we work we frequently use Dolphin (the file manager) and Gwenview (picture viewer) aside from the audio players if we want to play some MP3 and the video players if we want to watch some movies.
For office workers, we got the document maker LibreOffice as well as the enormous printing supports for HP and Epson built-in -- so you can produce high quality letters, faxes, spreadsheets, presentations and PDFs just fine and got them as physical papers immediately. It is important to me to remind you that the original format of LibreOffice, called Open Document Format (ODF), is a worldwide standard with high interoperability and in some countries, for example my country Indonesia, it is a national standard as well as recommended by the governments for public purposes. 

For photography workers, we got the Digikam (camera & photo processing tool) as well as GIMP (the GNU photoshop) -- two things we knew recommended by the professional photography community PIXLS.US. 
Last but not least here, I want to mention it even brings GNU Emacs the legendary text editor which even the fully free distros do not include -- that means, it of course a positive value for Emacs lovers to try Mageia 8. Because of all these built-in applications, I can say it is a complete suite of desktop OS we all want. Finally, for software availability I say Mageia 8 is good.

6. Software Installation

Mageia allows you to get more software easily. It has a kind of "Play Store" that is a place you open to search, select, and install apps and games you want -- from inside the Mageia Control Center (MCC).

7. Internet & Connectivity

Mageia can connect you to both wired and wireless (LAN and WLAN) networks. To connect to a network, first click the Network Manager (globe logo) and wait a second and Network Manager window appears and finally on here you can select a hotspot among hotspots available and press Connect button. To disconnect, just do the same but click instead Disconnect. This detached NM is the distinguishing feature of Mageia compared to other KDE-based distros.

(Network Manager is a little bit unique at Mageia)

Mageia can also connect you conveniently via wifi to Android phones. This means you can remotely control your desktop (phone as touchpad & keyboard) as well as easily transfer files (copy and paste) between both devices. This ability is surely needed in daily basis today as our live with smartphones are vast today. This is because it brings KDE Connect built-in.

8. Multimedia & Amusements

Mageia can play MP3 and MP4 as well as other sounds & movies just fine. Interestingly, it brings four different applications to do so namely Clementine, Elisa, Dragon, and VLC Media Player -- and they work well. Mageia can also convert or resize multimedia files thanks to VLC's conversion features so you can, for example, reduce your MP3s size or convert videos to audios. 

(Mageia playing MP3 of a Wikipedia page read out loud and a video of me watering my plants)

9. Comparison with Mandriva and Ubuntu

I missed the ability to "restart to the other OS" of Mandriva which was very useful to me in the past. Also, the nostalgic cursor only Mandriva had is not the default (although it is available on System Settings) here and I think it should be the default. Speaking about Ubuntu, I honestly missed the normal Network Manager rather than the separated one like in here.

(Why didn't these lovely cursors be the default?)


Mageia 8 is an easy to use computer operating system. Everything works well from the system installation, work spaces, default applications, software installation, to the real daily uses. A plus It is worthy of the name 'Mandriva successor' thanks to all experiences it gives as a whole by keeping the old traditions with the Mageia Control Center. For the future, just like what Ubuntu and Fedora made reality, I wish Mageia got mass produced by computer manufacturers too as purchasable desktops and laptops.

Contributing to Mageia

Finally to close this review, as a Free Software Community member I want to remind us all that, Mageia invites all people worldwide to get involved in its development by donation, software engineering, language translations, documentation writing, infrastructure building, art creations and marketing, testing and many more (click here). Lastly, I say thank you very much and congratulations to all Mageia Developers you all did great job with Mageia 8!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.