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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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"After more than one year of development, the Mageia community is very proud to finally deliver this long-awaited release, Mageia 5. This release announcement is a big sigh of relief, an `At last!' that comes straight from the heart of the weary - tired as one can be after long days of hard but rewarding work. And still, we chose to take our time to fix major issues and have a high quality release, without rushing it. Maybe our best release so far, taking into account the impressive work that was done on the installer, both to add new features and to get rid of old bugs."
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8
Great installation tools, powerful, configurable/customizable, large repository, largely bugfree
Mageia is a great distro all the way from installation to regular use. Installation tools are great (and include UEFI tools). Mageia can be dumped onto a USB without any special programs.
Unlike other distroes, Mageia takes an approach where the user is king, not "the user is stupid", and by doing it this way the user has the power through the whole installation process to setup their system as they want. Well, almost. One thing that could improve is to build/select packages like is possible in Slackware to make a custom system installation.
Once the system is up and running it normally comes with a resonably new Kernel, a reasonably new KDE version and if selected probably the largest base of firmware available in any distro. Hardware detection and support is impressive, and unlike other systems most things just work after installation, no post-installation work is needed. This makes Mageia a newbie friendly distro, which makes me wonder why any newbie would install Buntu distroed instead of Mageia. IMO Mageia is better for newbies than any distro I know of, due to it's ease of use and great hardware support.
But Mageia also works great for intermediates and experts as well. Doing things the "classical" way does not break the system, like it can do in many other distroes. I have built and used plenty of custom Kernels for Mageia using the oldskool method of building Kernels. Since I do not particularly enjoy doing everything myself in regards to the bootloader, the tools for this provided by Mageia itself is great. However, if any trouble is encountered or any custom bootloader stuff is needed, Mageia has stuck with Grub Legacy for a long time, which makes it a breeze to change the bootloader yourself through the config file.
Mageia does not only accomodate newbies, not only accomodate experts, it accomodate newbies, intermediates AND experts. If you want to "do it yourself" all the tools are available in Mageia to do this, if you want to do everything "the easy way", everything is available to do this.
Mageia makes their own art and graphical themes for their KDE desktop, and they also customize the KDE "system settings" and together with the wonderful "Mageia control center" allows the user to fully manage the system through 2 incredibly powerful GUI tools, combined with a powerful package manager to back these up when needed.
In addition, Mageia is incredibly stable, incredibly snappy and fast and moderate to conservative in resource usage. This does come at a slight cost, with the Mageia team preferring mature software choices at the cost of implementing the newest the fastesr, but this is certainly a choice I can live with. Since I know how to get around such problems as an ancient Firefox version, I have installed my own Firefox current version and use this instead of the distro provided Firefox. During the transfer phase of KDE4 to KDE5, the problem of using very stable software choices came with the cost of KDE5 lacking alot of the desireable functions found in KDE4, and with slow updating, functions there were made available from the KDE team were not available through the Mageia KDE version. However, I am willing to live with this tradeoff, as a stable, fast and reliable system is more important to me than the newest software versions and functions. Tried and tested is a policy I can subscribe to.
Mageia comes in 3 different flavours as well. Free, non-free and tainted. To me, this seperation is great. If you want to you can run a free distro, or even a tainted distro. This means non-free ++. Tainted is the choice of installing software supposedly problematic in the form of copyright and patents, and Mageia does this greatly as well. Installing things such as codecs and special software is so easy that there is never any need to have any problems with media at all. Installing ALL needed codecs is very easy and makes Mageia even more powerful. If any newbie had problems with media, I would easily be able to tell them how/what to do.
The conservative appproach of Mageia has sometimes got the better of me, for example when the distro only came with vi as an editor. This created alot of issues for me when trying to fix things if I had messed them up. My preference is nano, and this package was not installed by default in Mageia. So I nagged and nagged about Nano on Mageia forums and to developers, and eventually it was included in the default software choices and installed as a standard package. So, apparently the user also have some power and influence over the choices that the Mageia team makes. Needless to say I was extremely happy about the inclusion of Nano, which empowered me alot at the deepest depths and wildest experiments at Mageia.
Mageia is incredibly difficult to break, but it is not unbreakable. But if something goes wrong, the tools provided by default is more than enough to rectify the situation, especially now with the inclusion of Nano.
Regarding packages, I think Mageia makes a fine balance between what to include and not to include in the default distro. However, I would have liked to see Mageia stay true to the CD or DVD option, small build and large build, rather than taking the DVD only route.
I would have liked to see Mageia actually giving the users more options in this regards and perhaps also distributing a "mini-Mageia" option, alike to the netinstaller version of Debian or the core of Gentoo, that allows the user to build their own system using the core of Mageia.
Ok, there is a mini-Mageia on CD, 50 MB, but this is a netinstaller, and I have not tried it, but I think the purpose is just to install the same system as is on PC through the network, not to allow you to build your own system this way.
Furthermore, when Mageia changed from SystemV to SystemD, they fully dumped SystemV instead of maintaining the option. I would have loved for Mageia to offer the user a choice, and fully support both. I do understand that resources are limited, but it would have been great with continued support for SystemV.
Granted, SysV packages are available in repository, and I guess somewhat maintained, but I guess since it is not part of the main distro and a choice, it is not stable as a replacement of SysD.
Last but not least, I have rarely encountered any problems or bugs when using Mageia, and certainly non or very few severe or destructive bugs. Overall it is a great distro for most types of users.