Solid and strong and humming along – here’s Mageia 5!

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.

If our “At last!” also echoes in you after months of waiting for this release, go grab it right now! While it downloads, feel free to read on and learn more about Mageia 5:

What’s new in Mageia 5

The main spotlight of Mageia 5 is the support of UEFI systems. If you are not familiar with the term, feel free to check our detailed article about it. In a few words, let’s say that most systems with recent hardware (3 years old or newer) are equipped with UEFI, so in order for our users to be able to install Mageia 5 easily on recent hardware, UEFI support was a must.

Implementing support for UEFI boot and the partitioning changes that are inherent to this new technology meant making lots of changes in our installer. It was done incrementally, fixing bugs as they showed up, and discovering new and old issues along the way. We were lucky to have a very dedicated team of QA testers for this release, and they fiddled with the installer to try to find its shortcomings on the most exotic settings. All in all, those tests spawned many fixes and new features in our installer on top of the new UEFI support: RAID support, GRUB 2 integration, changes to the partitioner…

Of course this new release is not only about the installer changes; all packages have been updated, and we did a lot of work to ensure that all packages built fine against the new toolchain in Mageia 5. Among others, you will find:

  • Low-level: Kernel 3.19.8, X.org 1.16.4
  • Toolkits: Qt 5.4.0, GTK+ 3.14.8
  • Desktop environments: KDE 4.14.3, GNOME 3.14, Cinnamon 2.4.5, MATE 1.8.0, XFCE 4.12, LXQt 0.9.0, Plasma 5.1.2
  • Applications: LibreOffice 4.4.2.2, Firefox ESR 31.7.0 (will soon be updated to Firefox ESR 38.x)

Feel free to browse Mageia App DB’s comparison page (applications only and all updated packages) to see the differences between Mageia 4 and Mageia 5. All in all, Mageia 5 contains almost 2,000 applications and 25,000 packages, all available from the official repositories.

Why choose Mageia

One word: community. Mageia is a top-notch Linux distribution entirely made by and for its community. No strings attached, no company behind it, only users who have a great time developing the distribution that they use daily, at home or at work. And as a Mageia user, you are part of this rewarding experience, and you can contribute in many different ways to make it yours.

Mageia is shaped for its users, and is therefore suitable in any environment: work, home, servers, leisure. Everything is supported directly by the community through the official repositories, out of the box. Mageia has always striven to offer a universal usage experience across a large set of desktop environments, integrated with some of the best control and administration tools available.

The Mageia 5 look

As always for the artwork, we called for contributions from the community and we received high quality proposals. We chose the starry night painted by Robert Gormly, but you’ll also find many additional wallpapers and screensavers that we selected from the community contributions.

Mageia 5 official wallpaper

A special thanks

This release would not have been possible without the support of our whole community, so this is a thank you from everyone to the sysadmins, the QA and security teams, the documentation team, the atelier team and the translators, the packagers, the bug triagers and the developers, and finally, everyone else for their feedback and support on forums, mailing lists, and IRC channels, as well as their bug reports and donations.

Have fun with Mageia 5!

Posted in community, Mageia, release, users | 55 Comments

Mageia servers are down

Edit: The servers are now all back online, thanks again to the guys from the Lost Oasis datacenter for their generous hosting and support.

We call it “the famous release syndrome”! Part of Mageia servers are down at the moment. Investigation in progress, we hope to get it back on line soon. Stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Waiting for Mageia 5: Spotlight on UEFI support

This article is addressed to users with some technical background. Summary for the non-techie: Mageia 5 supports UEFI, which means it’s now easier to install it on recent hardware. Bottom line: after the initial installation, which might be a little different (see below), UEFI really shouldn’t trouble you.

What’s UEFI?

UEFI has been around for a few years now, previously called EFI. It is a completely new and different firmware for booting 64 bit PC and replaced the old BIOS firmwares. It brings improvements over old BIOS, but it’s mainly known in the Linux community for rendering the installation of Linux systems more difficult on computers bought with a preinstalled system:

  1. because it necessitated development to support it;
  2. because of a security feature called Secure Boot, which refuses to boot any bootloader that is not signed with an official signing key;
  3. because it’s not always obvious how to boot to a DVD or an USB key (it depends on the firmware, whether Secure Boot is active, whether Fast Startup is active, etc.)

UEFI systems also use a new (to PCs) partitioning format called GPT, with a special EFI System Partition (ESP) which contains the bootloaders.

The references at the end offer fuller explanations.

Mageia and UEFI

With Mageia 4, in order to install to a system with UEFI you had two solutions:

  • activate legacy BIOS compatibility mode, aka Compatibility Support Module or CSM,
  • or follow manual instructions from our wiki, involving command line instructions to run as root during installation. Doable but not easy.

Mageia’s installers are now fully UEFI aware, so you can install easily along with other pre-existing systems.

What about Secure Boot?

First of all, Secure Boot is not UEFI. UEFI is the firmware, Secure Boot is one of the features among others. However, most pre-installed computers come with Secure Boot activated, which prevents users from booting any other system or installation medium. In order to install Mageia, you need to deactivate it in your firmware’s configuration. In order to manage to get to the configuration, see in your computer’s documentation how to proceed. There are lots of resources on the internet covering that subject. As of today, all manufacturers have an obligation to provide a way to disable secure boot.

Installing Mageia on an UEFI system

Both the Live and Classic images can be installed on UEFI hardware, but not the Dual arch ISO. Depending on your hardware or preference, just burn the 64 bit ISO image to DVD, or dump it to an USB flash drive. Existing Mageia users can use IsoDumper for this (install isodumper from the software center). For others, check this procedure. See also our dedicated wiki page. Then boot your computer from the prepared medium.

Booting the Classic installer on a UEFI system currently offers menu choices dependent on the boot medium: you need to choose the appropriate boot menu entry whether you’re installing from DVD or USB; this is not necessary for the Live installers. Once launched, there is no difference from non-UEFI for Live usage. Installation differs very slightly in needing to create or use an existing EFI System Partition (ESP) and mount it on /boot/EFI, and there is no choice of bootloader which is automatically Grub2 (grub2-efi). The preparation and deployment of Mageia installation media for UEFI systems is fully covered in our wiki.

Resources about UEFI:

If you are curious to know more, Adam Williamson wrote a good introduction to UEFI; there is also some information about it on our wiki page.

What about upgrade from Mageia 4?

It is not supported to upgrade an instance of Mageia 4 that had been installed in non-UEFI mode towards a Mageia 5 in UEFI mode.
Upgrading from an UEFI Mageia 4 to UEFI Mageia 5 is supported (as well as from non-UEFI Mageia 4 to non-UEFI Mageia 5 of course).

Mageia 5 is almost there, stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

All things come to those who wait

And we’ve all waited long enough for Mageia 5 RC: go grab it!

While you wait for the download to complete, all restless and eager that you are to try this new release, let’s talk a bit about this release candidate: what can you expect of it, and why did it take so long?

UEFI support – for real

Mageia’s developers have been hard at work during this release cycle to add UEFI support to our installer, while the QA contributors were thoroughly testing everything that they could on their hardware. We are now proud to announce that you can install Mageia on UEFI systems fairly easily, using either our Live media or the classical installer (except from the DualDVD which does not support UEFI).

This is now the trial by fire for the main feature of Mageia 5: if you have a UEFI system, please try this release candidate in as many configurations as possible (dual boot with Windows or with other Linux distributions, etc.). And then please report any bug that you may encounter; we managed to get rid of most of the bugs noticed during this long pre-release testing, but our QA testers have relatively limited hardware resources.

Spring cleaning in the installer

Though it’s probably the most awaited feature, UEFI support is not the only improvement that was made in our installer, DrakX. The intensive testing done by the QA team over the last months brought a good deal of long-standing bugs to light, and a lot of work has been poured into fixing these issues: RAID support, GRUB 2 integration, graphical issues linked to GTK+ 3 evolutions, more logging and debugging features for urpmi and the installer… you name it!

For instance, we improved the default partitioning features to better reflect the needs of our users: the ready-made options to “erase and use the entire disk” or “use the free space” will now create a bigger root partition (up to 50 GB if you have a ton of free space, against 12 GB in previous releases). The “use free space on a Windows partition” option will also be less shy of using free space on NTFS partitions, letting you have a comfortable root partition if you want to install several desktop environments or some of the nice open source games shipped with Mageia 5.

Our most tested release so far

With over two months of development and testing, this release candidate is our most tested release so far, and we do hope that it will make Mageia 5 our most stable and mature release. The freeze period has been longer than anticipated, so you won’t find the most recent packages such as Kernel 4.0; on the other hand we are pretty confident that we have reached a good compromise between being cutting-edge and stable. Our packagers kept working on providing important bugfix releases and security fixes, while trying to make sure not to add any avoidable regression, and all in all Mageia 5 should satisfy both casual and power users.

An impressive team work between the devs and the QA testers

The testing period for this release candidate was like an endless game of table tennis, with developers on one side working hard on fixing release critical issues, and ISO testers on the other side, always running into new (and old) issues and making sure that the bug fixes were effective. A big thanks to all those involved in this tiring but rewarding testing period; we definitely set a new record with 9 rounds of RC ISOs tested over two months!

Special kudos to our QA team, and especially its newest members who joined during the Mageia 5 release cycle, for managing to keep testing update candidates for Mageia 4 while working on the RC ISOs.

Now it’s your turn

With so much development done between our 3rd beta and this release candidate, there is a lot to test and we need as much hardware covered as possible, especially to test UEFI support and other installer changes. So grab your copy, prepare your booting device and get started with Mageia 5 RC! Please have a look at the errata too, since there are already known issues that we couldn’t fix yet, and report any bug that affects you and that you can’t find in the errata or our Bugzilla.

Posted in community, Mageia, QA, release | 24 Comments

Mageia at the Chemnitz Linux Days 2015

CLT2015On Saturday 21st and Sonday 22nd of March, Mageia will be present at the Chemnitz Linux Days 2015 (Chemnitzer Linux-Tage, CLT 2015).

As longstanding exhibitors we are glad to participate once again to one of the biggest free software community meeting in Germany after one year of absence. There you will have the possibility to get a preview of our upcoming Mageia 5 release and discuss all aspects of the Mageia project.

The wide program contains a lot of different talks, workshops for young and old and a lot of other interesting projects will present their work. You will find the complete program here.

We are looking forward to see you at the CLT 2015!

Posted in community, events, Mageia, users | 5 Comments