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Mageia 4 Linux - First Impressions

I am very much an OS "whore", I flit around like a mad thing pledging my allegiance between various flavors of Windows and Linux; not sure why, exactly. In the past year, my trusty laptop has seen Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux Mint 14 and 15, Ubuntu (12, I think), and Zorin OS 7. Maybe I am looking for the "perfect" OS. In any case, I just downloaded the 64-bit versions of the newly released Zorin OS 8 and Mageia 4, and installed Mageia 4 to try it. 

Mageia (based upon Mandriva Linux) installed quickly and effortlessly - as do most modern Linux distributions - and also successfully detected my laptop hardware, including my touch pad and wireless card. The graphical installer was easy to use, and the installation process was pretty obvious. The Grub boot menu is graphical also, which would be more friendly to ex-Windows users.

So far, that is much like my previous experiences with Zorin OS 7 and Mint. Now, I think my main problem with Mageia 4 may be that I chose to install the KDE desktop; for some reason I have never really liked KDE and I was hoping that time may have improved KDE or adjusted my attitude towards it. In the past KDE somehow struck me as a bit busy and sort of cheesy-looking. It's just a personal thing of course, as many others out there use and enjoy KDE.

When I used Mint, I used both the Cinnamon and Mate desktops (both based upon different versions of the Gnome desktop), and Zorin OS 7 also has a (different) modified Gnome desktop. This current version of KDE (4.11) is not as bad as I remembered it, although the taskbar area still seems a bit "busy" to me, and most Windows XP or Windows 7 users would likely find it quite intuitive to use.

The software package manager (RPMDrake) was confusing to me at first, as it told me I needed to select some additional packages to satisfy dependencies when trying to install the OpenShot video editor; I did not immediately see how to do that, or what packages I needed. I seem to recall Mint and Zorin being a bit more obvious in that respect, however that is probably just my unfamiliarity with a different environment. OpenShot was installed correctly after a wee bit of scowling and head-scratching. 

However, one other thing has put a burr under my saddle: the fonts. I hear people complaining about Linux default fonts quite a bit, and I always thought they were just being picky, as I never had any real issues - up until now. I don't know whether it has to do with the default fonts themselves, or the antialiasing settings, or what - but the text is noticeably, well, ugly.

I am disinclined to fiddle around with the fonts and so will proceed to use it for at least a few more days to see what's what with Mageia otherwise. I realize any version of Linux is very customizable, so I am really just talking about the "out of the box" experience here. Even so, I will probably end up installing Zorin OS 8, as I very much enjoyed using Zorin OS 7.


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