Mandriva Linux: Which Fork Is Right for You?

Mageia and PCLinuxOS are good options, while mainline Mandriva and OpenMandriva are less impressive.
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Mandriva Linux is a newbie-centric distribution that has become less of a highlight in the news over the past few years. At one time, Mandriva was considered the de facto Linux distribution for anyone looking to switch from Windows to Linux. Today, Linux has evolved into a complex ecosystem, and selecting Mandriva isn't as black and white as it once was.

In this article, I'll examine where Mandriva is today, how various forks of Mandriva Linux work within the Linux space and whether or not they're something I would recommend trying out for yourself.

Mandriva to Mageia

When the Mandriva company experienced its financial upheaval and let most of its developers go in 2010, those same developers got together and created a fork called Mageia. Development with Mageia took on a life very similar to that of LibreOffice, in that there is now a greater development speed and a renewed sense of freedom.

In various forums and blog posts, some individuals have questioned how Mageia is going to succeed where Mandriva has failed to keep up with the needs of the community. As things stand right now, there hasn't been a new release to Mandriva in quite some time. And in the fast paced world of Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE, this dates Mandriva to the point of making it unreliable in the long term.

By contrast, Mageia's most recent release was last month. It's a fantastic, modern Linux distribution that, in my opinion, makes Mandriva a relic of the past.

Mageia vs. PCLinuxOS

With Mageia taking the lead as the go-to Mandriva fork alternative, a number of folks have been wondering where this leaves PCLinuxOS. Upon its inception, this distro was also a fork of Mandriva, although the bulk of its focus has been on U.S.-based users, whereas Mageia takes on a more international flair.

An interesting consideration is how PCLinuxOS came into existence. Unlike Mageia, PCLinuxOS was started largely as a one-man operation, which then grew into a small community of developers. By contrast, Mageia started off as a small community of developers. One area where the two distributions share a common goal is in the use of KDE as the primary desktop choice. Both Mageia and PCLinuxOS are available with other desktop selections; however, KDE is the default desktop when installing either distro for the first time.

One final comparison I'd like to make is that Mageia hasn't been a distribution as long, officially. PCLinuxOS however, has been offering itself to the Linux community since 2003. This certainly doesn't make one better than the other; rather it's an interesting fact to consider.


If things couldn't get more complex, now we have news of a newly developed Mandriva option called OpenMandriva. What makes this interesting is that OpenMandriva is actually based on ROSA Linux, which was forked from Mandriva proper. Confused yet? I know I was, as I studied why OpenMandriva was even a consideration since this need is already addressed by the more refined Mageia.

OpenMandriva will be supported by the OpenMandriva Foundation. Trying to find out much about the OpenMandriva Foundation has been challenging, since there seems to be very little information about them outside of a few announcements. But one thing is clear though—Mandriva (the company) is thrilled at the prospect of their work in developing OpenMandriva, the distro.

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Tags: open source, Linux, operating system, Mandriva, Mageia, PCLinuxOS, OpenMandriva

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