Mandriva Linux is a venerable distribution with numerous advantages to recommend it, but it's no secret that the software's French publisher has been facing tough times.
An announcement is apparently imminent as to the company's financial future, but in the meantime Mageia - the fork that was born as a result of all the turbulence - is proceeding along nicely.
Mageia has gained considerable popularity since its creation in late 2010, and it now occupies the No. 6 spot on DistroWatch's popularity rankings - particularly impressive given that Mandriva is currently at No. 23.
The latest news is that a release candidate for Mageia 2.0 made its official debut last week, with a final release planned for May 22. Though it's not intended for production purposes, the RC software is now available as a free download.
Want a sneak preview of what's coming? Here's a quick rundown of some of the highlights you'll find in this community-run open source operating system.
1. Four desktop environments
Included in Mageia 2 RC are a full four options for desktop environments, including KDE 4.8.2, GNOME 3.4.1, LXDE, and Sugar 0.95.
2. Multiple window managers
Continuing the theme of choice, Mageia 2 RC also comes packed with an assortment of window managers. Among them are Enlightenment (E17), IceWM, Openbox, Razor-qt, and Window Maker.
3. PulseAudio 2.0
Brand-new in this release candidate is a prerelease version of the PulseAudio 2.0 networked sound server. "The primary reason for this inclusion is to take advantage of support in kernel 3.3 for headphone jack detection, such that the correct audio path can be used for controlling output and adjusting volumes can be enabled automatically when appropriate," the Mageia developers explain. "This has been a long standing bugbear and a very visible (well audible!) problem for users." Mageia 2 final will include the final version of the software, they added.
4. Six web browsers
On the web browser front, Mageia 2 RC offers Firefox, Chromium, Epiphany, Opera, Konqueror, and Midori.
5. Four mail clients
On Mageia 2's mail front, meanwhile, there's Thunderbird, Evolution, Kmail, and Claws Mail.
6. Under the hood
Regarding Mageia's base system, the stable release of Linux kernel 3.3.4 is included, as is stable glibc 2.14.1 and systemd for booting. Systemd offers a simpler boot process and easier maintenance, but the option of keeping the current init system will still be offered for those who prefer it, Mageia's developers say. The CUPS printing system, meanwhile, has been updated to version 1.5.2.