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Mandriva Rejoining Mageia Fork as Mint Freshens Up Linux

  • May 28, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

While some distributions have remained relatively intact over the years, others like Mandrake have splintered and forked. This past week, the splinter that is Mageia could be on track to return to the Mandrake fold as Mint pushes forward its fresher version of Ubuntu.

1) Linux Mint 13 Released

Ubuntu has become one of the most popular Linux distribution in recent years. The shift away from the traditional GNOME desktop, with the Unity interface however, left a lot of Ubuntu users out in the cold.

It's a void that Linux Mint has been able to fill quite well, with multiple approaches for GNOME outcasts, while still building on the solid base that makes Ubuntu one of the most user friendly distributions around.

Linux Mint 13 is based on the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS that was released at the end of last month. It differs from Ubuntu in a number of ways, none more noticeable than the desktop itself.

Linux Mint 13 contains not one, but two different takes on how a GNOME desktop can be executed properly without the confusion of Unity or GNOME Shell. There is the MATE desktop which is a fork of the GNOME 2.x codebase. Then there is Cinnamon which is based on GNOME 3.x, but instead of the Shell interface provides a more familiar GNOME 2.x approach.

"These two desktops are among the best available, they’re perfectly integrated within Linux Mint and represent great alternatives to Gnome 2 users," Linux Mint founder Clem Lefebvre wrote in his release announcement. "Linux Mint 13 is also an LTS (Long Term Support) release and it will be supported until April 2017."

2) Mageia 2 released

Mandriva Linux users that weren't happy with the direction taken by that distribution, created the Mageia fork over two years ago. This past week, Mageia 2 was released, proving that they forked effort is stable and sustainable.

The new release sports a spiffy new desktop look and includes support for KDE, LXDE, GNOME and XFCE.

"Mageia is a community as well as a distribution," the Mageia release notes state. "This means that you can be part of the teams putting your distro together; your voice is welcome as we work out where Mageia is going and how we’re getting there."

3)Mandriva folds into community

The message of inclusive participation from Mageia is one that Mandriva apparently heard as well. While Mageia is a fork of Mandriva, Mandriva has had its fair share of troubles in recent years, many of them financial with regular rumors and stories about the company's demise.

"After reviewing all your messages, suggestions, ideas and comments, Mandriva SA took the decision to transfer the responsibility of the Mandriva Linux distribution to an independent entity," Mandriva's Jean-Manuel Croset wrote in a blog post on May 17th. "This means that the future of the distribution will not be arbitrary decided by the Mandriva company anymore, but we intend to let the distribution evolve in and under the caring responsibility of the community."

On May 20th Croset provided some further details, noting that the Mandriva server product will have , "collaboration and exchanges with the Mageia community, contributions to the project."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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