Mageia is the result of the community-driven fork of the Mandriva Linux distribution. Back in 1998, Mandrake Linux, based on Red Hat Linux 5.1, was the first distro designed for the everyday user. The distro underwent several name changes and acquisitions. After persisting with many incarnations, the community members decided to fork Mandriva.
The first Mageia release was in 2011 and the project has produced four major releases since then. The latest, Mageia 4, was unleashed early this year.
Mageia is an RPM-based distro backed by a solid community infrastructure. Along with an installable Live image, the project also ships an install-only DVD. The distro offer both KDE and Gnome desktops. Software packages are split into three repositories named Core, Nonfree and Tainted. Between the three, the distro provides just about all the packages you may need. Proprietary packages are relegated to the Nonfree repository while Tainted is home to all packages that may infringe on copyright and patent laws in some countries.
Its installer is easy to navigate and several screens have the Advanced button which brings up more options for experienced users. The distro uses the Urpmi tool, native to Mageia/Mandriva and derivatives, for software management.
The most distinctive feature of the distro is the Mageia Control Centre, from where you can tweak almost all aspects of the system.
Verdict: This community-driven distro builds on a solid foundation and is an able distro for everyday use.