So it's not just "command not found", like some root-only tools on Gentoo and such.Absolute path to 'ifconfig' is '/sbin/ifconfig', so running it may require superuser privileges (eg. root).
And yeap. I'd say that Mageia is better as a beginner distro, as it does everything in a user-friendly way (auto-detect your graphics card -> present a configuration GUI, where one step is asking whether you'd prefer the proprietary drivers, while briefly summing up its pros and cons in a simple way, and also allowing to switch back by clearing a checkbox later on - just as a single example). But openSUSE is good as a more powerful and universal distribution, as it has a lot more packages, and YaST is more advanced (albeit also more technical than Mageia's control centre).