As many followers of the Linux ecosystem will already be aware, Mandriva Linux (my personal distro of choice) has been through some turbulent times of late. Financial troubles meant that Edge IT (a subsidiary of Mandriva SA) was liquidated and all employees made redundant as a result. While it was not widely known, many of the core developers were technically employees of Edge IT rather than Mandriva SA, so this lay off was actually quite drastic.
Those of us involved in the community surrounding Mandriva have obviously been worried that the future of our favourite distro is in doubt, so it is with great pleasure that I pass on news of the upcoming fork of Mandriva Linux: Mageia
Obviously the obligatory slashdot story only really draws comments on the choice of name. Personally, I quite like it (more so than the name "Mandriva" (which itself was a contraction of Mandrake and Conectiva - partly due to the use of the name Mandrake drawing some legal issues)). And choosing a name is no easy business: there are trademark issues to consider and domain names to secure: this can seriously limit your choice. Regardless of the practicalities, "that which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet". In other words, the name doesn't matter, what really matters is the work done and the contributions to be made to the wider Linux ecosystem.
Mandriva has long been regarded as a good participant in upstream projects, contributing to the Kernel, Graphic and Audio subsystems as well as being a very active contributor to higher level desktop environments such as KDE (and GNOME and XFCE and others too). With so many of the key contributors following this fork and contributing to Mageia, I feel this tradition will continue and grow with time.
So, as I said in one of the many "goodbye" emails I've had to write following the lay offs: The future is unwritten. Let's write it!