Illegitimi non carborundum


There is no spoon (but there is a fork)

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!

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  • pulse

    All I can say: Good Luck guys! Kick Mandriva’s ass with your new distro 😉

  • Troy Unrau

    As a long time fan of Mandrake and later Mandriva, I hope that this project sees better days. Good luck indeed.

  • Lets hope that the blue news are only a start of a new bright future!

  • Jack

    If Mandriva was financially unsustainable and had corporation backing it up, how do you think Mageia will succeed?

    I see a lack of financially sustainable models for open source projects, be it for profit or non profit. People just put their heads in the sand!

    • Colin

      I’m not the right person to ask about those details. I’m just a contributor spreading the word. I’m was never employed by Mandriva/Edge IT. All of my contributions are just for the general good. I know that people were not happy with the focus and directions chosen by the previous management. Deals are being put in place and investors sought for the commercial side of things and more details about that will no doubt come out in the coming weeks/months. I just hope that this arrangement will be sufficient to keep all the people I know gainfully employed and sponsor their work on Mageia and their respective upstream projects for the foreseeable future 🙂

  • Alejandro Nova

    I left Mandriva because I didn’t trust them anymore. I am currently on Fedora, but I still like Mandriva. A lot. I’d like it to replace Ubuntu as the leading Linux Desktop distro, but that won’t happen, so, now, I, as a former Mandriva user and lover, stand behind you.

    Get Mageia out of the door as soon as you can, and you can count me on the row, testing and promoting it.

  • annma

    Wishing you all the luck and success you deserve and welcome to Mageia! I hope you can still keep the enterprizes deployements Mandriva had.

  • how do you pronounce that? 🙂

    • Colin

      I’m currently going for: maj-ee-ah but I’m sure others will likely find their own way!

  • What about joining forces with Fedora? You all would have an already running and excellent infrastructure in place, and will join an open, innovative and strong free-software community.
    I know that forking is the simplest solution, but think about the long term and the users: is it better to have tons of distros with lots of differences, or just a bunch strong distros with real differences?

    Anyway: good luck and thanks for your work!

    • Colin

      Well for myself as a contributor, if there were no other options, Fedora would likely be the distro I’d look to for my general Linux needs, but it’s not as simple as deciding to “join forces” with Fedora. There are several people that need jobs. These need to be supported by a company of sorts. In order to do that there needs to be a commercial focus too. As a contributor, I’m not involved in that side of things, but “joining forces” with Fedora would basically mean Red Hat employing all the core developers.

      For me it’s not just the distro, but also the people involved. If such a good group of folk is broken up and generally dispersed to various corners of the software development industry, then it would be a great loss to the FOSS community generally. So I’m all for supporting the fork. Obviously things wont be easy on the commercial side of things, but I for one will do my best to promote it when I can.

    • Well, I am a Mandriva packager, and I also have a Fedora packager account, so I can tell there is synergy between the 2 community. But I think the goal of Fedora are not the same than those of Mandriva/Mageia. For one, Fedora seems to value more innovation than “stability”, ie their updates rate is much higher than ours, and they often make bolder choice than ours. While there is no good choice or bad choice in this regard, a line must be draw, and I think the distributions to be complementary. And in order to keep it this way, they must be separated.

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  • John

    Heh, and so that was your cagey comment on the cooker list in one of your “farewell” messages to people going. 😉

    I meant to comment when I found out about this yesterday, but this is an exciting development. I can’t believe I wasn’t more tuned in to the signs (even Adam, long at Fedora, knew). I must be getting slow with age.

    Anyway, very much looking forward to seeing where things go!

    • Colin

      Hi John. Glad you are on board with the fork! Sadly plans were not as public (nor as quickly announced) as we would have liked. Legal wrangles involving the dissolution of Edge IT meant that plans could not really be announced until all the facts were on the table 🙁 In the end we had to announce something to prevent the community from panicking too much etc. Hopefully infrastructure etc. can be built up soon and that will allow us to get something out there to the masses sooner rather than later 🙂

  • shamaz

    Mandriva was one of the last “kde-focused” distro :/.
    Good luck to Mageia

  • Walter Sams

    Being a person that uses only linux and has Mandriva on 8 machines ( 6 of which run my business) I really dont want to have to setup another version of linux on my systems

    I hope you succeed beyond your wildest dreams with Mageia