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Mandriva Businesses

Mandrake Shakeup 221

Posted by michael
from the shaken-but-not-stirred dept.
An AC submitted this sad news: "NewsForge has a couple of articles on a management shakeup and more at French Linux distribution Mandrake. The CEO, CIO, CTO and others, including most of the IS team, have been let go. Others have taken voluntary pay cuts or cuts in their work hours. Ouch!" Several of the slashdot staff are big Mandrake fans; I hope they can keep going in the face of adversity.
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Mandrake Shakeup

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Seeing how Red Hat is the basis for many Linux distro's, including Mandrake, lets hope RH never goes under, or Linux really might begin to die.

  • All risks filings look like that. It's standard fare for that sort of thing. I wouldn't sweat it too much. As for being due to the GPL, I fail to see how another license would solve the problem. The risks they are referring to are due to reliance on third-party "vendors" for portions of their product. Most companies suffer the same problem - I would imagine, for one example, that BEA's SEC filings refer to reliance on Java as a risk. Finally,

    They haven't burned through all of that capital yet. Ultimately, I am afraid they will...

    While it's hard to predict the future, Red Hat is currently breaking even. Which implies that they aren't burning through anything...

  • Money and distribution is important, but its also not fair to be charging for other people's work, and essentially making them pay for it. No one would help on any of their projects if they did that, and it would be essentially like stepping back to a closed source model.

    Think of charging for a distro as charging for the work that went into putting the distro together and creating whatever glue it took to make it all work. If you consider what it would cost to get the same things from MS, you will see that $70 really is more like charging for putting it together (>$$$ for OS, >$$$$$ for various compilers, $$$ for web server, $$$$$$$$$$$ for unlimited no questions asked site license).

  • by sjames (1099) on Monday May 21, 2001 @07:39PM (#206883) Homepage

    Is it the way some of these companies market themselves, which is close to zero when it comes to mainstream magazines

    I think that is close to the mark. Potential users just don't know what Linux has to offer them. If they will listen, I find that a few minutes of education and evaluation of their current usage is enough to get them to try Linux.

    Personally, I like Debian, but I recommend Mandrake to beginners. It is easier to install than windows, and comes with decent defaults for a workstation. The GUI config tools are pretty good as GUI config tools go.

  • Actually, I tend to agree that the usual plan is to get cut the sales staff when sales are down, but this sounds sensible, if it's merely for financial reasons. It comes from a (foreign to USians) simple theory that if the company is failing, it is being mismanaged, so management is to blame.
  • You mean that keeping the source code locked up and secret would save us from this apocalypse? Maybe you should tell those BSD people. They give the code away too!

  • I think providing free downloads before it hits the shelves is just plain dumb. Dists should at least allow a few weeks where its only available in stores before providing free downloads, especially of the ISOs themselves.
  • "People go to Redhat because they want Linux solutions, not because they think it's a service"

    I think you are misunderstanding the idea behind "service". Solutions are a service.

    GPL is not aimed at removing ownership, it's aimed at removing ownership of software.

    Lawyers do not _own_ the arguments they come up with, but they are paid enormous amounts of money to come up with them. Once the arguments are made, they are public record, and anyone can use them again. Yet lawyers get more money than just about anyone else.

    As long as software creates solutions for problems, developers will be paid, even if the final results are freely available.
  • Why do you say that? Many people who don't work for software companies get paid developing free software. If you work in an IT department and contribute code to the projects you use, you are getting paid for writing free software.
  • ... if you use Mandrake, buy it. Especially if you're an overpaid sysadmin that uses it to make impossible things look effortless. That goes for any distro, any flavor.

    I just paid for my 8.0 powerpack preorder, and when I built an OpenBSD firewall I bought my copy of 2.7 (and paid more for the shipping from .ca than the actual discs!!). I could afford it, so I did. Good karma all around.

    Oh, and please save your mod points for good comments like this one [slashdot.org].

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • ...why haven't many MS users switched over to something so easy.

    Because Mandrake may be easy to install, but it's even easier to just keep the Windows 9x that was installed when you bought your computer.

    Hoping to capture the desktop in a sudden coup is overly optimistic.. Slow and steady progress will earn Linux's share, just like the last ten years.

  • Mandrake may be targeted at newbies, but it's a good distribution for experienced users too. I'm not interested in all the icky graphical setup crap; what matters is that Mandrake has a better collection of packages than Red Hat, and they seem to be generally of higher quality. Plus things like Pentium optimization and ReiserFS, which while not essential are nice cherries on the cake.

    Of course Debian has an even better set of packages - but I've had an irrational fear of Debian ever since installing with dselect a couple of years ago.
  • BS rules?
  • Allright, lets try to continue this metaphor then...

    We pay taxes to the government, they provide us with services in return (roads, police, armed forces, the Smithsonian, tax shelters for the rich, etc.). In exchange for giving the government money, they try to make sure we're not invaded (I hear Canda has 90% of their population amassed within 100 miles of the border as we speak).

    We can also pay money to Redhat, and they provide us with services in return (updates, support, etc.). In exchange for giving Redhat money, they try to insure we're not cracked.

    The GPL does not prevent the charging of fees for service, but it does give more power to the consumer than many companies are comfortable with.

    Let's hammer this metaphor to death. What if the Constitution had been proprietary? Right off, the Bill of Rights and addition amendments wouldn't exist, as users wouldn't be able to add onto the Constitution. On the other hand, the US government could have made a fortune licensing the technology known by the internal code named "Democracy" to other countries. Then again, Greece might of had prior art....

  • Ah, but Mandrake would have never existed if Redhat wasn't, in turn, GPL! I actually used Mandrake 5.3, and as many people here know, it was just Redhat 5.2 (same installer, same everything) with KDE added in and a couple of updates.

    Granted, the fact that Mandrake could just take Redhat 5.2 and sell a better version of it speaks against the GPL from the business standpoint, but that frame of thinking is the wrong way to look at the GPL. The GPL isn't about protecting business rights, it's about protecting the consumers.

    Try to think of the United States Bill of Rights as a metaphor for the GPL. The Bill of Rights is stupid from a governmental perspective. Citizens who can speak out against the government? Citizens who can't be coerced into testifying against themselves? Citizens who can carry their own weapons? (allright, that one's pretty stupid today, but it made a lot of sense in the 1700's). The Bill of Rights isn't for the government, it's for the people. It helps keeps government honest, open, and democratic, and it assures citizens of their rights and freedoms.

    In turn, we shouldn't expect business to have to justify the use of the GPL, rather, it should be consumers that demand the use of the GPL, and business in turn respecting their customer's wishes and needs.

  • There are quite a few other channels for support besides Mandrake Expert. There are the Mandrake Expert Mailing list, the Mandrake Newbie Mailing list, alt.os.linux.mandrake, and so on.

    Their pay schemes have not yet been implemented, and I would be surprised if they ever are.

    Believe me, mandrakeexpert is just as frustrating for the experts. We get bombarded with questions like, "Can I get AOL on Mandrake?" "I want to set up a home LAN." So, yes, there is a difference between end-users and experts.

    Trying to blame mandrakeexpert for what is going on at MandrakeSoft is like trying to blame Slashdot for what happens to LNUX.

  • Well at least you're not denying we're a business success. And of course we're entirely GPL.

    You're making progress..... Now you've got to make the mental leap that Samba, like most GPL software is a *solution* to someone's problem. One that they're willing to pay for. The fact that it implements a crap protocol (with which I heartily agre b.t.w. :-) is irrelevent.

    I'm sure you can get there in the end. In the meantime, people keep paying us to develop and service Samba, so the GPL is a wonderful business plan for us (as it is for RedHat also).

    Regards,

    Jeremy Allison,
    Samba Team.
  • Yes I was being rude, please accept my apology. That comment was uncalled for and I regret it.

    I don't think I was misrepresenting you though. You believe that the GPL destroys legitimate business. HP, IBM, SGI, Sun, Veritas and *hundreds* of other companies don't. Where there are that many MBA's telling you you're wrong, don't you question what you're saying ? :-) :-).

    Regards,

    Jeremy Allison,
    Samba Team.
  • Samba *is* a business success, as there are many companies successfully depending on it to not only ship business product based upon it, but also many businesses using it internally for their own purposes. Just because there's no "SambaCorp (tm:-)" doesn't mean it's not a business success.

    Programmers working on Samba can leverage this knowledge into high consulting rates and employee wages (trust me on this one :-). We even run a "consultants" site off samba.org that advertises consultants and companies who will support Samba for a fee. This is exactly what the FreeBSD site does b.t.w..... :-). That's why the GPL is programmer and business friendly (IMHO). Most of the people advertising on that site work with us and provide a worldwide support service that *depends* on financial compensation. All for GPL code you claim is a "business destroyer".

    I do agree with you about the insecure proprietary protocol however. But whilst people keep buying Microsoft based desktop systems, what're you gonna do.... ? :-) :-). At least their servers can run on Linux or FreeBSD :-).

    Regards,

    Jeremy Allison,
    Samba Team.
  • Both IBM and HP have donated significant pieces of code to Samba (more from HP to be honest). You can't discount the business decisions of such companies as being from "instant MBA's". I know you disagree with their decisions, however they're doing it to maximize shareholder value in the best way they see how. Many of them have chosen to help GPL projects. Given this fact, you can't realistically argue the GPL is anti-business.

    I don't think they're trying to leverage a fad either. I think they see the GPL as their only hope to compete with an existing monopoly. Donating code to the BSD movement does then no good, as Microsoft can co-opt it (as they and NetApp have with BSD based code already).

    They're using the GPL as a business weapon.

    I don't think the GPL had anything to do with the failure of Eazel or Mandrake. Management, and bad luck (bubble bursting when it did) had more to do with it than any software license.

    Regards,

    Jeremy Allison,
    Samba Team.
  • Well air is definately an essential resource :-). But Samba is probably more directly related to the business products from HP, SGI, Veritas, IBM and Sun than air (both are essential however :-).

    Just because we don't have a samba.com doesn't mean we're not a business success. There are (reasonable) estimates that 30% of Windows clients connect to some Samba server. People claim apache as a business success all the time, there isn't an official apache.com. There are however, many businesses based upon it. Or do you separate out the success of Apache (>60% market share, that's a business success in my eyes) from that of Samba because Apache uses a license you agree with ?

    Your comment "programmers cannot make money off the code they actually generate" is incorrect. I have personally been living from the work I do on Samba for nearly five years now. I'm making money from what I do, and what I do is write GPL code.

    Regards,

    Jeremy Allison,
    Samba Team.
  • by Jeremy Allison - Sam (8157) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:22PM (#206901) Homepage
    Brett,

    Explain the business success of Samba please ? I can and will dog your efforts to paint the GPL as anti-business until you can explain our success and all the companies who co-operate and donate code to us.

    You know, little companies like IBM, Sun, HP.....

    I'm still waiting..... :-). Rhetoric is all well and good, but working code speaks louder....

    Regards,

    Jeremy Allison,
    Samba Team.
  • Hey Brett, I'm still here, and I'd still like to point out that Veritas, Sun, IBM, HP, SGI and other businesses willing to face the "overwhelming" hurdle of the GPL are *still* helping us develop Samba......

    Got an answer to our business success yet ?

    Thought not... (after all, you've only been repeating this troll for as long as I can remember, from your infoworld days).

    Readers who want a laugh can look up the old infoworld forums where Brett, a "journalist" at the time, had neglected to do his research and discover that Novell had in fact shipped a GPL version of Samba several years previously before Brett was claiming that the GPL was preventing them from doing so.... :-) :-).

    Regards,

    Jeremy Allison,
    Samba Team.
  • Who makes the decision to fire all of these people? It seems like the firings would need to come from below if the CEO, CIO, CTO, COO are fired...
    I must be missing something obvious about corporate chain of command.
  • > Nowhere in the article does it mention why Mandrake did the shakeup.

    Note: one of the weaknesses of any online community is the fact many believe themselves to be poorly connected & that everyone else either knows -- or doesn't know -- what they have heard. That is why I haven't shared the following bit of news.

    At the last PLUG (==Portland Linux/UNIX Group) meeting (3 May 2001), one of the members mentioned that he had just been laid off from Mandrake, shortly after returning from a business trip to Vietnam. In effect, about 3 weeks ago Mandrake was cutting back headcount of their US division.

    This latest move merely has brought to wider attention convulsions already going on in their company.

    Personal note: it's going to be hard to find work as a Linux guy when so many Linux experts are already out of work.

    Geoff
  • The troll thanks you for feeding him. He's just another reason I read at threshold 2 only.
    --
  • At work I've been able to get some of our MCSE Gates clones to switch to Linux and Gnome using Mandrake. They tried RedHat but complained about it being too difficult. I hope Mandrake can solve their problems and get some product on the shelf, and developers on the keyboards soon.

    I have a couple of Linus fans at work and I've tried to convince them to use and program for Windows 2000, but everytime they throw up their hands: "This ATL is too hard! COM is too hard! MTS gives me a headache! ISAPI modules are too difficult for me to comprehend! ActiveDirectory is too complex!" Eventually, after spouting anti-MS rhetoric to whoever would listen (to justify their failures) they rebooted their Linux which they could understand easier. I suppose they just couldn't handle the hard world of Windows. I plan on trying again in a couple of years.

  • I'm not a big fan of PC Anywhere (nice program but man did it cause a lot of system faults [as it hooks into the video driver/GDI], not to mention that the scripting was seriously broken in several ways), though I've had fantastic success with Netmeeting : It's fast and VERY reliable. However there's virtually no reason to ever need the GUI to administer 2000 : Close to everything is accessible via remote management tools that while providing a nice GUI communicate over a small pipe commands.

  • I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Has he considered looking for work at IBM or TripWire? Or for that matter, RuleSpace? There's plenty of Linux jobs out there in the Portland OR economy...just not a hell of a lot of Java jobs...

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.
  • I'm just another zealot, but...

    How many proprietary companies went down in the past year? How many closed-source/non-[F|f]ree companies slashed their staff, killed off the management team, and "refocused"?

    Does it even enter the realm of remote possiblity that perhaps many of these companies weren't focusing on a business model that generates income?

    Yes, Mandrake can be had for free. I tend to buy the boxed set - because waiting to download a few ISOs is a pain in the ass, and because it is indeed the point of this whole thing.

    It is probably more that they don't offer much of anything else beyond a nice distro: and that's where they're screwed. It has nothing to do with the GPL.

    RH has certification, consultants, and a varied business (with Cygnus, etc). They've got partnerships. They've got industry recognition. If you were to ask Ballmer which Linux company they fear (or are concerned with), I'd bet dollars to donuts his answer would be Red Hat.

    Mandrake made a great product - I'm using Mandrake 7.2 right now, and intend to buy 8 RSN - but they didn't have the varied model RH has. They aren't getting preinstalled on Dell or IBM. They aren't the 'gold standard' of compatibility.

    I'll be sad to see them go, if they do. OTOH, I can always use Debian, Red Hat, or Slackware.
  • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Monday May 21, 2001 @05:30PM (#206910)
    I have friends who worked for Mandrake up til the middle part of last month. They told me all about this when they got laid off. Apparently Mandrake is getting rid of their entire North American staff, including their support staff.

    There is talk of Mandrake hiring a lot of their support staff back on a contract basis, to provide tech support here in the NA.
  • Then jump on the expert mailing list and ask your
    questions there.
    ****************************************** **
  • >To me this is crazy, users have been asking for subscription baised distributions for a long time. If Mandrake would just put out a magazine that included periodic updates they'd have a userbase they could count and direct market other products.

    This is a damn good idea. A mandrake linux magazine! I'd definately buy that. They could have 2 sections, the newbie and the expert sections where they cover general use (newbie) and software details (programming, server software, etc. expert). Hmm, maybe a subscription based online magazine would do it (but I'd prefer to have it in print if possible). Something else that they could do with the subscription is make available the periodic updates.
    ********************************************
  • For those of you who use Mandrake or even those who don't, if you want to see them continue to create a great distribution (as well as contribute to many other free software projects), either buy the distribution or contribute directly to them at Mandrake donations [linux-mandrake.com]
  • Download a copy, try it, and if it is worth it, support the people that made it happen. Code, money, whatever. Communities are a two-way street and if we don't support developers how can they support us?

    After having heard the refrain over and over that Linux is great for the end user because it's free as in beer, I think it would be a pretty shitty thing for its advocates to start trying to lay a guilt trip on people who chose it for that very reason.

    I'd hope that won't eventually become a future Info World review dot-point. Good: Free for the cost of download. Bad: Communities are a two way street, so you owe the developers (you lazy ass!).


    Cheers,

  • Why does it seem more and more that Linux advocates see IBM as some savior on a par with Linus himself?


    Cheers,

  • "But you told me to switch from Windows because I would save money because Linux is free of charge. Now that I've switched, I'm supposed to feel guilty that I took you up on your offer?" Sorry, but if it's time for anyone to put their money with their mouths are, it's not the people you brought in with all the free talk.


    Cheers,

  • I'm talking about the "sales pitch" given to current Windows end users, not to Windows developers. I think it's pretty a rare occurence when the GPL is used as an argument in these cases rather than the free beer aspect. Do you disagree?


    Cheers,

  • by Sloppy (14984)
    That is a powerful force, but there's still an even bigger one: preloads. PC comes with Windows, user uses Windows.
    ---
  • So, am I going to be stranded now?

    It's Free Software. You can't be stranded. That's one of the major features. (Compare that situation to what you do if the maker of Windows, MacOS, BeOS, AmigaOS, OS/2, etc goes out of business or drops the product or whatever. Now that is what it's like to be stranded.)

    Worst case: you end up having to use the final Mandrake, or maintain/update it yourself by cruising Freshmeat every few weeks.

    Better case: some other distro maintainer decides that they like the last Mandrake so much, that they take it over. There are no barriers to this sort of thing happening, other than work.


    ---
  • It's Free Software. You can't be stranded.
    FYI: Actually, you can and quite possibly will. If it's under the GPL, that means that there will be no serious commercial development of the code

    You've got things backwards. No serious commercial development != stranded. The GPL is what prevents the stranding from taking place.

    I use AmigaOS at home and OS/2 at work. So believe me, I know all about what it's like to experience a lack of "serious commercial development." And since those platforms are closed, "serious commercial development" is the only development that can ever take place. If the IP owner decides that it's not worth it, then it just doesn't happen. GPLed code is never hostage to that type of reality, and always has potential for development, whether that happens to be "serious commercial" or otherwise.

    So please, don't tell an Amiga/OS2 guy like me that GPL results in stranding. I wish that my favorite software received -- or even could receive -- even a fraction of the maintenance and development that Free Software gets.


    ---
  • Every distributor that has dependencies has the same problem. The basic problem is just that packagers are lazy. They don't take the time to see that the package actually runs just fine on perl4 and thus there is no reason to make it dependent on the absolute most recent perl5 package. "Dependency" has become a huge misnomer.
  • Our office uses a Novell network. Linux connects well to Novell as a server, but as a client!!! Ugh! I haven't even been able to see the servers. This despite having supervisory access to Novell, so I can see all of the names. And the descriptions of what I am supposed to fill into the blanks don't use the same terms as the Novell manuals use, so I don't even know which I'm supposed to try.

    So I try blind fumbling through all the possible choices of names, taken three at a time, mixing in TCP/IP numbers just in case. And I still haven't been able to log on to a server or print to a printer. This has been true for several different distributions. Mars/NWE didn't help. Caldera didn't help (though that disk may have been bad). Red Hat didn't help. (FWIW, I've been through 4 distros in several versions, Debina, Red Hat, Caldera and Mandrake. These were largely distros that were purchased as boxed sets, though not Debian, of couse, and frequently I got the upgrades as CheapBytes disks.)

    When the external disk that I was running Linux off of died, I didn't replace it. (I didn't try Red Hat 7.1, as the disk had died by then, but I recently had a chance to ask some Red Hat techs, and was told that the workstation logon probably wouldn't work, though Caldera had some drivers... [see list in prior paragraph]). I use Linux exclusively at home, but at work I need to use the LAN.


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Have you heard of package signatures? Though it's true, not all packages have them. Still, Red Hat, at least, signs all of it's packages. (Well, at least the release version... I've encountered a few beta packages that were unsigned, and thought long and hard over whether or not to install them. Usually I waited for the next version.)


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • by Surak (18578)
    StarOffice/OpenOffice.org seem to open all of those formats pretty well. It's not 100%, it can't be, but much of the formatting and even the VBA scripts will transfer in, far better than it does in AbiWord or Kword.

    And OpenOffice.org is open source, so no guilt required. Plus they got rid of that annoying desktop thing. :)
  • by Surak (18578)
    I have never bough a PC that came preloaded with Windows.

    Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that I build all my own boxes... :)

  • Yes, from what I recall Caldera is the only company that owns the rights to Novell Login stuff for the current novell networks. You'd have to switch to them. Magnwa
  • by Arandir (19206) on Monday May 21, 2001 @05:23PM (#206927) Homepage Journal
    Check the slackware-current changelog. It's BETA time!
  • > Several of the slashdot staff are big Mandrake fans; I hope they can keep going in the face of adversity.

    Hopefully you didn't mean that the way it sounds.

    --
  • These are the same Desktop developers that insist on using butt-ugly GTK Mandrake configuration tools with my sweet KDE environment.

    No they aren't; I did some contracting work for MandrakeSoft, and I was asked to use GTK for the interface, because that's what everything else used. I would've preferred Qt, but hey, what can you do? I got the impression that these types of decisions aren't made at the developer level, they're made a bit higher up.
    --
  • but it is a simply matter of a simple budget.

    When executives are let go in groups, it is very, very rarely an issue of budget cuts.

    For example, when you hear companies taking hits, and they need to drop staff, who do they drop first? The visionaries? The guys at the top? Why would they can themselves? If they knew of severe budget problems, they'd stand up in front of the press, talk about it, and either quit or find other jobs to get into. People who know about really tough budgets usually find a graceful way out, or else they start canning the low-level staff.

    On the other hand, when there's personal disputes, the low-level staff keep their jobs. For example, if there was a battle between the Yanks and the French, with major disagreements, that's when you see the kind of executive bloodbath that Roblimo talks about in the article. You see people get sacked en masse without a chance to talk to the press first, or to spin it their way. Executives never get sacked en masse as a result of budget problems, because they're the ones making the budget. The only way that happens is if you have dissatisfied funders or shareholders - which of course, could still be the case here.

  • At work I've been able to get some of our MCSE Gates clones to switch to Linux and Gnome using Mandrake.

    I rarely make book recommendations, but when you said that, you caught my eye. I'm an MCSE in the process of switching over to Mandrake, and I've got the perfect tool for your conversions: "Linux for Windows NT/2000 Administrators, The Secret Decoder Ring" by Mark Minasi with Dan York and Craig Hunt. It's put out by Sybex, and you can find it at your local big bookstores on the shelves. The book is outstanding. I tried to make the leap several times, but I couldn't do it until I got this book.

    It explains everything in terms Windows admins can understand, and it's even honest about the advantages of both platforms. It's the first book I've seen that really makes the transformation easy.
  • Well hopefully...

    I think they'd be better off continuing to put out release candidates until they get one that - as is - they're happy enough to put out as the retail release (and final ISO download if they want to continue doing that).

    I tried the "release" 8.0 download, and among other issues found that:

    - the 2.4.3 kernel they install by default (it also comes with a 2.2 kernel) suffers from the VM failures that were still unfixed as of recent 2.4.4-ac versions. Symptom - under heavy swap conditions, the kernel will just kill processes (in my case parts of KDE) in a temporary hack attempt to keep going.

    - the aic7xxx (Adaptec SCSI controll driver) they ship with is broken to the extend that you may or may not be able to install off a SCSI CD (at best it will take 3hr+ due to SCSI timeouts and retries). This is a known reported issue. I got around it by copying the CD to disk and doing a disk based install, then installing a newer kernel.

    Unfortunately Mandrake's way of doing things is that they release the last release candidate plus bug fixes, so it's anbody's guess whether the retail version fixes any of the 8.0 "release" download issues.
  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Monday May 21, 2001 @07:12PM (#206933)
    It'd not just the free FTP access, it's the cheapbytes sales too, from which Mandrake get nothing.

    You never see people complaining about not being able to download SuSE ISO's, or about SuSE being $29.95 (official version) rather than Mandrake's $3.49 at cheapbytes.

    Linux many be free software, and none of us need a distribution, but we all recognise the value of them and use them. It's a pretty odd business model for Mandrake to create a product that people clearly want and then give it away! Sure if they stop providing free downloads or allowing ISO distribution people will whine, but as long as they provide a product we want and do so at a reasonable price (they do - it's 29.95 same as SuSE), then we'll buy it.

  • We had a good product but the VCs were scared to pay for development because they thought that someone like Eazel would come along and do the same thing for free.
    I'm sorry for your circumstances, but your comments suggest that your dot.com had no intention of making the product source available. As such, the threat to the company had little or nothing to do with the GPL, and much to do with having a business plan built around a product which apparently could be easily copied and re-implemented. In that case, it doesn't matter if the re-implementation is done by a group that makes the resulting product available under the GPL or another free or open source license, or if it's done by Microsoft and the resulting binary-only product made freely downloadable. If an organization doesn't produce something marketable which is either difficult or time-consuming for a competitor to duplicate, then it has little chance for survival, GPL or no GPL.
  • Well I usually hear about free as in freedom especially from the GPL fans (which most linux fans are).

    Either way paying $50.00 for a box at staples is far cry from paying $50.00 per user to MS.
  • Damn.

    I love Mandrake. Redhat is nice, but do a search on
    rpmfind.net and see what comes up most. Mandrake
    has more recent builds on almost all packages than
    Redhat ever has. Nicer bootup system, more recent
    kernel builds, better desktop configuration tools, it
    would be a shame to lose it! Especially since the 8.0
    release was so highly acclaimed!

    ::sob::

    Say it ain't so, Mandrake! Say it ain't so!
    --
    Shaun Thomas: INN Programmer
  • BSDI is not BSD company in the sense that Red Hat is a GPL company. It is a BSD company in the sense that Red Hat is a Linux company. Clearly, since the original troll^H^H^H^H^Hpost was about the GPL, you should be looking at companies that release software under the BSD licensem like Crynwr (I know it's not public, it's just an example).
  • by JPS (58437) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @02:00AM (#206948) Homepage
    but it is a simply matter of a simple budget.

    When executives are let go in groups, it is very, very rarely an issue of budget cuts.

    Well, this depends how much they are paid... There was a rumor that they were paid a LOOOOOOOOOOOT... Not sure how it went exactly but the following scenario makes sense:
    1. A group of mostly developpers start a company
    2. They realize they need a stronger management
    3. They hire a team of executives
    4. This team takes a LOT of money
    5. The core developpers team is not happy with the management ans still has a majority of shares
    6. They fired them "in bulk"
  • by joq (63625) on Monday May 21, 2001 @05:11PM (#206949) Homepage Journal

    Not even a nicely GUI-filled, easy to use distribution as Mandrake made a difference to people who love the ease of MS based products. I've never used Mandrake, but have seen co-workers use it, and claim it to be the easiest to use of all the Linux distributions.

    If this is the case, then why haven't many MS users switched over to something so easy. Is it the way some of these companies market themselves, which is close to zero when it comes to mainstream magazines, or is it that too many distributions add to the confusion or something.

    So far so good for Redhat however who is managing to keep in the game, and for all the Linux users, just hope this is the last distribution to go under, else your going to have some massive "Linux is dying" trolls. Not to mention (which is most important) a sad showing of the possible overall outcome for Linux, should they not hurry and capture a large portion of the home pc segment.


  • I installed StarOffice (I guess it's OpenOffice now) and found that it's able to open most anything my MS-using colleagues send my way.

    Also note that Bynari [bynari.com] now ships an Outlook/Exchange compatible mail client that makes fitting into an MS network a lot easier. I think it may be closed source, though, not sure.

    --
  • Thought 1: when the seniors are cut and the line employees kept, it's usually due to a shareholder/board decision, for serious business-plan shifts or no-confidence votes. Conversely, when the line employees are cut, it's a decision within the company to reduce complexity but keep the same basic direction.

    Thought 2: as a Linux newbie, I tried fresh Mandrake 8.0 iso's first. Tried to get it to work for a Toshiba 1715XCDS crappy laptop. The installer seemed to work okay, but once the installer quit, the actual system was flaky, especially the way Toshiba's lcd/crt switch worked. That, combined with the sugary cute penguin mascot junk EVERYWHERE, I decided to back-step to Red Hat 7.1 which worked much more reliably (though still a couple gotchas). Mandrake was much too cutesy and maybe too bleeding-edge untested.

    Thought 3: another poster made this observation but I thought I'd amplify it. I downloaded ISOs because I wanted more recent versions than were available at Wal*Mart and Best Buy. I would have paid the money either way, to support the companies involved. I'd support modest premium fees for not-yet-boxed ISO images from a fastish FTP site.

  • I am not sure how they are structured and how many employees they are using but it is a simply matter of a simple budget. If they sell 100,000.00 of Mandrake a month, and their expenses are 110,000.00, they need to cut back, restructure and not be so wasteful. Sometimes companies try to do to much to fast and forget to look at the bottom line about how to pay the bills.
  • by jmv (93421) on Monday May 21, 2001 @05:54PM (#206959) Homepage
    I think the number one reason MS is able to keep its monopoly with Windows is because of Word and the fact that most companies exchange word documents.

    I use Mandrake (7.2) in a mostly MS-only workplace and I find it quite annoying to recieve all those Word Excel and Powerpoint documents by e-mail. For some of them, abiword or kword is OK, gnumeric is sometimes OK, but it's far from being optimal.
  • by teg (97890) on Monday May 21, 2001 @07:33PM (#206960) Homepage
    Uh... you seem rather misinformed:
    1. Red Hat, Inc. is not profitable - we're break even. True, we are looking for profits in the not too distant future, but no announcements have been made.
    2. Caldera has huge profits? They have no market share, a huge loss - $10 million [yahoo.com]. On revenue of $1 million. And I don't see the SCO purchase as a good move - SCO wasn't exactly a growing business. And if you want to move off SCO (as many do) and go to Linux, Caldera isn't exactly the place you'd look: It has no mind share. You'd go with the company who has the people to make your company be successful, and that is Red Hat.

    (I work for Red Hat as a developer)

  • With 33.8% US Market share, how can they be loosing money?

    Let me tell you a classic story. One day, the two ethnic brothers decided to go into business selling watermelons. They got a truck, bought a truckload of watermelons at a dollar apiece, and then sold them in the marketplace at a dollar apiece. Their product sold like hotcakes; in fact, the brothers had cornered the market. After several loads of watermelons, they discovered that -- because of the expense of fuel for the truck -- they had not only failed to make money but had less than before.

    "I told you, you idiot," said one ethnic brother to the other. "What we need is a larger truck."

    --Brett Glass

  • FreeBSD not only lives on but is a better no-cost OS than any Linux distribution I've used. As for Walnut Creek and BSDi: they were bought for big bucks by Wind River Systems. They're doing well.

    --Brett Glass

  • Potential users just don't know what Linux has to offer them. If they will listen, I find that a few minutes of education and evaluation of their current usage is enough to get them to try Linux.

    To try Linux, yes.But I doubt it is enough to use Linux as their primary OS (or only one- double booting is a geek thing which many normal PC users find strange and cumbersome).

    Things which prevent people from accepting Linux are:

    • Hardware support: you can't go in a computer shop, buy something and be sure it works with Linux ( and I have read that also penguin-stickered hardware sometime fails);
    • Applications: some areas are both not interesting enough to be developed by volunteers and not rewarding enough (given Linux small market) to be developed by companies.
    • M$oft is used everywere: just like Samba did on the server side, Linux users need better tools to interoperate with M$oft users (first of all a really really good filter for M$oft office docs).
    In the seven years I have been a Linux user, progress has been certainly made on all these problems. But, IMHO, not enough. Yet.
  • To convince me to program fow Windows 2000, you need to prove me that:
    • Extremely detailed docs about how it works are available, free or at regular publishing costs, possibly from a a variety of sources;
    • That none of the tools I have to use treats me as mentally impaired ("thrust me, it just works" is good for end-users, maybe, not for developers);
    • That its design follows the philosophy "not more complex than the problem it wants to solve", and that I can follow the same concept in developing my software ( that is, that I _decide_ to use some of those pretty-acronyms-technologies because I find them useful, not because the tools I use cannot work without them ).
  • Mandrake's a great distro. A friend of mine has a copy and his business doesn't use Linux at all. He keeps it around because it's the best way to reformat hard disks on Winblows systems without destroying the data.

    My work, on the other hand, standardized on Mandrake long ago.
    -------------------------------------------- ------
  • Money and distribution is important, but its also not fair to be charging for other people's work, and essentially making them pay for it. No one would help on any of their projects if they did that, and it would be essentially like stepping back to a closed source model.
  • Well, it's good to see the high-priced Americans go. But it kind of sucks that they kept the Desktop developers. These are the same Desktop developers that insist on using butt-ugly GTK Mandrake configuration tools with my sweet KDE environment.
  • Sheesh, seems like my joke was a bit too much for the slow-witted slashdot community. The satire in the above post was to point out exactly why Debian is superior. Its not a for profit company. Debian has no CEOs, CIOs, or CTOs. The Debian developers have been doing everything voluntarily from day one.

    Maybe these recent events will show people that Debian is the Linux distro that adheres the closest to the free software movement.
  • On the contrary, I can't see how you can make money "selling support". What is this "support" thing really, anyway? At my workplace, we've never paid for support, for any product, apart from the case of products where online technical support is included in the initial cost. Unless it's in the form of training, or something like that. Microsoft have shown us how crappy technical support can be - pay by the minute to listen to a guy read from the same help file that YOU are currently staring at. Support is only worth paying for if it's really HELPFUL - ie.

    Q: I've got a problem
    A: Do this, this, this and this.
    Q: Great, that worked!
    A: Cool, pay me.

    This rarely happens. Not in windows. Not in Linux. More often than not, you get better answers from free, public forums. On top of that, what stops third-parties selling support? I understand the focus is corporate support, not support for home users, but still, it is rarely worth it.

    The simple fact is, people are going to have to start paying for Linux. It's not fair, but if it doesn't happen sooner or later, a lot of great stuff like Mandrake (my distro of choice, it rocks too damn hard) might go under. There are lots of ways to do this - create cheaper "light" versions. Make it free for "non-commerical use". Making money off "support" is destined to go the same was as making money off banner ads did.
  • StarOffice is no substitute for MS Office, unfortunately.

    I have everyone send me there documents in HTML, even MS Office reads that. If I recieve an MS Office file and StarOffice won't read it, I send it back and request the document in HTML format.


    Jesus died for sombodies sins, but not mine.

  • OK, let's flesh out your metaphor a little more. The US Constitution established rights for citizens, true, but it also established a government and made provisions designed to ensure that the government would be likely go continue.

    If the Constitution had been written like the GPL, it would have had the Bill of Rights, but no provision for raising taxes. We may not think of paying taxes as a privelege, but if all our soldiers had been sent home for lack of funds and the Soviets had invaded we would have quickly realized what a privelege it was.

    In short, a balance between business and consumer is required. By attempting to shift that balance too far towards the consumer, the GPL limits itself. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn" (Deuteronomy 25:4) but that is exactly what copyleft does.

  • by The Pim (140414) on Monday May 21, 2001 @05:49PM (#206992)
    Perhaps the answer is to finally admit that the GPL is designed to hurt businesses and programmers -- and is doing it.

    Oddly, the founder of a wildly successful free company doesn't agree. "I saw [in the GNU Manifesto] a business plan in disguise." Michael Tiemann, Future of Cygnus Solutions: An Entrepreneur's Account [oreilly.com].

    Why tools and solutions companies like Cygnus (and Ars Digita, and Ada Core Technologies, and CodeSourcery) have had more success with free software than retail and support companies is an interesting question. Perhaps you should look into it instead of making wild and inflammatory claims.

  • Slackware is being cut loose from there parent company even though Slackware does something unheard of in the distro game, they make money.
    So we have unprofitable easy to use distros like Mandrake cutting back and we have profitable difficult ones like Slackware being cast adrift.

    Will some one wake me when this starts to make sense?

    Discloser: I have slack on one box and mandrake on the other because faux-wife should not be made to use slack and i should not have to use mandrake.
  • by Fishstick (150821) on Monday May 21, 2001 @05:15PM (#206998) Journal
    We can only pray that the /. staff can keep going in the face of this adversity!

    *yes I know he meant the Mandrake team, but I wasn't able to resist.

    ---

  • by DeeKayWon (155842) on Monday May 21, 2001 @06:11PM (#207000)
    I got started with Mandrake. The distro I successfully used was Mandrake 7.0, and I was pleased enough with it that I went out and bought a boxed copy, even though I already had the CD from a Maximum Linux Magazine. It turned out to be a pretty good deal. Between the included PartitionMagic and BootMagic limited editions, the five e-books, the RPM'ed StarOffice 5.1 install, and the 400-page manual, I feel I got quite a bit for my money.

    My point with that is that I think it should be encouraged that once people settle on a distribution that works right for them, that they go out and buy a boxed copy off the shelf. In most cases, what you get for your money is a lot more than what you get for the download time.

    Second, I'd like to vent about the number one thing that irritated me about Mandrake: the ridiculous RPM dependencies. For example, a program I'm installing tells me it requires gtk+-1.2.6-14, where I have gtk+-1.2.6-12. Or another program requires some PDA-related package, where I don't have a PDA. Sure, I could just use --nodeps and it'll probably work, but I didn't know that at first and newbies won't either. Seeing those warning messages will only make them afraid that something might break if they don't get all of the required packages. And having to find and download those packages will only frustrate them. That's not newbie-friendly in my opinion. Serious improvements need to be made to RPM's dependency system in order to fix this, IMO.
  • In addition to the 2-CD set for $20, this page [linux-mandrake.com] allows for outright donations to various open source projects, including Mandrake ones.

    Go grab your credit/check card and give $5 or $10 and put our money where our mouth is. I'm going to now.

  • by the-banker (169258) on Monday May 21, 2001 @05:37PM (#207011)
    Sadly, Mandrake did what many Free Software companies have done (free distribution), and it contributed to problems. The thing is, Free Software allows for making money off the venture, but in specific ways: distribution and service. Mandrake was making strides in distribution (I even saw a copy of Mandrake 7.2 in Wal-Mart) but it always seemed easier to just download a copy.

    An interesting point - the GPL does not require providing FTP access to the distribution free of charge, particularly before a boxed version of the product is available. I was no huge fan of what Libranet did by charging for the download, but in a moment of rare clarity I realized if the choice is to have a fee based download or boxed purchase versus losing a distribution, I would gladly pay. I have purchased 2 versions of RedHat (5.2 and 7.1) solely because I believe in supporting companies that have empowered me. not everyone can create a Debian - it is a special group of people that make things like Debian happen.

    I don't think I am alone when I say I don't mind paying for Free Software. As oxymoronic as that sounds, developers need to eat. Companies need to make money. Hopefully Mandrake will rebound and solve their issues. In the interim - for those of us with the means - we should consider buying a single copy of our favorite distro, or donate to Free Software projects we value. Download a copy, try it, and if it is worth it, support the people that made it happen. Code, money, whatever. Communities are a two-way street and if we don't support developers how can they support us?

  • Can you be sure? Mandrake targets newbies. How many mandrake users are capable of working on a complex oss project? How many know what a compiler is? Or how to use it? Or how to understand the finer points of writing a multithreaded multiuser operating system?

    No, chances are, that with this project, when Mandrake company dies, the distro will slowly fade in obscurity, to finally be abandoneded when the amount of work to keep it up exceeds the value gained from the handful of users and contributors.
  • LinuxGram has released the retail market shares for the USA during the first 2001 Quarter (Source: LinuxGram Newsletter/PC Data). Guess who is first? Mandrake - 33.8%
    Redhat - 30.7%
    Suse - 23.8%
    FreeBSD - 5.6%
    Caldera - 2.5%
    Corel - 2.3%
    Turbolinux - 1.2%

    With 33.8% US Market share, how can they be loosing money?
  • Nowhere in the article does it mention why Mandrake did the shakeup.

    I assume it was obvisouly for finicial reasons. I am quie supprised. Mandrake is a very popular distro. I admit they do not have much support services but it seems to be more aimed at the linux newbie market then server market due to its bleeding edgeness. I wonder how much profit a professional distro like Caldera or Redhat make on services for bussinesses vs profits on the sale.

    I noticed SuSE is gaining alot of market share and may be close to toppling redhat in the US. The link [suse.com] is at there website so it may be biased.

    Its also one of the most easiest install's I have ever seen. Easy installations is one of mandrakes main strengths and selling points. It also is very solid and bugfree and still has a unix flavor.

    Perhaps the rise of SuSE and support profits for redhat have eaten mandrakes profit margins. I also noticed that alot of geeks who are angry at bugs in redhat and mandrake have switched to debian. Debian probably is the most solid distro non commercial distro out there. I believe its just competition thats hurting them.

  • Mandrake, in my opinion, is the only company that has bothered to address the needs of the "entry level" Linux user. (It's still too hard, but that's another issue)

    I sincerely hope they don't go under, who would take up the slack? They've contributed a lot in the way of GUI setup and configuration tools.


  • news that he was being let go effective immediately. When asked about it he said "It was difficult for them to keep me on posing for pictures and drawings, because it just looks like that I sit around all the time."

    "Perhaps things would be better if there was a more viable business model or something" he continued, "but I hope to continue on in a voluntary role."

  • first off, the software is great, very little to complain about. Mandrake has done a nice job of providing forums and such as well as making it easy to work on developing via the 'cooker' version.
    MANDRAKE EXPERT, that's what's wrong. when you have an issue, you go to some 'expert' forum and they are pay schemes to get people to answer questions. this shifted focus away from some other community areas and created a 'FORK' in the community. now you don't just go to mandrake forum to discuss the OS and ask questions, those posts go to mandrakeexpert.com and to 'be an expert' is to register and ask to get questions sent your way.
    let's just help each other, and be a community like we always have and scrap this mandrake expert concept, in Linux, we're all experts, that's what makes this a special place to be, there are no end users in an open world, and no-one should be thought of as an end user vs an expert.

    that's just my twisted view on things, no-body will listen anyhow.
  • Have you heard of package signatures? Though it's true, not all packages have them.

    Signatures just prove that a package came with the distribution, not that the code was written by someone talented or intelligent.

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Monday May 21, 2001 @06:14PM (#207045) Homepage Journal
    You don't need to be Kreskin to predict your future. The handwriting is on the wall: You face a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for you because you are brain dead. Things are looking very bad for you. As many of us are already aware, you continue to lose readers. Your anti-BSD spam flows like a sewer of human waste. Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    Slashdot readers stated that there are 7000 nearly identical posts of your anti-BSD spam. How many people actually believe it? Let's see. The number of intelligent Slashdot posts versus your anti-BSD spam is roughly in ratio of 500 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000*500 = 3,500,000 Slashdot users who are annoyed by your idiotic spam. A recent article put your spam at about 80 percent on the nonsense scale. Therefore there are many thousands of Slashdot readers who know that you are full of crap. This is consistent with the number of Slashdot posts stating so.

    Due to the trouble you have thinking, abysmal IQ test scores and so on, you will be lucky to go out into the business world and land a job at McDonalds.

    All major surveys show that your anti-BSD spam has steadily gotten more annoying. You are very sick and your long term survival prospects are very dim -- especially if your identity becomes known. If you are to survive at all it will be among other idiots, trolls, and the mentally ill. Interest in your anti-BSD spam continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could revive it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, you are completely brain dead.

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Monday May 21, 2001 @06:31PM (#207046) Homepage Journal
    This is the same cut & paste troll that he (and his little friends?) post every time the name BSD appears in a posting. I have to wonder if he is some pissed-off janitor that got let go from Walnut Creek or BSDi. Why else would he be that interested in bad-mouthing an OS? I mean, either you use *BSD or you don't, but if you don't, why would you get your panties that twisted every time it is mentioned? I just hope that he gets moderated down like usual.
  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @05:49AM (#207047) Homepage Journal
    I'm not "anti-Linux" and, in fact, I run Mandrake 8.0. Having a humorous signature line that pokes fun at one of Linux's weak points hardly makes me "anti-Linux". Nice try.
  • "Mandrake is an excellent distro, especially for beginners who are looking for something less scattered than RedHat. Mandrake has continued to set the standard for ease of use and functionality. I hope they stay around for the sake of the linux community."

    I agree. Mandrake is by far the best distro for ease of installation and use. And at the moment, it is a better desktop OS than Red Hat, without losing compatibility with Red Hat...

    The best of both worlds.

    This is why I use Mandrake 8.0 on my desktop, and Red Hat 7.1 on my server, though Mandrake 8.0 has some VERY interesting, and easy GUI based setups for several of the server apps that is making me consider trying it out as a server.

    This is what I do: I ALWAYS go buy a copy of the latest Red Hat or Mandrake (Have since 6.2 and 7.0 respectively). Why? Because I feel I should give something to the people who are giving me this software that costs FAR less than it's worth. $30-40 for a Linux distro is a far better deal than `Doze.
  • Well, its not as bad as it sounds. They're laying off mainly high priced American managers on the reasoning that they can't do a US IPO right now, so get rid of the Americans. Fine, get rid of the Frenchies because their wine sucks..pfft
    Mandrake is doing though, what most tech companies are doing, laying off and firing people, although not as high level and drastic as Mandrake has done. I hope this doesn't affect their distro, (yes it will). Mandrake is such a high quality OS. I had RH first and get Mandrake later and stuck with Mandrake.
  • Actually, I thought it looked more like the United States is slowly but surely being "voted off the island."
  • I see three possible outcomes to this

    1) Mandrake keeps on doing what it does best - produce a desktop friendly distribution. This is my preferred outcome, and is not unreasonable. Mandrake are still one of the more popular distributions and their Macmillan publishing deal probably brings in more than a few bucks.

    2) Mandrakesoft goes under - but the distribution keeps on going as a community project (a bit like Debian). Not unimagineable given the strong community involvement in the development of distribution releases through Cooker.

    3) Mandrakesoft gets bought out by a big hardware company that can see a benefit in developing its own distribution. Imagine IBM buying up Mandrakesoft. So long as they maintain community involvement through Cooker, and partner this with the QA IBM could provide (especially with their own hardware) you could end up with a very good hardware/software combination indeed. Keeping a community involvement would be good for IBM (PR anyway) - they can move into the distribution game without antagonising community developers Given the work Mandrake have put into user-friendliness, if they wanted a desktop distribution, Mandrake is probably a good starting point.

    Just a few wildly uninspiring thoughts....
  • by molnarc (317671) on Tuesday May 22, 2001 @04:57AM (#207066) Homepage
    Folks,

    I have been watching this conversation go on for a day now and while tempted to reply have not done so until now.

    I am an ex-Mandrakesoft employee. I did not leave the company as a part of the layoffs, but a few months prior to all of this going on. The writing was on the wall. I was seeing to much of Corporate America starting to grow within a company that wasn't a part of Corporate America. For those of you whom work in large corporations you can understand that.

    It is my sincere beleif that what is going on is a good thing. Mandrakesoft has been through a turmendous amount of termoil over the last year primarily brought on by an American CEO and CIO that attempted to take a small, but very effective, Paris based company and jumpstart them into a .com IPO. There was a culture class.

    I think that if people investigated a little further several of the people mentioned in the article left on their own accord, and not part of a layoff or a mass firing. I do not know all the details, but I will share mine. Please understand there may be some holes in my story as I do not want to do ANYTHING to hurt the company that I still believe in.

    About a year and 3 months ago I left a very good job with Aetna Healthcare (Insurance) to go to work for Mandrake. I was hired because of my work on the KDE project, I had been doing packaging on my own and one day I got an email asking me if I would like to get paid for what I did. It was my dream job, however, never before hearing of a "hire by email" oppurtunity I thought long and hard before making the move. Close to 10 years with another company and moving to a small Paris based company was a really tough decision to make. When I made the move I took a $5,000.00 per year pay cut and a cut in bennefits as well. But it was worth it.

    For the next 6 months I worked out of my home, relying on email and IRC and infrequent conference calls to communicate with my collegues. Then changes started happening. First, I started doing a lot of Linux training classes and some of these where for MandrakeSoft. Others for a small startup company in North Haven, CT named Innovation Software Group, LLC (http://www.innovationsw.com/training). These classes where soon picked up on by Mandrake management in Los Angeles (US office). I was asked by the US manager to put together a plan for starting training in the US. I was also given a change of job title to North American Training Coordinator.

    Around this same time the new CEO started changing peoples job descriptions and brining a lot of outside people into the company. Most of these people had never worked outside of the Corporate world before. And had never even seen Linux before. Things suddenly became very political, and most of us found ourselves first out of the communication chain, and second unable to get any answers to questions we had. I do not know how it was for the people in the Paris office, but for me working remotly it was hell. Once of the few things a remote employee has to rely on is proper communication.

    As a part of this communication gap came along the announcement of the purchase of a "training company" named CourseMetrics, out of Berkly, CA. This company was supposed to be an expert in training. Late in January I visited this company and came away with a very different opinion. It was a company in failure. It was a strugling .com company that for some unknown reason was being purchased. The people in that company did not even have an idea of what Linux was and all they had ever done in training was to write surveys. There was no bennefit to Mandrakesoft.

    But this visit also showed me something else. I had the oppurtunity to observe our new mgmt in action. For a week I was around and watching all the US based managers that had taken a firm grip on all parts of Mandrakesoft. All of a sudden all IT functions where being directed by a US managers, sales by a US manager, and so on. The biggest concern for me was I was seeing the start of a corporate "you kiss my ass and I'll kiss yours" power play that I had seen before in my prior life at Aetna. I had no wish to go back to that life.

    So I gave 60 days notice and gave them a few options to retain me. This didn't happen so I left.

    I found out afterwards that the US managers whom I reported to never even informed the Paris managers of my reasons for leaving. I was a little surprised and dissapointed. They all thought that I was mad at Mandrakesoft and in truth I was worried and dissapointed. I will probably be forced to go back to work for a coproration, at 35 years old I do not have many options as I need to start thinking about retiring sometime in the next 30 years. I had really hoped that Mandrakesoft would take me there as I am still one of those people who believes in employee employer loalty and long term commitments.

    The reason for me making this know is to make you aware that the changes that have happened are good things. I believe that with the management team led by Henri Poole out of the way only good things will happen. The prior management team (the founders) who have now regained control of the company have been able to do the job very well before and I think given the oppurtunity will do so again. The technical staff and the general support staff that remain in both the US, Canada, and in Paris are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met. We have seen the comments on newsforge about accepting pay cuts to help the company survive. I will almost put money that most of them have accepted this in some way or another unless it was totally an imposibility. There is a lot of pride behind their product and rightfully so.

    Please give them the benifit of the doubt, do not start rumors to hurt them, and please go to your nearest store and buy a boxed set. If you do not run Mandrake yourself, hey, give a copy to a friend who is still stuck in the Windows world.

    I am currently working as an independent Linux instructor and the only build I feel comfortable teaching linux to newbies on is Mandrake. I do not want to see it go away or become less than a quality product.

    Chris Molnar
    molnarc@nebsllc.com

  • original phrase that your sig was generated from was "All your bases are belong to us"

    Shouldn't that be "... base ..." If you're gonna do it, do it right!

  • That's my fear, too. I'm a linux "newbie" and I freely admit it. So, am I going to be stranded now? I've tried a couple of other distros (Red Hat and Corel)...and before I get any snide remarks about that, read the first line again.

    I know that Mandrake came from Red Hat, but they're different now, are they not? So am I going to have to start my 'education' over? I really like Mandrake and I hope these are temporary setbacks, but if they're not I really hope somebody steps up and helps out us new guys.

    Whether or not you like to admit it, Linux has a steep learning curve. Especially for those of us who haven't had college courses in C and Unix. Personally I have no desire to spend forever learning every tweak and command to get my OS to work right...I want minimal hassle between install and "up and running"...and I think that's what the 'masses' (read: MS drones ready to jump ship) want, too.

    We can preach all day about the superiority of Linux, but what does it matter if the only ones who believe it are the ones who are preaching? Mandrake went a long way (IMHO) toward reaching out a hand to those of us wanting to escape Microsoft (especially before XP comes out and gets rammed down our throats *shudder*) who were afraid of the complexity of Linux.

    I'm not saying Mandrake was perfect, but they were easy enough to get even me online! If they go, I sure hope someone else moves into their place.

    I really like Linux, and I'd like to see it take off as a desktop OS, but without people catering to the new guys, then I can't see that many people will be enticed away from their comfy little Microshelters.



  • I think the linux community should use this as a wake up call. Most linux users buy their distributions from on-line retailers like Cheapbytes or download from the net. It is time for the users to put their money where their mouth is. If you like a distribution, buy the boxed set. Continue to support that distribution by buying every release, even if you don't need it.

    It is a shame to see Mandrake take the hit. They really helped but Linux on the desktop and promote KDE as a viable desktop.

    PS> I don't use Mandrake or KDE but I recognize their acheivments. And yes evevry distribution I own is an "official" boxed set and I have bought boxed sets that I don't use on a regular basis to support those companies. They make great gifts.

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