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Mandrake Policy Change Angers Users 246

Posted by michael
from the seasons-change dept.
phalse phace writes "Yahoo! News is carrying a ZDNet News article which reveals that Mandrake has decided to change its policy regarding its Mandrake Club. Previously, Mandrake stated that all membership levels would enjoy the same benefits. But since Mandrake Linux 8.2 will include StarOffice 6.0 and Sun is charging for it, they decided to only allow the download of SO 6.0 to Silver members and higher."
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Mandrake Policy Change Angers Users

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  • OpenOffice? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zapfie (560589) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @09:54AM (#3212438)
    Instead of bothering with licencing fees related to StarOffice, why not just include OpenOffice? They're the same codebase, right?
    • Re:OpenOffice? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goldid (310307)
      Indeed. The question is important to ask: why support StarOffice? If you're an open source firm, and your revenue base is fragile, why would you start including other people's software which costs? If peple want StarOffice, let them go get it. Mandrake can include OpenOffice, KOffice, or many different individual products/projects such as AbiWord. There is no reason to have StarOffice in the distro.
      • Perhaps its because (Score:4, Interesting)

        by HanzoSan (251665) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:18AM (#3212496) Homepage Journal
        Mandrake read slashdot and saw posts about how they had no business plan, and how they were begging and blah blah blah, perhaps they are actually making Mandrake club a legit Redhat style service now.

        Why include open office? Business users dont want Open Office they want STAR OFFICE.

        People complain when Mandrakesoft is too fair, then they complain when Mandrakesoft does the same thing Redhat and everyone else is doing.

        People, subscribe, or shut up.
        • by Pave Low (566880)
          you seem to have a psychic's ability to read into what mandrake and business users want.

          well, you are just speculating and talking straight out of your ass. how many business users want something outside of MS Office? In my actually experience (which you seem to have none) it's almost nobody.

          telling people to shut up or subscribe is plain idiotic. how about those subscribed thinking they were getting one thing than it gets changed later?

          • I mean no businesses use linux. Why would anyone need staroffice
    • Re:OpenOffice? (Score:4, Informative)

      by bero-rh (98815) <.bero. .at. .redhat.com.> on Saturday March 23, 2002 @09:58AM (#3212448) Homepage
      They are the same codebase, but unfortunately the codedrop to OpenOffice was incomplete.
      e.g. the Adabas database is missing because it was licensed from a 3rd party, which didn't agree to open the code.

      While OpenOffice is preferrable for most things,
      there are a couple of people who need StarOffice until
      there are free replacements for the missing parts.
    • Exactly. Plus, I feel, if you pay more, you should get more, anyways. So you can still download open office no matter what level you are, and if you gave the company more money, you can get Star office, personally I feel this is quite fair, and will probably cost less than buying Star from Sun.
      • Users who joined at $60 per month did so under the explicit statement that "all members enjoy the same benefits". Now that's been changed to include the word "almost". If Mandrake chooses to make this change, I hope that they keep existing users who joined prior to the rule change with the same benefits.

        The club is a reasonable idea to attempt to increase revenue at a time they really need it [linux-mandrake.com] and to simultaneously provide something unique and useful to their enthusiast user base. I can understand this change, but it needs to be communicated clearly to existing members. I hope it won't affect those members who already joined at the lowest rate.

        I joined the Mandrake club at the Silver level and I also purchased the discounted ProSuite (which I would not normally have done) in order to support Mandrake. The users who joined at the standard level deserve to receive what they were promised, plain and simple. It's just a matter of principle.

        - Leo

    • Re:OpenOffice? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blkros (304521)
      Exactly. Plus, I feel, if you pay more, you should get more, anyways. So you can still download open office no matter what level you are, and if you gave the company more money, you can get Star office, personally I feel this is quite fair, and will probably cost less than buying Star from Sun.

  • Well with Linux distributions getting larger and larger I'm not surprised they've had to restrict downloads - and with all the bad press abuot Microsoft recently more and more people are changing OS.
  • Seems Logical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rushuru (135939) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @09:57AM (#3212443)
    I heard SO 6.0 will be sold for approximately 100 (like $112), so Mandrake can't give it to the $5 a month / $60 a year members.

    The people who subscibed to Mandrake club did it because they want to support the distro, so I guess they'll do the math and understand that it just isn't possible to give them StarOffice.

    Anyway, OpenOffice is not very different from StarOffice, and it's available for free, so what's the big deal?
    • Re:Seems Logical (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HanzoSan (251665) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:20AM (#3212501) Homepage Journal
      Silver and Gold members subscribe for incentives, people who want to just support mandrake can pay 60 bucks a year

      Thats a logical business plan, make people pay more money by offering incentives.

      Businesses want open office.

    • by soloport (312487) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:26AM (#3212519) Homepage
      ZDNet Reporter: Hello, I'm a MSNBC, er uh, ZDNet reporter and I'm calling you because you are a regular Mandrake member. Are you *pissed* that Mandrake has decided to take StarOffice 6.0 away from you because you're just a regular member?

      Interviewee1: Well, uh... Yes. Uh... Yes I AM! I'm darn to heck pissed!

      [click]

      ZDNet Reporter: Hello, I'm a ZDNet reporter and I'm calling you because you are a regular Mandrake member. Are you *pissed* that Mandrake has decided to take StarOffice 6.0 away from you because you're just a regular member?

      Interviewee2: Well, uh... Yes. Uh... Yes I AM! I'm totally pissed!

      [click]

      ZDNet Reporter: COPY!!!
      • ZDNet Reporter: Hello, I'm a ZDNet reporter and I'm calling you because you are a regular Mandrake member. Are you pissed that Mandrake has decided to take StarOffice 6.0 away from you because you're just a regular member?

        Leon: no, OpenOffice does all I need, I prefer to use open source anyway, and it sems fair to me to ask for more payment if you're getting more service. By the way, you can download Mandrake 8.2, including OpenOffice and the source for it for free, no strings attached. Are you riding an agenda with that question?

        ZDNet reporter: Uh... bugger. now we're going to have to add `Some' to the headline. Bill will halve our kickb^H^H^H^H^Hencouragement for that.
    • Sun decided to start charging for Star Office (which I don't understand since it doesn't seem to me like they have such a huge market share yet). Of all Linux distributors, Mandrake probably ranks on top of my list for features, liberty, advancement, stability, and overall beauty, and, over time, they have come to earn my trust and respect. With their financial difficulties lately (hey, face it, it's very difficult to make money off free, though with Free Software, money is less of a priority than liberty and advancement), and with Sun now charging for Star Office, Mandrake has been stuck between a rock and a hard place. So I can't blame them. I would rather they stick to the liberty they have stood for all along, than follow the flock and become more proprietary. If you want non-free, no problem whatsoever, pay for it. If you REALLY want proprietary and non-Free, no problem, buy into Redmond and get shafted by code no one can check. I guess the best option for Mandrake would be to offer Open Office freely, and charge for Star Office, something I suspect they are on their way to doing. Other alternatives (KOffice, Gnome Office, Abiword, ...) should also be promoted and given more support. For our own part, the best thing we can do is to directly support (by donation, purchase, or code) the cause of companies like Mandrake.

      So don't be hard on Mandrake. They are on our side.
    • You should have checked the actual exchange rate before posting FUD. 100 is about $90.

      /max
    • Anyway, OpenOffice is not very different from StarOffice, and it's available for free, so what's the big deal?

      The "big deal" is that Mandrake formed a legally binding contractual relationship with people who paid $5 per month. They promised that "all membership levels [would] enjoy the same benefits." Now Mandrake is reneging on it's obligations.

      I do not understand where you (and other people) got the idea that a company can simply ignore legal obligations whenever it is financially advantageous to do so.

      Anyway, OpenOffice is not very different from StarOffice, and it's available for free, so what's the big deal?

      Then supply OpenOffice for free and sell StarOffice to those who want to pay for the difference.
  • I suppose that they could just go and suck it up, and absorb all of the costs of the license fees and distribute it free.

    or the could put Open Office [openoffice.org] in it, which is actually not bad, and if I recall rightly is vaguely related to Star Office.

    I wonder if their is some sort of contractual obligation to include Star, or were blinsided by the announcement that 6.0 is going to be charged for.

  • Were they expecting Staroffice 6.0 for $5 ? That would be ridiculous. This reminds me of some computer company which quoted a price of $200 for a notebook by mistake. Some customers wanted to buy it and were pissed when the company said that it was a mistake (obviously). Were they really expecting a laptop for $200 ? Same case here I guess. By accusing Mandrakesoft of ripping them off they are showing what big hypocrites they are ? These are probably the same people who dont mind paying $400 for Office.
    • These are probably the same people who dont mind paying $400 for Office.
      No, these are the same people that pirate Office from work, probably from sysadmins with burned CD-Rs of Office they warezed from USENET. Damned freeloaders.
    • It's not $5 it's 12 months at $5 each so $60.

      I think people do mind paying $400 for Office.

      Supporting Mandrake is great but in exchange for your money you expect to get something.

      I don't send Microsoft money in support of Windows. If I buy Windows that is all the support Microsoft is going to get from me.

      Microsoft would love it if people would pay them $60/year for Windows. Heck there are people who have used the same version of Windows for 4 years so that's a good $240 Microsoft could have collected already.

    • This reminds me of some computer company which quoted a price of $200 for a notebook by mistake. Some customers wanted to buy it and were pissed when the company said that it was a mistake (obviously). Were they really expecting a laptop for $200 ?

      If they have made an offer to buy it at that price and the seller has accepted that offer then there is a binding contract in existance. In some parts of the world, e.g. Germany, simply putting a price on something for sale is binding on the seller.
  • Fair Enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:03AM (#3212461) Homepage Journal
    The only thing I'd question is the short notice. They should take better care to avoid such a gaffe in the future. If they had announced, before 8.2 was released, that Star Office 6.0 would be at a premium due to Sun's charging, members would have less to gripe about.
    • I'm a Mandrake Club member, and this doesn't bother me (though it might make me reconsider which version I buy).

      What bothers me is that they're asking us to choose which distribution we want to pre-order, but they aren't telling us what packages are included. Not that's annoying! (And silly.)

      The result is that I haven't ordered yet, even though I've been pretty satisfied by Mandrake 8.2. And now Red Hat is getting ready to release the 7.3 beta, so I may look at that before I make up my mind. So they may have lost a sale.

      I still don't regret joining their club. That was to support them. But I may end up buying the next Red Hat.
      .

  • I am a member of the Mandrake Club [mandrakeclub.com] and although I understand some people beeing pissed at Mandrake going back on it's words. I can understand Mandrake's view.

    The question is weather or not to give access to SO at all, after all, Mandrake will have to pay sun for it and as we know Mandrake is kinda short on cash [slashdot.org]

    There realy are just two options, ignore SO completely, or pay sun and give access to it. If Mandrake is to survive, they have to make reasonable choises, and not giving away SO to everyone might be necessary.

    Yeah, yeah, I know my splelling is not so good.

    • It makes perfect sense to offer star office, thats a good program and it seems only 4000 linux users actually put their money where their mouth is,
      • Actually, I put my mouth-money into Libranet [libranet.com] this week, it was only $45, and it's debian-based, and so far I'm very happy with it.

        I just hope they stay around longer than the Stormix, Progeny, and Corel debian-based distros did. But, since you can only get Libranet 2.0 by paying for it, hopefully they'll keep a strong revenue base.

        So, I think you should say that only 4000 Mandrake users put their money where their mouth is, some of us are supporting other distributions. :)
  • by heretic108 (454817) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:07AM (#3212469)
    I strongly suspect that early in the development cycle, Sun planned to charge for StarOffice. All they needed to do was get a few stable releases out the door, win some acceptance for the product and, above all, get users accustomed to it and reluctant to learn yet another office suite.

    I wonder how many people would have downloaded and invested the time to learn Star Office if they had known from the outset that Sun was planning to charge for it.

    Sun, you are a pretty good company in most respects, but I don't think this tactic will benefit your reputation. It would have been better if you kept the basic Star Office suite free, and offered some corporate-targeted optional add-ons (that private users and small companies don't need) at a price. Similar to your Forte Java IDE suite (Free 'Community Edition' through to pricey 'Enterprise Edition'). That would have kept people's trust in your company.

    Hopefully, you'll write this off as a mistake, and offer 'Community Editions' of SO 6 and beyond.
    • It's been common knowledge for at least the last six months that SO 6.0 was not going to be free. The price point that Sun picked is VERY reasonable, given what ms charges for their office suite.
      Also, Sun has supported OpenOffice as a free alternative to SO for those of us that can't afford the 100 dollars or so that SO is going to cost.

      • Excuse me? Supported OpenOffice? They freakin' GPLed it! Sun gave us an entire office suite with complete MS Office 2000/XP compatibility for free. I don't think I'll ever complain about what Sun does with Star Office. I just wish companies, especially open source, GNU, Linux companies like Mandrake would choose the GNU/Linux software over commercial closed source versions (I don't think Sun is giving away the source to Star Office, haven't checked tho). I see this as a mean thing for Mandrake to do, deciding not to give SO to their supporters, while not promoting and offerring Open Office both included in the distro and for free download for their supporters. If you can't afford to give away SO at least give away OO and help support your community. The GNU/OO community is the same as the GNU/Linux community, y'know. Its all about the license, folks.
    • by matvei (568098)
      They are offering "Community Editions". You can get them at http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org].

      And of course they are going to charge for StarOffice. That's why they've made the investment of their time and resources in it in the first place. Did you think Sun is paying their programmers with bugfixes received from the community? - Nope, you need £$ for that. There's nothing wrong in trying to make a living.

      StarOffice is (almost) free as in speech (since you can get almost the same code distributed with OpenOffice), not free as in beer. I respect Sun for trying to make money with OSS, despite freeloaders such as yourself.

    • "Hopefully, you'll write this off as a mistake, and offer 'Community Editions' of SO 6 and beyond."

      Uh, OpenOffice?
    • It would have been better if you kept the basic Star Office suite free, and offered some corporate-targeted optional add-ons (that private users and small companies don't need) at a price.

      Err, that's basically what they do. OpenOffice [openoffice.org] has the core functionality of StarOffice, and for me and others I know, it is more than sufficient for work, term papers, etc. If you want to do fancy corporate collaboration and all that nonsense, then yes paying for StarOffice is probably a good way to go (hey, still cheaper than MS Office...).

      People, please stop bitching about it and go help out the OpenOffice project. If you don't like what Sun's doing, fine. OpenOffice works well, and because it's open source (wow!) it can be extended and improved. Put those keystrokes to good use. :)

      <TWOCENTS>FWIW, I do think it's pretty lame that Sun is obviously using the free StarOffice to try to get people to use its OS... But that's business. It's better than a lot of the BS that Microsoft pulls. </TWOCENTS>

    • As a matter of fact, MSFT has a massive colabaritive effort to elimimnate compition by introducing incompatibilities. My biggest need as consumer is seamless compatibility with a MSFT world. (Mc world, hey it happened.)

      I will buy new StarOffice versions at reasonable prices (70-100 dollars depending on features), but they can bet their farm that the first time a word document doesn't open correctly I will expect immediate attention to the problem.

      Otherwise what am I paying for? I can efficiently work with .rtf's for free.

    • >I strongly suspect that early in the development
      >cycle, Sun planned I strongly suspect that early
      >in the development cycle, Sun planned


      erm. Early in the development cycle, Sun had *absoloutely* nothing to do with Star Office. In the last year or two, they bought star division (sometime after 5.x, iirc).


      hawk

  • It's a matter of priniciples. When I signed up, I was promised x, y, and z. Now, just a few days latter, what I'm getting is just x and y. Now I'm sure that if I had actually bothered to read the club rules, there would be the generic "we have the right to change the rules at any time" clause. That's fine. Everybody does it, everyone ignores it until the changes hurt. Shoot, I don't care one bit about SO, I still would have signed up.

    But they should have been able to see this coming. The SO announcement has been in the news for weeks. What it does is makes them look bad, like they really don't have a clue. That's what's bad. If the polls and discussions of the users on the club board really supported their decision, then that is the right thing to do. But they shouldn't have been blindsided by this.

    • It's a matter of priniciples.

      Principal must always be tempered with logic...other wise it only makes things worse.

      Sometimes it makes more sense to be understanding and forgiving.

      By being unreasonable, you're basically saying...I don't care about anyone else but my self...that view is a horrible shade of glass to put on your nose.

  • I've recently coughed up the $60 because I've used their distro's in the past, and benefitted from them. Even though I have no intention of using StarOffice and will not be affected by it, I am dismayed at their policy change.

    Mandrake should either offer those members that want it the chance to upgrade, or the opportunity to get their money back.
  • I feel reasonably happy as long as they make OpenOffice available for every club member. Put that this way, you will have to provide some extra service to attract higher fee (or even a fee). Many people in the industry may agree with me. Sometimes, you do really want your boss to support open sourced stuff with real $$$ but you cannot find an excuse. Consider bloody ridiculous crappy software in Windows can cost thousands and thousands of dollar, I think it is still a fair deal.

    For example, I have heard my sysadmin is trying to persuade the dept to buy a membership from Mandrake (as we may have some spare budget this year). The availablity of StarOffice 6 will make our suggestion a much much stronger case for the PHBs...
  • by Simon Carr (1788)
    Understand that. The world does not run on pixie dust, it runs on cash unfortunately.
  • Maybe those who donated over $60 don't want to see part of their money go to Sun. Did Mandrake think about that? Apparently not.
  • First people complain saying Mandrake has no business plan and is begging because they dont offer benifits and make a legit business out of it, now they make the club a legit club and not a donation, and people complain?!

    People need to shut the hell up, Subcribe, or shut up, its that simple.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:20AM (#3212503) Homepage
    Open office is better than StarOffice. I have both and I use Open Office alot more. StarOffice unless it was HUGELY further advanced doesn't even peak my interest in any way other than "Why is Sun still trying to sell that?" They cant import Office files any better, not that it matters to me anymore, I've pretty much convinced everyone at the office that Microsoft File formats are Evil and reduce our communication abilities and profitability.. (That was an awesome speech at that meeting, dont know where those words came from but talking to sales people use Money as your motivation... it sucks them in every-time) PLus the fact that I have 1/2 the sales force using Open Office at home with the, "You just got a computer and you want to borrow the Office2000 cd set? No that's illegal, but here, Here is a free Office Suite that is just as good, and you can legally give it to everyone you want."

    So, we now have over 1/2 the office workers and sales staff using Open Office at home AND now wanting me to install it on their computers at work to replace that Microsoft version.

    Star Office, i wish them luck, but noone outside of a corperate purchaser is interested in it.
    • But Open Office is Star Office, minus a few goodies like the Adabas database and supposedly some fonts (which perhaps are also licensed, not "Open Font"?).

      So I have a difficult time understanding your claim that "Open Office is better than Star Office".

      Of course, the Star Office beta's been out for a considerable length of time, so the Open Office code base is more recent and you may be using a version with more bug fixes than the Star Office beta release.

      But that same Open Office code base will be wrapped into Star Office final ...
  • Remember when RedHat used to distribute Metro-X and other commercial applications (Applix) with the OS? Only those who paid for the CD version would get the apps, and if you downloaded RH, you got the version without the commercial apps.
  • This is not so bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by johnlenin1 (140093) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:26AM (#3212522) Homepage

    That Mandrake is going to pass along the cost of Sun's charging for StarOffice 6 only makes sense from a financial point of view, especially given Mandrake's recent money troubles [slashdot.org].

    It doesn't bother me a bit though, and I am a club member, though not at a level high enough to download StarOffice for free. I gave my $60 to Mandrake, not expecting anything in return, even though benefits are offered to club members. I gave my money because I think Mandrake is the best distro around, and one that has a real chance of making a headway against the MS dominance on the desktop.

    So don't be upset that Mandrake is charging its customers to cover the cost of that which they are being charged for themselves. That's how a business is run. And unless Mandrake stays profitable as a business, this great distrobution might not be around in a couple of years.

    If you enjoy or appreciate Mandrake's work, why not join the club [mandrakeclub.com] yourself today?

    • by BitMan (15055) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @12:02PM (#3212833) Homepage

      I'm not a Mandrake fan, nor do I use it. But I've gotta side with Mandrake in this one, because it's obvious some of you are taking their goodwill too far. I pay RedHat the similar $60/year, the lowest level, for priority downloads and other services. I don't expect anything more, nor should you Mandrake $60/yearers after reading their agreement.

      Reality check people! $60/year does NOT entitle you to a product that is almost $100 on the retail shelf. I don't care about OEM licensing, Mandrake has got to make money! Furthermore, that $60 probably barely covers all the other services and benefits provided. Lastly, the statement of "receive the same benefits" would most likely extend to only Mandrake products and services, and NOT 3rd party products and/or services. Otherwise, Mandrake would go "belly up" (actually all distros seem to have a constant loss after all expense considerations, even RedHat).

      Frankly, Mandrake should be commended on allowing StarOffice to be downloaded as an .iso thanx to membership, and Sun for licensing it to Linux distributors so they can do so. Man, I'm really getting sick of this "whining" crap. Some of you "whiney" Linux users need to go! At least before most of the good, GPL-focused commercial organizations cannot sustain your selfishness!

    • Paying for the club is not a donation, people. You are not "giving" your money to anyone, you're paying for a product. Linux-Mandrake is effectively SHAREWARE. You can try it out for free, but if you use the product you are expected to pay for it. That's why at the bottom of the Mandrake download disclaimer page you have to click "I'm already a member of the Club or plan on registering soon".

      So you know, I am a card carrying member of the Mandrake club, and I am because I use their software, no other reason.
      • by mir (106753)

        Not it is not! Of course Mandrake is not shareware. It is available for free, source and all, no strings attached, permission to distribute, copy and mirror at will. This is _NOT_ the shareware model. If you register a shareware you still only have one license, not as many as you want.


        Simply in order to sustain the costs of putting up the distro Mandrake needs money, more money than they can raise, at least short-term, by selling it.


        It turns out I really like their distribution, and I use it to work and make my own money, and it would be a disturbance for me should they go out of business. So I gave them money, and hoped enough people like me would do the same so they can stay in business and I can keep happily using their stuff. Even though I don't _have_ to give them money.


        Easy hey?


        As a side note,I paid the club membership, but really, I would hope they spend as little as possible on members-only services. All I expect from them is to use that money to keep on building nice distributions (8.2 is _so_ easy to install compared to windows it's obscene). And no I don't mind free-loaders, I just hope enough people understand it is in their best interest to have companies like Mandrake, Suse, RedHat Connectiva... around

    • Keel Haul the /. Weenies

      Mandrake is my Linux distro and I do what I can to support it. $60.00 gives you access to a community of users and developers with more experties and, and, well... just more stuff than you can shake a stick at... (man I like mug after mug o' coffee on an empty stomach). Of course that's $60.00 U.S. so as a canajen I gotta mortagage the country for the $$$. How about I just fall the last big fir in the back fourty and send Mandrake a big old log?

  • Amateur Hour (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mr_organic (119348)
    The basic problem is one of credibility. Mandrake stated unequivocally that all club members would have the same privileges (which included access to Star Office). Now, they are going back on their contract and saying, "Whoops, sorry, we screwed up. I know you already laid your money down, but we can't give you what you paid for." The proper thing to do would have been either to offer refunds to club members who had already paid, or grandfather Star Office to everyone who had already paid.

    This just makes Mandrake look both foolish and amateurish. If they wish to be taken seriously as a business, they can't go whining to their users for welfare payments one minute, then renege on promises the next. Mandrake produces a fine distro, but their business acumen leaves a lot to be desired.

    Here's a free hint, guys: pissing off your loyal user base to save a few bucks in the short-term is a great way to doom your company.
  • Well, we can all ramble now on Slashdot about angry users, how we can feel with themn, or feel with Mandrake and try to understand their decision....
    But...

    Can someone please point out an angry user?
    On Mandrakeforum all I found were a few posts of someone who said to be disappointed, and another one who was displeased.
    That's not the same as angry. Well, maybe on Slashdot, but not in the rest of the world :-)

    So maybe this story has the size of a mosquito, where on Slashdot it is blown up to the size of an elephant?
    • On Mandrakeforum all I found were a few posts of someone who said to be disappointed, and another one who was displeased.
      And that's a damn shame. It sends a signal to businesses that it's okay to change the rules when the game isn't going their way. If this had been any other company there'd be Slashbots with pitchforks and torches as far as the eye can see.

      Why should Mandrake get a free pass? Is it okay for, say, Red Hat to do the same thing? Mandrake begged for donations, they promised equal access for all, they reneged on the deal after people had paid. It's a pretty cut and dry case of fucking over your supporters.

      Nobody should get away with that kind of crap.

      I intend to ask for a refund. I was interested in supporting Mandrake, not Sun, and certainly not the salaries of managers who would allow this to happen.

  • by jd142 (129673) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @10:28AM (#3212528) Homepage
    If you go to:
    http://www.mandrakeclub.com/article.php?sid=1 3

    You will see this as part of the announcement for commercial applications for MandrakeClub members:

    "At this moment it isn't clear what will happen with the StarOffice. How badly do you need this application?"

    This is dated March 8. Before they made the big membership drive, IIRC, or very close to it. Most of the responses below say that they don't care about SO. So, it looks like someone is spreading FUD about Mandrake and that Mandrake needs to be a little bit more thorough is updating its the marketing on its website.

  • I'm a standard ($60) club member and I'm not at all bothered that Mandrake are not providing StarOffice 6.0 for free. I'm a big fan of the Mandrake distribution, but I'm somewhat concerned about the future of Mandrakesoft - hence my joining the club.

    Personally, I'd like to see Mandrakesoft stop offering free ISOs of their distribution to non-members (yeah, I know the GPL insists the source must be available, and it should be, but Mandrakesoft shouldn't make it easy for people to take and not give back).

    Secondly, I wish they would give more incentives to join the club, such as making the popular Mandrakeforum site club members only.

    I'm sure there are a lot of people running Mandrake that haven't paid for it and haven't joined the club. Legally, there is nothing wrong with that, but if the distribution is to survive, then perhaps some incentives may encourage people to part with their money.
    • yeah, I know the GPL insists the source must be available, and it should be, but Mandrakesoft shouldn't make it easy for people to take and not give back

      It doesn't state that you have to make it freely available for everyone. Anyone that *you* distribute a binary to must be given reasonable access to the source code upon request. "Reasonable" can include a fee for transfer, media costs, etc.

      Yeah it's neat they let people download ISOs, but that bandwidth isn't free to them. Why they wouldn't say $5/download or something is beyond me. Or simply have a one disc distro of binaries with a link to download sources if you want them.

      Don't apologize for the GPL here - most people do more than it calls for (and many do much less, I'm sure).
  • by Anonymous Bullard (62082) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @12:35PM (#3212965) Homepage
    I gave Mandrake my $60 in return for a club membership after their recent and rather desperate appeal for funds (to build the free Linux platform) so I feel that I'm entitled to an opinion, whether you agree with me or not.

    There are two reasons why I don't like this StarOffice license deal:

    1) People who in essense donated money to Mandrake in order to promote the development of the free platform now find some of that money going into Sun's coffers, regardless whether they wished to buy a license for the proprietary StarOffice or not.

    I welcome any kind of Linux software support by independent developers and commercial ISVs but how does this kind of deal encourage choice? Should the vendors of WordPerfect Office, SmartSuite or god forbid MS-Office, or any other commercial applications, begin to sell pre-paid licenses to users/supporters of particular platforms? If you had effectively paid for one (as part of your platform support) would you still be interested in paying for the one that might really interest you? How is Mandrake's paying for StarOffice really different from hardware OEM's paying for Windows + MS-Office "on your behalf" when you go out and buy that new beige box? Shouldn't both the OEM's and Mandrake let the customer decide if they want the extras? Just negotiate the bulk discounts for your customers and let them decide.

    2)"All members are entitled to same benefits"

    I simply can't see how any vendor should be allowed to change such terms unilaterally and without due warning, let alone a Linux vendor who had just appealed to people's goodwill and financial help.

    I've supported Linux (various flavours, bought boxes, converted and helped Windows converts etc.) for many years and one of the main attractions of Linux for me personally was the moral high ground it offered. I still like Mandrake's distro and appreciate their efforts at promoting Linux use on the desktop but I'm not happy with the way they handled this issue. Did something happen to Mandrake's soul when they became a publically-traded company?

    It will be interesting to see whether the Mandrake Club staff will ever answer my email or not...

    Now go ahead and burn me at stake for not approving with everything that some free software company does. I'm strong enough to take (actually deflect) any crap without the urge to join some militaristic boot camps. So there.
  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @12:46PM (#3213000)
    Charge like $3 or something to download the ISOs.
    It's no big deal if people mirror them or copy them to friends, you just have to try and prevent multiple people from grabbing it. So only allow one login per username and expire the code after 15 days of the first login.

    If they don't have everything they need in 15 days or if they didn't make a backup on CD they can pay another $3 and try again.

    Wouldn't $3/download cover bandwidth costs?
  • Anyone remember when Corel wanted to go after MS Office? They started selling their Office suite (with WordPerfect) for $999 per network server with no user limit. You could have 200 people use one copy and only pay $5/user! Much cheaper than MS Office.

    Guess what. No one bought it. Even at that price. Do they think people will switch to Star Office for over $100/user?
    • Heheh...

      There is a slight difference....SO doesn't suck!

      I know because I purchased WP for Linux and it's a horrible bastard product which they failed to have function properly out of the box...let alone failed to support with patches that it needed. As far as I'm conerened, they owe me money back!

      Star Office on the other hand...is much faster than WP ever was on Linux and, hey, what a concept...it actually works!

  • Now a lot of my friends use Mandrake with great success, but I had very poor results with 8.2 on a Sony Viao FX290. None of the config utities would work, they mostly hung needing a reboot. So I switched to SuSE Professional, and the only glitch was having to specify NOPCMCIA=yes as a kernel param which was stated in their handbook. Maybe I could have done the same with Mandrake, but the people who responded on the mailing lists to my questions were arrogant and unhelpful. Thats what got me to use fdisk and wipe out the partition :)
    I also searched the cooker archives and found that many people were saying that the Mandrake community had changed- too much pressure to release, and a reluctance to acknowledge bugs.
    But I wish them luck. SuSE is a much bigger organnization with more resources. Plus I had to pay $80 for SuSE- but it was well worth the money.
  • I joined the Mandrake Club to support a great distro. They have a member's message board and on that board they asked members if they really needed StarOffice 6.0. The vast majority and myself included, conveyed the sentiment that although StarOffice 6.0 would be nice, we would be satisfied with OpenOffice.

    After /. posted Mandrake's plea for help which was met, in large part, with comments like "hell no we won't pay" and "If they go out of business, we don't care." I don't blame them for rethinking their business model.

    I have heard that if they don't get enough support to survive they may concider not releasing new versions of Mandrake until they do receive enough support to justify it.

    Sometimes the users of open source are their own worst enemy!

    Way to go guys.
  • A member speaks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aging_Newbie (16932)
    As a member of the club, I joined because the money would go to help support programmers who are writing open source code that everybody (even the people who whine) shares. Since I am not a Linux expert, I figured contributing to somebody who could help was a good idea. I think the majority of the Mandrake Club members share my opinion. When I joined (early) they said they were going to figure out what club benefits were, other than the warm hearted feeling that the members had done something for the world of Linux.

    Further, I have installed Mandrake 8.1 on lots of my machines and have been able to abandon windoze to one underpowered box that I use when I absolutely need some app. That, in my mind, is the value I received from the club membership and from Mandrake. I am free of windoze and free to have a well designed good performing machine.

    Lots of Slashdotters say they want an open software environment with sharing of assets but when somebody makes a reasonable business decision they cry and whine.
  • ....some people in the Mandrake club don't want to pay up, that's fine. I don't mean pay up for stuff that is free as in beer you know... they didn't want to pay for stuff that costs everyone cash.

    If some people leave the Mandrake user-base then hopefully they will move onto other places in the linux world. Hopefully [for many in the community] Mandrake will make some money not for selling linux but a good linux app.

    Hell, star office is nice on my XP machine. I run it at home where I can't afford a $400 piece of software.

    FTP sites should hold some ISO's and I expect colleges to host some distro's so I can install from a floppy if I'm in a pinch. Hell, starting today I'm hosting different completely free linux iso's on gnutella.....

    ... but the end point is we want linux boxes on store shelves. I'm not a developer but I like linux and I hope it gets a good sized [35% total?] user base all around.

    Linux must make it somewhere on someone's desktop because not only do some people feel like they have to pay cash - but some people need funding for development.
  • by nusuth (520833)
    I'm a basic level member of mandrake club. I didn't expect anything material in return when I subscribed, it was more like a donation. I tought "well, I'm using their product, and they need money, so let me help them" and subscribed. I wasn't even aware that a commercial product might be free for members. I just thought we would have a few dedicated mirrors and a louder voice when we complain.

    And they made SO6 free for higher class members. I have no problem with that either, I could have used SO6 (I'm still using OO 639c) but it is possible to buy it from Sun anyway. All members can buy pro suite at a discounted rate which has SO6. And those silver and gold members did pay more than me, so it is only natural they can profit more from their membership.

    My only problem is that mandrake failed to keep their promise. They categorically stated that we would all be same, enjoy membership goodies no matter how much we payed. When I first saw it, I thought it was dumb to say. But they did say that. I didn't request to be treated same with other levels, even if I paid considerably less; it was their promise

    Why should I trust mandrake now? Which promise they will break next? These are the real problems with their move. SO6 has nothing to do with discussion.

    And another thing is, I just whine. Perhaps somebody will be enough pissed so they won't be satisfied with just whining. Do you think mdk has a chance in the court? How will the company survive if it is forced to make SO6 downloads free for every member?

  • by praedor (218403) on Saturday March 23, 2002 @05:10PM (#3213885) Homepage

    I gave $120. I did it and did not immediately log in to see what I could get. I haven't paid attention. I am not rich, I am a frickin' grad student. I did it to support a good distro through some bad times.


    I also PAID for the boxed 8.2 release...same reasons. Up to now, I've downloaded iso images or did the slower, painful upgrades via rpm alone. I figured it was time to give back. It is a GOOD thing to pay, at least once in a while, for the work your distro is doing. Ungrateful, snot-nosed twerps.


    THIS is one of the main reasons that there are no linux games. This is the main reason there is practically no linux commercial software. When was the last time you saw an opensource tax-prep package? Or a top-of-the line game come to linux and do well? All that has EVER come is a port (loki, now dead because of deadbeats leeches) or out of the goodness of the developer's heart (idSoftware) but STILL requiring a windoze game purchase. This last is just a nice gesture and does nothing to keep the company afloat and game-producing.


    Ya'll have the misimpression that you are OWED software. That you shouldn't have to pay for ANYTHING...ever. That you are entitled to ANYTHING. Nope. You are not. You want the niceties (simple installers, nice development ala Transgaming's version of wine that works better than ANY other version of wine to games), then you should be willing to pay to get them...REGARDLESS of licensing.


    Too many of you talk a good game

    about the strength and political superiority of opensource but what you are REALLY doing is demanding free/never pay for software developed by the labor of others. I LIKE opensource and I like that I can get most/all of it for free but I also know for a fact that a lot of it would NOT be here if NO one coughed up money to cover the costs. Fact. Grow up and join the real world.
  • that this has probably nothing to do with SUN SO being not free anymore? I think the people at Mandrake, saw that after their announce of money shortage, a lot of people suddenly subscribed to their club (like I did). Most of the people think $5 a month is enough, but hesitate about the $10 a month subscription.

    Probably, a guy at Mandrake thought: "why not make it a little bit more attractive to go for the $10 option by introducing a difference (though with open office around, really only psychologically)". Maybe people will think: " uhmm... star office, what's next. You know what, I'll tick the $10 option."

    Would have worked for me. Too late for them now.

  • I joined the mandrake club a few days a go and my main complaint is that there is no "club only" FTP site. So when a new version of mandrake is released, club members have to use the same mirrors as the general public.

    The other strange thing is when you do join, there is a lag time between when you pay and when you get your website login, mine was about 4 days. The receipt for payment doesn't even notify the customer that he will be receiving a login. Some people probably pay and mistakenly assume that it is just a donation until 4 days later when they get a login.

  • I was kind of suspicious when Mandrake announced that they would give the same support to the various metallic names they associated with membership, because why in the first place would they have bother doing it if everyone was treated at the same level. This announcement doesn't look too good for their PR though. It's a bad time for them to become unpopular. I think that they tried to be too nice from the start and every bits and pieces that they are taking back are making everyone angry

    PPA, the girl next door.

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