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Linux Business Mandriva Linux

Mandriva Up For Sale 167

Posted by StoneLion
from the sic-transit-gloria-mandrake dept.
The French company that creates and sells the Mandriva Linux distribution is up for sale. The news about Mandriva SA originally surfaced on a French Mandriva portal, and was confirmed by one of the potential buyers. Mandriva the distribution is a merger of the former MandrakeLinux and Conectiva distros. Mandriva the company is no stranger to hard times, having sought bankruptcy protection in the past.
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Mandriva Up For Sale

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:13PM (#32172428)
    So I tried to put in a bid, but I can't get my printer to work with my maching
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hduff (570443)

      So I tried to put in a bid, but I can't get my printer to work with my maching

      Then uninstall Ubuntu and use something that works.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        Hoyt, that is wrong on so many levels.... especially since I *KNOW* that Mandriva is your distro of choice (yes, Hoyt and have known each other for many years).

        Mandriva is a complete, working, easy, slick, powerful distro and is better than Ubuntu in many ways. But it does not have the spotlight, nor the money. Not that Ubuntu isn't nice also, and does some things better than Mandriva. I would hate to see Mandriva die.

        • by hduff (570443)

          Forget to add "8)" to a post one time . . . 8)

        • by ricegf (1059658)

          Having used Mandrake 7.2 as my very first Linux distro back in 2000, I recently tried out a modern version of Mandriva. The KDE4 desktop ran rings around Kunbuntu (IMHO), and would be my first choice if I used that desktop, but I'm still a bit partial to Ubuntu's Gnome implementation.

          I think what Mandriva lacks more than anything else is a rich space-faring billionaire benefactor who owes his success to Linux and just wants to give back to the community. Where do we find more of those? :-D

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by markdavis (642305)
            I have tried lots of distros and none of them can touch how well Mandriva integrates and presents KDE. It is their forte'. If *buntu could figure out how to have a nice KDE integration, it might just further hurt Mandriva. I also greatly appreciate Mandriva's work to have *all* desktops supported, easily selected, and consistently laid out, with centralized management tools that work the same regardless of desktop. It was, and still is, a good idea.
            • Hear, hear! I'm posting this reply from an x86 laptop running Mandriva 2010 with IceWM. I'm currently pulling a torrent of 2010 Free x86_64 for my desktop.

              I got tired of Windows 7, so I tried to see what would be a decent replacement for it on my desktop. I tried the beta of Fedora 13, and sound doesn't seem to work at all. I chalked that up to it being a beta.

              So I tried the new LTS Kubuntu 10.04 instead. Sound works for some things, but not with many of the programs. I tried installing different audio serv

  • Poor Mandrake (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzek.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:16PM (#32172486) Homepage Journal

    Whatever happened to these guys? Mandrake was actually my first foray into Linux. I remember it being quite user-friendly, it was just in the late '90's so driver support was dodgy. I kept it around on one computer or another for years until I finally gave up on it and went to Ubuntu. Just felt like it fell behind the times and was no longer the easiest Linux to use anymore.

    • Re:Poor Mandrake (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:24PM (#32172588)

      Just felt like it fell behind the times and was no longer the easiest Linux to use anymore.

      It's amazing what having millions of dollars to throw into a software project can do.

      To my knowledge, Mandriva did not have someone behind it with loads of money.

      • by segedunum (883035)

        It's amazing what having millions of dollars to throw into a software project can do.

        That won't be continuing for much longer, mark my words (no pun intended).

      • Just felt like it fell behind the times and was no longer the easiest Linux to use anymore.

        It's amazing what having millions of dollars to throw into a software project can do.

        To my knowledge, Mandriva did not have someone behind it with loads of money.

        Mandriva is definatly on par with Ubuntu in terms of user-friendlyness.
        Dont know about Canonicals budget, but given their popularity one might expect more kernel patches from their side.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Dont know about Canonicals budget, but given their popularity one might expect more kernel patches from their side.

          Ah, this old chestnut because I'm sure you DO know. Please do tell in which way the kernel needs patches to run better on a single processor, non-virtualized desktop. Maybe they're a lot more busy trying to fix the desktop environments. Or the actually applications/UI running on top of those environments. But no, keep nagging about not contributing to the engine when what people complain about is the driving comfort of a stock rally car (hint: it's not good).

    • Re:Poor Mandrake (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:27PM (#32172632)
      What happened is that Mandriva could not out-compete Ubuntu when it came to user-friendliness, probably because Canonical has a magical supply of money that Mandriva does not. Mandriva also seemed to be targeting the wrong markets: they should have gone after the enterprise server market, where the money is, rather than the desktop Linux market, where there really is not that much money to go around. With so many no-cost Linux distros around, and with those distros becoming easier and easier for people to use, trying to sell a "power pack" is really not the best strategy, especially not in tough economic times.

      Oh well, one business goes bankrupt, another comes to be. This is not the end of the Linux business, it is just the end of one of the well known players.
      • Re:Poor Mandrake (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gorzek (647352) <gorzek.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:43PM (#32172866) Homepage Journal

        Looking at it another way, Mandrake at least proved a user-friendly Linux was *possible*. Without that, we may not have had Ubuntu at all. The Linux community is indebted to the trail Mandrake blazed, but its time has long since passed, and all the money is behind Ubuntu now.

        I don't mind that, as I like Ubuntu a lot, and have found it a remarkably easy distro to set up and use.

        I suppose it's inevitable that Linux distros will be born, reach their peak, decline, and die. Diversity in the Linux ecosystem is a good thing. When (not if!) Ubuntu starts to slack, someone else will step up and replace it with something even better.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770)

          I suppose it's inevitable that Linux distros will be born, reach their peak, decline, and die. Diversity in the Linux ecosystem is a good thing. When (not if!) Ubuntu starts to slack, someone else will step up and replace it with something even better.

          Yeah, like Debian (1993), Red Hat (1994) and Suse (1994) all have died. Wait, that didn't happen and they've been around ever since Linux 1.0 was released in 1994. I don't fear that Ubuntu will die, I more fear they'll become a corporate / cloud distro and debrand the way Red Hat did with RHL -> Fedora. Because it's a proven fact there's money there, consumer Linux desktops on the other hand are still marginal in terms of revenue.

          • by gorzek (647352)

            Look at the long list of distros that have died out, most of them for lack of maintenance. Surviving for 10+ years is the exception, not the rule.

            Linux would still survive if Debian, Red Hat, and SuSe all perished.

            • It's funny you say "if Suse perished" in a message thread about Mandriva being up for sale. Suse, as a company, is gone. It's part of Novell. A company selling is not necessarily the death of a distribution.

              Red Hat, on a completely different sort of track, killed their unified Red Hat Linux distro and separated things into their product Red Hat Enterprise Linux and a community-driven desktop known as Fedora. So the company being intact doesn't mean the distro will continue as-is either.

      • by vlm (69642)

        What happened is that Mandriva could not out-compete Ubuntu when it came to user-friendliness, probably because

        Ubuntu is based on the superior Debian distribution and Mandriva is a Red Hat based distribution? And Debian is a lot more active than RHAT?

        • by armanox (826486)

          And Debian is a lot more active than RHAT?

          Explains why Red Hat is contributing so much code to upstream projects? And that Red Hat wrote a lot of tools that Ubuntu fell in love with (Network Manager, for example)?

        • Mandriva was forked from Red Hat back when it was still Mandrake - more than a decade ago. This is entirely different from Ubuntu which is forked afresh from Debian for each release.

        • by timbo234 (833667)

          Ubuntu is based on the superior Debian distribution and Mandriva is a Red Hat based distribution? And Debian is a lot more active than RHAT?

          No Mandriva was last forked from Redhat over 10 years ago. Since then it's been its own distro - one of the few distros left that is an original source of its own packages, ie. not based on releases of any other distro. There are now distros (eg. PCLinuxOS) based on Mandriva.

      • I switched back from Ubuntu to Mandriva, and think Mandriva is still at least as user friendly.

        Ubuntu has an edge in software installation, in that the GUI installer (synaptic) has better search, allows you to select suggested dependencies individually, and is less likely to throw errors (Mandriva often refuses to install stuff because it is checking for updates). The Ubuntu repo is somewhat bigger.

        Everything else is easier to configure on Mandriva thanks to the Mandriva Control Centre. For example, I have

        • If Mandriva disappears I will go to one of:

          1) A Debain derived distro like Mepis (Synaptic plus stability).
          2) A Unity derived distro so I can keep the Control Centre
          3) Suse for a Control Centre alternative
          4) Arch if I can spare the time to learn it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I first used Mandrake 7.3, which I was really impressed with. But subsequent releases were a lot less tight, and eventually after they merged with Conectiva their releases became a total loss.

      I eventually got fed up with having to switch distros every couple of years, from SLS to Slackware to Caldera to RedHat to Mandrake, every time the premier vendor went down the crapper, and just got a Mac.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by characterZer0 (138196)

        Slackware and RedHat are still going strong.

    • by cgenman (325138)

      They went broke a couple of times. And as you mentioned, they fell a bit behind.

      That seems to be the problem with linux distros... They start with some revolutionary idea or ideal. They get adopted, and their userbase grows and starts having expectations about how the distro functions. As more and more people users get added, the developers become locked into specific technologies and implementations. Instead of devoting resources to trying new things, they have to support their userbase's needs. Then

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      mandrake died the day that "mandriva 10" came out. before that they were on the cutting edge and the most useful and pretty darn stable. they were betterthan RedHat at the time.

      Then the mess happened. Unstable, broken, etc.... People left in droves.

      • by sconeu (64226)

        Mandriva 10.x was possibly the worst POS I've ever used. They didn't really get their act back together until the 2008.0 release.

    • Re:Poor Mandrake (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hduff (570443) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:29PM (#32173366) Homepage Journal

      What happened?

      1. Poor management decisions after the IPO took the company far afield from its core business and sent them into bankruptcy. They did emerge (not a common things in French bankruptcies), but seemed to have lost their edge. They kept trying to modify a consumer-based business model (vice and Enterprise model) and kept failing.

      2. Their graphics always sucked. They were very cartoon-ish and not enticing the way, sat, Ubuntu graphics were, so it was difficult to have a "cool factor" to bring in younger users.

      3. Loss of vision. They initially wanted to do "RedHat Done Better", but decided to abandon RedHat's python-based tools for their own perl-based tools because, well, RedHat's sucked, but it took a lot of time, manpower and money to re-invent the wheel. They let "we-have-better-way-dammit" influence far too many of their decisions

      4. They lost a lot of their original core in-house developers and a lot of their community supporters because of their management decision s and choices. That meant they lost a lot of their momentum.

      I hope they find a buyer that will take them back to their original vision and revitalize one of the nicer distros. They had excellent implementations of the popular desktops, great user and admin tools.

    • Linux driver support is still dodgy. The kernel that ships with Ubuntu 10.04 has broken support for rt2870 802.11N wireless cards, and even broken support for NVidia 9500GT graphics cards, though the later is fixed in an update. WiFi users will still find themselves tearing their hair out, even with the latest-and-greatest Linux distro.

      • by gorzek (647352)

        Really? Maybe I've just gotten lucky, but I've installed Ubuntu on a few laptops in recent years and the WiFi worked right out of the box. One of them had an Atheros card and the other had an Intel card. Totally plug-and-play with no setup.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          How about Broadcom? A good 80%+ of the laptops that cross my desk come with broadcom chips, and after trying too damned long to get broadcom working on my Dell I said fuck that noise. I mean it is real nice they got Intel and whoever that other one is, but that is like saying you support everything BUT Realtek sound, ignoring the fact Realtek is the biggest onboard sound manufacturer.

          But you look at the biggest selling laptops, which in my experience is the sub $600 models, and nearly every single one is

          • by gorzek (647352)

            I haven't had a laptop with a Broadcom in it for several years, so I don't know how the support is these days. Sounds like Linux still has a ways to go in that area, though.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I have one old broadcom-based airlink 802.11g card, and it has always worked fine. Which is even more of a useless anecdote than what you're saying because I forget what model number it is, but not by much. IIRC I did have to activate the driver while plugged in.

          • Re:Poor Mandrake (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gmack (197796) <{ten.erifrenni} {ta} {kcamg}> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @05:26PM (#32175192) Homepage Journal

            Broadcom's Linux problem is Broadcom. They insist on forcing everyone to use their own crappy non open sourced drive that fails on all but a few kernels. Essentially they are trying to be like NVIDIA without being at all competent at creating drivers. It's a sad day when a company's windows drivers work better in Linux (NDIS) than their Linux drivers.

            I had problems with my DELL laptop and Broadcom but I quickly learned the best fix for that is to just order an $18 Atheros based Mini-PCIE card from China and just swap the blasted thing.

  • Wonder why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:16PM (#32172488) Homepage

    I wanted to like Mandriva (or Mandrake as it was then called) but the configuration interfaces were just too confusing. But the real kicker was the lack of documentation and community support online.

    These are two things Ubuntu has done right. I think it's easy to see why Ubuntu stole Mandriva's thunder.

    • I don't know, back in the day when I started trying out Mandrake it was the Ubuntu of the time. (2000ish) It had gui installation and was generally easier to deal with that redhat or the other popular distros. Once you had it installed however, it did lack the substance of the other distros IMO.

    • I think it's easy to see why Ubuntu stole Mandriva's thunder.

      Yes, it is. He has a name and a net worth of about $225 million.

    • by andrewd18 (989408)
      Mandrake was also my first distribution, and it's the whole reason I started looking for Linux distributions that had good documentation and stuck to standard naming conventions. I spent upwards of 2-3 weekends trying to figure out why I couldn't configure my sound card on the command line... only to find out that Mandrake devs had removed "alsaconfig" in favor of GUI-only "draksound", so all the tutorials I had read were for naught. I switched to Fedora, openSUSE, then eventually Gentoo, and now I'm happil
      • by hduff (570443)

        I spent upwards of 2-3 weekends trying to figure out why I couldn't configure my sound card on the command line... only to find out that Mandrake devs had removed "alsaconfig" in favor of GUI-only "draksound", so all the tutorials I had read were for naught.

        Well, alsaconf/alsaconfig was available if you wanted to install it. Had you read the Mandriva docs or asked in the forums, you would have been using drakconf from the command line. That's been the default command-line configuration tool for Mandriva for quite some time.

    • by hduff (570443)

      But the real kicker was the lack of documentation and community support online.

      These are two things Ubuntu has done right. I think it's easy to see why Ubuntu stole Mandriva's thunder.

      Mandrake had great user support/interaction. Mandriva screwed with that every release until they broke it completely.

      I helped work on their documentation as a volunteer until their stupid management made it horrible to do productive work for them.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I believe what Ubuntu has done right was the marketing part of it. e.g. sending out free CDs to people. That generated a HUGE amount of people willing to give it a try. Because of the amount of people, community support comes by itself.
      Next to that running it from a live CD by default was a great idea as well.

      He just used the AOL trick and it worked.

    • by jackspenn (682188)

      I think it's easy to see why Ubuntu stole Mandriva's thunder.

      Are you referring to the pictures of naked women or the large pile of cash?

      I started on Red Hat 5.1 in college, used newsgroups and a few other college students to share ideas. When I came home for one summer I brought Red Hat, Debian and Mandrake to show my dad and a few of his friends different Linux distros.

      To my surprise, one guy really loved Mandrake, the rest just couldn't care less, all old school Bell Atlantic UNIX guys. But this one guy, Bill Reed, he really took to updating his skills, he

  • Translated Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:29PM (#32172656) Homepage

    With Google Translate we can see that the MLO site [mandrivalinux-online.org] is reporting that Mandriva, [google.com]
    the French/Brazilian Linux distribution publisher, soon may not be able to meet payroll. Two potential buyers (LightApp [lightapp.com] from the UK, Linagora [linagora.com] from France) have apparently stepped forward to look at buying the entire company or parts of it.

    To me it would be a pity if Mandriva ceased to exist as we know it. The distribution is one of the best out there for polish and
    attention to detail, and would be a good corporate buy based on that alone. I've always felt that it would be a great "house"
    Linux version for a big player like Dell, HP, etc. but clearly there are factors stopping such computer companies or other Linux
    distributors from buying it.

    Oh well, if they cannot make it then that's the way it goes...

  • Value? (Score:2, Insightful)

    I've got to say, I don't see a ton of value in Mandriva as a business acquisition. They have some sales deals mostly in France and Brazil, but not enough to really make much in the way of revenue. Their distro is solid, but not really ahead of Ubuntu in any meaningful way. Their only real value as I see it, is the developer expertise. The business people seem to be pretty clueless and disorganized. I'm not sure it makes a lot of business sense to buy Mandriva for their distribution if you're looking to get

  • I've got custom software, proprietary software, free software, pirated software, and open software, but I never knew I had bankrupt software...

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:00PM (#32173042)

    Womanyellingslowdownasshole is expected to join Mandriva on the auction block later this month. The two systems will run on the same machine, but never happily.

  • AFAIK Mandriva provides the best KDE oriented linux desktop. That's a problem for the linux desktop. Ubuntu is great, but monocuture is not acceptable, we need a good KDE linux desktop too.
    • by andrewd18 (989408)
      Considered openSUSE? When I was using it (around 11.0), their 4.x KDE was always significantly less buggy than 4.x mainline, and the distro is quite user-friendly. Otherwise Chakra's KDEmod for Arch Linux is excellent (http://chakra-project.org/about-kdemod.html [chakra-project.org])
    • AFAIK Mandriva provides the best KDE oriented linux desktop. That's a problem for the linux desktop. Ubuntu is great, but monocuture is not acceptable, we need a good KDE linux desktop too.

      What about PCLinuxOS? It has roots in Mandrake, but has evolved its own character under TexStar's direction. It is primarily a KDE desktop distro (and was exclusively KDE until last year), and the KDE variant is still its flagship.
      Although we're mostly Ubuntu/Gnome at home, I did have PCLinuxOS 2007 for a while on one of our PCs, and will probably install the 2010 edition into a VM for a test drive fairly soon.

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:42PM (#32173530)

    Mandriva is Linux that works. Mandriva is some of the most prime real estate in th Linux world, from arcade cabinets like mine, to domain controllers, Mandriva is the easiest Linux to configure anywhere.

    Mandriva is the only Linux distribution where you can setup a Samba Domain with no interaction with the Console.
    Setting up a Kerberos realm backended by a LDAP server with Samba on top is easiest under Mandriva. They have a guy dedicated to just that. They have Wizards to create PXE Servers, DNS Servers, Mail Servers, and everything else. Mandriva has some wonderful assets. They just have not been marketed well, in the right hands, Mandriva could really spark a revolution in the Linux world.

  • Eet ees net feur sell. Eeet eez a vendre, fils d'un personne fou!

  • If so, what do you think?
    I like obscure things, but there are probably reasons why I shouldn't.

  • While I'm Ubuntu/Debian guy already for 6 years, I have huge respect for Mandrake/Mandriva. It was first distribution who wanted to produce first class OS not only for geeks. Problem is - as far as I heard - that they management always sucked. No matter how brilliant engineers worked there, leadership managed to fuck up everything.

    I would be sad to let it go, as lot of users still uses it (in my humble opinion, in Europe it's more popular than Fedora), but if it has to - respects, thanks guys for everything

  • I know it's dumb and petty, but there's no way I ever would have installed something named "Mandriva" on a machine I control. It's like they deliberately picked it to make it as embarrassing as possible to say in public.

    Friend: What'cha doin'?
    User: Oh, just fiddling with The Gimp on my Mandriva.
    Friend: I have to be somewhere. [departs quickly looking over shoulder]

    I know we all laugh about focus groups, but a good one could've avoided this debacle.

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