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Mandriva Not Shuttering Its Doors, Yet 97

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from the making-gnu-easy-since-before-it-was-cool dept.
An anonymous reader writes, quoting OS News: "In his usual man-of-a-few-words manner today, Jean-Manuel Croset, Mandriva COO, announced that enough funds have been secured to allow Mandriva to keep its doors open and continue development." From the announcement: "The strategy review started two weeks ago will now actively be finalized and the corresponding decisions taken mid of May."
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Mandriva Not Shuttering Its Doors, Yet

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  • And shuttering the windows? Seriously though this is good news, diversity is healthy.

    • by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:58AM (#39866839)
      Well, you could also say that excessive diversity is one of the major problems why desktop Linux is not as mighty as it could be.
      • by Robert Zenz (1680268) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:01AM (#39866873) Homepage
        I still fail to understand that argument. If we can not trust computer users to choose a distribution based on a short description on the "About" section or Wikipedia (or go with the obvious choices), how can we trust those people to elect leaders for whole nations?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I still fail to understand that argument. If we can not trust computer users to choose a distribution based on a short description on the "About" section or Wikipedia (or go with the obvious choices), how can we trust those people to elect leaders for whole nations?

          Oy.

          The differences between distributions are sooo subtle that it doesn't make much difference. And some of the difference are completely irrelevant - I can't even remember them.

          And for the typical user, Ubuntu is the best distro. Xubuntu is a wonderful distro for older hardware - but not too old.

          I mean, outside of fedora, Ubuntu, Xubuntu (maybe Mint) and Slackware, what's the point?

          • by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:24AM (#39867069) Homepage Journal

            I still fail to understand that argument. If we can not trust computer users to choose a distribution based on a short description on the "About" section or Wikipedia (or go with the obvious choices), how can we trust those people to elect leaders for whole nations?

            Oy.

            The differences between distributions are sooo subtle that it doesn't make much difference. And some of the difference are completely irrelevant - I can't even remember them.

            Just like with politicians, then!

          • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:35AM (#39867183)

            I mean, outside of fedora, Ubuntu, Xubuntu (maybe Mint) and Slackware, what's the point?

            How about, "I want something like Fedora, but which does not require a yearly upgrade that will inevitably break things?" Now, where might I find such a disto, without having to pay for it...

            http://www.centos.org/ [centos.org]

            (In reality, I use ScientificLinux, but both basically follow RHEL)

            Distros are not forked just for fun. Sometimes there are real disagreements over how packages should be managed, what new features are important, what patches are worth applying, etc. I do not need the latest eye candy and I do not really have the time for things to mysteriously break, but other people want the latest eye candy and are willing to fix broken things.

            Hundreds of distros may seem excessive, but a lot of those are just small communities of people with similar enough aims.

            • by Errtu76 (776778)

              How about, "I want something like Fedora, but which does not require a yearly upgrade that will inevitably break things?" Now, where might I find such a disto, without having to pay for it...

              You're not required to update, but for the sake of security/productivity it is advisible. However, there's one thing that doesn't work with RHEL/CentOS/SL and that's the major upgrade, like the one from 5 to 6. You just can't. You're required to reinstall the base from scratch. Something that Fedora (or Ubuntu, for that

              • However, there's one thing that doesn't work with RHEL/CentOS/SL and that's the major upgrade, like the one from 5 to 6.

                That is true, but...

                1. That happens once every 7 years; with Fedora you are talking about at least once per year.
                2. Things do not (in my experience) break as hard between major releases of RHEL 'n pals as they do between Fedora releases; there is a bit of friction, but with Fedora I would have to deal with critical things (network, graphics) simply not working after upgrades.
                3. Once you fix the problems that follow a RHEL upgrade, it is unlikely you will need to keep fixing things. With Fedora, I would sometimes
            • by Hatta (162192)

              What's the point of running something "like Fedora" if you don't buy support?

              BTW, do you know if Scientific Linux has current packages for R? I have to run RHEL on my bioinformatics machine because IT here is braindead. RHEL doesn't package R, so I've been stuck building my own. I figure SL packages would work for me, but I haven't been able to find them.

              In any case, if I wasn't required to have paid support I'd go straight to Debian, not Scientific Linux. Why? Because the software I use is packaged an

          • by Patch86 (1465427)

            And for the typical user, Ubuntu is the best distro. Xubuntu is a wonderful distro for older hardware - but not too old.

            I mean, outside of fedora, Ubuntu, Xubuntu (maybe Mint) and Slackware, what's the point?

            Some people have many different uses for a computer other than just "personal desktop"- which is what Fedora, Ubuntu/Xubuntu & Mint are all for (and Slackware for the hobbyists). Servers, smartphones, supercomputers, embedded devices, penetration testing, media centres just to name a few off the top of my head.

            If you want a penetration testing distro, you have a choice of 2 or 3 tops. If you want a media centre distro, there's another 2 or 3. If people can't choose between 2 or 3 options, they should ha

        • by unixisc (2429386)

          If there were just 5 or 10 choices, the choice argument could be valid. When you have 100 choices, which in turn could be multiplied by a factor of 3 to represent the various DEs that they're bundled w/, that's what starts the confusion.

          Also, even if one takes just the #kernels out there, multiplies that by the #libraries in use by various software, and then multiple variations of everything else, the number snowballs to a point that makes it impossible to manage.

          • by dudpixel (1429789)

            Do you evaluate every car on the market before you buy one? What about every phone?

            Linux is no different. You might compare the ones you've heard of - but even for me (I've been using linux as my sole desktop since the late 90's) that's only about 5-10.

            Most users have only heard of 1-3 different distros, and I'm pretty sure that its not that difficult to figure out which is best. Each one only takes 30 mins or so to install, so at most it would take only a few days to evaluate all 3. Most can run off a cd n

          • Windows the current versions only (Win 7 and 2008 server) have 21 Editions available ... is that too many?

        • by kiwimate (458274)

          Politicians know that in order to get their message across to the population they have to translate it into language that Joe Average can understand.

          They also know that they have a better chance of getting their message across if they clearly distinguish what makes them different from the alternatives.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Well, you could also say that excessive diversity is one of the major problems why desktop Linux is not as mighty as it could be.

        Where's the diversity? Isn't it just RPM/redhat without Gnome available to install (in other words, KDE default?). Its not like FF 5.0.1 on Mandriva is going to be any different than FF 5.0.1 on my debian desktops, or libreoffice, or bash, or ssh...

        • Well, you could also say that excessive diversity is one of the major problems why desktop Linux is not as mighty as it could be.

          Where's the diversity? Isn't it just RPM/redhat without Gnome available to install (in other words, KDE default?). Its not like FF 5.0.1 on Mandriva is going to be any different than FF 5.0.1 on my debian desktops, or libreoffice, or bash, or ssh...

          That further proves my point. If there's no significant difference, why maintain another distro? That's what makes the diversity "excessive".

          • by vlm (69642)

            I disgree. That's like saying a nation where all children are a standard model clone is diverse, because they have different parents.

            The fact that a boot up screen momentarily says Debian or Mandriva before the user runs the identical firefox app is NOT the problem with linux on the desktop.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @10:24AM (#39867705) Homepage Journal

        There are a few things wrong with that statement. One, it doesn't matter to me how popular Linux is, as long as they keep developing it. Why is lack of popularity a problem? It's not like Linux is a money-making enterprise. As long as my computer works I don't care how many others are using the same OS. Two, Linux isn't popular for quite a few reasons, foremost that every non-Apple PC comes with Windows preinstalled. Few have ever even heard of Linux, let alone know how superior to Windows it is. Hell, slashdot comments show you that a whole lot of folks here haven't ever tried it or they'd realize how crappy Windows really is (Windows is improving, but is still nowhere near Linux in useability, customability, and features).

        And its diversity of distros is one of many reasons it's hard to write Linux malware (that, and repositories of course... not to mention MS's inherent flaws that make virus writing easy for that platform).

        Personally, the more distros there are, the more I like Linux. If all there were was Gnome-Ubuntu and Red Hat, I'd probably be using Windows.

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)

          I'm not really bothered by marketshare on the desktop either, though it'd be nice if some software makers out there were compelled to make and maintain certain titles for my OS of choice. I figure that'd be more likely if there were more people using that OS.

          For instance, it'd be really nice to have native Office, Photoshop, and a few others. I know, it'll never happen, but it'd be pretty great for my purposes.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Not me. Photoshop? I can't afford Photoshop. Office? Oo works for me just fine. In fact, I can't think of a single piece of commercial software I'd like to have since I stopped gaming.

            • by SomePgmr (2021234)
              Yeah, when it comes to Office my motivation would be workplace related. At home I do always dual-boot on at least one machine for (yes legal) Photoshop use. Gimp just doesn't cut it, for my purposes.
        • Hell, slashdot comments show you that a whole lot of folks here haven't ever tried it or they'd realize how crappy Windows really is (Windows is improving, but is still nowhere near Linux in useability, customability, and features).

          Sure, if you're the kind of guy who believes that the only reason people use Notepad is because they haven't given vi a good enough try. What are MS's inherent flaws that make virus writing easy? Which versions of Windows are we talking about here, and how are the myriad of Linux distros unaffected by similar flaws?

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Sure, if you're the kind of guy who believes that the only reason people use Notepad is because they haven't given vi a good enough try.

            Well, that's exactly the thing, isn't it? I never used vi, for all I know it might blow me away. That's your typical Windows user, they never had a chance to try something better.

            What are MS's inherent flaws that make virus writing easy?

            One example is MS's habit of hiding the extension by default. Write your virus, name it "porn.jpg.exe" and most users only see "porn.jpg" a

      • by dudpixel (1429789)

        Wrong. perhaps you meant "not as widespread as it could be" - that would be a fair point.

        But it has nothing to do with how mighty it can be, unless you assume that if the devs weren't working on mandriva they would spend the same time and resources on the likes of ubuntu, fedora or opensuse? Very unlikely.

      • ...and lack of diversity is why Windows is still riddled with scumware, viruses and similar even after all Microsoft's efforts ....

        One monolithic target is easier to hit than a diverse but similar group ....

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Not only that, but Mandrake/Mandriva was always my favorite distro. I switched to kubuntu when I heard Mandriva was dying.

      Guess I'll switch back.

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      If I understand Mandriva's business model, they make money by selling their desktop + support contracts to businesses (in the same was as RH, Novell & Canonical).

      So my question is, who the hell (in terms of big companies and organisations) would want to take out an expensive contract for a year's support with a company that seems to be scraping money together on a month by month basis? How do you know you're not going to buy a few thousand euro's worth of support, only to find it going into the big bank

  • by dragonquest (1003473) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @08:57AM (#39866825)

    I remember back when it was called Mandrake, it was the best easy Linux distro out there. The one big plus it had was the installation process, where the auto-formatter tool decided the space for the /, /home and swap mountpoints. For anybody switching from a Windows only background this was a big plus.

    Plus it had drakconf, a control panel UI, and tons of neat looking applications. While its best times remain in the past, it still is a great distro (or atleast was in 2010) and deserves a look.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Amen. I learned on Mandrake 7 and used it all the way through the initial Connectiva acquisition. I was in high school at the time, so $100 seemed like a lot, but I was still a member of their "club" which granted access to the Powerpack downloads. Oh, and we should never forget the legendary Adam Williamson, who now works for a piece of clothing :). The thing I really liked about it was the installer: it gave tons of options, but was still easy to use. Mandrake was at the top of distrowatch in 2005/6. Now

    • The Mandrake Linux 9.0 distribution was the first experience I had with this distribution. Before that I had run Redhat Linux 6.2 and I was amazed with how well it worked. The pack of CDs I got with a Linux magazine had heaps of programs and formatting and partioning was very easy as well. I used it up to the 10 release and then I switched to a 8.5 GiB OpenSuse 9.2 DVD that I had aquired. That was another good distro. RIP KDE 3.4. Why is Ubuntu such a heap of stinking crap compared to the older distribution

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      Yup. I started using Linux right as Mandrake 9.2 was released. I was still using Mandriva (on and off) until a year or two ago, when I switched to Arch. I still recommend Mandriva to any new users -- I find it has an easier installer and works on a much wider array of hardware configurations than Ubuntu or any other distros. I hadn't heard they were having financial problems like this -- it's a shame. Might have to go make a purchase or two just to help keep it alive.

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      I once had Mandrake on my PC, and it was beautiful and great. Only problem - it couldn't recognize my ethernet card, just like just about every other linux out there, so I very reluctantly gave up on that.

      These days, the problems w/ Linux are @ the next level - Wi-Fi not being supported, and power-saving modes that one can't recover from. And unlike for other things that don't work, if the network connectivity does not work, fishing for solutions in forum hunts is pretty much out of the question.

  • Fork'ed off! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:00AM (#39866859) Journal

    While it's good to read that Mandriva has continued, I forked off to Mageia which is currently on version 2 beta3 testing, seems to perform better than version 1, but the only down side is some packages that are in Mandriva are still not in Mageia. But for most people - that is the normal home user, it should be fine if they decide to install Mageia.

    Don't forget, it was the workforce that Mandriva fired in the first place that led to the Mageia fork, and a drain on programming talent that Mandriva needed.

    • Re:Fork'ed off! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:35AM (#39867187)

      That's part of the problem with Linux. Anytime it looks like a particular distro might achieve some actual mainstream success (like with Ubuntu), everyone starts complaining about this-or-that problem with it and it forks off into a million different competing distros, just adding to the already-confusing morass.

      And Linux fans wonder why Windows and Mac stay on top.

    • by YZman (699731)

      Switched to Mageia after upgrading Mandriva 2010 -> 2011. Even though I heavily 'roll my own', I'm always looking for one to recommend and install for friends & family. I maintain multiple partitions with various distro's, Mageia is my current recommending choice.

      Don't forget to donate!

  • What is Mandriva? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:29AM (#39867111)

    What is Mandriva? Yes I know all about the history, Mandrake and Connectiva, blah blah.

    I'm talking about the technical marketing message. Why use it instead of a zillion other RPM distros or a zillion other OS where KDE can be installed?

    The wikipedia page lists:
    1) Its got a control center. Find me an OS without one?
    2) Its a boot loader for KDE, essentially. Well, what makes this different than every other KDE OS?
    3) It has some themes. Find me an OS without this? I should spend hours wiping and recreating my system because I like this tone of blue?
    4) RPM based. OK so its repackaged redhat.
    5) Live USBs basically the same as live cdroms are available. Find me a non-commercial OS without this?

    The mandriva website lists:
    1) Its a "next generation experience" but its actually just KDE (find me a modern OS where you can't install KDE with something like "apt-get install kde")
    2) Its "better and simpler" but the details listed describe how that means the icons are bigger. Eh.
    3) It has a smart desktop, which is apparently defined as it has some KDE apps, as I would have suspected from #1.
    4) It ships with firefox 5.0.1 (thats awesome, says VLM who is reading this page on a FF 12.0 browser)
    5) Libreoffice is available (find me a modern OS where libreoffice is not available?)
    Amazingly it doesn't list any OS features at all, only lists features of the apps that every other distro also has. Mandriva is not FF 5.0.1, its an OS that happens to run FF. Being able to install libreoffice is not a OS feature, any more than its a feature for every other OS that libreoffice can be installed upon (and I never use libreoffice anymore anyway, all GOOG docs aka GOOG drive for me...). I do NOT need to install Mandriva in order to experience FF, or libreoffice, or kde (awesome user both work and home, just gave up on KDE around the "bundle with mysql" era made it a bit heavy for something that does almost nothing for me but run a terminal session with ssh and FF).

    So, what, if anything, are they doing to lure me over? What makes mandriva special or stand out from being yet another distro that happens to be yet another RPM distro, and yet another KDE distro? The lack of any answer Might be central to their lack of success.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      A lot of those features were considered quite innovative for Linux in the late-90's.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I'd call bogus on that with the possible exception of a control center which has always been a GUI thing anyway. Packaging and shipping "the dominant free web browser" and "the dominant free office quite" and KDE and some themes is not innovative.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What year is it, again?

    • by Jorgensen (313325)

      Slight correction: <span class="pedant">Mandriva is not an OS. It is a distribution.</span>

      The underlying OS is GNU Linux - but different distributions differ very little in this respect - at least as far as the typical desktop user would care about.

      Beyond the operating system: yes you are correct: The differences listed do not seem to distinguish Mandriva from a plethora of other distributions

    • by hakova (930861)
      As a former Mandriva user, I can attest that it just used to work. The distribution overall was very well organized, and would work out of the box without much tweaking, which is not the case for some other distributions. It had an intuitive interface (MCC) for tweaking things, as well. Plus the power of CLI as is the case for all Iinux distributions. In summary, it used to be a very user-friendly and well-polished distribution in its better days.
    • by Raenex (947668)

      Find me [..] Find me [..] Find me [..] find me [..] find me

      Where's Waldo?

    • Re:What is Mandriva? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Urza9814 (883915) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:08AM (#39868207)

      1) Its got a control center. Find me an OS without one?

      I haven't seen a single other Linux distro with a control center. At least not one of the scale and functionality of Mandriva's. My current distro (Arch) doesn't have one at all. Unless you count the KDE panel, which is pretty much useless by comparison. Can't set up printers (well, it claims you can, but it never works), you can't set up wifi, you can't set up system services, you can't even adjust the display to the same extent that you can in the Mandriva control center. Maybe they need to emphasize what it is a bit more -- because I've tried a dozen or so distros and never seen anything remotely close.

      4) RPM based. OK so its repackaged redhat.

      There's also URPMI, the easiest package manager I've yet seen. Easier than pacman/yaourt, easier than apt-get.

      It's a distro for newbies. The best one out there. Best hardware autodetection and autoconfig I have ever seen in a Linux distro. Back a couple years ago when getting a broadcom wifi package to work on Ubuntu required downloading ndiswrapper, installing it from source, and configuring all that in the terminal -- the same hardware worked on Mandriva right out of the box. I had a friend recently with some weird graphics card glitch that meant Arch, Ubuntu, Gentoo -- nothing she tried could start X, and googling the error messages came up with forum posts that essentially said 'it's a bug in this hardware version -- good luck, you're on your own.' Mandriva? Worked flawlessly.

      Maybe they're advertising it wrong. They should probably be focusing on things like this. But personally, I've been using Linux for around eight years now, and from day one the distro I recommend for newbies is Mandriva (well, on day one it was Mandrake....) I still haven't found another distro -- hell, I haven't found any other OS -- that's as easy as Mandriva to get started with.

      • by bored (40072)

        I haven't seen a single other Linux distro with a control center. At least not one of the scale and functionality of Mandriva's

        Try suse, I was a heavy mandrake user back in the day, Its light years ahead of unbuntu (and friends) when it comes to having an integrated control panel.

        There are a number of other things good about suse, too, and with the addition of zypper a few years ago, the whole apt-get argument for deb based distributions was shot to hell. Of course, yast also has a package manager (same stu

      • by jdogalt (961241)

        "There's also URPMI, the easiest package manager I've yet seen. Easier than pacman/yaourt, easier than apt-get."

        Yes. URPMI is why I used and loved Mandrake... about a million years ago. Funny how in that sentence you fail to mention yum, which is exactly the thing that caused the rest of the RPM based distros to finally erase Mandrake's core advantage. It's been a long time since then. Mandrake is dead, let it R.I.P.

      • 1) Its got a control center. Find me an OS without one?

        I haven't seen a single other Linux distro with a control center. At least not one of the scale and functionality of Mandriva's. My current distro (Arch) doesn't have one at all. Unless you count the KDE panel, which is pretty much useless by comparison. Can't set up printers (well, it claims you can, but it never works), you can't set up wifi, you can't set up system services, you can't even adjust the display to the same extent that you can in the Mandriva control center. Maybe they need to emphasize what it is a bit more -- because I've tried a dozen or so distros and never seen anything remotely close.

        Never heard of YAST? SuSe had that for quite a long time already as well.

    • Re:What is Mandriva? (Score:4, Informative)

      by timbo234 (833667) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:42AM (#39868639) Journal

      4) RPM based. OK so its repackaged redhat.

      No, RPM-based doesn't mean it's repackaging Redhat, you're confusing it with Centos and Scientific Linux. Mandriva is actually one of a small number of distros that does a unique packaging effort - ie. the developers package most things themselves rather than basing it off another distro such as Ubuntu does with Debian.

      In the past, i.e. early 2000's, Mandrake/Mandriva had some of the nicer desktop-focused features such as:
      - automatic resizing of the Windows partition in the installer-
      - GUI partitioning program available not just in the installer but in the Control Centre after installation
      - decent package manager with dependency resolution and large repos (almost on a par with Debian's)
      - decent default settings for KDE and GNOME
      - working USB and CD/DVD automounting (the Mandrake/driva developers went to great pains to get this working long before HAL and udev came and made it a comodity feature)

      But that was the past and all major distro's have those things now. So you're probably right, currently there's no standout feature that Mandriva has over other distros, probably just personal preference for those that use it.

    • Mandriva and KDE are big in Europe.
  • thought they would have closed their virtual doors a long time ago.
  • I used Mandrake for a while. Not because it was an easy beginners distro - I'd started out with Slackware, but because it was easier to get stuff done. It was, if I recall, one of the first distros to come bundled with non-free software; drivers for video cards, codecs etc. While it was possible to go to, I don't know, NVidia's site, download the Linux drivers and use them with any distro, Mandrake had them bundled and just worked out of the box. It could also play most of the, erm, interesting video clips

  • Mandrake was the shit in its time, and just what I wanted out of a linux machine. even then I was not a total noob, but really didnt want to read though the 2 inch thick redhat 2 manual I had, nor build the boot media for the solaris x86 I had picked up at a computer show. Just drop in and GO!

    Then mandriva happened, I went to go download it when it first came out and "nope sorry pay us for CD's", I am petty and poor and I had seen this thing called Ubuntu was causing some noise ... been a debian man ever si

  • ..."mandrive"

    then it would appeal to 99% of the geek population
  • ...Not Shuttering Its doors, Yet

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