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Mandriva Businesses

Mandrake News 274

DCowern writes "Mandrake yesterday released their FY2001-2002 earnings and I'm glad to say it's looking real good for them. They've cut operating costs by 42% and increased revenues by 31%. They're still not quite in the black yet but they're expecting to break even month-to-month beginning in February. The full report is here. In other news, Mandrake announced two new programs yesterday. The first is Multi Network Firewall, which looks like an extremely nice package for running small to medium-sized networks. The second program, and my favorite, is their "OS refugee" offer."
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Mandrake News

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  • Question. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yobbo ( 324595 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:49AM (#4885798)
    How much revenue did Mandrake Charity contribute?
    • Re:Question. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Ask not what MandrakeClub can do for you, but what you can do for MandrakeClub.

      But seriously, what good is Microsoft's computer aid to children who don't have food, clean drinking water, and an education. Someone enlighten me on this...
      • The first rule of MandrakeClub is - you do not talk about MandrakeClub.

        The second rule of MandrakeClub is - you DO NOT talk about MandrakeClub.

        Your MS comment is a straw man and certainly overgeneralized. If they didn't give at you'll you'd bitch about that. A quick search turned up this [microsoft.com] and more generally this [microsoft.com]

        And in case you miss it, here is a more direct link to their Annual Report of Giving [microsoft.com].

        • Interesting definition of "Straw Man argument":

          The key points here that make it a Straw Man Argument are these:

          1. Someone #1 makes a statement.

          2. Someone #2 mis-uses that statement to draw an invalid conclusion.

          3. Someone #2 uses their invalid conclusion as the basis for refuting
          contrary arguments (or other goals).

          From here [google.com].
    • Another Question. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JPriest ( 547211 )
      Does "cut operating costs by 42%" mean we can expect the distro to stagnate? ...
  • by PFAK ( 524350 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:50AM (#4885802)
    bankrupts MandrakeSoft after slashdot, a OSDN news site posts a link to MandrakeSoft causing excessive bandwidth usage and financial loss.
  • Good For Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dirkdidit ( 550955 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:52AM (#4885804) Homepage
    Mandrake is one of the best Linux distro's for new users and I feel it's a vital part in getting more people turned onto Linux. I was worried for a while that Mandrake might not exist a few years down the road but hopefully this turn toward profitability will continue. And remember, if you use Mandrake, it doesn't hurt to donate some money to them. It is, afterall, the season of giving. :-)
    • Re:Good For Them (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MasterOfMagic ( 151058 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:59AM (#4885837) Journal
      And remember, if you use Mandrake, it doesn't hurt to donate some money to them.

      I'm sorry, but if I've paid for their PowerPack in a store (which, by the way, it decently priced as far as distros go, AND it includes StarOffice 6.0), I don't feel guilty by not donating or joining MandrakeClub. For some reason, after leaving the "other" operating system behind, I don't feel it necessary to pay twice for an operating system.
      • You have a good point. I should have said that if you downloaded the distro and not bought the PowerPack, it wouldn't hurt to join MandrakeClub and donate a few dollars.
      • Re:Good For Them (Score:5, Informative)

        by Malor ( 3658 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:14AM (#4885877) Journal
        If you buy the CD from anyone but Mandrake directly, they only get about half of the money. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because if distributors and retailers are making money from Linux, it'll get more shelf space. But I don't really think Linux NEEDS to be on the shelf all that much yet... it's getting to be a pretty okay desktop, but it's not ready for Mom to install on her own. It's Mom-ready after it has been installed, but the geeks who know how to install it also know how to find it online. :-)

        Seems to me that the basic membership ($5/mo) is a nice way to give them a steady revenue stream, which is important for software businesses.

        I downloaded the OS, so so I felt a bit obligated to subscribe. I got StarOffice 6.0 as well, because I subscribed at the silver level. ($10/mo or $115/year.) As long as I keep getting bennies that are worth it, I'll keep resubscribing at that level, but I will renew at least a basic membership for as long as I keep using the distro.

        It just seems like the right thing to do.
        • Seems to me that the basic membership ($5/mo) is a nice way to give them a steady revenue stream, which is important for software businesses.

          A membership of this sort would be great if they were a non-profit company. While I agree that they do good work, it is their job to become profitable. It's not my job to support their work or pay twice for an OS or product I've already paid for.

          If you buy the CD from anyone but Mandrake directly, they only get about half of the money.

          Note to all: This is why you should buy directly from Mandrake.

          • They are supporting open source, so what if they are for profit, if you want them to survive you will support them, Open source companies must make money somehow.

            Or are you so greedy you wont even give them money so they will keep making your code?
            • They are supporting open source, so what if they are for profit, if you want them to survive you will support them, Open source companies must make money somehow.

              Yes, they are making their money by selling their distro. I have bought their distro, therefore I have supported them. I feel no remorse in not joining MandrakeClub if I have bought their boxed distro.

              Or are you so greedy you wont even give them money so they will keep making your code?

              As much as I love and support Mandrake, if they can't get their buisness model turned around and turn a profit and they go under, it won't be the end of my world. I will go to one of the many other fine distros out there for newbie users for machines that I set up for other people. Doesn't bother me. That's why Open Source is so nice. If you can't get it from one distributer, you can always go to another and get it from there, or you can get it from the source.

              The flaw in your logic lies in the fact that Mandrake is a for profit company. As much as I like them, they are out to make a profit through their products. Would you apply the same logic to Microsoft since they're for profit?

              They are supporting closed source, so what if they are for profit. If you want them to survive, you will support them. Closed source companies must make money somehow.

              Again, this doesn't work because Microsoft is a for-profit company. If a company cannot find a way to make money on its products, too bad, so sad, they go out of buisness.
          • It's not my job to support their work or pay twice for an OS or product I've already paid for.

            That's the case if you bought a boxed distro... then there's no real point in joining the Club (well, there are certain other privileges that you get, though whether they're worth it is questionable).

            However, someone that downloads an ISO or performs a network install should, imho, join the Club.

      • Re:Good For Them (Score:2, Informative)

        by Idou ( 572394 )
        Five elements of Present Value Measurement:

        1. The price for bearing uncertainty

        2. Expectations about timing variations of future cash flows

        3. other factors (e.g., liquidity issues and market imperfections)

        4. time value of money (the risk-free rate of interest)

        5 estimate of future cash flow

        (Becker Conviser CPA Review)

        The present value of money is the most basic element of the financial market. Companies need cash to operate and steady revenue to negotiate loans. This is why you do Mandrake more of a favor by becoming a club member and buying the CD at cheapbytes than just buying the packet, by itself.

        No reason to feel guilty about "donating." However, a basic grasp of present values and revenue recognition might enable you to optimize your support of, imho, the world's best distro.
    • Re:Good For Them (Score:5, Interesting)

      by electromaggot ( 597134 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:05AM (#4885849)
      Even for experienced users, I think Mandrake is a great distro. If it's easy to install, why does that make it strictly "for newbies"? I'm a developer, not a network admin, and personally I'd rather spend my time progging than editing .conf files and troubleshooting my network (my past Debian installs come to mind as I say that).

      I just installed Mandrake's MNF on a system yesterday and it was cake to set up! Especially after I almost threw my P200 box out the window because the Red Hat 8.0 (Server) Install kept crashing on it (and RH 7.2 didn't seem to be stable either). This Mandrake MNF seems to be rock solid.

      Mandrake is great. I'm gonna start sending them money. I hope they make it.
      • Re:Good For Them (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thelen ( 208445 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @01:06PM (#4887399) Homepage

        I'm a developer, not a network admin

        Same here. I just wanted a desktop that would enable me to do my work, not qualify as a part-time job to use. I've been running MDK 9 for about 8 weeks now, and I've booted into Win2k about twice during that whole time. In contrast, when my Linux partition was RH 7.2 I spent the bulk of my time under Windows b/c the RH desktop was so cluttered with redundant (many non-functional) menus, terrible multimedia capabilities, printing didn't work.

        You could say MDK is for newbies, but another way of putting it is that they made some tough choices and cut a lot of bs that end users shouldn't have to deal with. If you want tighter control over your system, use Debian or Gentoo or something. I simply needed a working desktop, and Mandrake did a great job providing it.

    • Re:Good For Them (Score:3, Insightful)

      by npietraniec ( 519210 )
      Um, Mandrake isn't a "not for profit" company. Why don't you donate some money to Ford, GE, or Microsoft while you're at it... That's the dumbest thing I've seen all day (although it is 2am)
      • Re:Good For Them (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sneftel ( 15416 )
        If Ford were developing a really cool car that I wanted, and might not be able to stay afloat financially without outside help, yeah, I might donate.
      • Re:Good For Them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Afrosheen ( 42464 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:22AM (#4885910)
        You should donate to them because all the code they generate is open source. Actually there isn't one piece of software in their Download Edition of 9.0 that isn't opensource and free. They're strong believers where other distros are tending to hide their contributions.

        Also, they let you leech all their ISO's free of charge. Try doing that with Xandros, Lindows, or any of the other 'new and improved desktop distros'. All they ask is that you have a heart and give them a few bucks so their developers can eat and they can pay for their bandwidth.
        • Re:Good For Them (Score:2, Insightful)

          by npietraniec ( 519210 )
          You seem to forget that they are a BUSINESS. Donate to debian, purchase services from Mandrake.

          I'm actually a member of a mandrake club... Oh the irony.

          • What the hell do you think your money pays for? The service of producing code, the service of being able to download the ISO, the service of being able to access all the code, the service of being able to get all this great software packaged up, the service of Linux Mandrake.

            Open Source software is NOT a product, its a service, CLOSED SOURCE SOFTWARE IS A PRODUCT.

            Theres a difference
        • FIrst off, its not leeching, second, the poster said he BOUGHT his copy. IF you are selling something, and it costs more to make then you are selling it for, well...goodbye.
        • Here Here (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ninewands ( 105734 )
          Mandrake 1.0 was the first Linux distro I ever installed ... I've staggered up the food chain (or is that "learning curve"?) from there since 1997, but my point is this ... Mandrake, Red Hat, Debian and Slackware (and the other "old school" distros (sorry SuSE, your licensing requirements disqualify you from the "old school" grouping)) seem to pour their work product back into the community, while those who've jumped on the bandwagon in the last 2-3 years all seem to want to lead the Microsofting of Linux.

          My feeling is this ... give to those who give back!
      • Re:Good For Them (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zenyu ( 248067 )
        Um, Mandrake isn't a "not for profit" company. Why don't you donate some money to Ford, GE, or Microsoft while you're at it... When Ford and GE start giving away cars, and Microsoft GPL's their software I might consider donating. Mandrake isn't asking for donations anyway, they still allow you to make donations. But as someone working for a not-for-profit I think that makes sense because institutions often have to transfer money in a certain way for accounting purposes. "not-for-profit" and "non-profit" are just labels, a not-for-profit can own a commercial company, they just don't have shareholders to pay dividends to and can't bribe politicians. A "non-profit" is a more restricted entity, it can't have profits for too long before losing it's status.

        The only real reason to start an entity as a not-for/non-profit is if you expect the tax deduction on donations to get you more money, and you won't ever need political support. Mandrake is in France, I don't even know if a charity donation is tax-deductable there. Most donations are small and in cash anyway, so the tax deduction isn't really an issue, like it would be if BillG were considering a 6 billion dollar donation in stock that would normally be subject to a 20% gapital gains tax. We all also know Linux and open source in general can use all the political support we can afford to buy.

        As long as they are contributing to open source there is nothing wrong with sending donations. Hell, if you're working for a company that makes use of XFS, what's wrong with sending a $50,000 donation to SGI? If you tell them why they might have an easier time justifying the programmer time next time someone wants to port something to Linux there. Think about how you TIP at your local bar; you probably TIP better than you have to for your conscience. You know you will get treated better the next time you come in and might even get a couple buy backs or be told when your favorite beer is a little flat and it's best to order something else.

        If you're a programmer it might be better to work on some code. Or, you might know some other organization/person that will spend the money more productively; give your money there then. But if you are using Mandrake, maybe you think they are spending the money well? So what's wrong with giving them more? Is it so different from the time I spend working on OSS? Others use it for profit and it doesn't bother me, I've gotten a lot more value from OSS than my cost in time, writing the code. That code will end up creating a lot more value on other people's collective desks than I lost by working on it.

        Nothing wrong with just signing up for MandrakeClub or buying a boxed set either.

      • I'd donate money to Microsoft if they were going to release the source code to Windows.
    • Re:Good For Them (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Martigan80 ( 305400 )
      getting more people turned onto Linux

      Why should this be the main focus? I mean trying to make it user friendly-fine that's a great idea to appeal to the non-Linux user, but I don't think a lot of effort should be focused on actively trying to get users converted. Because the one thing that will start happening, and we have seen RedHat do it, is that they will start catering to these users, ex-windows users who are used to getting things their way by complaining about this or that. Users who have been using Linux for two years but still can't use lp in the CLI. This is not meant as a lash out or an insult, just a question of motive. If you bring too many of these half users on board you will ask for allot more than you have ever bargained for, and will start making a distro to make it easier for them, and focus less on the real applications.
      • I mean trying to make it user friendly-fine that's a great idea to appeal to the non-Linux user, but I don't think a lot of effort should be focused on actively trying to get users converted.

        I agree. People should use Linux because they like Linux, not because Linux can be made to look like Windows.

        [rant] I tried to set up a Red Hat box for someone. Big mistake. Not only did they not understand what was going on, but with all of the GUI cruft on top, any time they tried to tweak something, they ended up overwriting my customizations. Now, I'm not against GUI tools, but when a GUI tool is too stupid to keep settings that are hand entered, then it's not the right way to do something. Or, at least, it should ask confirmation. I ended up setting up a Debian box, and I ssh into it to maintain it for them if something goes wrong.[/rant]
  • Wow.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryochiji ( 453715 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:53AM (#4885809) Homepage
    >They've cut operating costs by 42% and increased revenues by 31%

    That's impressive. Except...they're still not profitable? Wow. They must've been screwing up big time before.

    It's still nice to hear some good news for once I guess.

    • Re:Wow.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Afrosheen ( 42464 )
      Their previous CEO and his cronies wanted to take Mandrake in a radically different direction. They tried making inroads into educational software and POP software, kiosk stuff, etc. Just some really creative but ultimately terrible decisions.

      Ask Enron or anyone else victimized by retarded management how hard it is to make a comeback. Without it's userbase standing by, I'm sure Mandrake would've gone tits up this summer.
      • Nothing like Enron (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MasterOfMagic ( 151058 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:43AM (#4885979) Journal
        Ask Enron or anyone else victimized by retarded management how hard it is to make a comeback.

        Don't you mean "Ask the shareholders of Enron how victimized they felt when a company they relied on betrayed them"? I'm sorry, I feel bad for the workers and shareholders of Enron, but this is nothing like Enron. First, Enron managment wasn't retarded: they knew full well what they were doing, and did it anyway. Second, Enron had some help at the federal level to get away with some of its corporate misdeeds. Finally, Enron's employees and customers had no idea what was going on.

        Contrast that with Mandrake. The managemnt that you call "retarded" had a different direction for the company that didn't work out. They didn't try to steal from the company, screw the shareholders, or cover their own ass. Secondly, Mandrake has always been supported by its users, be it donations or purchases of its boxed set. Finally, the user base of Mandrake saw where it was going and let the company know that wasn't the way they wanted it to go.

        Sorry, somehow I don't see how this was ANYTHING like Enron.
        • by Afrosheen ( 42464 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @04:07AM (#4886042)
          Yeah Enron was the first company killed by management that sprung to mind, and I admit it was a terrible example.

          IIRC, the Mandrake users weren't the ones complaining loudly to the new management at the helm there, it was the developers and founders that were pretty concerned about their eroding bottom line. Remember, every CEO has a board that has the right to hire and fire him based on performance or something as petty as his choice of ties.

          At any rate, when a company (the workers plus the investors, remember when they went public) isn't doing well, the shareholders and the board get nervous. The board usually tries to fix problems from the top down and make the shareholders a little happier.

          I'm still confused as to why they just got a new CEO. Maybe he brings some kind of financial wizardry or business ties to the table..because I read an article today saying how he's 'enjoying learning about Open Source software'. Like he's never heard of it before.

          Oh well..at any rate, I'm glad Mandrake is getting healthier. It always has been my favorite distro over the last 3 or 4 years, and it seems to be growing with me.
    • So this is the most overtly aimed-at-end-users and putting-the-emphasis-on-ease-of-use installation around, and they still can't make money? And this is good news? Is it just me, or are we in the twilight zone?

      Surely one of the enormous problems we have with Linux is that no-one seems to be able to make any money out of it. Linux almost bankrupted Corel, and even Redhat distributes the software at a loss. Selling Windows pays, selling Linux manifestly doesn't. As long as that is the case, it is hardly surprising that most distributors don't want to know.

      I think one of the things that will have to change if Linux is to get much further in terms of market penetration is the look it didn't cost me a bean mentality. At one point I was going to offer Linux support from my cybercafe. Then I noticed that people with Windows problems expect to pay and ask for a price up front, whereas Linux users expect two hours of my undivided attention and might possibly buy a cup of coffee.

      Giving money to Mandrake is nice, but I would suggest that buying a boxed copy from time to time from a non-specialist supplier would do far more to improve the distribution of Linux.

      • I guess you missed the last 6 or 7 articles posted here about Mandrake. They ARE making money now, but are still in the red.Over a year ago their CEO and upper management started steering the company into a collision course with the ground. They lost alot of money at that time. They've since been steadily restructuring while cranking out a quality distro at the same time.

        The only reason this is news at all is because Mandrake expected to be 'profitable', i.e. higher income than debt, by this time of this year. However, they're still making a comeback.

        Might want to do some searching here for Mandrake articles..there's a detailed history behind all this stuff.
        • They ARE making money now, but are still in the red

          OK, but if we replace 'making money' with 'being profitable', we still seem to end up at the same point, ie this isn't a great incentive to get into their line of business, at least for the moment.

          Also, you appear to be describing a major crisis, a restructuring and a recovery, all in less than a year. That might be good, or it might be terrible. They could achieve an operating profit in the short term by firing all their development staff, doing no more publicity and cashing cheques for the stuff they have shipped, but they would be out of business in a year.

          If they become profitable, and stay there for a full year, it starts to sound like good news. For the moment, it still sounds like slightly less terrible news than before.

      • Linux almost bankrupted Corel

        Corel was in trouble even before they moved into Linux. This was at a time when Linux was supposed to be the Silver Bullet.

        Redhat distributes the software at a loss

        I think Redhat makes a small profit now.

        Selling Windows pays, selling Linux manifestly doesn't.

        Selling Windows pays for Microsoft and a few large companies. I doubt if you would be successful with a Windows startup right now.

        • I think Redhat makes a small profit now

          My understanding was that RedHat were making a small profit, but the profits came from support to fairly large corporate customers, not from the distro itself.

          Selling Windows pays for Microsoft and a few large companies.

          I was more thinking of all the companies who make money (re)selling Windows products. I know plenty of people who make a very nice living installing Windows systems and supporting them, both for end users and companies. From my experiences here in France, I don't think anyone could make money supporting Linux for end users, and I'm not even sure about installing networks: a few companies have tried, and have got some business from schools, govt departments etc, but I'm not sure any of them are still trading.

          I doubt if you would be successful with a Windows startup right now

          You are certainly right in my case, and probably right in the more general case too. But there are plenty of companies selling solutions for Windows who manage to pay their bills, and not all of them are large: I can think of one company I know with 3 staff that knocks out bespoke solutions based on the Sage accounting package. The only people I can think of who might be making money on Linux are IBM.

      • It fucks with economies of scale.

        Look at KDE verses Gnome. No one can use both at hte same time but double the developers are need as would be needed if just one existed.

        Plus apps have to make themselves compatible with both, meaning more redundent development.
        • The best news the airline industry could have is for United's Chapter 11 attempt to fail, the end of united would overnight make America's other airlines much more sustainable.

          An example of this is Anset going belling up in Oz, meaning QANTAS now makes raging profits, & prices on average haven't gone up. So it's not a matter of less competition meaning higher profits, it's a matter of greater market share/turnover making the fixed costs less in relation to the gross profits, IE simply economies of scale.
        • Absolutely. I've ended up using Redhat just because I got fed up with finding that binaries didn't work with other distros, but I still come across programs that have been tested on something forked from something that was once Debian. And then we wonder why people have trouble taking open source seriously...

  • by tgrotvedt ( 542393 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:54AM (#4885814) Journal
    After my brief stint recently with a friend's laptop running Win ME (no memory management just like 98), I think I'd prefer the term "asylum seeker".
  • OS Refugee Offer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MasterOfMagic ( 151058 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:55AM (#4885816) Journal
    Reading the OS Refugee Offer, I think it's a great idea. Personally, if they had an idea like that when I was shopping around for distros (metaphorically speaking) I would have gone for that offer in a heartbeat. Now only of Red Hat and SuSE (especially SuSE) did this, we might have some competition with Windows for PHBs. (Of course, the undisputed king of distros shall be unnamed at this time to avoid starting a flamewar. It suffices to say that it is free and always will be.)
  • Cost (Score:4, Funny)

    by Trusty Penfold ( 615679 ) <jon_edwards@spanners4us.com> on Saturday December 14, 2002 @02:56AM (#4885819) Journal

    Who would pay $30 for Linux when you can download Windows XP for free?
    • Re:Cost (Score:2, Funny)

      by npietraniec ( 519210 )
      A better question might be "who would want to run XP for free when you could run linux for 30 bucks?" Not me, but flame away.

      Wait, what am I talking about, I run linux for free...
  • Good News (Score:5, Informative)

    by fozzy(pro) ( 267441 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:07AM (#4885854)
    I often find myself in Discussions wondering why Linux hasn't taken off due its good qualities. I often get referred to complexity of use, difficulty of installation, and Microsoft using its powers of Gigantism. These are all somewhat true. But, I always have felt that part of it was poor management in the major distribution companies. I am glad to see Linux cleaning up their offices and will be happy to see a switch occur. I am also glad to see Mandrake doing well as it is very easy to use and install making it a better choice for average users.

    The other thing I would like to see happen with all the Linux companies is to organize a general lobbying group to challenge MS's marketing force. To challenge the public and government perceptions of the system. Alliances with PC Manufactures would come with demand. The final thing needed is solid development efforts by manufacturers to support hardware in Linux. I feel lack of driver support killed Be which had a really solid OS. BSD was hardly moving on the workstation market until OS X hit and many Apple folks switched voluntarily, and the others are being forced to now even though they don't like the change.

    Regardless Best of Luck to Mandrake and the Linux market in General.
    • Re:Good News (Score:2, Insightful)

      The other thing I would like to see happen with all the Linux companies is to organize a general lobbying group to challenge MS's marketing force. To challenge the public and government perceptions of the system.

      I think that this could be a Good Thing (TM). However, just showing the governement that something is technically superior is not enough. There are such things as legacy systems. A business evaluates (or should evaluate) a plan to change something in its computer infrastructure based on technical merits and capital needed to get its legacy systems to change. Somehow, I think getting a lot of their older systems working with Linux will be easier than getting them to work with Windows. However, what would the cost be for them to convert many of their Windows desktop machines to Linux desktop machines running Mandrake or Red Hat or any other distribution? I somehow think that it will be a little more expensive.

      The final thing needed is solid development efforts by manufacturers to support hardware in Linux.

      I think it will be a pretty cold day in hell before you see every piece of consumer hardware come with Linux drivers as well as Windows drivers. Why? Because (say it with me now) it's cheaper to develop, maintain, and support drivers on one operating system as opposed to developing, maintaining, and supporting them on many operating systems. For example, take HomePNA devices. For awhile, they were popular with Windows users when 802.11b was very expensive. There exists a binary only Linux driver, and it doesn't work correctly with the kernel when you compile the glue code with gcc-3.2. Why haven't they been updated? Nobody knows or cares enough about the internals of the devices to update the code, and the company that wrote them doesn't want to give out the specs for the devices.

      I personally use Linux all of the time, but until there is a giant attitude change (or hell freezes over, or Microsoft licensing terms become more strict than now), I don't think I'll see this soon. I'm okay with that. I use Linux not because it's popular, but because I like and appreciate choice in operating systems.
      • The final thing needed is solid development efforts by manufacturers to support hardware in Linux.

        I think it will be a pretty cold day in hell before you see every piece of consumer hardware come with Linux drivers as well as Windows drivers.

        I think you are missing the point here ... the Microsoft monopoly FORCES hardware manufacturers to deliver their goods with Windows drivers. Does anyone other than me remember the days when you bought hardware based on whether the manufacturer supported your bus/OS??? Does anybody remember when Mac boards wouldn't plug in to, much less work with, MS-DOS machines?

        One company having 90+% penetration of the personal computer market space GUARANTEES that new hardware will ship with drivers for that OS (they may be pre-alpha quality, but what the heck?) ... if the h/w manufacturer didn't support Windows they'd be out of business within a week ...

        the beauty that is occurring now is that SOME (re: Nvidia) manufacturers are actively supporting Linux ... but more importantly ... a LOT of them are releasing documentation to the community that allows truly free drivers to be developed OUTSIDE the manufacturing world.

        just my US$0.02
    • The other thing I would like to see happen with all the Linux companies is to organize a general lobbying group to challenge MS's marketing force.

      Well, there's the Open Source Software Institute [oss-institute.org] that lobbies for Open Source in government and academic organizations.

      Some vendors are low-profile sponsors. I believe they also accept individual donations, which are tax-deductible because they're a non-profit.

    • Re:Good News (Score:3, Interesting)

      As regular slashdoters (is that the correct term?) will know, more and more factions are adopting linux as opposed to windows, governments and councils are the best example we have, they are finding the cost is what drives them to it, but (assuming they have the same experience as me) it's the ease of use and sheer number of open source applications that keeps me using it. I would (and have done) pay for Linux, I own real copies of Mandrake 7.2 and Slack 8. these days the myth of hard to install, and hard to maintain is just that, a myth! my mandrake 9 install detected every bit of obscure hardware in one go, it even managed the GeForce 4, which I was suitably impressed with. I think the main problem is that people expect too much from it, as we sit here running our Linux servers and playing the occasional game, we forget about people who have Sony vaio laptops and want all the buttons to function properly :) it's the little things that make the difference, and since we all know that Linux can do everything windows does better, cheaper and faster, this is all it needs to drive I into the main stream. Good to see money being made here. lets just hope this drive forward doesn't cause open source software to go commercial, I don't know what I would do if nmap wasn't free :)
      • Re:Good News (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @04:56AM (#4886135)
        "we forget about people who have Sony vaio laptops and want all the buttons to function properly:) it's the little things that make the difference..."

        You hit the nail right on the head there. We must must make every effort to ensure that everything works and is easy to setup. It's not always going to be possible to support every piece of hardware as there are companies who will not release the needed information.

        However, We can improve in a number of ways. First of all, much of the documentation that comes with open source software really sucks. I'm an IT professional and I struggle with it. I don't see how a non-IT person would stand a chance with some of this crap. I understand that documenting a project is not fun. I hate documenting my own work but I also know that it is a very important part of a project.

        Another thing that we should move toward is a standard set of libraries that all programmers can count on being there. And the API should not become incompatible from one release to another without a very good reason.

        The developers of libraries should allow other developer's to purchase a license (at a reasonable price) that would allow them to link and still keep their code proprietary. I believe that some offer this but at a price of about $1,200.00. This would be an insignificant cost for a major software company if the Linux platform would support the kind of return that would allow justification. However, Linux, as of yet, doesn't have a large enough user base that is willing to pay for programs to make this price justifiable.

        Joysticks should be better supported and fonts still have a way to go.

        I use Linux at home for my desktop and home server but I think that we are a number of years away before Linux will be truly ready for the average home user.
    • Re:Good News (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Malcontent ( 40834 )
      " I often find myself in Discussions wondering why Linux hasn't taken off due its good qualities"

      Just exactly what do you mean by "hasn't taken off"? Linux userbase grows by leaps and bounds every year. It has gone from a hobby OS to a major player in the server market in three years. It will make similar advances in the desktop in the next three years.

      Rome wasn't built in a day you know. If you are really impatient for world dominance then I am sure lots of programmers could use your help in writing documentation and testing for bugs. Roll up your sleeves world domination is but a few years away!
      • It takes time. There's the matter not just *what* to do, but *when* to do it. Most things run pretty much on inertia.

        Perception has a lot to do with it. Linux on the desktop as a mere replacement for Microsoft Windows seems like a waste of valuable resources, and out of character for what Linux should grow up to be. Somewhere, somehow there is something that a Linux desktop should be good for that Microsoft *cannot* compete with. I have no idea what, but it's probably related to the fact that Unix is inherently multi-user and Microsoft seems to have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, even for relatively unsophisticated single users.

        There is a shifting sense of (can't find the word for it) exemplified by the following joke that seems to be making the rounds.

        There are four engineers traveling in a car. One is a
        mechanical engineer, one a chemical engineer, one an
        electrical engineer and the other one an engineer
        from Microsoft.

        The car breaks down.

        "Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We'll have
        to strip down the engine before we can get the car
        working again," says the mechanical engineer.

        "Well," says the chemical engineer, "it sounded to me as
        if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should
        clear out the fuel system."

        "I thought it might be a grounding problem," says the
        electrical engineer, "or maybe a faulty plug lead."

        They all turn to the Microsoft engineer who has said
        nothing and say. They ask him, "What do you think?"

        "Well, I think we should close all the windows, get
        out, get back in, and open the windows again."

    • I thought it was interesting to notice that Mandrakesoft is currently conducting an increase of capital which is still open to all. They sell new shares at 2.10 Euros (this is under the current stock price which is 2.25 Euros). It might be a good way to invest in such an interesting and innovating company, while giving them more chances to develop.

      Additional information about the current increase of capital is available at:

      http://www.mandrakesoft.com/company/investors/bsa [mandrakesoft.com]

      It includes several very interesting FAQs about MandrakeSoft & Linux, including a long statement about UnitedLinux.

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • by salvius ( 631820 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:16AM (#4885884)
    MAndrake is still the OS I use, and this will continue to be so. It is the first distribution that made me convert from Windows. When I saw it, I couldn't believe the EASE of installation and the user-friendliness of the whole package. Regardless of the fact that even distros like Red Hat are getting easier to use, this is still the *only* distro which I can give to my non-convert friends. I have done this for a few people now while advising them which computer to buy, and ALL of them never needed help. Mandrake is just what the doctor ordered to show that Linux CAN be user friendly. It is one of the distros that definetely deserves all the support it can get!
  • by A non moose cow ( 610391 ) <slashdot@rilo.org> on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:18AM (#4885893) Journal
    Pulled my Mandrake from my shelf and it started wailing such a shrill scream that I almost passed out. The mature distro surely would have killed me.

  • Given up on Mandrake (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phutureboy ( 70690 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:20AM (#4885899) Homepage
    I used to be a big Mandrake fan-boy, but no longer. All I want is system configuration tools that work, and have a decent, consistent user interface. Is that too much to ask for?

    I tried to add a second IP address to my machine the other day using the GUI admin tools provided in Mandrake 9, and it was a total mess. I ended up just editing the files in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts, which is what I should have done in the first place. Desktop users shouldn't have to deal with that, though.

    I'm gonna give Xandros a spin next. Seems like a pretty well integrated desktop distro they have.
    • Me too, their 8.x series was embarrassing. To quote someone off of IRC:

      MDK's QA Process:

      Guy #1: "Is this the latest version of the software? I mean the very latest?"

      Guy #2: "Yeah, except this one package, it had some bug I think, so we just created the package from CVS and we think it might be fixed there."

      Guy #1: "Ok, burn the gold CD!"
    • I tried to add a second IP address to my machine the other day using the GUI admin tools provided in Mandrake 9, and it was a total mess. I ended up just editing the files in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts, which is what I should have done in the first place. Desktop users shouldn't have to deal with that, though.

      I started on Mandrake with 7.something, and I've been disappointed with their QA since, but this particular problem I solved with netconf. I'm sticking with Mandrake though. I installed RedHat on a server the a few months ago because I wanted a rock solid machine and I encountered the same problem that made me switch, too many "wha? there is no package, I have to install from source?"

      I like the changes they made with their UI last time around, they just need to fix some of the bugs in the X configuration and maybe add a "download and install nVidia/ATI commercial driver" button. And more important, cope with more than one mouse. I encouraged a non-technical coworker to install Mandrake on his laptop -- instead of the supported RedHat. The mouse problem was his biggest hickup, the others were the need to install things like Java, Flash, Acrobat, and the Crossover plugin by command-line. Once he got going Mandrake was something he could administer himself, although I wish he downloaded patches more often...

      • Just a little note on your troubles.

        The Nvidia drivers come with the commercial boxed cd's, the download edition can't pack them for licensing reasons. Dunno about the ATI drivers.

        Also there's a new mandrake flash6 rpm out there somewhere, so your pal should have it easy.
    • Mandrake has a clean and rather consistent user interface. Additionally, they don't break KDE & GNOME like Red Hat does. Furthermore, Mandrake is *STILL* the leading desktop OS in my opinion: MandrakeUpdate is a great tool and works very well, their configuration tools are also great, and supermount is really what we need for a desktop OS: I tried Red Hat 8.0 (which is partly broken and unstable by the way), and it's amazing to see that they want to be on the desktop but they keep your cd-rom locked in its tray until you click on "unlock" or type "umount". That's the kinf of thing Mandrake has been working on and solved for years and I'm pretty confident that they will continue to be a leader in this area. They just miss a better set of icon and a good Mandrake theme, which is a very easy task...
    • by mickwd ( 196449 )
      Well it's not as though your average newbie is going to want to set up two IP addresses for the same machine, is it ?

      If you want to set up something like that you've obviously got some level of knowledge about TCP/IP networking (i.e. which packets you want to route via which interface, etc.).

      I don't think Mandrake should write GUI tools to support every little tweak a user might want to do. Just provide a GUI interface for the most common, and most useful, functions.

      Good luck on finding a GUI facility for doing this on Xandros.

      And yes, the Mandrake tools could be improved - when everything works, they work fine, but their handling of error conditions (e.g. timeouts on non-responsive mirror sites) could be improved. But they're getting there.

      Mandrake has had some bad QA problems in the past. But here again, they're improving. I've heard lots of complaints that Mandrake 9.0 wasn't much of an "advance" on 8.2. But is far is I'm concerned, they updated a lot of software (KDE 3, Gnome 2, etc.) and put out a much more solid release.

      And all this while having the number of people they employ cut quite drastically.

      So hats off to Mandrake. (including red ones ;)

    • Couldn't agree more.

      I'm a linux newbie. Not an IT newbie, not an idiot. I can and will figure out how to do it the hard way if I have to.

      If you're going to put in a config applet, make the damned thing work or leave it out. I don't want to waste half an hour or (much) more trying to figure out how to get your broken tool to work before I start learning how to do it the hard way.

      Long path... I can handle that. Dead end paths all over the place... damn, I'd rather use Windows.
  • So do I qualify for the OS refugee offer if I print out a copy of the GPL and the first page of my install manual [debian.org]? I might want to give out a CD set to someone, and that's a cheap way of doing it where I don't have to sit around waiting for ISO downloads. And since I'd rather support Mandrake directly than a random CD seller (nothing wrong with them, I'd just rather go to the actual source of some good work) it'd be much preferred if I only had to pay $13 or so.
  • looks better on paper, still looses 6% this year
  • ...sounds like a scene out of Starship Troopers...

    but seriously, I've been very impressed with this aspect of the distro; it's company and their fight to become profitable, while at the same time sticking to their original philosophy. I've been skeptical in the past, but they've been innovative in finding ways to get people to participate, while still keeping the distro free for those who don't wish to pay/donate.

    The rewards for joining have so far been worth it, and I'm glad to have given my $$ over the years.
  • by proxima ( 165692 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:32AM (#4885941)
    Because my g/f enjoys using Mandrake on her laptop, we decided to buy the 9.0 standard edition for the following reasons:

    1.) At the time our internet connection was having issues and 3 isos were not easy to quickly get

    2.) We wanted to support Mandrake since they've created an excellent desktop distribution.

    We got our copy just fine in mid-November, but then about three weeks later we got another copy. I e-mailed them and they said it was a mistake but in the end we cost Mandrake more money than I would've liked. Both packages were sent to a U.S. from Europe - not cheap. One would think they'd have a warehouse here, but maybe it's for tax purposes. They mentioned in their e-mail that they've had some shipping problems, so I'm probably not the only one.

    I'm not sure how we'll support Mandrake in the future...for her, I think a small subscription fee for a dedicated update server would work well. She'd be getting value-added software (because it's faster to download), and Mandrake would get money that was a bandwidth + server cost, not shipping + packaging.

    At the end of the day, I am a happy Debian user.

  • IN LIBERAL AUSTRALIA (Score:3, Informative)

    by nihilogos ( 87025 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:37AM (#4885958)
    we lock our OS refugees up in camps for years on end. And they're not refugees, they're "illegal immigrants".
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @03:42AM (#4885975)
    ...is the same as a lot of linux distros. When linux was first getting usable and instalable (around the time of RH6.2 IMHO) there was a lot of talk about companies giving the OS away and then charging for support. Well there's at least two problems with this:

    1. Users have been paying for software and getting free support so long that they can't seem to deal with the idea of paying for support.

    2. I think Sun had this problem with staroffice. They couldn't give it away so they started charging for it. People look at RH and Mandrake's personal editions and see a complete OS with tons of usable apps included for $40 bucks and figure there must be something wrong with it. They can't understand the open source movement and the idea that somebody would write a program for no other reason than the joy of writing it, and then happily give it away. To be fair the the average consumer, look at the sort of "free" things they get for their computers. Cuecats, bonzai buddy, gator. Not exactly encouraging. Slashdot readers know that OSS is totaly different than the kind of nonsense companies give away, but do people at large do?

    I don't really have a solution for Mandrake (If I did I'd start a company). I think their best bet would be to get cosy with OEMs and charge them for offering the support. At any rate I wish them the best of luck, but alas for me RH's fonts have drawn me away from Mandrake 9.0 :).
    • You don't really make money on support targeted at end-users. You make money on corporate support. There will always be a market there.

      End user support has nothing to do with any decent revenue model, actually; completely irrelevant.
  • by USC-MBA ( 629057 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @04:00AM (#4886018) Homepage
    What kind of stunt is Mandrakesoft trying to pull? Having a little timeline chart showing "revenue" and "expenses" by themselves tells us nothing. This is an imortant point, so I shall be a snot and repeat it: MandrakeSoft's little chart tells us nothing.

    There are any number of ways for a company's reported revenues to increase, ranging from a genuine increase in sales to more underhanded methods like (for example) reporting certain types of expected future income as present revenues. Likewise, there are any number of ways to show a decrease in expenses on the balance sheet, ranging from honest-to-goodness cost cuts, to sneaky Enron moves like hiding expenses through the use of stock options as executive pay, or dummy subsidiaries.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not accusing MandrakeSoft of any wrongdoing, what I am saying is unless we get to see detailed financials, and I mean income and cash flow statements, a balance sheet, and footnotes, MandrakeSoft's rosy financial report is just another press release.

    MandrakeSoft's stock price [yahoo.com] is still off around $1.25 from its high for the year, if they want to get their price up, it would help to get better information to investors.

    • Did you have a look to these figures before posting? I'm not a specialist in finances but it seems the following figures they provide sound "standard" financials at least in Europe:

      http://www.mandrakesoft.com/company/investors/fina ncials [mandrakesoft.com]
      • Did you have a look to these figures before posting? I'm not a specialist in finances but it seems the following figures they provide sound "standard" financials at least in Europe:

        That's true. Europe's standards of disclosure and accounting make WorldCom, Enron, Global Crossing, et al look like paragons of adequate disclosure. I hesitate to say that any of those stunts would even be illegal if those companies were in the EU.

        It's really hilarious to see a European company go into contortions getting its books in order to trade on a US stock exchange (DaimlerChrysler comes to mind).

    • Buy their stock if you want the details.
    • when things aren't the same in a different country? America's FASB does not reach around the globe. Therefore, it is reasonable not to expect American GAAP principles to be applied in France, wouldn't it?

      American GAAP are the most stringent in the world and compliance with the SEC can be very costly. Mandrake stock is not traded in the U.S. so they are not under the same rules you are accustomed to . . . get used to it, there are 6billion OTHER people in this world that don't live life like you do. Why should Mandrake incur more cost just because YOU think they should do things differently?

      If you really want Mandrake to release F/S that conform to your conditioned expectations, start requesting that their stock is traded in the U.S. Otherwise, get used to people doing things differently . . .
  • Me: Mandrake sucks, Debian rules!
    /.er: Retort about difficulty of installation
    Me: Counter-retort about lack of 'free'ness of $DISTRIBUTION
    /.er: Counter-counter-retort still about difficulty of installation
    /.er 2: "One distribution to rule them all" comment
    /.er 3: "Beowulf Cluster" comment
    Troll: "You get what you pay for" comment
    /.er 4: "Linux will never be on the desktop" manifesto (at least 100K)
    {several replies about why Linux WILL TOO be on the desktop, several replies about why Linux isn't ready, and at least 4 people advocating throwing away X}

    Yeah, I can now create threads in my head. Who needs to actually *READ* the threads, you can just make them up yourself!
  • ...on the Mandrake site? My aging eyes can't deal...
  • by plavigna ( 245804 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @05:18AM (#4886171) Homepage
    MandrakeSoft recently released a new Installation ISO for PPC Cooker. PPC Cooker (which is the development branch) is pretty sweet right now -- it's got GNOME2, KDE 3.1 RC5, Mac-on-Linux (which supports Mac OS X and OS 9) and lots of other goodies.

    Anyone who's got a Mac is invited [mandrakeforum.com] to participate by testing PPC Cooker.
  • by Chicane-UK ( 455253 ) <chicane-uk@nt l w o r l d . c om> on Saturday December 14, 2002 @06:04AM (#4886277) Homepage
    I understand that the old business method for Linux companies of offering their full products for download, and selling box retail copies for like $29.99 is not the best one... so I understand the need for them to branch out into these more specialist versions of their OS.

    But why the hell do they charge so much? The cost of that firewall package was 1,999 Euro. We bought a PIX firewall and it cost like 3,000 Euros. Considering the PIX is actually a hardware appliance as well, I dont think its that bad a deal.

    The whole point about Linux distributions (for me at least) was that they undercut the opposition by being either free or ridiculously cheap.. but now they are releasing products that are priced so highly, there is hardly anything in it. Why the huge mark up?

    I was looking at the very cool looking SuSE OpenExchange [suse.com] which is designed to compete with Exchange.. and I seriously think after looking at the web demo that it really could.. but it again is priced so damn high, its actually cheaper for us to buy MS Exchange 2000 on our educational license than it is to buy that.
    • But why the hell do they charge so much? The cost of that firewall package was 1,999 Euro. We bought a PIX firewall and it cost like 3,000 Euros. Considering the PIX is actually a hardware appliance as well, I dont think its that bad a deal.

      What about support for your product? I think with companies like SUN you will have to pay extra for support (and I don't mean the read from the script kind).

    • by locutus2k ( 103517 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @10:07AM (#4886764)
      So far, I've used SuSE 8 and 8.1. Each of them were $80 retail. I know I could have downloaded a different distro for free, but after trying 8 and realizing the level of polish, I felt it was worth it.

      Your talking about getting PIX firewall, andthey are very nice units. The downside is you can't use some of the really cool linux network toys on it. Its an important step in the right direction for MandrakeSoft, SuSE, and the others to charge for their specialized software (and their OS as well). Perhaps they haven't learned the agressive pricing thing yet. Lets face it, MS is much better at marketing because they've been doing it much longer. Give them some time, and hopefull it will work out.

      When you mention that you can get MS Exchange cheaper, I'm wondering if that includes all of the licensing. Also, my guess it you won't spend near as much time patching the SuSE stuff. With the MS products, you don't get the source code (not sure if you do with the SuSE products, but I'd bet you do). Finally, I've personally installed about a dozen or so copies of Exchange on different networks and I've spent more time cleaning up the mess WHEN (not if) they break.

      Lets face it, Micro$oft isn't known for their stability.
  • MandrakeClub (Score:2, Informative)

    by Andreas(R) ( 448328 )
    If you downloaded Mandrake Linux, then I suggest you join Mandrake Club to support futher development:
    Mandrake Club [linux-mandrake.com]

    How are membership fees used?

    * Membership fees are primarily used to directly fund the development of the Mandrake Linux distribution. Membership fees also pay the salaries of employees who often contribute directly or indirectly to "external" Free Software projects such as the Linux kernel, KDE, GNOME, Prelude, and others

    * Fees may also be used for the development of community websites such as MandrakeLinux.com, MandrakeUser.org, MandrakeForum.com and the development of Internet services specifically for the benefit of Club members
  • Does anyone in the house maybe know if the're is a packet shaping feature with Multi Network Firewall? So Kazaa can get some downloading limits, and i can game with a reasonable ping. (sorry for my bad english)
  • by StillTrekkin ( 618037 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @08:46AM (#4886558)
  • What mystifies me... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Perdition ( 208487 )
    Is how so-called "upgrades" of Mandrake seem to be total rehashes. I ordered 9 from Mandrake and eventually got it (with appropriate apologies for its tardiness). I backed up my important stuff and decided to do a wipeout install just for fun. Nothing worked quite as well as 8.2 out-of-box. No printer, no sound, odd omissions of access to partitions, etc. After running the rabbits for a while, I gave up and reinstalled 8.2. Bingo, evrything worked. Upgraded packages to 9, and everything still worked. What had Mandrake forgotten about from 8.2 to 9? It is these stuttering steps in development that hamper Linux' growth at times, I think. Anyway, I'm using 9 now and am happy, just weirded out.

Nothing is faster than the speed of light ... To prove this to yourself, try opening the refrigerator door before the light comes on.