New life for Mandriva

Mandriva Linux gets a new lease on life and a new name.

September 25, 2010
New life for Mandriva

Mandriva Linux has once again escaped a potential grave and will live on as Mageia. This is not the first time that Mandriva has undergone a resuscitation and name-change.

Following major layoffs at the French software company and news that it was up for sale, a new version of Mandriva Linux has been created by community members. Called Mageia, the release is being developed by former employees of the company that have either been retrenched or resigned over disputes with Mandriva.

In a statement over the weekend the breakaway group said: “We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project. People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.”

Community drive

Mageia is intended to be a fully community-drive version of Linux and stick to Mandriva’s original intention of being easy to use.

Mandriva Linux won’t die entirely, however. The company has said that it will now be focussing its efforts on emerging countries such as Brazil where it has previously had successes. There will also be a smaller team of European developers working on the server version of Mandriva Linux which will also be aimed at markets in the developing world.

Mageia developers, on the other hand, are aiming at broader use. On the newly established website the group says that its intentions are to make Linux easy for everyone, improve system configuration tools, target new platforms and improve third-party software integration.

Mandrake woes

Mandriva’s history is riddled with problems and court cases. The distribution started life as Mandrake Linux and was based on an early Red Hat release. Launched in 1998, Mandrake was known for its ease of use and it quickly grabbed a loyal following.

In 2004 the company lost a trademark suit and was forced to rename the distribution MandrakeSoft. It was argued that Mandrake infringed on the name Mandrake the Magician, a character in a comic strip. Shortly after MandrakeSoft bought Connectiva and with the trademark suit in mind, renamed the release Mandriva. In 2006 financial woes saw the company retrenching most of its staff, including Gaël Duval, the founder of MandrakeSoft.

Mandriva survived these troubles to limp on until earlier this year when it announced it was looking for a buyer.

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