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Mandrakesoft's Got a New Name

Mandrakesoft created a new identity for itself, changing the name of its popular Linux distribution to Mandriva, officials announced Thursday.

The name change will affect all aspects of the Linux distribution, from the company name and product line to its online support and retail sites.

According to a statement released by the company, the name change was made to better reflect the synergies created with its $2.3 million purchase of Latin American Linux distribution Conectiva in February.

"This new name, simple and efficient, is the synthesis of Mandrakesoft and Conectiva," the statement read. "This will further a smooth transition and will build on our existing brand recognition in the IT world."

Officials also said the name change is the result of the long-standing trademark lawsuit filed by the Hearst Corporation, which argued the Mandrake mark violated its own, Mandrake the Magician. A French court ruled against Mandrakesoft in February 2004, though the company was able to keep the name while the suit went through the appeals process.

Mandriva officials said the lawsuit had reached a point where it was more reasonable for the company to move forward and change the name of the company.

"By adopting a new name, we eliminate the liability attached to the Mandrakesoft name and we can focus on what is important to us: developing and delivering great technology and solutions to both our customers and our user community," the company statement read.

Reaction from the user community over the new name has been mixed, a feeling Gael Duval, Mandrakelinux founder and co-founder of the corporate entity Mandrakesoft, understands.

"At the beginning of Mandrakesoft, many people were saying the same, so we're prepared for that," he said.

The company formerly known as Mandrakesoft has been transforming itself from a Linux operating system used by independent computer users to one more suited to the business world. It's a process that was accelerated following its emergence from the French bankruptcy courts in March 2004.

Throughout 2004, the company set about re-positioning itself in the business world, buying up a Parisian-based Linux support and services company. Later in the year, officials put the open source platform through the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5 certification process, a necessary step to get many governmental IT contracts.

The acquisition of Conectiva gave the consumer-centric Mandrakelinux some enterprise heft, with Conectiva's established customer base, including IBM , HP and Siemens.



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