It’s been a tough couple of years for Mandriva (formerly Mandrake) Linux. The company has been on the edge of financial ruin, changed CEO’s more time than I can count and oh yeah they unceremoniously fired their founder Gael Duval.
Sure Duval has been gone more than four years at this point, but in my humble opinion, it was his departure that started the long, slow tailspin that is the current decline of Mandriva.
Now with ownership concerns, a group of core Mandriva developers have finally decided that enough is enough and they’ve forked off to create the Mageia Linux distro.
“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,” The Mageia Linux project website states.
Mandriva for its part has responded in a blog post, noting that they have
27 developers on staff with 4 subcontractors in addition to community contributions.
“Mandriva is alive and will always be alive for its stakeholders (community, employees. Customers, suppliers etc),” Mandriva stated.
It takes a lot of time/effort and yes money to build the support infrastructure needed for an enterprise Linux distribution. I don’t think that Mageia without a financial backer will be a replacement for Mandriva’s enterprise support in the near term. Over time though, as Mageia and Mandriva diverge and the value proposition between one and the other changes, so too could the position of Mageia.
Mandrake (now Mandriva) was once one of the leading Linux distributions, but now seems to lag behind Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu. To challenge those big three vendors is no small task at this stage, but perhaps the Mageia community is up to that task, time will tell.