Ramblings of a Professional Computer Geek

December 2, 2008

Mandriva … :sigh:

Filed under: Linux,Open Source — Padma @ 11:51 am
Tags: ,

Due to the the current economic situation, Mandriva has recently laid off all of its ‘external’ contractors. This means, basically, everyone not working at the corporate offices in France, and Brazil. Unfortunately, this includes Adam Williamson, the man who has arguably done the most to interface between the users and the developers / corporate. Adam has been the “face” of Mandriva for several years. Not only on the official Mandriva forums, but in magazine interviews, blogs, and other *nix forums. It seemed he was always there, to lend a hand, to correct others’ mistakes about Mandriva, to do whatever he could to keep Mandriva, and Linux in general, moving forward.

This makes me worry even more about the future of the company.Anyone who knows me knows I really started using Linux with Mandrake. And Mandriva 10.0 was the release that finally convinced me I could remove Windows from my system with no loss of functionality. For a long time, for me, Linux meant Mandriva, Red Hat, and Suse.

Mandrake/Mandriva has had problems, of course. In 2003 they had to commit bankruptcy. Within a year, they were able to come out of that with a plan to repay their creditors by 2014. When Novell bought Suse in 2003, it seemed like the opening was there for Mandriva to become ‘the European Face of Linux’. But somehow they seemed to miss the obvious targets, and set their sights on odd, maybe even unreasonable goals. Like expanding their offerings to include corporate server and desktop versions, when they were having trouble managing their existing offerings. Like trying to go head-to-head with Red Hat for the US corporate market, when they were having trouble competing on their home turf: Europe. The French Parliament recently voted to use Free/Open Source software internally. The distribution they chose to use was Ubuntu, not the home-grown Mandriva.

They’ve never been really able to get back in the black. In 2006, they fired their founder, Gael Duval, because of financial difficulties. This time, they’re actually cutting away some of the ‘meat’, in order to obtain some short-term financial gain. It seems like the new CEO, and most, if not all, of the corporate board are not willing to accept some short-term loss to insure long-term gain.

I will admit that I don’t fully know Mandriva’s financial status. It could be that the ‘short-term loss’ could put the company out of business. But I will almost guarantee that without some serious foresight, there will be no long-term recovery, either.

[Edited to include the Brazil office of Mandriva.]



  1. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

    A small correction – as well as those working in Paris, we still have a major office in Brazil (the Conectiva office), and the staff there are all still working for the company.

    Comment by Adam Williamson — December 2, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks to you, Adam, for all you’ve done.

    (And thanks for the correction. I’d forgotten about the Brazil office … Main post edited.

    Comment by Padma — December 2, 2008 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

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