Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th May 2010 13:48 UTC
Mandriva, Mandrake, Lycoris If there's one Linux company that has seen lots of ups and downs it's the Paris-based Mandriva S.A. They have a great distribution, but as a company, they've always been on shaky grounds. First a rumour, now confirmed: the company has put itself up for sale - which, as the community points out, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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RE[2]: Comment by emilsedgh
by earksiinni on Tue 11th May 2010 23:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by emilsedgh"
earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

Actually RedHat and Novell are doing the stuff (writing/testing code). Canonical (Ubuntu) is just making marketing. Their contribution to the stuff that matters is almost equals to 0.


Sorry, but it's precisely this kind of thing that keeps Linux behind. Marketing doesn't matter? Really? Are we really still at that level?

If Linux had the same kind of marketing presence in corporations that Microsoft has (including their training programs, vendor agreements, executive giveaways and all-inclusive vacations), Linux would be on every desktop within a decade. Then, those tiny niggling problems that we geeks spill blood for (e.g., the absurd Ubuntu window button debate that had more ideological fire than a gang of jihadis at an American town-hall meeting on health care reform) and that we keep stupidly blaming for preventing the advent of "The Year of the Linux Desktop" would dissipate. There would be a flood of corporate interest in GNOME and KDE, and all those issues would get ironed out.

Remember, Windows had always been crap until fairly recently, and yet their marketing prowess led to a very real dominance among the only thing that ultimately matters in the computer world: hardware vendors. The role of marketing is subtle, and few would claim that people choose Microsoft because of their advertising campaigns or user interface design (Windows 7 being the exception, only because of a grassroots loss of faith after Vista and increased competition from Apple). But people do "choose" Windows when it's the only realistic option, and it's the only realistic option only when the people who make your hardware (not to mention your software) have been convinced and cajoled into supporting only Redmond's OS.

Kernel developers have done an admirable job at writing their own drivers from scratch, but until hardware manufacturers start making quality drivers en masse for Linux, open source will always be playing a defensive game. It would be interesting to see Linus Torvalds walk into AMD's boardroom and invite them to dinner and drinks to discuss their lousy proprietary drivers, or to see Richard Stallman talk in Mandarin to some Chinese IC factory foreman to convince him that he and his workers will earn more when his employer starts doing contract work for hardware companies that have open source drivers. Same situation applies to software. That's real marketing, the kind that the big boys engage in, the kind that locks corporations into a single platform and gets stuff done.

Software development is an ecosystem that depends on many critical processes and all of them feed into each other. I might also give Ubuntu a 0, but only because their efforts have not gone far enough. I commend what they have done with the desktop, but that has nothing to do with marketing, of which I see almost nil, save for Red Hat and Novell. Like everyone else, I condemn Ubuntu for not uploading patches upstream, giving back to the broader community, etc., but in the end that may be a comparatively smaller piece of the puzzle than we often claim it is.

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