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: Ubuntu killing Mandriva?
by davidiwharper on Thu 13th May 2010 09:13 UTC in reply to "Ubuntu killing Mandriva?"
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Is Ubuntu killing Mandriva? Mandriva S.A. can't afford all the ship-it and advertising programs Mark can pay for.

Mandriva S.A. is one of the most incompetent companies I have ever had the misfortune to deal with. Quite frankly doesn't deserve to survive.

It was emblematic of the deep problems that this company had that when Mandrakelinux became a commercial entity, nobody bothered to check whether they had licensed the "Mandrake the Magician" name and logo from the Hearst Corporation. Even before Ubuntu was invented Mandriva was one of the dumbest operators around. Despite constant recapitalisations they have continued to lose money hand over foot for almost a decade. That they have survived this long is a testament to how good their core products are; investors obviously see a roadmap to profitability but management just as obviously can't even find the car keys.

The institutionalised stupidity that is/was Mandriva was visible everywhere. I can't comment about the last few years, but up until at least 2007, the company's customer service was SO bad that half the time I wanted to shoot myself. Even simple tasks (e.g. purchasing a downloadable product) became odysseys. Further, the company often made disastrous decisions regarding its community product that alienated users and reduced its bottom line (often when the intent was to better it). Mandriva never understood the need to put customers first, and never understood the need to be seen as a good community citizen (despite employing a large number of developers who contributed to key open source projects). This was something that extended beyond bad management and always suggested a very poor corporate culture.

The company's culture cannot have been helped by management's abysmal record regarding staffing decisions. Adam Williamson, who literally held together the consumer division with duct tape and string at times, was let go (snapped up by Red Hat). Gael Duval was fired outright (founded Ulteo, innovator in cloud technology), and Joseph Cheek disappeared from the company just 8 months after the Lycoris acquisition (moved to TimeSys R&D - great loss for desktop Linux UI development).

The combined loss of these three people alone was probably enough to ensure that Mandriva woukd never become profitable. And the sad thing is that AFAIK they were all let go essentially because the corporate hacks put in by the early investors didn't understand what they contributed and how critical those contributions were.

I think the only thing which made the company as a whole even remotely viable was the South American business unit, a legacy of the Conectiva acquisition. But I imagine that years of mismanagemnent from Paris has seen even this go down the drain.

Let's hope someone snaps up the distro and fires all of the non-R&D staff. A clean break is needed IMHO.

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