Latest news on Mandrake Software are their release candidate Linux version for Itanium, and that their developers are now preparing Object Prelinked versions of KDE for the next Mandrake, dubbed Cooker. But there are also news about lay offs which took place recently over at MandrakeSoft, in which Kevin Lawton, the person behind Plex86 and also the original author of the x86 emulator Bochs, was layed off. Kevin doesn’t know what will happen to the ambitious Plex86 project now he parted with the company that previously backed the whole project. Our Take: First of all, good luck to Kevin. We are sure he will find soon another job, as he is an extremely skilled developer. Plex86 is open source, so it may live up, but there is… a small catch. Developing for Plex86 is _extremely hard_. It requires developers with spiffy low level x86 knowledge, it is not a project about a new email or IM client or a new cool-looking window manager. There are not many developers with such deep knowledge, this is why Kevin worked on it with little help from others for so long. When I was part of the original BeUnited‘s admin team, we had Plex86 as one of our projects to be ported to BeOS. During the period of 1 year, the project changed 3 team leaders (one of them was a proven experienced BeOS developer), each and every one called its quits for the exact same reason: Not enough knowledge to work on such a complex project.