Somewhere in 2001, I bought a computer magazine which came with a Linux CD. I had heard of Linux before, but while we did have broadband back then and was technically capable of downloading a Linux distribution, this method was far easier. This was my first foray into Linux – it was Mandrake. Now, though, it seems the curtain has really dropped for the French Linux company.
I think it’s safe to assume that many of us first dove into the Linux world through Mandrake Linux. Back then, Mandrake was the Ubuntu of its day; it was relatively easy to use, looked pretty darn good, and used KDE 2.x. For someone who came from Windows (this was even before I dove into BeOS; the only piece of software I’ve ever truly fallen in love with), KDE was a haven of customisation, features, and other cool things to explore. Mandrake made all this easy.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end – more so in the free software world. Mandrake Linux was probably the prime victim of the USS Ubuntu (which in itself has become a victim of the USS Unity and the USS Lackoffocus), and as a Linux user, that wasn’t a bad thing at all. Ubuntu was better than Mandrake/Mandriva in virtually every way, and as is supposed to happen, Mandriva was forced to adapt. They didn’t, or at least, they did but were too late.
After emerging from bankruptcy back in 2006, the distribution and its parent company lived a rather bland life on the fringes of the Linux space. It would seem that even that life is about to come an end, though, as the company’s CEO has warned that due to shareholder infighting, the company will be forced to cease all operations come January 16.
I have to take a relatively rough stab at the whole story (since the Mandriva drama has been going on for a long time now), but it appears that a cash infusion of $4 million by Russian investors is being blocked by a minority Mandriva shareholder – with minority standing for a 42% stake in the company. ITWorld states it’s all about the minority stakeholder not wanting to see its stake reduced by opening the doors to a new investor, but I’m sure more is going on there.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s time Mandriva shuts its doors. It has run its course, there’s no life in the old girl anymore. Ever since the company ousted its founder, GaÃ«l Duval, I had little hope of the company rekindling the old flame. Sometimes, you should just let good things come to an end.
I think Mandrake was the first Linux distro I used. I remember using Redhat and SuSE around the same time too but I think it was Mandrake that I settled on before discovering Slackware a few years later (and now Arch)