Sunday, 19 September 2010 11:01

Mandriva fork Mageia is born


A number of former employees of, and contributors to, the Mandriva GNU/Linux distribution have decided to go it on their own and fork the project.

Their fork will be called Mageia and is Paris-based, the same as the parent distribution.

On their website, the group which has decided to fork the distribution say they have done so because they do not want to be "dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company".

Mandriva, which began life as Mandrake and changed its name because of trademark reasons, has had several financial hiccups in its lifetime, the last being in May this year.

After it received new investments in June, Mandriva took itself off the market but liquidated Edge IT, a services house it had acquired in a stock deal in October 2004.

According to the Mageia project, most of those working on the distribution were laid off when this liquidation took place.

While forking such a big project is not an easy task, the group who are behind Mageia said they believed it was the best solution.

Mageia is set to be a community project. According to the website, "a not-for-profit organization (sic) will be set up in the coming days and it will be managed by a board of community members. After the first year this board will be regularly elected by committed community members.

"This organization (sic) will manage and coordinate the distribution: code & software hosting and distribution, build system, marketing, foster communication and events. Data, facts, roadmaps, designs will be shared, discussed through this organization (sic)."


Mandriva is a longstanding distribution, having begun life back in the late 90s as Mandrake Linux. It took Red Hat Linux as its base but used the KDE desktop environment instead of GNOME; hence if often earned the moniker "Red Hat with KDE"

The company changed its name in 2005, following the loss of a case filed by Hearst Corporation which had the rights to the name. The company changed its name from MandrakeSoft to Mandriva; this coincided with its acquisition of Conectiva, another Linux company based in Brazil.

The company has hit a rocky road more than once: in 2003, it filed for bankruptcy and emerged from that state the next year. In 2008, the company was badly affected by the global financial crisis and had to jettison all its external contributors.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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