FRENCH LINUX DISTRIBUTION Mandriva is being forked by its former employees.
Troubled open source OS Mandriva, which started out with the name Mandrake Linux but later changed its name after it merged with Connectiva, has been having all sorts of problems since it fired its lead developer in 2006.
Mandrake Linux creator Gael Duval was fired by the company he co-founded and filed a lawsuit. Sadly, the company has been on shaky financial ground ever since and has been in and out of bankruptcy protection.
Then this past summer we reported that Mandriva was bailed out by its new CEO as the threat of potential bankruptcy loomed over the company again.
Now is looks like Mandriva is wandering in the wilderness after having layed off most of its employees at its subsidiary Edge-IT. According to OSnews, Mandriva had made plans to support its desktop version of Linux using cheap staff resources in emerging markets and refocus its European development personnel on its Linux server distribution.
This idea didn't go down well with a number of Mandriva's former employees who recently had to queue up for unemployment compensaton. So the team talked with the Mandriva community of contributors and users and decided to fork Mandriva Linux. They are in the process of creating Mageia Linux from, if not the ashes, at least the established code base of Mandriva.
From the blog posted over the weekend, it appears to have been a mutiny by ex-staffers who love Mandriva Linux but have been dismayed and annoyed by the company's decisions, not to mention fired.
"People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company," wrote one of the now Mageia developers.
"Forking an existing open source project is never an easy decision to make, and forking Mandriva Linux is a huge task.
"It was not an impulsive decision. We all spoke a lot before: former employees, Cooker contributors and users' communities. We collected opinions and reactions in the past weeks as we needed to get some kind of global agreement and to gather, before going ahead."
What's galling is that Mandriva has been a brilliant Linux distribution battered by the whims of executives and held back by a seeming inability to devise a viable business model along with unfocused marketing that never gained sufficient traction to support development costs.
While it isn't dead yet, as this fork of Mageia Linux by its spirited and determined open source community makes clear, the future of the Mandriva Linux distribution appears to be in doubt. µ