We know that Mandriva went through a financial restructuring late last year, and that most of the employees of its subsidary Edge-IT were suddenly laid-off. On 18 September, 2010 a group announced the fork of Mandriva to a community driven distribution called Mageia. They explained that they "do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company." So Mageia can be regarded as the non-corporate version of the Mandriva distribution of Linux.
We caught up with Patricia Fraser, who is the communications team representative on the Mageia community council, and she graciously responded to a few questions.
As to how Mageia got started, Fraser said, "Our founders came from the Mandriva distribution, and our community followed them. We all liked the basis of the distribution, the thinking behind the technology, the flexibility and strength of the tools and we wanted to join the founders in putting that firmly into a community framework."
Perhaps in reaction to the events that led to its founding, Mageia's philosophy apparently is to be directed by its community in a fairly flat organisational structure. Fraser continued, "We’re completely community-based, with everything that implies. Our organisation is community-driven. No arbitrarily-appointed management can dictate the path Mageia will take. An ordinary Mageia user can have more say in the future of this distribution than anywhere else."
The all-volunteer Mageia community has made significant progress in a short period of time to put out its first release. Fraser explained, "After the first nine months, building towards our first full release, we’ve achieved quite a lot. Our community is growing all the time, not just in numbers but in cohesiveness. We have working teams, and lots of cross-pollination between them".
The Mageia community is still looking for volunteers to swell its ranks, and Fraser went on, "Being a contributor is great fun, and the environment is inclusive and supportive. There’s plenty of room for contributions of all kinds, from packagers through system admins to artwork and communications - and even donations!"
While Mageia is just starting out, its obvious that its community is enthusiastic and open to welcoming new members to contribute in all areas. Fraser expressed that enthusiasm and the hope that people will test out Mageia and get involved, saying, "We’d like to encourage people to try Mageia, join the community and talk about what they'd like to see in future releases, join the teams and help bring their ideas to reality for the next release."