The end of Mandriva linux
Mandrake Linux began life as a result of Red Hat's refusal to include KDE in it's distribution over concerns with licencing.
But Mandrake was more than just Red Hat with KDE installed. They built a simple to use installer and tools such as RPMDrake to make package handling simple and DrakConf to help you configure your system with ease.
I started using Linux around 2003, and was given a copy of Mandrake 9.2. It was easy to install, looked good and worked well. I was impressed with the preinstalled software and the way it grouped applications to make it simple to find everything. In short it was the best Linux desktop distribution.
But there were two events that came too close together, that resulted in Mandrake losing its crown as the best distro.
The trigger for me was the release of Mandrake 2005 Limited Edition. It was buggy, really buggy.
Installing software would cause the system to become tangled in a mess of broken dependencies, applications would just crash, or in some cases fail to start completely and worst of all it looked like this:
So I started looking around for other systems and found Mepis, which was Debian based and appeared to be completely stable with regards to installing and removing software. It wasn't very pretty but it worked well.
The real shift though came with Ubuntu Warty. It worked, included just one of everything you need to get started and actually looked nice. The momentum of Ubuntu caused me to stop the distro hopping for a new home. If something good came to Linux, it came to Ubuntu too and it wasn't long before the community grew to attain the critical mass to not only maintain a solid distribution but to innovate too.
Mandrake merged with Connectiva Linux and became Mandriva Linux. Things got better and recent releases are as good as they have ever been but I suspect for many people used to Ubuntu, this is too little too late.
There will always be a soft spot in my heart for Mandriva Linux. I still run it on my home backup server. Though I wonder, will anyone really miss Mandriva Linux?
UPDATE 17th January :
The decision to file for bankruptcy has been delayed until the 23rd January as a proposal to acquire Mandriva Linux has been submitted by an external entity, according to a post on the Mandriva Blog.
UPDATE 23rd January :
As reported on the mandriva blog, the decision has been postponed to Friday, January 27th. Perhaps this is not the end of Mandriva after all.
UPDATE 14th May :
I don't plan on keeping a running commentary on this topic, but it looks like things have changed for the better at Mandriva.
You can follow what is happening on the Mandriva Blog
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Holloway is a PHP developer and System Administrator based in West Sussex