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Bye Bye, Mandriva

I usually don't like it when companies go under.  Any business that fails, even a sandwich shop, makes me feel horrible.  People who are chasing a dream and are getting the door of Reality slammed in their faces.

But try as I might, I can't muster that sympathy for Linux distro company Mandriva.  Mandriva is as good as dead.  The company has flirted with bankruptcy several times since it first came out in 1998 as Mandrake Linux.  But now, the company is being liquidated.

Fuck 'em.

Mandriva is one of the "dark" Linux distros.  Like Xandros, they entered into a patent swap deal with MicroSoft that basically bought them protection from being sued.  While companies like Red Hat were daring M$ to bring it on, Mandriva rolled over.

Mandriva's hope wasn't just protection from lawsuits.  The patent swap would enable them to incorporate some of M$' proprietary routines in their distro to give them an edge among converting people to Linux.  "See?  Other distros, you have to jump through hoops or do without M$ stuff!  Not so much with us!"  Completely overlooking that, if people want M$, they aren't looking to move to Linux anyway.

As soon as they announced the deal, people who used Mandriva, including one woman I knew who'd been using it since about 2000, switched to others (I was using SuSE, which had its own problems that made me jump to Ubuntu), with Red Hat being the most popular choice.  Linux isn't just about an operating system, it's about principles.  And Red Hat, which many in the Linux community felt at the time was a bunch of sell outs, became the golden boy.

Linux is about community.  The whole point of the GPL is that no one gets an advantage over the others like with UNIX, its how you treat the user base and what you can do that matters.  SuSE is a pariah in the community and only those a part of its legacy will support it.  Xandros died in 2013 without any notice or fanfare, the server stopped responding and the company vanished.  And now the third tainted company falls away.

Mandriva really wanted to take on Windows in the desktop market.  But that just isn't possible.  It's not that Windows is too embedded, it's because Linux just isn't the same thing.  Just like OS X, there are things it does that just don't have an equivalent.  It's the overall experience, and M$ just has more of it.  But instead of making Mandriva the best it could be like Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, and Puppy, it saw the mountain of skulls outside M$' cave and charged in anyway.

I feel sorry for the workers who lost their jobs.  But the people who got them in this fix, and the company itself?  Good riddance.

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