Mandriva, one of my favorite Linux distributions, has been forked, and the new distribution is named Mageia. With the well publicized mass exodus of developers and contributors, this does not come as shock. I usually view these developments with caution, but this one I am actually happy about. Here are my reasons:
- Mandriva’s management has done a very lousy job with the resources they have. It is pretty appalling. Mandriva was supposed to be to the desktop space what Red Hat is to the server market. But no, the company got stuck somewhere between 1998 and 2005. There were no new ideas. They could have done what Steve Jobs did with Apple, if only they had the vision and a good understanding of the technology and community they had at their disposal.
- The other reason I am pretty happy with this development is with the announcement by the new distro developers. Here’s an excerpt:
Mageia is a community project: it will not depend on the fate of a particular company.
A not-for-profit organization 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 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.
Setting up a not-for-profit organization out of the gate tells me that these are not just a bunch of guys with a selfish motive. They seem to know exactly what they want to achieve and how to go about it.
Here are their goals:
- Make Linux and free software straightforward to use for everyone
- Provide integrated system configuration tools
- Keep a high-level of integration between the base system, the desktop (KDE/GNOME) and applications; especially improve third-parties (be it free or proprietary software) integration
- Target new architectures and form-factors
- Improve our understanding of computers and electronics devices users
Here’s what they are asking for – from you, if you can afford to help:
- Hardware for code hosting, build servers plus datacenters to host these servers
- Developers, contributors, translators, testers to invest into the development of Mageia
- Counsels on building the organization and its processes, etc.
I am, of course, always available for testing and reviews.Before we get to that stage, here are a few suggestions:
- Give Mageia an installer better than the Mandriva installer
- Dispense with the practice of releasing an ISO image for every desktop environment. Momonga, a Fedora-based distribution that was just reviewed here has only one ISO image from which you may install a window manager and four of the popular desktop environments – GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Xfce.
- Since one of their goals is to “target new architectures and form-factors,” I will strongly advocate for a tablet-optimized Mageia edition, with full multi-touch capabilities. Linpus Lite (view some Linpus Lite 1.4 screenshots), a distribution I am currently reviewing, comes with a few applications with single-touch support.
- There is something about the name that I am not comfortable about. How about a name change to My Linux?
Read the complete Mageia announcement.