back to article Finally! It's the year of Linux on the desktop... nope

Mandriva, a French purveyor of desktop Linux, is being wound up, after becoming totally incapable of supporting usual performance (TITSUP), financially at least. The liquidation notice suggests the company's revenue in 2013 was around €600,000 and that the biz has between 10 and 19 staff. The company's wobbled for years and …

  1. Mr Templedene

    I switched to Mageia three years ago from Mandriva, sad to see it go but as the article says, it was wobbling for some time.

    It's slightly premptive to say Mageia is on release 5 as that's still a release candidate, Mageia 4 is still the stable version for now.

    Mageia 5 stable wont be long though hopefully.

    1. AndyS

      Mandrake (as it was then) was my first stable, daily Linux distro, which I used for a couple of years around 2004 ish. It was extremely good back then, and after Red Hat went enterprise only, formed a serious competitor to Fedora.

      However, Knoppix drew me to the "dark side" of Debian and (like, I would guess, the vast majority of users in my position), I've finally retired into a comfortable Ubuntu ecosystem.

      Sad to see it go.

      1. mathew42

        Mandrake was also one of the early distributions I used, followed by gentoo, ubuntu and now mint.

        1. Chris Parsons Bronze badge


          For my very simple needs: email, web, videos and music, it is absolutely brilliant. It is fast to startup and shutdown, detected all hardware successfully and is dead reliable - oh, and no MS tax. Shame about Mandriva, nice idea undercapitalised.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And it seems only like yesterday…

    …when this upstart called Mandrake turned up and tried to eat Red Hat's lunch, early releases even looked like dead ringers for Red Hat.

    But then again, nothing is forever, and it's a much more competitive market than it was then.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    1. Michael Thibault

      Re: image

      Because it's bazaar?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: image

        why are they trying to sell it? ;-)

  4. Michael Thibault

    "...rank it the 80th-most-read-about..."

    rank it the 79th-most-ignored Linux distribution.


    (had to be said)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: "...rank it the 80th-most-read-about..."

      So which is the single non-ignored one?

      (had to be said)

      Better shut up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...rank it the 80th-most-read-about..."

        So which is the single non-ignored one?

        A toss up between Red Hat or Ubuntu. Ubuntu seems to get the most press on this site.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "...rank it the 5th-most-read-about..."

          Ububntu seems to historically get lots of press on lots of sites, though maybe that's changed in the last year or two, and in terms of what was delivered, I never understood the fuss much.

          Very few people seem to write about (Open)Suse; it was a pleasant surprise to see a Suse review here at our very own El Reg last year [1].

          Distrowatch has it as the 5th most read about in the last 6 months.

          Never understood why it gets so little mainstream coverage. Maybe because it works out of the box, is set up with all the options most people might need (and the others probably aren't far away). It has done so pretty much ever since I first tried it a decade and more ago (Suse 8?), when I liked it so much I paid for a boxed set, with properly printed hardcopy documentation.

          A Linux that works, straight off the ISO (and before that, straight off the network install).

          In the past I've tried alternatives, Mandrake/Mandriva included, RedHat/Fedora/Scientific on a couple of occasions, and more recently Ubuntu (obviously) and Mint a couple of times, and even more recently, Raspbian (obviously). Not seen any reason yet to move off Suse, though Raspbian has its own particular attractions on its own home territory. Suse does what I need it to do, does it easily and reliably.

          If you're an IT department you can buy pre-qualified hardware certified to run Suse from outfits like CPQ (now HP). You can probably even buy a support contract if you wish.

          But even if that's not your game, there's a fair chance that Suse would work for you.

          No connection with them, other than a long term satisfied user.


          "if you're looking for a solid, stable system that won't let you down openSUSE 13.2 fits the bill."

          Caution: contains systemd.

  5. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Sad, but not unexpected

    At one point Mandrake, later renamed Mandriva (for trademark reasons) was a really good desktop distribution, perhaps the best if you liked KDE. I used it at home. But they had financial missteps and also managed to annoy their community with the for-pay Club whose benefits did not meet the expectations of many who signed up. I myself switched to OpenSUSE some years ago when it became clear Mandriva was going nowhere (tried also Mageia, but for whatever reason I could not get its early versions to work on my machine). But mostly I have good memories of the distribution. Some ideas and software from it still live on in others.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sad, but not unexpected

      That's pretty much my story - Mandrake (as it was) was the first Linux distro I used for everyday work, and as such it helped me to unshackle myself from the chains of Windows (and also showed the wife that there are alternatives). Sadly when Mandrake an into problems and started to flirt with a paid-for subscription service (a bit like Caldera, aka SCO, had before they collapsed) I jumped ship, moved to OpenSUSE and have been a happy bunny ever since.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sad, but not unexpected

      I understood the Mandrake rename was as a result of the merger with Connectiva Linux.

      1. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: Sad, but not unexpected

        "I understood the Mandrake rename was as a result of the merger with Connectiva Linux."

        Yes it was, although IIRC there was a dispute with another company, I can't recall which, over the name Mandrake. Something to do with Mandrake having already been trademarked for something unconnected with IT.

        It's sad to see it go but with all the mistakes made, sacking Gael Duval being one of the worst, Mandrake/Mandriva has been an irrelevance for a long time now. That said its legacy is quite impressive. As mentioned there is Mageia, which I cannot get on with, PCLinuxOS, which started as an alternative repository to Mandrake and which is my distro of choice. There are others, like ROSA and Open Mandriva though I don't know if they are still going. Apart from distros there are things like Diskdrake, Harddrake and Userdrake which make it a lot easier to administer the system. So quite a contribution to Gnu/Linux.

        The sad thing is, a look at the Distrowatch rankings of a few years ago show how popular it was. Now its gone.

        Sic transit gloria mundi.

        1. fandom

          Re: Sad, but not unexpected

          They run into trouble with Mandrake the Magician.

          That they used 'magic' imagery, like magician hats and wands, didn't help their cause

    3. SecretSonOfHG

      Re: Sad, but not unexpected

      Afert some problem with W2000 that I could not solve and forced a reinstall, around 2001 I tried RedHat. The install was simple, but getting my 3D and sound working meant a couple of kernel compilations. Very good learning exercise, but very time consuming. I tried Mandrake and it all worked first time, no glitches.

      Mandrake was for me the gateway for learning and using Linux on desktop, later on the server and everywhere else.

      I bought the boxed CD set of the following three Mandrake releases. Then they launched the Club and lost interest in Mandrake. Went to KUbuntu on 2007, but on 2012 I decided that enough was enough with their policy of releasing bug ridden betas and have been happy with OpenSuse since then.

      Thanks, Mandrake.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's evolution (no, not the program)

    So many distros, so little time - it is inevitable that some fly and some eventually don't go anywhere. I'm sure we'll see new ones appear and others disappear. I haven't heard of KNOPPIX for a while either, despite having a sister version ADRIANE that is specifically focused on people with visual impairments.

    (yes, I care about those things - it's why I seek to have my websites able to support OpenDyslexic fonts as well as being readable in text-only format, more people should IMHO)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's evolution (no, not the program)

      "as well as being readable in text-only format, more people should IMHO"

      You mean doing what the law requires? That would be novel,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That's evolution (no, not the program)

        You mean doing what the law requires? That would be novel,

        Sadly, that is exactly the issue. Not just because few realise it's a legal requirement, but because it's not all that easy to do. What I would prefer is a front page button that says 'render in text" or "render in OpenDyslexic" but I haven't found a theme/CMS combination that really manages that, and if it's not automated, few people will bother unless they are big enough to become a juicy, publicity rich target for the CPS.

        1. keithpeter Silver badge

          Re: That's evolution (no, not the program)

          "While there are many reports of the positive impact of this font in the popular media, it is important to note that no published peer-reviewed empirical research can be found (as of 5/7/15) that has shown this font to be effective with English readers. Two studies have investigated the effect of specialized fonts used with students with dyslexia. Rello and Baeza-Yates (2013) measured eye-tracking recordings of Spanish readers (aged 11-50) with dyslexia and found that OD did not significantly improve reading time nor shorten eye fixation."

          Any quantitative data about the effectiveness of this font that will contradict the Wikipedia article above? If so, I'll use it for all my handouts next year (I'm a teacher).

          PS: what licence is it issued under?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: That's evolution (no, not the program)

            I go for the "let's give it at least a go" principle versus "that's too hard to do so let's find an excuse not to", it's not how I'm wired. Always try something that may help someone.

            I've used the font a few times and it appears to help, but I must mention that that was along a page structure that was linear and did not have too many distracting elements - it's part of a whole layout exercise.

            The license is open, I think it's CC. That's exactly the battle that the author was fighting - companies were charging scandalous amounts for other fonts so he decided to create his own and make it available for free, which didn't make him popular with those crooks vendors..

  7. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Sad to see any business go under, but we have not used that distro since around 2009. I quite liked the 2007 era desktop and it worked quite well and also I bought a bootable USB with it pre-installed which was quite a novelty then.

    But they messed up and we moved to Ubuntu. Who also messed up post 10-12-ish, but they seem to be the best-ish around for general use and sadly most others are also going down the "make it dumber and uses systemd" path.

  8. Glenturret Single Malt


    There was Mandrake the Magician in comics when I was a lad. Was he copyrighted by Marvel or some such?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still have

    Mandrake 7.1 boxed somewhere. That and Knoppix really brought Linux into the possible for me.

    Before Mandrake, booting a RedHat disk and stumbling at the basic install interface and asking about partitioning, flags, swap etc before desktop was like offering the new guy at high jump to start at 2M.

    Some Linux distributions moved it on in a human way, I know the purists will scoff at someone that doesn't think in machine code but Ubuntu grew because most people could get it going at least, if you can fire up a web browser on the machine you trying to work with, the collective knowledge is at hand.

    1. flokie

      Re: Still have

      I think I installed Mandrake a few times but never stuck with it. I kept a CD handy for quite a while though, Mandrake 9 IIRC, as the installer partitioning tool allowed to resize Windows partitions, providing a nice alternative to Disk Magic.


    "1.46 per cent of the desktop market."

    The last time I looked Linux had 100% of the desktop market. (See - anyone can make up 'facts'.)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reg's sense of humour has gone TITSUP

    "Totally incapable of supporting usual performance" cannot be be shortened to titsup. It doesn't make any sense. Perhaps it is "totally incapable to support usual performance"?

    Does the Reg really need to continue with this pathetic sense of "humour"? (I will slash my wrists next time I read "meeellion")

    Articles have become unreadable just because the hack is focussing on some sort of sad punch line rather than writing something interesting. I thought the British had a great sense of humour, that's the only reason we wanted you in the EU, but judging from Reg's performance, I'd say you are allowed to go.

    (Now please downvote me to hell).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg's sense of humour has gone TITSUP

      Upvote for the delicious irony of the third paragraph. You might be more british than you think :-)

    2. Linker3000

      Re: Reg's sense of humour has gone TITSUP

      Yeah, I read El Reg reluctantly - I respect its pedigree and it does publish some good news/articles, but the puns (or poor attempts at puns) and stupid, random, CAPS in the headlines really take the shine off the overall experience; it's all totally unnecessary. I feel like I should wash my hands and sanitise the keyboard after a site visit.

  12. TonyJ Silver badge

    "... I thought the British had a great sense of humour, that's the only reason we wanted you in the EU, but judging from Reg's performance, I'd say you are allowed to go.

    (Now please downvote me to hell)."

    Most of what you said was fair game except the bit about us being "allowed to go" - I don't think you quite get the concept of free will and democracy if you believe the rest of the EU has to agree to release us.

  13. Paul Hayes 1

    I will shed a small tear. Mandrake was one of the earlier linux distros I used in 1999/2000, I switched to it from redhat because it seemed more user-friendly and less hassle to get things working. They tried to do what Ubuntu later achieved, perhaps they were a bit too early to the party?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They didn't have BEEELIONS like Shuttleworth.

  14. Shannon Jacobs

    What's the best financial model for a dead horse?

    If your horse is dead and losing all the races, why don't you flog it harder?

    Seriously, the problem is the financial models, NOT the quality of the software. Companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple have good financial models uber alles.

    Wasting the keystrokes, but I recommend funding by selling shares to future users, with the projects broken down based on such categories as new software, new features, ongoing costs, or support.

    Quick (keystroke-minimizing) example, let's say you want to continue using an old version of Ubuntu but you run into a problem and discover it is no longer supported. Then you might have options to help fund some support or to help create a replacement version. If enough people agree with you, then your option wins and the money gets allocated (from the charity-share brokerage), but if not, you can pick again until you find a solution.

  15. Green Nigel 42

    Mandriva, RIP

    Ran it for 3 years from 2007, dual booting it on my laptop that was struggling to run MS Vista.

    Initially tried Ubuntu but problems with Wifi drivers cut that short, as Mandriva worked straight out of the box . Although free to download & use, I was happy to make a monetary contribution as well as bug reports on Beta's, as it realized my laptops true performance rescuing from the swamp that was Vista, so I am very sorry to hear of their demise.

  16. defiler

    The problem as I see it.

    I do like Linux, and tend to favour Centos or Ubuntu for certain tasks, but this:

    "As a barometer, DistroWatch readers rank it the 80th-most-read-about Linux distribution."

    80 distributions, plus the rest. And three different ways of doing anything, depending on the distribution you choose. This is why I just can't see Linux on the (mainstream) desktop any time soon. I've used it daily as my desktop before (Ubuntu 12.04) and enjoyed it when I got used to its quirks, but when there's such a fragmented market I just can't see it gaining traction.

    However, I'm also the guy who gets pissed off trying to select between 40 types of toothpaste.

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