The cooker community is hot these days. A lot of Mandriva employees have announced their resignation from the Mandriva company. This is occuring as following to the death of Edge-IT (subsidary of the Mandriva firm) which was employing lots of employees working around the core of the Mandriva distribution.
It seems that Wallix is bringing financial support to Mandriva in order to save it. Well what does save mean here ? It seems the interest of Wallix is in Pulse and MDS. Well that’s not the real technical crown of Mandriva ! That plus Linux Rescue Server (competitor of MondoRescue) are more classical commercial products offering than Open Source projects.As well as Wallix products. As for the mentioned expertise in Linux, it’s probably too late as most of that is already gone, or will soon.
So it seems to me after looking at all these recent events that the orientation that will be taken is to favour the activity of software selling to the detriment of the Open Source activities. Anyway, without Olivier, Anne, Fred, Nicolas, our brasilian friends of cooker, and all the people who have recently left, I have no hope that the new Mandriva firm will be interested in maintaining a distribution anymore when so many people are leaving. Maybe some of their tools at the limit. But don’t hold your breathe here :-(
So the Mandriva firm will soon become much less interesting to me: no more friends working there, no Open Source dedication, Commercial SW dev centric. The company will probably survive, at least a bit. But what about the other Mandriva, the most interesting in fact, the distribution ?
Well, without all core contributors that were payed by the firm to develop it, it may well disappear. And that’s more of a concern to me as I have at least 10 computers, critical to both my personal and professional activity running it. It may well become an itch to scratch.
I think there are 2 scenarios there: the community is strong enough to reorganize itself, find new hosting for developing the distro, enough contributors to maintain packages, and continue to develop the real value add of Mandriva, the distro: urpmi, msec, auto-inst, draktools, KDE integration, PLF, … all what makes this distrubtion speial to its users. Is it really possible. Well I think I could give a bit more of my time to maintain some more packages and help at my level ontributing to improve it. It would also place it at a similar level to Debian, a pure open source distro, used and developed by its community. Why not, but again if ex-Mandriva firm employee do not have time to contribute anymore, big losses have to be expexted from their departure, and correct replacement will be long and hard to have. Also what about the innovation on the distro then.
The other and sader scenario is that the new mandriva doesn’t help the community to reform (they host everything today), thus discouraging the good willness of current contributors, making them move to another distro of choice for their activities. I for one, clearly will look at latest fedora and debian version to see which one is the most appealing to me, and which community I may join (my past experience with these 2 doesn’t make that move a very happy one to me, feedbacks welcome here).
Maybe there is also a mid solution: people interested by the above mentioned specific Mandriva tools adapt them to provide them on Fedora, OpenSuSE, … and thus make these distro lok more Mandriva friendly than today. I for sure will look closely at what happens in the coming days, and especialy around the 17th of September when the AG will be hold.
At least we have all these possibilities because the founders of Mandriva had the wisdom to put all their devs under the GPL. Thus ex-employees can continue to work on their tools if they want, if their new employer find it useful for their activity. Or others can take over. Without that, we would just cry and move right away.
I don’t worry too much about ex-Mandriva employees. Their talent and proof of experience around what they did for the Mandriva distro will serve as the best resume to find another place somewhere, and i’m ready to support them in their research where I can, if it’s useful.
Mistakes were made in the past around the Mandriva firm management. However its communiy and open source devs are just among the greatest I ever met in FLOSS. Let’s hope that this community (booth contributors and ex-employees) will find a way to persue its quest.