Mandriva divides itself once again

Vendor will use two upstreams for server, OEM products

As Mandriva SA plans its future roadmap, the company will be taking a unique and bold step with its commercial offerings: using and participating in two separate upstreams for its product lines.

According to CEO Jean-Manual Croset and Director of Community Charles Schulz, the Mandriva server products will be based on the Mageia distribution of Linux, while desktop and OEM products will be based on the historical Mandriva Linux distro.

This move will make Mandriva the first serious commercial Linux vendor to attempt to base their offerings on two distinct codebases. Parallels can be made to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux or openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, or course, but ultimately those products are based on the same codebases, respectively. What Mandriva is proposing is more complicated.

Croset and Schulz revealed the new strategy in an online webcast today hosted by Open Source Initiative President Simon Phipps, who (like me) wondered if this plan might not be too complicated. There are significant differences between the two distributions, not the least of which is package management. So why the added hassle?

"Our Mandriva distribution is too innovative and too young for our server offerings," Croset explained "Mageia is more mature" and therefore better suited for the enterprise.

During the 25-minute conversation, Phipps pressed the two Mandriva execs on the company's bumpy relationship with the community. Croset admitted that things have to get better and reached out directly to the community with his regrets.

"I would like to apologize for errors that have been done in the past," Croset said.

It is Mandriva SA's commitment to the community, they explained, that led them to start the process of creating a new independent foundation to support Mandriva and even change the distribution's name.

Using two separate upstream projects is an ambitious way to handle their product lines, and somewhat ironic, given that Mandriva itself is the hybridization of two separate distributions long gone: Conectiva Linux and Mandrake Linux. Mandriva SA will once again be working with two distributions in the same house, it seems.

Croset is confident his team can make this work.

"We are going to have two upstreams and the best of both worlds," he said.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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