April 8th, 2005
Yes, we changed our name to Mandriva, and the WORLD ENDED!
No, wait, it didn’t, but given the comments, you’d think it did. People appear not to like the name. This message has been conveyed in a manner that would have been more appropriate if the marketing team had gone around to each MDK / Mandriva customer’s house and personally shot their kittens, or something. The amount of miscellaneous pent-up anger out there is somewhat scary.
To recap – we needed a new name because a) we’ve just had a significant merger and b) we decided to give up on the lawsuit against Hearst, over trademark infringement on their ‘Mandrake The Magician’ trademark. We couldn’t use Mandrake-anything (or Drake-anything) because of the legal side, and it was decided to use a name that combined Mandrake and Conectiva. The logical combinations were written down, tested for exclusivity and availability (i.e., can we buy all the domains, and how many hits do they get on Google?), and those that passed were put to an internal vote. Quite a lot of people internally didn’t really like any of the options, but overall, Mandriva won. Personally I liked Draktiva a bit more, or Draktive or Aktive (but they didn’t work for availability reasons). It’s not the end of the world, though. Mandriva is fine. It’s three little syllables that don’t really mean a lot but are unique, pretty logically derived from ‘Mandrake’, and will adequately identify the product. Now let’s get back to being productive already.
I’ve been proofreading the draft PR to announce our new release, which means it’s very close (ought to be early next week). It was due last week but was delayed partly due to the new name issues, partly due to a server crash at head office, and partly to fix some important last minute bugs. Definitely looks like it’s coming together into a good release, and it will be interesting launching at about the same time as Gentoo, Ubuntu and SUSE, with Fedora just around the corner. Personally I’m most happy about the way we’ve got some really new stuff in there and working, mostly in contrib (we have Mono 1.1, Beagle 0.0.8, evince 0.2.0, f-spot latest version whatever it is, very new dbus and hal, and some other stuff), as well as some really nice infrastructure improvements. We’re using gnome-volume-manager to handle hotplugging things, which allows us to run appropriate actions very smoothly (open a camera app for a digital camera connect, run kscd or gnome-cd for audio CDs, mount and display USB storage devices, etc) and the backend is a lot more mature than it was in 10.1, when we had embarrassing problems like USB storage devices with no partition table not being automounted. The installer now has a bunch of neat new tricks, including writing the packages from the install media to the hard disk so they’re available for easy installation later and support for non-4:3 display resolutions. Hardware support’s been improved a lot again, especially complicated things that rely on third party, proprietary globs, like wireless drivers, speedtouch modems et al. We’ve got WPA support in drakconnect, and wireless roaming support in the Control Center…all sorts of neat little things like this all over the place. I’m happy about it.
Finally, I’ve been playing around with the development version of the new MandrakeClub website. A few Club members are (understandably) sceptical about this as it (well, various stabs at a ‘new Club’, actually) has been in development for donkey’s years, but this one’s really nice. It’s wiki-based, looks clean, works fast, and will allow for a whole lot more in the way of features, flexibility and interaction compared to the old structure. And it’s really, really looking like it’ll go live soon (the current schedule is measured in weeks). Can’t wait!