Mandriva

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!

7 Responses

  1. Adriano
    Adriano April 9, 2005 at 11:59 pm | | Reply

    As far as I’ve seen in the appropriate places, the change is indeed stirring something. I don’t care much about it, though. I find all Linux distros share to some extent a playfulness in names that one has to grow accustomed with. Indeed, on /. you _always_ see at least one post saying “but these names don’t mean anything near what they represent”. To which someone else always replies “yes, because Excel, Acrobat and Maya do, don’t they?”. This flame-counterflame could be automated, I guess.

    Whatever. What I do care about is the Mandriva’s customer service. When Warly replies to cries of “We hate this new bootsplash” with “But I love it”, it tells me something’s wrong: why would _a_single_person_ decide that? It’s something a QA panel (or maybe a HIG compliance panel) should decide, not a single programmer, _never_mind_ how important he is. Of course, maybe he didn’t choose this particular item and he’s only stating his preference. Still, as soon as I saw it I thought “God, what’s this! What have they done?!”
    When people make fun of Mandrake’s legendary unreliability in upgrades / club management / tech support / product delivery, I can tell something’s Rong with a capital R. I think those are areas where Mandriva should really apply itself. The communication between Mandriva and its community, and between Mandriva and its customers.
    Your work here helps, adamw, but only to a point. I hope I could help more than I do.

  2. adamw
    adamw April 10, 2005 at 12:45 am | | Reply

    Warly was just giving his personal opinion in that IRC chat. The bootsplash default has since been changed. I don’t really see what it has to do with QA or HIG, though, it’s purely an aesthetic issue and thus should be decided by the design team and reviewed by management, as was the case.

  3. Adriano
    Adriano April 10, 2005 at 2:22 am | | Reply

    That’s the people I meant. For some reason the words kept eluding me.

    I’ll try the latest n’greatest and see what’s up in cooker, then.

  4. Adriano
    Adriano April 12, 2005 at 6:18 am | | Reply

    Hm. About the bootsplash, you mean it’ll be out in the final release? because I still see the crazy penguin on the latest cooker… It’s there in the lilo screen and back when you shutdown…

  5. adamw
    adamw April 12, 2005 at 6:31 am | | Reply

    Well the file was changed, I thought it was supposed to disappear in bootsplash but now I’m not sure, seems everyone is getting that…:\

  6. tymark
    tymark April 12, 2005 at 9:32 pm | | Reply

    can’t squeeze beagle 0.0.9 in there? 😀 j/k

    I’ll have to take a peak at it when it comes out. I’ll never stick with it, but I want to see if it’s good to suggest to new users. It’s nice to see some cool newer software getting in there.

    As for the name change…It should eventually blow over. People are just…stubborn, I guess. Especially some of the people over at mandrakeusers (which is why I started ILC – http://ilc.geektyme.org).

    and on that shameless plug…i’m off 🙂

  7. adamw
    adamw April 12, 2005 at 9:40 pm | | Reply

    nah, beagle ended up as 0.0.8.1, goetz didn’t have time to do 0.0.9. ah well.

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