21 September, 2010

Welcome Mageia!

Over the last couple of days there has been a lot of talk about the creation of Mageia, a community fork of Mandriva. Now before I go on a disclaimer:

I'm a Mandrivaclub.nl crew member and have been for a very long time. I might not be the most active member of the crew there but I DO care about Mandriva and its community.

painful but unavoidable
So with that out of the way, let me start by saying the whole Mandriva thing is very painful and I feel sorry for the employees and the community. I know that over the last months many employees have switched to other companies (including Novell). So a restart will be difficult for the company. They intend to focus on the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as those are a Mandriva stronghold, and I think that is a sound business decision. Not sure if it'll be enough.

Unfortunately the community has finally lost confidence in Mandriva and decided to fork - I get that. Mandriva has some awesome technology, it would be good to keep that alive. And the company has failed a few times too many now. But they face a big challenge - building a new 'home' for themselves ain't easy.

looking for help?
So I have a suggestion for them. In the spirit of our upcoming openSUSE conference with the 'collaboration across borders' theme, I invite you to collaborate with us.

What Mageia might need soonish is a place to meet. The upcoming openSUSE conference will have visitors from Debian and Fedora already, why not have a Mageia delegation there? You guys and girls can meet, talk with people from other distributions, get some ideas on what to do next and talk among yourselves in real life. The conference already starts in about 4 weeks so there is enough time to plan yet it is close enough to be useful for decision making.

Moreover, openSUSE has the Build Service which we use to build our distribution. But the build service is also used by many other communities including the Linux Foundation's Meego project. It is fully Free Software so anyone can set up their own Build Service if they want. Currently the Build Service already allows building Mandriva packages and we could support Mageia too. As a stop-gap measure, the Mageia community could build (part of) their distro on our infrastructure - and in time set up their own Build Service instance.

Maybe there is more room for collaboration. Building a distribution is NOT easy and a lot of work - it'd be cool if openSUSE and Mageia could share some resources on some of the infrastructural bits like the kernel, Xorg and other base libraries. But even without that - the Build Service is there for you.

Of course, if Mandriva manages to re-build confidence they're also more than welcome to work with us. In my opinion the recent message from the board sets the right direction from a community point of view. Just contact me or anyone else either on IRC or by mail if you want to talk!

Concluding: I'm not saying here - give up on Mandriva and join openSUSE. What I do want to offer is some help - we're all Free Software communities, we care. Let's work together a bit more!


  1. We already tried sharing efforts for Mandriva and TurboLinux, with the Manbo labs project. You can ask the details to your coworker Frederic Crozat, to see how it went, but so far, I didn't think it was so great. And basically, i think we already share more than 95% of the code anyway by using the same component, so instead of working cross distro, the solution is to work upstream directly.

  2. I disagree with the previous post. Packaging for example is a big effort and rpm distros duplicate most of the stuff.

    spec files are not compatible across both distros by stupid things like one distro named a package "Foo" and the other one "foo". Total lack of communication. You can also find httpserver on one and http_server Provide on the other.

    If we build the rpms in the same place, we can still keep some differences using the cross distribution macros. But lof of duplicated effort could be saved.

  3. The more we (the FLOSS community) work together the better for all of us. +1000000 for your suggestion, Jos!
    Collaboration across borders rulez!

  4. How about OpenSuse does like Mageia and become an independant community distro instead of the what it is now with Novell board members serving in the community (you know, to help steer things) and having the name, logos and others being properties of Novell?

    To finally become a real community distro and to join a fake one would be totally idiotic for Mageia.
    I dont mean not collaborating upstream mind you.
    I like that the Mageia community can be truly independant of Mandriva and if they want to collaborate with them again it would be possible without sacrificing indepedance.

    How about you fix OpenSuse and make it a true community distro adn then worry about others?
    its only been about a year and a half since the first community elected board but that 2 out of 5 must be Novell employees is treating the community like retards.
    Create a foundation, transfer all controls like image rights, logo and such to the foundation like Mageia does and you will eventually catch up to Mageia.

    You want to kill Mageia? Then by all means have it become OpenSuseNovell lite.

    Maybe that's the whole point of the exercice.
    I think first comes the Embrace....

  5. Wow, I feel some hostility. We ARE working on a Foundation and there is progress on that front. However, setting up a foundation takes some time and effort so it won't be done this year. Hopefully we'll have one first half next year. So yes, we DO work on making openSUSE more and more open. Even then, OBS and most of our other technologies are completely openSOURCE and can be run anywhere, any way you want. So Mageia would in no way depend on openSUSE if they don't want to.

  6. In view of the recent developments with Novell more and more dependant on Microsoft, OpenSuse lovers should ASAP think forking, like Mageia did with Mandriva.

    In an ideal world one could even wish that actually OpenSuse developpers join Mageia, not the reverse.

  7. @Daniel: If you would've read my last comment, you would know we are working on a foundation and that work is going on steadily. The openSUSE Board is leading it with support of Novell - who even appointed the new chair because he has extensive experience in setting up foundations (see for more info http://news.opensuse.org/2010/12/21/board-meeting-summary-15-december-2010/ )


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