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!