Now a few weeks after my first article about Mandriva’s future things have even more moved in a negative direction. The new management has decided to close down Edge-IT, a company which was bought by Mandriva several years ago. Apparently lots of the employees working on the distribution, were in fact Edge-IT employees and so they now have to leave the sinking ship.      
As is summarized by a mailing list post, Mandriva as being a distribution developed by a company and paid employees, is now an empty box. There is no more head in charge of the future direction of the distribution, who can take the necessary decisions for new releases. It looks like no more paid employees are working on GNOME and KDE packaging, and most people working on the installer and Mandriva’s configuration tools are gone. Looking at the SVN commit history it seems like the members of the security team are almost the only paid employees still working on the distribution. One can safely say that Mandriva is now de facto already a community developed distribution.
In the meantime, the CEO has reacted on a bug report. He says that Mandriva will concentrate on the server market in Europe and on the desktop market in countries like Brazil. Because European developers would have refused to be part of that future direction, they have been fired, according to the CEO. Of course this does not make any sense. There no reason why developers in Europe could not be working on the desktop if the target market for the desktop is mostly Brazil. The real reason why people are being fired, is of course that there is simply no more money to pay them anymore. Furthermore, I am pretty sure that Mandriva can never be a real competitor for distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Server, which are much more popular in large companies. Already even 5 years ago Mandriva was often not taken seriously anymore in corporate environments, according to my experience when working for an IT company specializing in free software. Even free distributions like CentOS and Debian have a much higher reputation in the server market than Mandriva.
Tomorrow there will be a shareholder’s meeting. After that, we might have a clear view on the future of Mandriva as a company. But there should not be much doubt: Mandriva as a distribution developed by the company, has already died now.
And Mandriva as being a communtiy developed distribution? It might work if some solution is found for things like the build system and other infrastructure, now being provided by Mandriva. Maybe there will be a merger with one of these Mandriva forks like PCLinuxOS and Unity Linux. But I am convinced that these distributions currently only exist thanks to Mandriva and will definitely suffer a lot if there is no more upstream where they can copy packages from. So a merger with such a distribution will not magically fix all problems caused by Mandriva’s death. People who are looking for a distribution to install on their system, should rather remove Mandriva from their shortlist, because there are too much doubts about its future…