Whatever happened to Mandrake?

Distro Walk – OpenMandriva Lx

© Photo by corina ardeleanu on Unsplash

© Photo by corina ardeleanu on Unsplash

Article from Issue 267/2023

Mandrake lives on as OpenMandriva Lx. Bruce talks to OpenMandriva Council members to find out more about this innovative distribution.

Long-time Linux users may recall the once popular Mandrake Linux, but, in North America, any traces of Mandrake have almost disappeared from public view. However, in Europe, the story is different. The once popular distribution has several descendants. In particular, its direct legal descendant is OpenMandriva Lx [1]. Wanting to learn more, I asked for more information on the OpenMandriva forum. Here is what I learned.

Back Story

OpenMandriva Lx's history is complicated. Around the turn of the millennium, Mandrake Linux was a popular fork of Red Hat Linux. Mandrake quickly became one of the top half dozen commercial distributions, thanks mainly to the fact that it was one of the first to provide desktop utilities. However, Mandrake's name conflicted with that of the Mandrake the Magician comic, and in 2005, Mandrake merged with the Connectiva distribution to become Mandriva SA. Mandriva was forked by Mageia Linux and ROSA Linux, but when it went into receivership in 2015, it formally transferred "a non-exclusive and irrevocable worldwide license" [2] of its intellectual property to OpenMandriva SA, an alliance of previous Mandriva contributors and people from related projects, including Unity Linux and Ark Linux. In turn, OpenMandriva became the association that has developed OpenMandriva Lx ever since. As OpenMandriva Chairman Bernhard Rosenkränzer (aka bero) explains, despite sharing common origins, OpenMandriva is completely separate from other forks.

Today, OpenMandriva is governed by its Council that oversees legal issues, public relations, and general organization and the Technical Committee that is responsible for development. Members of both are invited to join, rather than be elected, and decisions are made by consensus whenever possible. Currently OpenMandriva Lx has seven main developers, plus a few irregular ones, as well as two mascots, Chwido and Laska. In the last year, there were 82,350 commits, according to bero.


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