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Mandrake does not join United Linux

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Linux Mandrake one of the best known Linux distributions, developed in France and owes much of its success to the fact that it has always been oriented towards the desktop and simplicity of use. Technically a derivative of RedHat, and therefore part of the group of distributions that use RPM as an installation package format. Mandrake, who had made profits in his early years, recently informed that he had some financial difficulties, but also that he believed he was on the right path to achieving a draw and returning to profit before the end of the year.

United Linux instead a consortium, born for about a month and formed by some important names among the Linux vendors: Caldera, SuSE, Turbolinux and Connectiva, who have joined together to create a common super-distribution in order to try to stem the overpower of RedHat, the true ruler of the Linux market.

Now Mandrake informs that she does not want to join the consortium, and explains the reasons for it in a detailed press release on her website.

The main point that Mandrake wishes to point out that Linux is not UNIX at least not diversified as were the various UNIX (HP-UNIX, SCO, AIX etc.) and as the United Linux declaration of intent would like to believe. to simplify the development of software and hardware for Linux, having only one distribution to support.

The large part of software that makes up a distribution composed, according to Mandrake, by well-known Free Software (Open Source), and therefore each Linux uses the same basic ingredients; the difference is the choice of the inserted components (more or less new), the installation and configuration tools and possibly the package manager.

Given these premises, the incompatibilities that may arise are, at the source code level, extremely limited, and in any case relatively simple to recompile the offending application.

The problem, Mandrake's statement continues, instead real in the case of proprietary software, and may be due to a difference in version of a library or to a variation in the hierarchy of the filesystem, but precisely to put an end to this type of inconvenience, it has been created the "Linux standard base", through which many Linux vendors try to integrate different aspects of their distributions into a standard.

Proclaiming that "there are too many Linux distros," continues Mandrake, a very narrow interpretation of the Linux phenomenon: if there are more than 200 distributions it means that there are developers and users for whom differences matter; the important thing is that each meets certain standards.

MandrakeSoft believes that UnitedLinux is simply a consolidation: several competitors decide to unify their products, something that often happens in any market, but also believes that it would not get any benefit from participating in the consortium. On the contrary: (final hit of the release) it would lose the its "easy to install, easy to use" approach, and in any case the combined market share of the four vendors does not reach that of Mandrake; in addition, Mandrake totally devoted to Free Software and its programs are and will always be freely downloadable without particular restrictions.

MandrakeSoft therefore reiterates that its long-term strategy centered on the approach to Free Software: a large installed base of which a small percentage paying, which it considers better than having a large percentage of paying users of a limited total installed base.

(By Marco Centofanti)