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Mandriva Linux is dead, but these 3 forked distros carry on its legacy

Chris Hoffman | June 5, 2015
Mandriva is no more.

Mandriva is no more.

The company hasn't released a new version of Mandriva Linux since 2011 and laid off most of its developers years ago, but it's now been completely liquidated. That doesn't mean Mandriva's vision for Linux is dead, however — the Mageia project, founded by former Mandriva developers, picked up the torch years ago and has been carrying it ever since. It's not the only successor to Mandriva, either.

First, a eulogy for Mandriva

Mandrake Linux was founded back in 1998. It was originally based off of Red Hat Linux, but diverged since then. In a time before Ubuntu and other modern, user-friendly Linux distributions, Mandrake offered an easy introduction to Linux that made it popular. When Red Hat discontinued their consumer "Red Hat Linux" product back in 2003, Mandrake was there to pick up the slack — and users. Mandrake merged with Conectiva in 2005, renaming itself Mandriva.

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Mandriva's popularity slid gradually. Ubuntu's release in 2004 was a turning point, offering a new user-friendly Linux distribution with a graphical installer and easy system administration tools. In its early years, Canonical would actually mail you free Ubuntu installer CDs if you asked. Mandriva was still trying to sell boxed copies of the Mandriva " PowerPack," which shipped with proprietary software included. Other Linux distributions stepped up their game, and Mandriva wasn't as popular — or as necessary — anymore.

This Linux distribution actually died long ago. The last version of Mandriva released was Mandriva Linux 2011, after Mandriva laid off most of its developers back in 2010. Mandriva clung to life as a business for a few years longer, but the company was liquidated in 2015. Mandriva has been on the edge of bankruptcy many times in the past.

I have a soft spot for Mandriva — it was the first Linux distribution I ever used. It provided an easy introduction to Linux for me and many other Linux users, and I remember passing around Mandrake Linux installer CDs with my friends. Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, and other Linux distributions now play a similar role.

Mageia, PCLinuxOS, and OpenMandriva

Mandriva leaves behind some children, however.

Mageia is the most popular successor to Mandriva. If you're looking for a modern version of Mandriva, this is it. Mageia is a not-for-profit project that was created back in 2010 by a group of laid-off Mandriva developers and community members. Mageia is a fork of Mandriva, and it's seen active development over the years. While Mandriva hasn't released a new version since 2011, Mageia has been releasing regular new releases, and the latest one — Mageia 5 — should be released very soon. Mageia is the real spiritual successor to Mandriva, and has been for years.

 

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