Last Friday the newspaper Vedomosti reported that a Russian firm, NGI, has purchased a controlling interest in Mandriva. The Quintura blog published a short English language summary of the article today. NGI had previously purchased a 5% stake in Mandriva in July for an undisclosed sum as part of the €3 million financial rescue of the company according to the Vedomosti article. NGI and Ceychas Fund are investing an additional €2 million to acquire controlling interest, including purchasing shares currently held by two other investors.
Back in July Quintura published an English-language summary of another Vedomosti article in which Ilya Massukh, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications announced plans to develop a Russian national operating system based on Linux. In today's post Quintura added: "Mandriva could aim to bid to create Linux-based Russian national operating system." Mandriva would likely be competing with ASPLinux and ALT Linux. One of selection priorities is that development takes place in Russia.
On Saturday a Paris-based group of former Mandriva developers who lost their jobs when Mandriva liquidated Edge-IT, their development subsidiary, announced that they would be forking Mandriva and creating a new distribution called Mageia. The announcement, which features an impressive list of 56 former Mandriva employees and prominent members of the Mandriva community, was the lead news story in this today's DistroWatch Weekly.
The Mageia announcement explained the decision to fork Mandriva:
People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company.The structure of the new organization behind Mageia was also described in the announcement:
Forking an existing open source project is never an easy decision to make, and forking Mandriva Linux is a huge task.
It was not an impulsive decision. We all spoke a lot before: former employees, Cooker contributors and users' communities. We collected opinions and reactions in the past weeks as we needed to get some kind of global agreement and to gather, before going ahead."
A not-for-profit organization will be set up in the coming days and it will be managed by a board of community members. After the first year this board will be regularly elected by committed community members.It will be interesting to see how the new Russian owners and developers of Mandriva move forward and how far Mandriva and Mageia diverge from one another. It does now seem certain that the popular distribution which has been known as Mandriva will continue and move forward, albeit in two directions with two different teams rather than one.
This organization will manage and coordinate the distribution: code & software hosting and distribution, build system, marketing, foster communication and events. Data, facts, roadmaps, designs will be shared, discussed through this organization."