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June 23rd, 2010

Mandriva Finds Angels

According to an exclusive article posted yesterday on the French language web site LeMagIT, it appears that Mandriva has found investors to stave off financial failure at the French Linux company. Mandriva announced on May 11 they were disparately seeking buyers. If buyers were not found, they said, the company would be forced to shut their doors.

The article on LeMagIT was later covered in English by Caitlyn Martin at the O’Reilly web site. According to Martin, the French article quotes Mandriva Director General Arnaud Laprévote:

“Today the company found investors who decided to invest in the company, in order to give balance to the organization and to find a good economic model. …the community and users no longer need be concerned. …we were aware that the existence of Mandriva was threatened, and today that is no longer the case.”

Evidently due to French confidentiality regulations, the identities of the new investors were not revealed.

Back in May when word first leaked that Mandriva was fiscally ailing, it was reported that negotiations were underway with two firms, Linagora and Lightapp. Since then, other potential suitors have been named, including two former Mandriva chairmen.

During the first five years or so of the twenty-first century Mandriva, then known as Mandrake, was one of the most popular Linux distros for the desktop, mainly because of it’s easy installation in an era when Linux could be difficult to install, and because it was designed to be easy to use and configure. However, the company seemed to run out of steam when it went under bankruptcy protection in 2003.

Despite successfully emerging from bankruptcy in 2004 and acquiring Conectiva, a major Brazilian distro focused on the enterprise, the company never regained it’s top ranking among Linux users and was eclipsed by a new, more aggressively marketed easy to use distro, Ubuntu.

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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