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Mandrake going to take a Chapter11?

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I hope this turns out to be wrong or doesn't happen. The register is basically a tabloid version of IT news, most of them are rumors and should be taken by a big grain of salt. However, this really worries me.

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Yes, me too. I am not using Mandrake right now... but am actually thinking of joining the Club or something.

 

When you look around at the available distros... you wont find to many that give redistributable ISO's on the net. Hate to loose one of them.

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I don't think we're in danger of losing Mandrake. A chapter 11 filing is more of an avenue to counter short term debt problems that can't otherwise be averted. It isn't neccessarily a harbinger of doom. Kmart, and one of the big US airlines are two that come to mind that have been operating under ch11 for over a year now.

 

Granted, a big boost in shelf sales would be the best news. :)

 

How do we get a grass roots campaign going to fuel the spread of Linux? How do we 'pro-activate' LUG's to evangelize their communities? :) Mainstream Win games and special business apps are the only areas that Linux isn't ready to tackle. And that's a market share, not a technology problem.

 

That leaves millions of users who are doing nothing beyond the capabilites of Linux. :)

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That would suck bigtime. I wonder if I have enough cash laying around to join or even better buy the cd's? However as someone else pointed out The Register is The National Enquirer of IT news so I take anything they say with a grain of salt.

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I would hold off on sending any money Mandrake's way until this is resolved. While the Register may be seen by an unreliable tabloid, it is widely quoted by other Internet media giving such a story a reality of its own. A careful examination of Mandrake's financial situation paints exactly such a bleak picture. What we are now seeing is the new CEO taking the reins and examining realistic ways of increasing the probability of Mandrake being able to survive. I wish him well.

 

KMart is announcing today the closure of 350 stores nationwide in the U.S. with as many as 25000 layoffs leaving only one store in Detroit, KMart's home base. Let's hope the same kind of thing does not happen to Mandrake.

 

Counterspy

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Why on earth don't they make profit for God's sake?

 

With the biggest user base than all distros, it shouldn't be that hard!

 

First, a vast reorganization of their operations.

 

Even their online presentation reminds of a startup dotcom runned by a bunch of 50 years old that learned about computers last year from a CD they got in the mail.

 

Second. Offer something the users want! The downloadable version is as good as their boxed version, including all manuals etc. Stop giving the manuals, make people buy the box set to get them.

 

And stop giving them a billion applications! Give basics, and anyone who wants more could just buy the rest. Is it that hard to do? Why do I need 8924375892 applications on the download version?

 

I was willing to buy their overblown version, until I found out the terrible news about it. All the "commercial" applications included are demos working only for 30 days or something. WTF? Why should I pay you twice the price to get a demo? Bundle a commercial program with them. A subscription to WineX for example, or IBMs WebSphere come to mind.

 

And for God's sake. When you give money out to Open Source, do so in moderation. I agree it's nice to give money out to the people that make your distribution, but what happens to the company? Remember, if you don't have it, don't give it. Not many more distros are paying money back you know. Offer them something else.

 

Marketting. Do they even have such a department? Did they emphasize how they allow companies to install a client only able to do A or B, and no need for the billion of other things they ship with? Why not even make the install options Default/Office Computer/Advanced? See if the dumb people making decisions will like that a lot more than today's options.

 

Should I stay here for hours and rant?

 

I just wish they get out of their Ch 11. Granted, under chapter 11 you can maintain business for a significant amount of time, until you reach agreements with your creditors, but no company ever makes out of it alive. They will end up selling up their property to repay the loans, and that means everything from computers and servers to their pens.

 

Good luck to MDK and to us all.

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The problem is that Mandrake is a desktop OS. At least this is the market that Mandrake has been targeting for the last several years. Mandrake is one of the easiest OSs for anyone to install, setup and use. When you think of Mandrake, you think of people installing it on their personal computers.

 

What do you think of when I say Red Hat? You think of corporate servers.

 

That is the problem. Red Hat makes money off selling support contracts to companies using their product for corporate web, file, and print servers. As replacements for their aging UNIX boxes.

 

There is no way that Mandrake can, or will, make any money trying to sell their product to the home user while still giving it away for free on the internet.

 

Mandrake needs to do one of two things; either reposition their product for the corporate market or discontinue the download of free ISOs a la SuSe.

 

The first would require a major overhaul of the company in combination with a redesign of their website and the development of a hardcore marketing campaign. The second would be a much easier path to follow initially.

 

As much as I hate saying this, Mandrake is doomed unless they reinvent themselves in someway that makes money.

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It is essential in any business venture, whether business to business or business to consumers, to pay attention to customer service. I have seen Mandrake virtually snub, not only their paying customers, but also their largest support base. I am concerned that they do not have a clue, and their financials are an indication of that, not the "dangerous free" concept.

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I agree, how do you expect to make money when you ship packages of Mandrake 9.0 several weeks/months after it is available for download on their website for free. These should be released simultanously.

 

And if that wasn't bad enough, when people start asking where their shiny new Mandrake packaged release will arrive, they are ignored.

 

Not smart.

 

Aside: I really like Mandrake, but I really wonder about some of the ways that they have been running their business.

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Just to keep the record straight, the final KMart total was 323 stores shut down across the U.S. They had sold their Canadian operations a couple of years ago.

 

Counterspy

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Well, they have a new CEO, things my change if he is given the time to make them.

 

It would be nice if a few of the Mandrake personnel show up here from time to time and help with problems or look for feedback (that's what the flight sim developers do in the other message board I frequent).

 

I wonder if they even read what goes on in this site.

 

Anyway, Chapter 11 could bring Mandrake back to a viable financial state, at hte expense of several of their employees.

 

----------

 

Sorry to hear about Kmart. Layoof's are never a good thing.

 

-----------

 

One of the comments to http://newsforge.com/newsforge/03/01/10/21...224.shtml?tid=3 which reads:

 

"I also was (that's was) an ardent Mandrake user - until several poor experiences with Mandrake staff on their "support" mailing lists. And I wasn't alone.

 

Mandrake staff has contributed mightily to the Linux software movement, and there are some excellent technical people there - but their attitude towards their user base is pitiful. Welcome to the real world - no support + no service + attitude problem = no income.

 

I've moved on, I use Gentoo these days. I recommend it to anyone who wants to play with Linux. The user community is better, more helpful. The staff is on top of their game. The mailing lists and bug database are well run and cared for. I can't recommend Mandrake. As the previous poster stated, Red Hat beat them to market with a solid product (and better support.)

 

I'd be pretty worried if I was an "investor" about now. If you have to go to the well more than once in six months, by begging the user community for cash, well - obviously you're business plan isn't working. The so-called Mandrake Club isn't all that it's advertised, there's a lot of disgruntled folks there who wouldn't re-subscribe. That also says a lot. Too bad."

 

---"The user community is better, more helpful" --- OUCH.

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A French-law knowledgable person posted this in Newsforge comments:

 

Posted by: Anonymous

 

I would like to point that the French equivalent to Chapter 11 (named dépot de bilan) is not banktrupcy.

 

If a company files a dépot de bilan, the company stops immediately to pays its debsts and the judge will name an administrator to sort the business and see what can be saved. If nothing work, he will start to sell the assets of the company and pay back the debtors of the company following a fixed order : first the State, then the employees and then the third parties.

 

Mandrakesoft is now selling enough stuff to pay wages and overhead. Their cash problem looks to be caused by contracts signed by the ex-american-CEO who wanted to go into e-learning. These contracts have some penalties clause. When Mandrakesoft sacked the American and changed strategy they broke these contracts and they have to pay the penalties but they don't have the money : i.e. the actual problem.

 

If they file a dépot de bilan, the people holding the broken contracts won't get a cent back. So they have a strong interest to accept a rebate on the penalties (better a little money than no money). So the bargaining is now on. If it doesn't succeed, Mandrake will have to file a dépot de bilan, if not they can go on.

 

I think the problem stands in the fact that it must be american ex-dot-com companies holding these penalties. Do they understand French Law and that they really risk losing everything ? Can they bite the bullet if they are themselves in a very sorry financial situation ?

 

I guess the management will try everything not to file a Dépot de bilan because it means that a foreign hand will take care of Mandrake and that the actual management will lose all its power. These administrators don't know nothing about the business of the company and they can ruin a fragile situation. They are talks in France that we shoudl change the bankruptcy law to leave the management, in case of a dépot de bilan.

 

The bottom line is that Mandrakesoft will not disappear in a week... There is hope that they will survive and that they will certainly be a 9.1 (the question mark is for 9.2.

 

We must all hope that the bargaining will succeed...

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In other news, some people have already decided to switch to Debian.

 

I haven't decided yet.

 

I don't think that running from one distro to another will help, but the 20 000 reported Club members that pay their $5 per month sure don't seem to be helping them... Me buying into Mandrake now isn't going to help either. After all the good financial reports, they spring this out on us all? Well, I think something pretty strange is going on there...

 

Gentoo looks inviting, but it's nothing more than a BSD-wannabe version of Linux. I'll just install BSD if that's what I want (and quite possibly that is one thing I will do - right overtop of my Slackware partition).

 

Anyhow, I hope Mandrake survives this, but it's still going to be a huge blemish on their record... They should go back to being a non-profit organization I think. There is no money in Linux. Not yet.

 

Feel free to flame me, disagree, whatever. We're all people and all have our own opinions on this matter. You've read mine.

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