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new Mandrakelinux release cycle

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HI everyone! It's my first post here.

I've read through this topic and thought I can add a few things.

First about the new release cycle. I'm one of those who like stability over features, therefore I dont mind that Mandrake is already outdated comparing to other distros. I'm not glad but I don't mind. But one year without feature updates (e.g. from KDE 3.3 to 3.4) is a bit too much. I'm talking about public updates since I'm not a club member. I think no public updates means no community sooner or later. I understand that paying customers get everything sooner and get everything more and better, but there are some limits because it's Linux. Only in this topic 3 or 4 people wrote that they will leave Mandrake if this happens. I know that this wont bring Mandrake back to bankruptcy if there are some people who take their place. But are there? Or will be? Abusing your community is a suicidal thing in Linux.

Next: about the merger agreement. Its more than a month now and I (and I gues a lots of other people) dont know who bought who (I know its merging but why did they pay then?), what tecnology will they use from Conectiva and what will be at all. If no decisions are made then what are the options?

I think that one more way to keep the community alive and well is to give them a lot of info and all we got is a press release that creates more questions than anwsers (for me). This whole topic was born because there is no info, and the main reason to reg here was I'd like to get some answers. I hope somebody from Mandrakesoft is reading this, I assume adamw is a Mandrakesoft employee.

One more thing about the drivers that were mentioned before. I think the reason you gave, that the distro won't be Free then, is fake. Since club members can download it, do they deserve a non-free distro and non club members deserve a totally free distro? I don't see the logic behind it, unless if you say it's for getting more club members. If you really serious about it then put the drivers in the contrib.

Second I think that most users just want the most out of the box and don't give a damn about if it's free or freely downloadable and distributable. AFAIK Nvidia license permits to bundle it with a distro, correct me if not.

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But nothing is stopping you updating KDE yourself ...

in fact its even done and packaged for you....by mandrake.

 

It just doesn't come as part of a CD set....

 

I assume adamw is a Mandrakesoft employee.

Yep but while he is here his views are very strictly his own.....

 

Only in this topic 3 or 4 people wrote that they will leave Mandrake if this happens.

 

Yep but lots already leave when it doesn't work.....

Experienced people leaving Mandrake is normal...especially since they broke compatibility with webmin and linuxconf.

 

Debian is still the largest distro ... and woody is 3 years old....

Why? Because it provides a stable base and bleeding edge ...

 

Mandrake is going more in this direction.... OE and CE ...

3 people might leave but if Mandrake address the webmin and linuxconf issues then this one would come back!

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Yep, I'm not in customer service and this ain't what I get paid for, so I can't give the Official Word. But believe me, MDKsoft listens to what people are saying :).

 

There's an update on the PR at the Club:

 

http://www.mandrakeclub.com/article.php?sid=3539

 

To summarise, there will be several non-'Official' releases per year in addition to the single official release. They will be made available to the Club initially. I don't know if they will be made available to the public later, but it's possible.

 

Another important thing from that post is that LE 2005 *WILL* be getting security updates.

 

On Conectiva - this was covered in Fred's online chat the other day. At the moment, the technologies we're looking at are the smart package manager and some kernel work Conectiva have done. Rafael is working with the smart author on coming up with a way to combine the strengths of the two (smart's dependency resolution logic, urpmi's supplementary features).

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But nothing is stopping you updating KDE yourself ...

in fact its even done and packaged for you....by mandrake.

 

It just doesn't come as part of a CD set.... 

First: is that freely available?

Second: I'm not talking about only KDE and I'm not talking about only now. What I'm concerned about is freely avilable feature (not only bugfix and security) updates in the new release cycle.

I assume adamw is a Mandrakesoft employee.

Yep but while he is here his views are very strictly his own.....

Well he's an insider. He can provide some more info what's not in the press release or on the website (which looks very chaotic to me so maybe just I can't find it).
Only in this topic 3 or 4 people wrote that they will leave Mandrake if this happens.

 

Yep but lots already leave when it doesn't work.....

That's the real sad thing I mean it's totally acceptable when somebody leaves because he just didn't liked it. But when somebody leaves because it didn't work.. well the newbies ask help from the more experienced and they say don't use Mandrake so it ruins the image of the distro which is already not the best on the forum where I normally write.
Experienced people leaving Mandrake is normal...especially since they broke compatibility with webmin and linuxconf. 

 

Debian is still the largest distro ... and woody is 3 years old.... 

Why?  Because it provides a stable base and bleeding edge ...

 

Mandrake is going more in this direction.... OE and CE ...

3 people might leave but if Mandrake address the webmin and linuxconf issues then this one would come back!

The Linux market is constantly growing or that's what I've been told, so it's not enough any more the some people comes some people goes attitude. More people should come than leave. That's why I think a non-club member community should be kept well, first of all with info and the feeling that they are a part of a community and a good distro a constantly updated one. All of us know community is not just for giving money. They could help in a thousand way where Mandrake needs improvement.

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Yep, I'm not in customer service and this ain't what I get paid for, so I can't give the Official Word. But believe me, MDKsoft listens to what people are saying :).

 

There's an update on the PR at the Club:

 

http://www.mandrakeclub.com/article.php?sid=3539

Good news. Thank you for the info.
To summarise, there will be several non-'Official' releases per year in addition to the single official release. They will be made available to the Club initially. I don't know if they will be made available to the public later, but it's possible.
I think it should. I wrote at the end of my previous post why. I don't want to pretend that I know your job better than you but I think: big community -> better image -> bigger club -> more income any ways.

No free updates -> smaller community which leave when became more experienced -> same amount people leaves the club the same amount comes -> no development -> MandrakeSoft stays where it is, while everybody else grows.

Maybe it's not the way things really are, but I think this is logical.

Another important thing from that post is that LE 2005 *WILL* be getting security updates.
That's really basic.
On Conectiva - this was covered in Fred's online chat the other day. At the moment, the technologies we're looking at are the smart package manager and some kernel work Conectiva have done. Rafael is working with the smart author on coming up with a way to combine the strengths of the two (smart's dependency resolution logic, urpmi's supplementary features).
Again thank you for the info it's already much more than in the press release. Hope more comes, even if it's not your job. I can read the technical details in the cooker newsletter but I couldn't find anything about the merging anywhere.

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One more thing about the drivers that were mentioned before. I think the reason you gave, that the distro won't be Free then, is fake. Since club members can download it, do they deserve a non-free distro and non club members deserve a totally free distro? I don't see the logic behind it, unless if you say it's for getting more club members. If you really serious about it then put the drivers in the contrib.

Second I think that most users just want the most out of the box and don't give a damn about if it's free or freely downloadable and distributable. AFAIK Nvidia license permits to bundle it with a distro, correct me if not.

Believe it or not, open source software is important to a lot of people. The GPL is more than just a license. It's an ideal that guarantees Linux the freedom to grow without being undermined by commercial or other private interests. The GPL requires source code to be made available. Nvidia does not distribute the source code for its drivers, and therefore, its drivers do not meet the requirements of a GPL-licensed distribution. This is why Nvidia drivers cannot be included in contrib. I do use Nvidia products myself, and understand the need to have easy access to drivers. I also agree that the practice of providing Nvidia drivers to club members only is questionable, but Mandrakesoft has bills to pay just like any other company. These drivers belong in plf-non-free. That has nothing to do with Mandrakesoft. PLF just needs a volunteer to maintain Nvidia driver packages.

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I understand that MandrakeSoft needs money, I just think it's not a good idea to charge for something that other distros give freely. At some distros you don't even have to install it. See Yoper.

Second : I think if people need to choose between ideals and usability they choose the latter, and I don't have to say which way brings more money to Mandrake. Not to mention that this driver issue is not only about video drivers. Some things don't work without forcedeth or anything else. If they don't put it in contrib then they should put it in a different directory or anything just make it freely available. What I mean that Mandrake should be a fully functioning distro in every way (that includes drivers).

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Club members and paying customers have a choice: they can always _choose_ to download the entirely free distribution and use that. The only things you can get in the Club and commercial version that you can't get in the free version with urpmi are the non-free packages, everything else is just stuff from contrib.

 

Contrib isn't an option as it too has to be free. Now I suppose plf could make an nvidia package and put it in plf-nonfree, but I guess they don't want to hurt the Club.

 

My job has nothing to do with determining the distribution of Mandrakelinux, unfortunately. Believe me, if it did, the *first* thing I'd do is decide that the future interim releases will be publicly available (the second thing would be to make it a policy to have the x86-64 release made freely available on the same schedule as the x86 release - I honestly don't know whether or not this is the policy for 2005 right now). I've always believed it's a *big* overall benefit to MDKsoft and MDKlinux that we have a good, popular and complete product available entirely for free; I know way too many valuable contributors and customers who've started out on the free edition to think otherwise. (As a personal example, I've never actually *paid* a dime for anything to do with MDK, though if I billed all the time I spent volunteering on Cooker at my average hourly wage it'd come to a tidy sum, so I don't feel guilty :>). The degree to which free and non-free releases are separated, the ways in which they're made available and the exact way in which the Club members should be given privileges over regular downloaders are a lively topic of debate within MDKsoft, for sure, but perhaps it should be left at that :)

 

and always remember, I'm only a 'semi'-insider. I work several thousand miles from the MDKsoft head office, and physical presence counts for a lot in a small company. I'm obviously not exactly at the executive level of the company either, so I'm sure I miss a lot of high-level discussion. Though we're a small company and I can always bug Gael or Fred L. by email if I really *need* to. :)

 

Oh, as for work on urpmi / smart, it's not happening on Cooker as it's more or less at the theory stage right now. There's some discussion about smart and urpmi on Cooker (mostly from last month), but AFAIK what's happening right now is private chat between the urpmi and smart maintainers to see what they think is the best way forward. They seem to get along pretty well so I expect the result will be cool.

Edited by adamw

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the second thing would be to make it a policy to have the x86-64 release made freely available on the same schedule as the x86 release

 

Yep a bit late for me... I looked at the crap they released in 9.2X64 and made a descision based on the shit support they wer3e giving to PPC the other alterantive architecture.

 

I tried Suse but Yast is even more embedded than drak wizards s dumped that.. (anyopne want a pro boxset for shipping) and ended up in Gentoo and Deb.

 

Once again MDK marketing blew it!

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gowator: x86-64 will be handled differently because it's obviously where the market will be going in future, PPC was always more of a niche thing (and the community-handled version seems to be making a nice resurgence in any case). But yeah, the 9.2 and 10.0 x86-64 versions were pretty much thrown together, 10.1 was an improvement, 10.2 is looking better still and by 2006 I think it'll be more or less equal development of 32-bit and 64-bit.

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Club members and paying customers have a choice: they can always _choose_ to download the entirely free distribution and use that. The only things you can get in the Club and commercial version that you can't get in the free version with urpmi are the non-free packages, everything else is just stuff from contrib.
I always thought club members get more official packages and support with it.
Contrib isn't an option as it too has to be free. Now I suppose plf could make an nvidia package and put it in plf-nonfree, but I guess they don't want to hurt the Club.
Since my last post I found nvidia and fglrx driver packages in Thac's reposytory so it's not an issue anymore. As I wrote I'm not talking about only video drivers. They're needed only for 3D, and everybody has a videocard therefore video drivers are the easyest to install and setup from their original source. What's more important IMHO are drivers like forcedeth and Smartlink modem drivers. They truly affect the usabilty of the distro, e.g. without modem drivers one can't go out on the net where he can get help, so it really should be on the install CD.
My job has nothing to do with determining the distribution of Mandrakelinux, unfortunately. Believe me, if it did, the *first* thing I'd do is decide that the future interim releases will be publicly available (the second thing would be to make it a policy to have the x86-64 release made freely available on the same schedule as the x86 release - I honestly don't know whether or not this is the policy for 2005 right now). I've always believed it's a *big* overall benefit to MDKsoft and MDKlinux that we have a good, popular and complete product available entirely for free; I know way too many valuable contributors and customers who've started out on the free edition to think otherwise. (As a personal example, I've never actually *paid* a dime for anything to do with MDK, though if I billed all the time I spent volunteering on Cooker at my average hourly wage it'd come to a tidy sum, so I don't feel guilty :>).
Yeah community members could do a lot of things to improve Mandrakelinux, but if you really want to be a community member at Mandrake you have to pay for it first. I think it's a huge holding back for the distro and the company.
The degree to which free and non-free releases are separated, the ways in which they're made available and the exact way in which the Club members should be given privileges over regular downloaders are a lively topic of debate within MDKsoft, for sure, but perhaps it should be left at that :)

 

and always remember, I'm only a 'semi'-insider. I work several thousand miles from the MDKsoft head office, and physical presence counts for a lot in a small company. I'm obviously not exactly at the executive level of the company either, so I'm sure I miss a lot of high-level discussion. Though we're a small company and I can always bug Gael or Fred L. by email if I really *need* to. :)

I've found this. If I can recommend something put the URL of your blog to this síte and your signature here. AFAIK you are the only MandrakeSoft employee writing here or is there anybody else?
Oh, as for work on urpmi / smart, it's not happening on Cooker as it's more or less at the theory stage right now. There's some discussion about smart and urpmi on Cooker (mostly from last month), but AFAIK what's happening right now is private chat between the urpmi and smart maintainers to see what they think is the best way forward.
I'll never understand that, why private? Is it a secret? Maybe someone from the outside could give an idea now in the designing phase that could improve a lot. It would much better now than rewrite it later.
They seem to get along pretty well so I expect the result will be cool.

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Clubmembers get access to java - which one cannot distribute normally, check the SUN license - some other non-open source things like Opera, some CAD progam, etcetc.

 

Next, they get some closed source drivers, for ATI, NVidia, and then some - yes, this includes some adsl modem drivers.

 

Then they get to vote on what new software should be packaged for some version of Mdk - usually the latest stable version.

 

 

I checked, forcedeth driver is included in the regular kernel. I haven't the faintest idea why you thought that it is not included in Mdk??

 

Without modem drivers for Linux, one can't get onto the web? Whatabout windows? Or, if one doesn't have windows, why does one have a winmodem????

Buy Linux compatible hardware! That's the only way to improve - Linuxcompatible with open source drivers, that is!

 

Yeah community members could do a lot of things to improve Mandrakelinux, but if you really want to be a community member at Mandrake you have to pay for it first. I think it's a huge holding back for the distro and the company.

Ehmm, how so?

I have paid out of free will, not for any of the benefits of the club. And for my translations I have gotten a VIP membership, giving access to Silver level stuff.

I don't see why you think one has to pay to become a member of the community around Mdk..

 

 

I'll never understand that, why private? Is it a secret? Maybe someone from the outside could give an idea now in the designing phase that could improve a lot. It would much better now than rewrite it later.

 

MandrakeSoft is a company. No need to disclose everything. Heck, look at SUSE - I posted a bugreport and haven't the faintest idea if anyone ever looked at it. I included the fix that Mdk's buglist had for it, so it should be easy for them to fix it, but that's all.

For all I can see, lots of Mdklinux is much more open than RH (not talking about FC here!) SUSE and other commercial distributions (heck, xandros, linspire etc even include proprietary software).

 

There are certainly things wrong with how Mdksoft is executing (or hopefully, has been executing) their stuff, but the points you mention are hardly the large stumbling blocks.

 

I'd say treating amd64 versions differently than regular i586 is imho the major point, next up are the bad marketing (or lack thereof), low visibility, etc... which hopefully the new release cycle will address.

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dexter: I was referring just to the various downloadable versions of the distro, it's true that Club members have the exclusive Club packages, but they're not put on the ISOs as far as I'm aware. The extra packages on the Club ISOs are made up of the proprietary packages, which only paying customers and Club members get, and extra packages from main and contrib, which anyone can get from an FTP mirror.

 

forcedeth is already in the MDK kernel and has been since 10.0. As for drivers which require proprietary bits, they're just not going to go into the free edition, unfortunately. There's a complicated balance to be struck between encouraging software freedom, making a functional distribution, the logistics of providing various bits of non-free software, and providing added value for the Club, and our perspective is that it's overall best to make the download edition 100% free software, in the FSF sense.

 

but if you really want to be a community member at Mandrake you have to pay for it first

I don't think so. The Club is a big deal, for sure. But there's very big active elements of the MDK community which don't require any money. I'd certainly consider this board part of the MDK community. I'd also consider all the mailing lists part of that community, and no payment is required to read and write on those.

 

Yeah, I'm the only MDKsoft employee (note that technically I'm not an employee, I'm an independent contractor / freelancer) who posts here. I do relay things I reckon are important on to the appropriate places, though.

 

As I said, the smart and urpmi authors are discussing how to start a combined project between themselves, as far as I'm aware. As soon as they actually come up with anything *concrete* that other people could poke, it'll probably go into Cooker, where everyone will no doubt provide their opinions. Cooker people always do. :D

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