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Mandrake Linux (now called Mandriva Linux after its merger with Conectiva) was created in 1998 with the goal of making Linux easier to use for everyone. At that time, Linux was still a developer's operating system and sound knowledge of the CLI was a must.

Note: The Operating System now known as 'Mandriva Linux' and its makers, "Mandriva", have been referred to by their former names, 'Mandrakelinux' and "Mandrakesoft" respectively, in certain sections below for historical accuracy.


Mandrake was created by Gaël Duval. He realised that "Linux had the potential to be an excellent alternative to Windows, or maybe even a full replacement" He created Mandrake with the aim of providing "a Linux distribution that would be as easy to use as Windows" In July 1998 the first version of Mandrake was released (The first distribution to ship with KDE 1.0 as the default graphical environment). It was based on the popular Linux distribution Red Hat as it offered a robust package management system, RPM or Red Hat Package Manager (Now called RPM Package Manager). In November 1998, "several young Linux enthusiasts" created Mandrake (the company).

In 2001, the company decided to go public and announced an IPO (Initial Public Offering) of 688,480 shares which at that time represented 20.28% of the company's capital. Trading of the stock began in August 2001 in the Marche Libre exchange in Paris.

In late 2002, MandrakeSoft announced that it faced a "big short-term cash issue" and requested users to join Mandrakeclub (a paid service that offers certain extra benefits, now called Mandrivaclub), and existing members to upgrade.

Subsequently, in January 2003, MandrakeSoft filed for "declaration de cessation des paiements", the French equivalent of Bankruptcy Protection. By the end of 2003, MandrakeSoft declared its first quarterly profit in five years. In March 2003, a French court approved of MandrakeSoft's plan to emerge out of bankruptcy and enabled the company to return to normal operations. The company has since made a remarkable recovery.

Hearst Corporation, trademark owners of the comic-book character "Mandrake the Magician" sued MandrakeSoft for trademark infringement. The contention was heard in February 2004 and MandrakeSoft lost the case. MandrakeSoft decided to concatenate Mandrake and linux (as in Mandrake linux) to Mandrakelinux and change its logo as a direct result.

In April 2005, MandrakeSoft merged with Brazilian Linux vendor Conectiva, and the company name was subsequently changed to its current name, Mandriva.

The company after emerging from bankruptcy has posted strong gains and is surging ahead in popularity and dominates the European, North American and South American (through Conectiva) markets.


Mandriva Linux features an elegant and user-friendly interface right from installation, hence is recommended for people who are new to Linux. It is renowned for having excellent hardware detection and support. It primarily dominates the Desktop arena but is now trying to tap into the Server market too.

Mandriva Linux features a versatile configuration utility called the Mandriva Control Centre (often abbreviated as MCC). It features a set of tools that ease the configuration of various aspects of the Operating System.

Mandrake linux was the first rpm-based distribution to provide automatic resolution of dependencies with URPMI (which debuted in version 7.2), and its Graphical frontend, RPMDrake. URPMI can easily be setup to download and install binary RPMs (which include security updates) from local and web sources without the user having to interfere much. (See URPMI for more information).

Almost all popular Linux applications are available in either binary form for the user to install, or can be compiled from source.

KDE is the default Desktop Environment, but other popular Environments like Gnome are either included, or can be installed easily.

Mandrake Linux was one of the first distributions to be optimized for i586 processors (and superior). Mandriva Linux is currently available for x86, x86-64 and PowerPC architectures.


Mandrake developed a graphical installation process recognized by many as one of the best available, with advanced and efficient hardware detection (although today, other distributions like SuSE and Fedora provide similar tools). The Mandriva installation usually needs no more than booting from the first distribution CD-ROM and following instructions.

Development process

As of today, Mandriva follows a Debian-like three-step development process for every release (although much faster than Debian). Every new release begins simply as being Mandriva Cooker, that is the continuously changing current development line, and can be roughly seen as the analogue of Debian unstable. When the packages and set up of Cooker begin to reach reasonable stability, the Mandriva Community is released (often preceded by a couple of release candidates). Mandriva Community normally still contains bugs and unstable packages, and it is intended as a fairly usable but testing release. After months of testing, feedback and improvements on the Community release, the Official version is released. Mandriva Official is intended to be the stable version.

The GPL (General Public License) governs the development and redistribution of Mandrivalinux and it is community-driven to a large degree. Non-Mandriva contributors have write access to packages in the main distribution, commit access to Mandriva's own tools in CVS, full bug tracking rights in Mandriva's bugzilla and the Mandriva Development wiki. Over half the packages in the entire distribution (combining "main" and "contrib") are maintained by the community. For non-developers, support is available from the unofficial Mandriva community wiki and the LinuxQuestions' Mandriva forum.


Although Mandriva is one of the best distributions available, especially for linux beginners and for the desktop, is (like any other distribution) far from being perfect. Mandriva is well known for heavy customization of kernel and packages. While this often is a plus by adding new functionality, it can also lead to inferior stability (especially in the Community releases) when confronted with other distributions like Slackware or Debian. The large hardware support by default Mandriva Linux provides also means installation of a large and heavy kernel. Also many kernel modules are active by default after the installation, weighing on the system. Even with a lightweight GUI like Fluxbox Mandriva is noticeably slow on old computers, and cannot be seriously advised as a desktop on a PC with less than 128 Mbyte of RAM and 400 MHz clock rate. These are fairly low requirements (lower than that of Windows XP for example), but Slackware,for example, can run a reasonably fast graphical desktop on a 150 MHz Pentium with 64 Mbyte of RAM. However Slackware is much harder to install and configure, and has less hardware support by default.

Distributions similar to Mandriva


The latest stable release of Mandriva Linux is Mandriva Linux Spring 2008. For more information and links to download this, see the Mandriva Linux download page.

Home Products

  • Mandriva Linux It is the mainstream Linux desktop product.
  • Globetrotter It is a version pre-installed in a portable hard-drive which can be connected to a computer with a USB port (and be booted with).
  • Move is a version which is pre-installed in a USB pen-drive, from which it can be booted. It is based on Live-CD technology similar to KNOPPIX or DSL.

Corporate Products

  • Mandriva Linux Corporate Server It is the "Mandriva Linux Server Solution"
  • Mandriva Linux Corporate DesktopAimed at Office Productivity.
  • Multi Network Firewall a "Security solution dedicated to the business world".
  • Mandriva Linux Clustering It is a version suited for "heavy calculations" and "risk analysis", aimed at research organisations.

Product History

Product History
Year Number Name
1998 5.1 Venice
1998 5.2 Leeloo
1999 5.3 Festen
1999 6.0 Venus
1999 6.1 Helios
2000 7.0 Air
2000 7.1 Helium
2000 7.2 Odyssey (called Ulysses during beta)
2001 8.0 Traktopel
2001 8.1 Vitamin
2002 8.2 Bluebird
2002 9.0 Dolphin
2003 9.1 Bamboo
2003 9.2 FiveStar
2004 10.0 Community and Official
2004 10.1 Community
2004 10.1 Official
2005 10.2 Limited Edition 2005
2005 Mandriva Linux 2006
2007 2007.1 Mandriva Linux 2007 Spring
2007 2008.0 Mandriva Linux 2008
2008 2008.1 Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring
N/A N/A Cooker

External links

Forums,Mailing lists