My very first tryst with Linux started with RedHat version 8, the time when RedHat was a free operating system like any-other Linux distro and there was no Ubuntu. But RedHat never worked the way I wanted my desktop to be, and I tried as many Linux distro as I could find. A distro which stood apart and worked beautifully for me was Mandriva (known as Mandrake Linux that time).
In one sentence, Mandrake Linux was like the Ubuntu of this era in terms of usability and ease. Mandrake Linux provided the easiest way to the Internet and software availability in its infamous discovery and power pack flavors packed with both open source and proprietary software.
Down the year 2012 the old shine and luster is all lost and the company behind the Magical Linux is on the verge of disappearance from the legendary wall of fame of Linux distributions.
But what made this transition from being a legend to a forgotten tale ?
Brian Proffitt argued in his article “The diminishing of the operating system” that not keeping up with the trends of time is the reason for the decline of French Linux distributor, the other OS vendors are no longer selling Operating System as a standalone solution, rather they offer services such as virtualization and cloud computing along with the OS, training and support (which is no longer a minting machine for Open Source companies).
Brian could be correct in his deduction as far as RedHat and SUSE are concerned since these companies no longer rely on the sale of their brand of operating system and offer a basket full of innovative services and solutions for the enterprise and server space. But it is not the case with Ubuntu, the move towards Smart TV , Mobile and Tablet platform are only the plans for the future and do not create funds for canonical right now.
One should also take the community factor into the consideration when talking about FOSS. One cannot deny that the main source for the new innovations in open source space for RedHat & Novell stems from their community offerings namely Fedora and OpenSUSE which are among the most active free and open source communities along with Cannonical for Ubuntu.
In my opinion the lack of contributions from an active community is also a reason behind this deadly jerk for Mandriva. Mageia Linux which forked out from the Mandriva in 2010 is not a supported community initiative from Mandriva, but an effort from the bunch of dissatisfied developers from the French Linux company.
So even if the Mandriva will recover from the financial crunch (as they had done in 2010) the community effort from the Mageia will carry the legacy of the Magical Linux Desktop forward in the coming years.