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Comment – Mandriva CEO disses Ubuntu

François Bancilhon, CEO of Mandriva, recently did an interview for the Mandriva Club. During that interview, he did some serious Ubuntu bashing. Some of his arguments amounted to straight lies and FUD.

Here some examples:

"One possible worse case scenario is that Ubuntu’s plan is to use money to put all other community-based distros out of business and then start monetizing the installed base."

1.) Ubuntu pledges on it’s website that it will never do what Mandrake/Mandriva has done, offering a so-called "Premium" version for money. They might break this promise but how likely is that, really? Therefore, this is a dodgy argument, others would simply call it FUD. Aha, A CEO of a so-called Open Source company taking refuge to FUD then, isn’t he? Well, we all know who the usual culprits are, what does that tell us about Mandriva and Francois?

2.)  The second part of this argument is that Francois seems to regard Mandriva as a community based project. Francois, Debian is a community-based project, so are Arch Linux, Gentoo and many others. I won’t deny that Mandriva has a healthy community, but the only interpretation of Mandriva being "community-based" is that they survive on getting money from them. These people are paying that money for the privilige of getting the software earlier than others. On exchange, they get their GNU/Linux tainted with non-free software. Wow, what a deal that is. Ubuntu doesn’t do that either byraway. You get all the non-free software as early as all others do, and you don’t have to pay money for the tainting service, either. In essence, Mandriva IS NOT a community-based distro, it is run by a company, which Distros like Debian, Gentoo and Arch Linux are not. Even Ubuntu has set up a foundation to keep it running in case Canonical decides to quit. Additionally, my perception is that Ubuntu’s interaction with the Free Software Community is much more intense than Mandriva’s, just look at how many Debian Developers work for Canonical or are otherwise involved with the Ubuntu project.

3.) The third mistake in Francois’ argument is that Ubuntu might put other community-based distro’s out of business. Francois reflecting his business-centric mindset onto non-profit projects doesn’t fit the reality, though. Well, they might put companies out of business, but I cannot imagine Ubuntu finishing off projects like Debian, Gentoo, Arch Linux and all the others, can you? Sporting such an argument is, again, nothing more than FUD.

Another nice piece of FUD is this sentence:
"one person, with a quasi infinite check book is behind the operation.

Well, Francois. I hope all the Ubuntu Members, MOTU’s, LaptopTesters et al won’t read this sentence. They might get seriously angry at you, you know. In case you haven’t noticed, it takes a wee bit more than a single person to get a good GNU/Linux distro running. By reducing Ubuntu to Mark Shuttleworth you do severe injustice to all the others involved and disregard essential factors on how to create a popular GNU/Linux distro. Perhaps that’s why Mandriva hasn’t taken over the GNU/Linux world yet.

The last sentence I’d like to comment on is this one:
"By doing so, we are building a strong and healthy company based on a proven business model."

Aye, so what? Again, there’s enough successful GNU/Linux and thousands of Free Software Projects out there that do not rely on that "business model" of Mandriva’s.Why should we care about shareholder happiness? We are happy if we can use Free Software and convince others doing so. Not everyone sees GNU/Linux as a "product" like Francois does, but he doesn’t seem to realise that.

All in all, Francois doesn’t do himself very good voicing his opinions regarding Ubuntu. I don’t have a problem with Mandriva advertising their products, but spreading FUD about a project like Ubuntu does seem to be a wee bit improper, doesn’t it?
There are couple of good reasons one might use Ubuntu and there are a couple of good reasons one might use Mandriva. Francois dissing Ubuntu in this interview doesn’t really want me to use Mandriva, though.

4 Responses to “Comment – Mandriva CEO disses Ubuntu”

  1. smc Says:

    pro-linux.de

    Your blog entry made it to pro-linux.de (http://www.pro-linux.de/news/2006/9289.html) and sparked a lively discussion over there :-) .

  2. incinerator Says:

    Cheers

    Thanks for mentioning that, I’ll check it out in a minute. I am German byraway, if you want it translated….

  3. smc Says:

    Not necessary…

    …but thanks anyway. Maybe for the other fellows?

    I myself am a born Mannheimer residing at Ludwigshafen/Rhein at the moment. I just use English as the “language of commerce” of fsfe.org (as you do, too ;-) ), ansonsten spreche ich eigentlich ganz gut deutsch :-D .

    Maybe we need some standardized way to indicate the languages a fellow does understand?

  4. incinerator Says:

    Hehe

    Just had a closer look at the comments at pro-linux.de
    I never realised German is such a wonderful language, it’s ideally suited for flaming *ggg*

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