Mandriva fork Mageia Linux hits beta

Six months after most of the senior developers of Mandriva Linux, arguably the most user-friendly flavor of the Linux distribution, left the company, the ‘renegade’ group have announced a new beta release of their Mageia Linux distribution.

Mandriva, based in France, had been forced to shrink its operations in France and relocate its development activities to South America after running into financial problems.

Mandriva, which started out as Mandrake Linux several years ago, was known as the most user-friendly Linux distribution, but ran into business problems around 2-3 years ago.

“We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project,” the group of lead developers had announced in September last year, stating that they would come out with their community version of Linux.

Unlike Windows and OSX, Linux code is now owned by any particular person or company, even when it is sold as a branded product like Mandriva or Red Hat. As a result, departing employees often start a competing flavor which can also be downloaded and installed by users free of cost.

The new beta is primarily an update of the existing Mandriva edition, Mageia warned, asking users not to look for anything radically new.