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Mandriva and Turbolinux have another go at a united LinuxMatthew Aslett, January 16, 2008 @ 6:22 am ET
Second-tier Linux distributors Mandriva and Turbolinux have been quietly working together since October on a joint project called Manbo-Labs to create a unified Linux base to underpin their respective distributions. If that rings a bell it’s probably because it’s not the first time the companies have worked together on such a project. It’s not even the second time, in fact.
Turbolinux and Conectiva (acquired by Mandrakesoft to create Mandriva in 2005) were part of the original UnitedLinux project formed in 2003 with Caldera (now SCO) and SUSE Linux (now Novell) to create a single unified Linux base system. Caldera’s decision to become SCO and turn its back on Linux was the beginning of the end of that effort.
Undeterred Mandrakesoft and Conectiva teamed up with Turbolinux and Progeny in 2004 to create the Linux Core Consortium to build a common core implementation of the Linux Standard Base (LSB) 2.0 across their respective distributions. That effort was dealt a death blow thanks to Progeny’s decision in 2005 to create the Debian Common Core (DCC) Alliance along with credativ, KNOPPIX, LinEx, Linspire, MEPIS, Sun Wah, UserLinux, and Xandros.
The DCC Alliance failed in part thanks to the fact that the most successful Debian-based distribution, Ubuntu, refused to join. When Linspire announced in February 2007 that it was adopting Ubuntu as the basis for its distributions that was effectively that. Progeny’s demise in April 2007 was the nail in the coffin.
As RPM-based distributions, Mandriva and Turbolinux were never likely to be involved in the DCC Alliance, of course, but they are willing to have another stab at bringing together the RPM-based distributions via Manbo-Labs.
“The new common base will be released under the GPL license, and both companies wish to open the partnership to other RPM based Linux distributions editors,” states the announcement. “This strategic partnership is a first step toward the convergence of key RPM based Linux distributions,” added François Bancilhon, CEO of Mandriva.
History would suggest otherwise, unless they can convince Novell and Red Hat to join. Red Hat is conspicuous by its absence from the history lesson above and is unlikely to be interested, while the fact that that Novell is involved in legal issues with one of its former UnitedLinux partners would probably be enough to put it off.
For an example of a successful Linux consortium, one has to look to Asianux, which was originally formed by Red Flag, Miracle Linux and Haansoft, and now also lists VietSoftware as a member. Presumably competitive issues have encouraged Turbolinux to continue to look to the West for partnerships.
For the record, “Manbo-Labs’ team is composed of more than ten developers from France, Japan, Brazil and also includes developers from the community. Altogether, they have been working on building a common Linux base system to be released in April 2008. Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring will be based on this system.”
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