It’s ‘Official’: Mandrakesoft Releases New Linux Version

Mandrakesoft is giving the penguin a makeover with its latest Linux release, complete with extended support for mobile devices, enhanced hardware compatibility and major application upgrades.

Company officials said Mandrakelinux 10.1 Official will become the basis for a large part of the software publisher’s product range while attempting to stay true to its mission of mass appeal.

“Our new release scheme is starting to show its full potential,” said Francois Bancilhon, Mandrakesoft CEO. “‘10.1 Community’ was quite a successful product — many people use it, and the feedback they gave us really helped us polish ‘10.1 Official.’ This release will be one of quality and continuity in innovation — better parts and a better whole.”

Support for More Devices

The company claims that Mandrakelinux will now run on a larger number of configurations and support more devices. The program’s hardware management software now automatically detects and configures a large number of devices, from USB storage devices to network printers.

Better ease-of-use, new software and changes in the system’s underlying technology were designed with mobility in mind. Version 10.1 features out-of-the-box support for Intel’s Centrino chips often found on laptops.

Roaming is now a software feature and the program will detect and remember access points. Blueyooth devices also work with a Mandrakelinux PC.

Company officials said the technical infrastructure has also changed. The new version is based on a more recent, fine-tuned kernel, a new complier and a new device manager. And Mandrakelinux’s package management software version 4.5 is designed to make the system more coherent. But analysts said the company still lags behind the competition.

More Catching Up To Do

Despite all the new bells and whistles, there is still a question of whether or not Mandrakesoft can ever catch up with Red Hat and SuSE. Beyond France, where the company is headquartered, Mandrakelinux has not seen nearly the same rate of deployment as its competitors.

Stacey Quandt, senior business analyst and open source practice leader for the Robert Frances Group, told LinuxInsider that while Mandrakelinux can be deployed effectively for server applications, a lack of customer awareness of that fact holds it back.

“The challenge is the extent of its partnerships and the awareness within IT shops that Mandrakesoft is an alternative to other distributions on the desktop,” she said.

“When an enterprise is making Linux decisions it tends to take an assessment of where it can be deployed,” Quandt added. “Overwhelmingly, SuSE and Red Hat have strong OEM relationships. That is something that Mandrakesoft does not have.”

The three new Mandrakesoft products, Discovery, PowerPack and PowerPack+, range in price from US$50 to $230 and will be available in mid-November.

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