The Future of Mandrake Linux.Today we are on the verge of releasing Mandrake Linux 8.2. This latest version of our flagship product introduces many new features such as an encrypted filesystem, automatic detection of "hot-plug" devices, refined & polished graphical user interfaces, and much more that will be detailed in the official announcement. Judging by the response of beta testers, we're certain that 8.2 will be a fantastic release which will be quickly adopted by Linux users everywhere.
Even though all of us here at MandrakeSoft are excited about the upcoming release, we've also been distracted by financial concerns. Despite continuous good reviews in the press; despite having millions of users throughout the world; despite producing an award-winning Linux distribution that is a solid competitor to both UNIX and Window$, the Mandrake Linux distribution's short-term future is in jeopardy due to a simple factor: money.
As a company, we make our revenue by selling packaged versions of the distribution and by delivering services such as consulting, training, etc. -- but our development costs and community-based services are not yet covered by income. It is estimated that we will "break even" by the end of 2002, but it is unlikely that MandrakeSoft can remain unchanged during these next few months without drastically cutting costs unless additional revenue is generated quickly.
The issue that we are discussing concerns the short-term future only. Since mid-year of 2001, our service and product activities have increased dramatically -- enhanced by the growing confidence of several distinguished companies. Since MandrakeSoft's revenue continues to grow and the company remains on target to become profitable at the end of 2002, it would be a real loss and a great disservice to the huge community of users for us to cut positions to meet short-term goals when the future looks so bright.
The company's long term prospect are very good, but we are still paying for the "sins" of the previous management. Even when the company becomes profitable, it is important that users have a loud voice to remind management and investors that the "community" has been -- and should always remain -- a crucial part of MandrakeSoft's success. As we've said before, a company that is mostly controlled by business people & investors would be drastically different than if controlled by its users.
How can you help?
A solution to the short-term dilemma of keeping our large community of users happy while also generating revenue is the recently launched "Mandrake Linux Users Club" and "Corporate Club". Both of these initiatives provide a simple yet cost effective way for Mandrake users to support the continued development of the distribution and the company's Free Software projects. In addition, members also receive special privileges.
The Mandrake Linux Users Club.
Millions of people use Mandrake Linux each and every day, already 2,000 have joined the Club so far. With the rate at which new members are joining, we should have over 10,000 paying members in one year. Although this is wonderful news, one year may be too late -- we need new members now to help us through the next few months.
Entry-level membership to the Mandrake Users Club is only $5 per month, which is less than one ticket to the movies. Is the future of the Mandrake Linux distribution worth that much to you? If yes, then don't delay -- join the Club today.
The Mandrake Linux Corporate Club.
If your company uses Mandrake Linux in its day-to-day operations, membership in the Corporate Club offers special recognition and exclusive corporate benefits. Join a distinguished roster of worldwide businesses who support MandrakeSoft with a corporate membership of $2,500 and up.
We firmly believe that if the entire community of users is mobilized we can easily get past this current situation. Thousands of Mandrake users may only need a slight "push" before deciding to join the Club. If this describes you, now is the perfect opportunity to join. Since this message will reach only a small number of Mandrake Linux users, please help spread the word. And if you know of any fellow Mandrake users, you could be the one to give them the push they are waiting for.
Make a difference and join the Club today so that the distribution can continue to remain free and true to the Open Source spirit.
Discover the Mandrake Users Club:
Learn about the Mandrake Corporate Club:
Financial results of the company:
Comments at MandrakeForum: