Mandriva Fork: and Unity

September 20, 2010

It seems a lot of the old Mandriva employees have decided to create there own distribution that will of course be closely related to Mandriva but not MandrivaLinux S.A. The new name is Mageia which means Magic.

There have been a few post and a few people who have wondered about what will happen for the Mandriva based Linux distributions if Mandriva was to go away. Now in the current case if Mageia fails or takes for ever to come up with development structure ie. SVN, BuildServers etc.. What will happen with Mandriva will Unity be based on Mandriva or Mageia?

First let’s start with a little history. Unity Linux started as a fork from PCLinuxOS during the early development stage it was decided to rebase on Mandriva and maintain our own repositories, more specifically Kernel, Xorg version, Window Managers etc.. So we created a SVN repository and started importing packages from Mandriva changing spec files, taking out epochs, adding patches, and updating source. Then the decision was made to use RPM5+Smart dropping any option for urpmi or apt-rpm. Once again packages were rebuilt, so Unity uses it’s own version of RPM and maintains it’s own repositories using smart too install and manage packages.

So now we have some things that are very similar to Mandriva like drakxtools that are basically patched to use SMART instead or URPMI. We have become pretty familiar with drakxtools and themed it for Unity etc.. but it’s still drakxtools and we still sync the source (like we would do with any project) to Mandriva when there’s new upgrades that are worth the time in testing. We also follow PulseAudio pretty closely as it’s no secret that Mandriva has one of the best implementations. Even more on our BuildServer we can pull source packages from Mandriva SVN and build some (very few packages) will little or no changes. We tend to shy away from Epochs though, even though we have some packages that still have them. Yet Mandriva has no issues using them.

So is Unity dependent on Mandriva? Yes too a point we are. We like their configuration tools (some times) and with some packages that really are straight forward to build we may import from Mandriva SVN. However these are just niceties. The real question is could we survive without Mandriva.. Yes we could and may have too until they get a clear direction (for that matter survive) or the fork gets off the ground enough so we can pull and push packages for them. What will this mean? In our case packages may not be updated as fast as normal, because packagers may have to take on a few more packages.

In the long run though if Mandriva does survive and Mageia gets off the ground Unity will have more resources to pull from. Our plan is to not use just one for resources but both. There’s rumors one may choose to upgrade to RPM5 (which will be fine for us) and may even drop URPMI for SMART. Now this is all speculation but in any scenario it seems with time Unity will turn out better off than before. So should the Unity community be worried no, just offer help where you can and test for us and we’ll be good.

Some ask why not just disband Unity and Work with Mageia? Well the reason we have created Unity is too allow more advanced Linux users a core or ground work to create their own distribution. That is our focus. Our focus is not desktop use, or even end users. Someone who uses Unity for it’s packages and core though may decide to create a community driven distribution with these focuses and we will be very supportive of that. We call such project branches and are very friendly to branch maintainers. However if we were merge our efforts at Unity with Mageia than we would loose our focus and direction that we have all come together to create. Unity is a much different concept and a concept we are quite happy with.

Hope this helps expel some fears 😉 and explain why at the very least I am very much excited about all of this..

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One Response to “Mandriva Fork: and Unity”


  1. […] Mandriva Fork: and Unity So now we have some things that are very similar to Mandriva like drakxtools that are basically patched to use SMART instead or URPMI. We have become pretty familiar with drakxtools and themed it for Unity etc.. but it’s still drakxtools and we still sync the source (like we would do with any project) to Mandriva when there’s new upgrades that are worth the time in testing. We also follow PulseAudio pretty closely as it’s no secret that Mandriva has one of the best implementations. Even more on our BuildServer we can pull source packages from Mandriva SVN and build some (very few packages) will little or no changes. We tend to shy away from Epochs though, even though we have some packages that still have them. Yet Mandriva has no issues using them. […]


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