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A Linux company that spent 17 years competing with Windows is officially over

Jean Manuel-Croset
Jean Manuel-Croset

(Mandriva/Linux-Community) Jean Manuel-Croset, former CEO of Mandriva

In a "sad" event for people who love Linux, French tech company Mandriva is being liquidated, according to a notice posted by the company.

Although Mandriva generated €553,000 in revenue in 2013, that wasn't enough to make it thrive in 2015.

For decades, Mandriva has been trying to take on Microsoft Windows with a Linux version of a desktop PC. Its claim to fame was a deal in 2007 with the Nigerian government in which it beat out Microsoft to put its flavor of Linux on 17,000 PCs used by Nigerian schoolchildren.

It also had some success in Malaysia.

But by 2012, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy, a situation that had happened several times since its early days, in 1998.

It was saved for a few more years by Jean-Manuel Croset, who joined as COO in 2011 and soon after became CEO.

But Croset's LinkedIn profile notes that his gig as Mandriva CEO came to an end in May, 2015. (He's focusing again on his company SimplyWorks, an IT consultant in Switzerland.)

The Linux operating system has become a huge, dominant force in the data center and given rise to prosperous commercial companies like Red Hat. It has been a hit on tiny objects (known as an "embedded operating system"). But it's never touched Microsoft Windows much in the world of PCs.

The closest it's come is the success of Android, which uses Linux at its core. That's why the Linux Foundation – the keeper of the main Linux operating system – likes to claim that Linux is at the heart of over 1.3m Android smart phones activated daily.

But it seems like the idea of pure Linux PCs that take on Windows is on its death bed, if it ever really lived.

As noted by Linux blog LWN.net on the final demise of Mandriva: "It is a sad end for a company that has been pursuing the desktop Linux dream since 1998."

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