The Controversy Embarrassment is starting to burn

Ouch, this got to hurt

Public Statement of -

As already announced has discussed the whole issue and settled on an official statement, describing once more the facts and announcing the consequences.

This statement was published on the following sites and sent to the following addresses:

  • (German)
  • Mandriva Forum (English)
  • DistroWatch (English, upon request of Mr. Bodnar)
  • LinuxUser (German, upon request of the editor)
  • freies magazin (German, upon request of the chief editor)
  • ProLinux (German, upon request of the chief editor as a follow-up of his report as of June 29th)

By direct mail to Mandriva (CEO, Anne Nicolas)

Statement of about Mandriva’s behavior concerning German Linuxtag 2009

The behavior of Mandriva (the company) towards the German user community (short: and the administrator of this community has caused us to compile and publish this statement. In this statement you will read the sequence of actions to understand the consequential measures from our side.

Timeline of the events:

Nov. 2008 –> Mandriva (Vanessa Wall) asks wobo for help in organizing and operating a company stand at the Linuxtag 2009 in Berlin.
Jan 2009 - March 2009 –> wobo compiles a calculation, advises on options. decides to do without their own stand at the event to be able to help Mandriva. Mandriva is informed about this decision and appreciates it.
Early April 2009 –> wobo talks to Anne Nicolas and Vanessa Wall in person (at the Linux Solution in Paris). Both Mandriva employees agree on the necessitiy of the community’s help. Both agree to pay for wobo’s expenses. They state that Mandriva will do the hotel bookings.
Early April - Mandriva sends the application form for a stand to Messe Berlin

April - Mid June 2009 –> repeated mails from wobo to Vanessa Wall and Anne Nicolas, asking for information about the procedings. Most of these mails were not answered at all, others were answered with the promise to get back to wobo the other day - which never happened.
June 15th –> 8 days before the event Mandriva has not given any information to wobo about their plans for the stand nor about the status of the hotel reservation. Upon another mail from wobo he received an angry reply from Vanessa Wall, telling him to stop sending annoying mails, she will tell him when there are any news. Nothing more after this.

June 19th –> Mélody, an assistent to Vanessa Wall, sends a mail with 2 lines to wobo and Messe Berlin, Mandriva has to cancel their participation because the CEO has broken his leg. Nino Gruettke from Messe Berlin confirmed this.
June 19th –> wobo calls Anne Nicolas on the phone and offers to operate the stand in case no Mandriva employee is available. Anne promises to inquire and call/mail back the next day.
June 20th - 21st –> no contact at all
June 22nd –> Messe Berlin gives Mandriva a deadline for 2 pm the same day. wobo sends another mail to Amme Nicolas and Hervé Yahi.
June 22nd –> Messe Berlin sends a mail to Mandriva and asks for an official statement for the press
June 22nd, 3pm –> Nino Gruettke informs me that Mandriva has not replied to his mails and the exhibition space will be given to free projects.
June 22nd, 4pm – > Vanessa Wall sends an official statement to Messe Berlin with the same words as before: Mandriva can not come because the CEO had an accident, nothing else.
June 22nd, 4pm – > Vanessa Wall sends a mail to wobo, complaing about him being unfair to Mandriva, making all that noise about the cancellation of Mandriva’s participation in Berlin.

After this there has not been any communication between Mandriva, wobo and/or Messe Berlin.

Some details:

During the preparation (early 2009) Mandriva repeatedly told wobo how much they appreciate his help and the necessity of his participation at the stand as well as the participation of other helpers from the community. They were also aware that did not apply for their own booth but focussed on helping Mandriva. This proves that these facts were well understood and there were no misunderstandings because of a language barrier.

During all that time from the first mails to the last (cancellation of the stand) nobody ever mentioned that the CEO planned to come to Berlin. As the main German contact one should believe they would tell wobo if that was planned.

Also one should assume that a company who is going to participate in a major European exhibition would do some planning and discuss this with the assisting community. Instead of communicating they complained about getting “annoying mails”. More annoying still was the fact that not one single promise to reply a mail was held - not one.

Even the offer by the German community to “save” Mandriva by operating the stand in this situation was simply ignored, not even commented. the result was that Mandriva has to pay 4,200 Euros and does not even show their name at the exhibition - which had a special focus on french Linux companies!


At first we want to make clear that this reaction is not caused by the cancellation of Mandriva’s participation in Berlin. This may have reasons which were/are not to be disclosed yet, we are not in a position to judge Mandriva’s business decisions. This statement and all consequences from our side are our reaction to the way Mandriva, namely the persons in charge, treated a well known community leader and the whole German community.

The discussions about our reaction were ruled by the following criterae:

  • our measures must not hurt the German users
    We turned down all suggestions like quit working in the i18n team, translating Mandriva wiki pages or even closing for good and turning our help and commitment to another user community.

  • our measures must be visible to Mandriva

  • our measures must be published in a way that Mandriva and the public understand that they are not aimed at the community nor the distribution but only against the company Mandriva.

We, the community as well as single users of our community will continue to

  • operate and expand the independent project, including our RPM repositories, the Mandriva Linux mirror, the release of a community magazine and our other activities for the German users.
  • promote Mandriva Linux in Germany by showing up at events (FrOSCon, Chemnitzer Linuxtage, Linuxtag in Berlin)
  • contribute our translation work (i18n, Mandriva Wiki).

We will

  • not be visible as German Mandriva community by the link in the header of the official Mandriva forum.
    We ask the webmaster of Mandriva Forum to immediately remove the link on said website. By this measure we show that we do not regard as part of those regions of the Mandriva universe where the company has any influence

  • not be a part of the Mandriva Assembly any more. As of today wobo resign from his position as representative of the German community in the MUGs group, there will no successor to this position.
    Unrelated to the issue of this statement we came to the conclusion that Mandriva did not show any interest in suggestions or actions of the MUGs if those suggestions were not Mandriva’s suggestions. Mandriva seems not to be interested in a bilateral communication on equal terms but is rather interested in having an instrument for a better steering of the community’s work. Therefore we believe that the German users do not lose anything by this withdrawal.

  • not plan any more actions with Mandriva nor offer our help for any Mandriva actions in Germany.
    We will, as said above, continue to participate in events but only as, not related to Mandriva. If Mandriva plans to come to the Linuxtag 2010 we will only help if we have more manpower than we need to operate our own stand.

  • limit our communication with Mandriva to the normal cases where a user has to communicate with the distributor of his distribution.
    If Mandriva contacts us we will listen and discuss the issue at hand. But we do not promise to reply.

In short:
Mandriva Linux (the distribution) and the support for the German users - yes, with all the commitment as during the previous years!
Collaboration with Mandriva (the company) - no.

About this statement

This statement and the measures listed will be immediately effective after publication/sending. The text of this statement and all measures were discussed in public in the forum. This forum is readable for everybody and all registered users were invited to participate in the discussion. This is to show that this statement was compiled under complete transparency.

On behalf of the independant German user community

Founder & Administrator

Public Statement of | Mandriva Forum

its amazing how much a company can shoot themselves in the foot without going under…oh wait they already did in 2003, but they seemed to have not learned a **** thing

> its amazing how much a company can shoot themselves in the foot without
> going under…oh wait they already did in 2003, but they seemed to have
> not learned a **** thing

Even more amazing that the user base has stayed with the distro.
Plenty of others to choose from.