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Interview: MandrakeLinux and Ulteo founder Gael Duval

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Gaël Duval, the founder of the popular MandrakeLinux (later MandrivaLinux) project, was fired ( from Mandriva last spring in an effort to cut costs. Almost immediately afterward, Duval began work on a new GNU/Linux distribution, Ulteo ( As of this writing, Ulteo has not yet released its first beta edition, but it should be available soon. While we're all waiting, I figured I'd ask Mr. Duval some questions about Ulteo, Mandriva, and starting GNU/Linux projects in general. Answers are below.

It's been six months since you left Mandriva and started the Ulteo project. Has the transition been going well? Any hard feelings for Mandriva?

Gaël Duval: Well... You know, when at 25 you create a new product, then create a company to support the development of this product, and the company becomes quite successful, when finally the person who took over control of that company decides that it's time to say "bye bye" in the most hypocritical way it could ever be, it's very hard to accept.

My relationship with Mandrakesoft/Mandriva has been really more than a "job" thing. It was something very special for me, a big part of my life. I'm afraid I will never have harsh enough words for this guy and for what he's doing with the company. It's still a very sensitive question for me. I prefer not comment further.

What is Ulteo exactly? What is its target market?

Full Story.

I'm still looking

I wish M. Duval well.

Mandriva has a good OS. I have yet to find a better one in terms of my criteria which includes the ability to run third-party software.

But the organisation itself? I want as little to do with it as possible.

Excuse me...

I really have to correct some of atang1's mistakes...

Digital Research's CP/M was the dominant home and business system. Tim Paterson wrote a bad clone of it named Quick and Dirty Operating System, this was the one Bill Gates tricked him into selling really cheap. Microsoft bluffed it's way trough the meetings with IBM, they never had anything to offer. Gary Killdal was not told about the probable deal with IBM because his "friend" Bill doublecrossed him. And do not forget the fact that MS tried to squeeze out DR-DOS.
Should I continue my edit?

And reading further down...
What in the world do you mean with "Until new computers can logon to all the websites well, Linux is not usable?"

Or this one:

"Good Luck, Gael. First hardware compatibility, then Internet compatibility, finally dream of any success can be had, if you have a big computer OEM company as your customer."


You're very good at cutting and pasting, but tends to get things terribly wrong or do this intentionaly. We had a good laugh while reading some of this nonsense (including people that know Gaël and parts of the Mandriva development team.)
And for your information, I'm writing this in Mozilla Firefox with the aid of Mandriva 2006. Ulteo on the other hand differs from Mandriva as it's based on Debian.

This crap about "GNU/Linux is not useable" pisses me off.

re: Excuse me

Join the club.

I've read dozens of ATANG1's postings, and often (always) walk away wondering "What planet is that guy from?".

But that's what makes a public forum great - everyone has a chance to chime in with their two cents.


I love Drupal.

Linux is still developing (M$ users just don't get it)

Ulteo on the other hand differs from Mandriva as it's based on Debian.

Yes. Debian has a good name (although not as good as it was) but I have had unfortunate experiences with its derivatives.

My recollection is that Ulteo will use the Debian derivative Kubuntu. Mandrake improved on RH when he made Mandrake, so I expect Ulteo to improve on its source.

Where Mandriva is heading, I hate to think. They had what looked like a good package manager in Smart but I gather it's been dropped in the 2007 version in favour of rpmdrake (now that's progress). I've just had the pleasure of using Synaptic on another distro so I'm hoping for something as good in Ulteo.

For seekers only


As other distributions featured similar package management as APT, they gained a stronger position. It's derivates on the other hand is another story and many of those I know think about Ubuntu as higly overrated.
Rpmdrake was rewritten and is now more in Synaptic's style. Anyway, urpm* is Mandriva's package managment tools, rpmdrake is only a frontend. Smart has nothing to do with any of this, but it may replace urpm in the future.

The other way around...

How about not attending the spiritual meetings where Ballmer jumps around like a madman the next time? It's the banks solution that's the problem. It's Microsoft not following W3C's standards, nor ISO's, but they're very good at putting blame elsewhere.

My banks solution isn't perfect yet, but they have fixed some flaws; account transcripts is now in PDF (which is an ISO standard) and so on.

I'm Norwegian and you are probably Chinese...


If you did know this, why on earth ask?
Um, who was the brain behind CP/M???

You're blaming me for lack of knowledge and experience? Look at yourself!
So people like Paul Allen is dead wrong about the history of Silicon Valley?
I always thought they invented part of it...

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