September 12, 2003

MandrakeSoft plans new revenue source

- by Joe Barr -

Following up on a story appearing this morning at DesktopLinux.com about MandrakeSoft selling ads in their free download version of Mandrake Linux, I contacted Gaël Duval at MandrakeSoft for more detail on the new advertising/revenue source. Updated

Duval pointed out that advertising in Mandrake Linux is not really a new thing. There have been ads for Mandrake Linux, MandrakeSoft products, and for free software projects in the installation all along. They introduced paid advertising in the Safari Service in Mandrake Linux 9.l. Duval says that in version 9.2 they are just advancing that concept a little further.

Duval said the boxed versions of Mandrake 9.2 will not include any paid ads, but that the free download edition (the choice of 90% of Mandrake users) "will now include several additional ads, in the bookmarks and in the screensavers." He noted there will be no annoying pop-up ads.

He added that most Mandrake users want to see them continue to operate in the spirit of free software while at the same time being successful as a business. These new ads, Duval said, are one way that MandrakeSoft tries "to solve this equation."

Update: Gaël Duval has sent Newsforge, Slashdot, and other sites a note pointing to a page on the MandrakeSoft website which seeks to clarify some issues which have arisen in response to the news about the ads.

More details on the advertising, including pricing, is available on the MandrakeSoft web site.

Joe Barr has been writing about technology for 10 years, and about Linux for five. His work has appeared in IBM Personal Systems Journal, LinuxGazette, LinuxWorld, Newsforge, phrack, SecurityFocus, and VARLinux.org. He is the founder of The Dweebspeak Primer, the official newsletter of the Linux Liberation Army.

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