Remember UnitedLinux? It was a consortium of Conectiva, SuSE, TurboLinux and Caldera to build a common distribution that could compete with Red Hat. That effort got derailed, in part because Caldera decided they could make more money by changing their name to SCO and extorting suing the market into oblivion. Now Novell owns SuSE, TurboLinux is facing competition from Red Flag, and Conectiva is merging with Mandrake.

Mandrake’s a nice OS. I keep trying to switch, but I keep coming back to Red Hat Fedora. While my own experience with Conectiva has been, shall we say, less than stellar, they did port Debian’s outstanding package manager APT to work with RPM, and started the development of Synaptic, which should (in my opinion) be the standard way to install and upgrade software on any package-based Linux distribution with a GUI.

For now it looks like they’ll be maintaining separate brands based on a common core (hmm, sounds familiar), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up merging the products in a few years.

Hey, if it means Mandrake replaces their clunky update system with APT and Synaptic, I’m all for it.

(See also CNET’s take.)

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