Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Flash controversy

By now, you should probably have heard about our new product: Mandriva Flash.

However, what you might ignore, is that inside the company this product is surrounded by a lot of controversy.

Some feel it doesn't have a place among the golden Mandriva Discovery/PowerPack/PowerPack+, whose orthodoxy is undisputable and which we should praise like a sacred cow. Other see it as a small product, rushed out by accident while the opposing camp stands that it was eclipsed by the 2007 launch date. Some don't really care about it. These controversies are kind of a common pattern before each product launch: i've almost become used to it. Except, that this time I just don't want to sit down and listen.

In particular, I strongly disagree with Blino's post about it. According to him, Flash would be a key loaded with some piece of software. This is particularly shocking to hear from the main developer of the product!

Don't try to underestimate the Flash: it brings you a lot more than that.

Sure, you probably already know about Linux, so what's the use of Flash for you? As a gift of course! Because, you feel so much about Linux that you want to share it with your friends. Now you can offer Linux to the one you love. The device is a hit for the holiday season and you can put it under the Christmas tree. And even if your friends don't like it, it still is a high-quality 2Gb key (ok Blino, you had this one right...)

But wait! Even if your loved one doesn't care about Linux, there is still one you love for sure. That's you, right in front of the screen! ;-) Rather selfish, and even worse, I bet you'll love to push it even further by showing pride and spreading envy with your very own mobile 3D desktop Linux on a key. Months ahead of Bill's monstruous armies, and with already more clever and fancier effects than the other fruity OS, you can demonstrate it on everyone's desktop and prove the world that you really are a smart guy. So: impress your friends with the Linux 3D desktop!

Pff. With all this I almost forgot to tell you about other niceties like the ability to have your home, bookmarks, cookies & preferences on the key, theauto-connect feature that almost immediatly connects you to the Internet, the built-in exchange partition to swap files with less gifted friends, the famous auto-detection that allows you to boot almost everywhere. All this thanks to the Mandriva Linux 2007 base system, and the live system technologies.

Last but not least, it's fast! Of course it is: what do you expect with a name like this? It will be fast to help you discover Linux, or help your friends discover Linux... This is one of the first objectives we have with this key: make Linux succeed on a large scale. And this is just the continuation of our very reason to exist, the reason the company was incorporated for in the first place.

This leads me to stress out how this product sets us apart from our esteemed competitors: Mandriva is a product company. And is thus one of the many reasons why Mandriva will not fallback to being just the next Ubuntu.

Stay tuned to our Mandriva-is-just-not-the-next-Ubuntu series. Next time, I'll tell you why we won't release yet another 3D desktop...


Eskild said...

The sad thing about the product, and the thing that will keep me from ever buying it is the fact that it is limited to KDE. Now having a GNOME desktop in my pocket, that's something I could use, but it's just a 2 GB flash pen otherwise.

Also, I'm a bit suspicious about the product as it will become outdated. Would the users have to buy a new pen to get a new version of mandriva? Is it just another Mandriva GlobeTrotter? A piece of hardware with a Mandriva Linux distribution that won't get updated?

Bottom line is, make sure upgrades will be available - get GNOME and I would buy it. But like this it is not useful enough and has a too uncertain future.

Anonymous said...

blino didn't say all that stuff was not true, just that it's not based on any technical difference between Mandriva Flash and Mandriva One but on one simple attribute of the hardware - CDs are read-only, Flash is read-write. Since blino's a technical guy and not a marketer, he writes about what Flash is technically speaking.

eskild: in principle I agree, but in practice it's as hard to guarantee as upgrades ever have been. :\ It would be nice for us to provide images of future Flash versions as upgrades for previous customers, though.

Adam Williamson said...

whoops - that last post and this one are both from me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you disagree with Blino, he was talking about the technical part.

Anyway, this key is a great idea. I hope a lot of people will get it for christmas, and will start beeing aware of Linux.

dbarth said...

I don't really disagree with Blino. In fact, I love what he does, and the controversy and disagreement with Blino is more like a private joke. Everyone knows that this guy rocks!

eskild: you can update the key: all 2007 updates work with it, it is fully compatible. However, upgrade is not supported. When the key is too old, then you just recycle it as plain usb-storage and you still have the 5-year warranty from the manufacturer. Upgrade is not really a target for this product. I agree also that a Gnome version would be nice. Thanks for your feedback.

blino said...

Doh, I am probably as shocked as you (if not more), because I learn that Flash is not a key loaded with software. I would never have considered it was some kind of conspiracy to make me work on one of your plentiful underground projects, believing it was free software.

Can you please add some smiley next time so the world does not know my CTO hates me? :-p

Or is that the price to pay for not doing Web 2.0? /o\

AdamW said...

dbarth, I think it would be really good to consider selling images of Flash for say $20, maybe a few weeks after the hardware version goes on sale to protect its sales. These would be great for people who already have keys and, in future, for people who bought a previous version and want to upgrade.

Yes, I know this would inevitably be pirated like crazy, but this is the price you pay in the software world, Microsoft is doing perfectly well. The people who would be willing to pay for it still would. In any case, it's not exactly hard to pirate it already - all you have to do is get hold of a hardware unit and run dd on it.