A drive toward specialization
Overall, the consolidation of the Linux distribution market is driving companies such as Mandrakesoft toward specialization, Quandt said. "The acquisition of Conectiva will enable the company to increase its market segmentation among users who appreciate the benefits of Debian features but [who] also value the ability to use Red Hat Package Manager, a command-line tool for installing, uninstalling, verifying, querying, and updating software packages," she said.Dan Kusnetzky, program vice president of IDCs System Software Enterprise Computing Group, was less sanguine.Kusnetzky said the move is yet another manifestation of Mandrakesoft attempting to bolster its position outside of European attempt that wont necessarily be successful. "Mandrakesoft has only had a strong position in Europe (primarily in France) and has not really been able to generate a worldwide presence," Kusnetzky wrote in an e-mail. "Conectiva, on the other hand, has been a player in Latin America. It has also not been able to generate a worldwide presence. Its not at all clear that putting these two organizations will create a worldwide player regardless of the strength of the technology theyve individually developed." Kusnetzky said that while Mandrakesoft has been focused on desktop Linux and has developed a "very competitive package," Linux is still a bit player in the land of for-profit software. To read more about Mandrakesofts enterprise Linux distributions, click here. "Linux only holds about 2.6 percent share of the paid or revenue-producing shipments of client operating environment software worldwide in 2003," he said. "While Linux continues to grow, it is unlikely to come anywhere near the 95 percent share Microsoft holds with its Windows product family." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.