Rebranding Mandrake Linux

I’m not sure which is company is dumber, Mandrive Linux or King Features Syndicate. From wikipedia’s Mandrake Linux entry:

In February 2004 MandrakeSoft lost a court case against Hearst Corporation, owners of King Features Syndicate. Hearst contends that MandrakeSoft is infringing upon King Features’ trademarked character Mandrake the Magician. The word Mandrake is not unique to the King Features character, and MandrakeSoft is appealing the decision. As a precaution, MandrakeSoft has renamed its products by removing the space between the brand name and the product name and changing the first letter of the product name to lower case, thus creating one word. Starting from version 10.0, Mandrake Linux became known as Mandrakelinux, and its logo changed accordingly. Similarly, MandrakeMove became Mandrakemove.

King Features upsets thousands of smart geeks by this. But what is their downside? Nothing. Nobody will organise a boycott or campaign against them. And even if the smart geeks to get organised they don’t represent King Features Syndicate stakeholders. In what way could they influence those stakeholders to make KFS take notice?

MandrakeSoft were dumb for getting to release 10.0 or so without securing their intellectual property. The cost of defending the action in financial and management resources is inexcusable.

I haven’t read the court decision, but it also amazes me that King Features can lock up the word Mandrake (which is a plant) in areas beyond their trademark class. Of course they may have trademark protection in the software class.

The point is now moot as

in April 2005 Mandrakesoft annouced that after the corporate merger of Mandrakesoft and Conectiva, and the legal dispute with Hearst Corporation, the new company name would be Mandriva, and that Mandriva Linux would be the new name covering products.

Chalk one up for the deep pockets of an old media company.

2 responses to “Rebranding Mandrake Linux”

  1. Initially, when I heard that King/Hearst was going after a software company for the word “Mandrake” I thought it was a real stretch. Further investigation turns up the facts that MandrakeSoft used a magician’s hat and wand, and had their side product Lothar named after Mandrake’s sidekick. And, apparently, Mandrake Le Magician is well-known in France, like Snoopy is in the USA. Had Mandrake only used the name, no references to magicians, and no lothar, it probably wouldn’t have been an issue. A penguin mascot with the plant would have helped.
    Just in case there are geeky lawyers scouring the Web for similar names to slightly obscure comics, I’d better not name my software company Bizarro.

  2. Hi! I’m just starting to learn about Linux. I’m researching the compatibilty of my hardware right now. I heard Red Hat was good for beginners so I’m looking on their website. Just a couple questions..

    1. I’m not finding anything about HD’s. Are they all supported then?

    2. I did see some compatible motherboards.. Does that mean that certain motherboards aren’t going to work?

    3. What ways (short of writing my own drivers) are available to work around incompatibilites with a particular Linux distribution? In other words, can you download drivers etc or is it not that simple?

    4. I want to put it on its own excusive HD, and sometime after Christmas build a whole new computer for it from scratch. Am I going to have a lot of trouble with newer motherboards?(533MHz/Rambus/ATA 133)


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