24 June 2002 MandrakeSoft, the French Linux operating system software vendor, has won a landmark contract from UGAP, the procurement agency for the country’s civil service. The contract is initially for two years.
In an open bidding process, Union des Groupements d’Achats Publics (UGAP) selected MandrakeSoft as the sole Linux software provider for 28,000 public sector sites and agencies, as well as the French state education system.
The contract covers the provision of software from Mandrake Linux ProSuite 8.x – which can run email and database servers – to the Standard Edition 8.x for PCs and PowerPack Edition 8.x for workstations. In addition, it also covers support and training services, where profit margins are much higher for the company.
“MandrakeSoft’s international presence is already well known, but it is key for us to succeed in France,” said MandrakeSoft CEO Jacques Le Marois.
MandrakeSoft was set up in 1998 by founders who described themselves as “young Linux enthusiasts”. Its early software was heavily based on Red Hat’s distribution of Linux, but it later developed its own version, which won plaudits for ease of installation and use. However, like many open-source software vendors it has struggled to make money.
There is widespread support in France for the adoption of open-source software against proprietary products, particularly those from software giant Microsoft. At a recent event organised by open-source software vendor IdealX, several of the company’s clients explained why they had opted for open source.
They included French retail and supermarket chain Auchan, which has migrated its servers from Microsoft Windows NT/2000 to Linux. Auchan is now considering extending the use of Linux further, with a pilot-project covering 1,500 workstations in Spain.
Red Hat and MandrakeSoft to join UnitedLinux? (31 May 2002)