Linux wins over Windows in Nigeria

Linux wins over Windows in Nigeria

Postby Richard Akindele » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:43 am

Mandriva CEO Calls Out Microsoft's Ballmer PC Magazine Staff - PC Magazine
Wed Oct 31, 8:26 PM ET

On Tuesday, Mandriva announced that it had won a hotly-contested contract to install its Linux distribution on top of 17,000 Intel-powered Classmate PCs in Nigeria.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian client told Mandriva that it would buy the Linux software as planned, but would rip it out and install Windows.

And so Mandriva took its dispute public.

In a blog posting, François Bancilhon, chief executive of Mandriva, posted an open letter to Steve Ballmer, not quite calling Microsoft's tactics dirty pool.

Bancilhon ended his letter by saying, "Wow! I'm impressed, Steve! What have you done for these guys to change their mind like this? It's pretty clear to me, and it will be clear to everyone. How do you call what you just did Steve, in the place where you live? In my place, they give it various names, I'm sure you know them.

"Hey Steve, how do you feel looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning?" Bancilhon wrote.

"Of course, I will keep fighting this one and the next one, and the next one," Bancilhon added. "You have the money, the power, and maybe we have a different sense of ethics you and I, but I believe that hard work, good technology and ethics can win too."

Microsoft officials were not immediately available for comment. ... &printer=1
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Microsoft vs. Mandriva, aka Godzilla vs. Bambi

Postby Richard Akindele » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:02 am

Nov. 02, 2007

Opinion -- A few days ago I was going to write up how French Linux distributor Mandriva had signed up a deal to deliver 17,000 Intel-powered Classmate PCs with a customized version of Mandriva Linux 2007, built on Mandriva Flash technology, to Nigerian schoolchildren. It wasn't a big deal, but it was still one more small step forward for Linux desktops.

In the canned quote from Nyimbi Odero, CEO of the Technology Support Center in Nigeria, Odero said, "The Technology Support Center and Mandriva working together provide high-quality open-source solutions to facilitate technology adoption, knowledge-based economic empowerment [and] technology diffusion in some of the most remote and underserved areas of Africa."

Yay Linux, end of story, and on to the next tale about the Classmate or its rival, the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child). Except that wasn't the end of the story. Mandriva's small win for itself and Linux desktop lasted less than 24 hours.

François Bancilhon, Mandriva's CEO, explained what happened in an open letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "We recently closed a deal with the Nigerian Government. Maybe you heard about it, Steve. They were looking for an affordable hardware+software solution for their schools. The initial batch was 17,000 machines. We had a good deal to respond to their need: the Classmate PC from Intel, with a customized Mandriva Linux solution. We presented the solution to the local government, they liked the machine, they liked our system, they liked what we offered them, especially the fact that it was open, and that we could customize it for their country and so on."

Then, Microsoft got involved and tried for the deal. Microsoft lost. Hey, it happens. That's business. Even Microsoft doesn't win them all.

"We actually closed the deal, we took the order, we qualified the software, we got the machine shipped. To conclude, we did our job. And, the machines are being delivered right now," Bancilhon said.

"Now, we hear a different story from the customer: 'We shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.'"

Can you think of any good reason for the Nigerian government officials involved to do this? I can't. Unless, perhaps, a couple of them are now driving refurbished Mercedes -- these are always fashionable with corrupt Nigerian government officials.

Bancilhon continued, "Wow! I'm impressed, Steve! What have you done to these guys to make them change their mind like this? It's quite clear to me, and it will be to everyone. How do you call what you just did, Steve? There is various names for it, I'm sure you know them."

I can think of some of those names too. I won't say them. I will note that Nigeria's business center, Lagos, is one of the most corrupt cities on the planet. Microsoft, never one to let a mere bagatelle such as the law stand in the way of doing business, fits right in.

There is one thing, though, about this Microsoft "business as usual" move that should bother even Microsoft: It's shabby.

Microsoft used to be a really big, bad company. It shafted every PC user in the United States. It recently played games with all of Europe.

But, Mandriva? A company that has had more than its fair share of troubles? A business that, in 2006, grossed just over 5.5 million Euros? Or, in other words, a company that makes about as much in a year as Microsoft does every two days?

Let's look at it another way. For Mandriva, this deal gave the company some nice PR, and, what, maybe over a million -- tops -- in income? So, rather than let it get away with this, Microsoft had to spoil the deal, not at the last minute, but after it?!

Tsk. This is petty. Really, Microsoft, I had thought better of you. Even when you skirted the law in the past, you did so in the largest possible ways. This? This is beneath you.

-- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
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