Mandrakesoft buys Connectiva, uniting Linux on two continents

* Mandrakesoft acquires Connectiva

The Linux world got smaller last week, as Linux distributor Mandrakesoft bought out Connectiva, maker of a Linux distribution focused largely on the Latin American market.

The deal - $2.3 million - is no blockbuster, compared with other recent and pending deals in the software and telecom worlds. But the acquisition is yet another step in the downsizing and shaking out of the once wide-open open source operating system market.

The merger will connect two Linux companies with strong ties in Europe and South America.  Mandrake, based in Paris, will get Brazil-based Connectiva's 60 employees, as well as a large customer installed base, which includes the Brazilian military, public schools and several major businesses, such as HSBC. In addition to desktop and server products, Connectiva is also active in developing appliance and single-purpose Linux software, such as ATM machine interfaces. According to Mandrake, Connectiva was profitable last year, and took in around $2.2 million in revenue.

Mandrake's customers include several European government agencies and telecom companies, such as France Telecom. It also offers server and desktop Linux products. Both vendors are members of the Linux Core Consortium, a group focused on implementing the technical specifications of the Linux Standards Base (LSB).

While the merger gives Mandrakesoft a strong presence on two continents, the combined firm will still have its work cut out going up against Linux behemoth Red Hat, which had $126 million in sales in 2004. The bad news for Mandrakesoft is that Red Hat has also said that it is looking to grow in the markets where Mandrakesoft is staking its claim - Europe, South America and other international markets. The Linux leader said last fall that it wants to see half its revenue come from international sales in 2005. 

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