Press Release 841 Published by

Mandrakesoft and French Ministry of Foreign Affairs are cooperating to install Internet access points in Africa.

Paris, September 20th 2004 - In 2003, at the World Summit on the Information Society, representatives of the international community made the bridging of the North/South "information gap" their primary goal. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the ADEN cooperation program, and Mandrakesoft, European leader in Linux systems, intend to put Open Source software at the service of this goal. The ADEN pack is an economical and flexible solution for Internet centers of the South.

ADEN : To Connect, Train and Produce

ADEN's aim is to foster the development and use of Information and Communication Technologies in Africa through the creation of a network of public Internet access points. ADEN will set up sixty public Internet access points, train instructors, provide a suitable environment for local content and software production. The general aim is to create favorable conditions for the exchange of ideas and skills and encourage inter-cultural dialogue.

For ADEN to attain its goal an easy-to-use, multi-lingual and adaptable software solution was needed. The Open Source ADEN - Mandrakelinux pack has been designed with those very constraints in mind.

The ADEN Mandrakelinux pack: an Open Source solution for digital inclusion

Volunteers from every country collaborate in the writing of free software, software that everyone is free to use, modify and redistribute. Mandrakesoft's own Mandrakelinux Operating System is itself Open Source software. Its open mode of development along with the company's experience and skills allow Mandrakesoft to produce stable, high-performance and easy-to-use products.

The ADEN-Mandrakelinux pack is built around a version of Mandrakelinux customized for use in a access point environment - it is meant to be just as easy to set up and administer as to use. The pack will evolve according to feedback from field-workers, administrators and users. The ADEN website will centralize those reports and Mandrakesoft will analyze them. From the programmer to the end-user, the worldwide community of free and Open Source software, and particularly that part of the community that resides in countries of the South, will drive the development process to fit the product to their needs.

"Mandrakesoft is of course very proud to be part of ADEN", comments François Bancilhon, Mandrakesoft CEO. "It's in everyone's interest to see modern communication technologies spread to every part of the world. To put our skills at the service of that cause is only natural. And there's one very interesting thing going one here - that's how Linux and Free Software in general are adaptive. They're used in environments as different as that of a large commercial bank in Singapore and a cybercafé in Burkina-Faso. Free Software is becoming the lingua franca of the world information society".

The African instructors, coming from 13 English, French and
Portuguese-speaking countries, will help set up the ADEN access points starting in 2004. They will be the first to discover and test the ADEN pack in November in Yaoundé (Cameroon). The pack will then be available as a free download from Mandrakelinux and ADEN websites.

About Mandrakesoft

Mandrakesoft is the publisher of the popular Mandrakelinux operating system, one of the most full-featured and easy to use Linux systems available. The company offers its enterprise, government and educational customers a complete range of GNU/Linux and Open Source software and related services. Mandrakesoft products are available in more than 120 countries through dedicated channels and also from, the company's online store. Number 1 in several countries, Mandrakesoft has won many awards for quality and technical innovation. "Born on the Internet" in late 1998, Mandrakesoft has offices in the United States and France. Mandrakesoft is traded on Paris Euronext March Libre (ISIN Code: FR0004159382/MLMAN; Reuters code: MAKE.PA) and the US OTC market (stock symbol MDKFF).