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MandrakeSoft, France's long-time favourite boxed Linux distribution in terms of retail sales is now also number one in the US, according to company officials citing PC Data figures at the Third Annual Linux Expo in Paris last week, writes Bruce Tober.

As a result of its "phenomenal growth" the company has just opened an EMEA office in London and will open an office in Germany in another month.

In addition, it announced to rapturous applause that it is making all its training and support modules open source. The company is putting all those materials on the Web. "People can take them and use them at will for free. They can add to them and can even take the courses and then take the exams online," said Barry Cochrane, EMEA sales director.

The move will be implemented by the company's acquisition of Coursemetric, the Berkeley, California ASP-software and information services company specialising in the provision of Web-based evaluation tools for education and training organisations. It also launched a new open source e-support and e-learning marketplace that will enable the Mandrake community to bring expertise to customers and Linux users worldwide.

The project is to be known as MandrakeCampus and will initially provide Linux courseware and basic functionality to allow users and contributors to submit content-related remarks and suggestions. By September, it will offer a full e-learning platform and will be made available commercially as well as for free download.

In addition, the company is launching MandrakeExpert.com, an e-support marketplace which will allow users to submit Linux-related questions to registered experts of their choice, based on the latter's expertise and on an innovative user rating mechanism. ®

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