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Claiming a short-term cash crunch, Linux distributor Mandrake is asking individual users to join a 'club' for $5 per month and up, and business users to join one for $2,500 per year and up.

All Club members will get some manner of special treatment in exchange, depending on the level of commitment offered.

The idea is to help pay the salaries of employees and avoid sackings while the company struggles to achieve profitability, which it says will happen toward the end of this year.

"Since MandrakeSoft's revenue continues to grow and the company remains on target to become profitable at the end of 2002, it would be a real loss and a great disservice to the huge community of users for us to cut positions to meet short-term goals when the future looks so bright," announcement cheerfully says.

Membership levels for individuals range from 'standard' to 'platinum' (with several precious metals in between), and the cost of admission ranges from $5 to $100 per month.

Business users can choose from the same designations, with one above 'platinum' called 'privileged partner'. The fees range from $2500 per year to $100,000. Whether this last category includes free time-shares on the corporate jets, yachts and penthouse condos we can't say, but rather hope it would. ®

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