François Bancilhon doesn't see Ubuntu as the big competitor-monster, but is concerned about the amount of money behind it!
Read his comments in the recent interview
Here's the Ubuntu bit:
In your opinion, is the Ubuntu distribution a threat to Mandriva? Do you think Ubuntu's special circumstances make competition with it too hard?
We watch very carefully any new comer in the field and any new products. Three years ago I got a lot of calls about Knoppix, two years ago, I got a lot of calls about Gentoo and so no. Right now, the new “in thing” is Ubuntu. Of course, the situation is a bit different in this case: one person, with a quasi infinite check book is behind the operation. So they can give the system away and spend whatever is needed. Is this the right way for the open source eco-system? I find it hard to believe. One possible worse case scenario is that Ubuntu's plan is to use money to put all other community-based distros out of business and then start monetizing the installed base. If this were the case, they are doing the easy part: increasing their market share by giving away the product. We have found that the second part is a tad more difficult.
Of course, at Mandriva we do not have an infinite check book, so we need to work hard, we pay employee salaries with revenues generated by sales, we have to watch our figures, we have to keep happy our users, the community, our clients, our employees and our shareholders. It's a harder life, but I believe it is also a healthy way of looking at things. We work very hard, we can't pay high salaries, we have to make a living out of our revenue. By doing so, we are building a strong and healthy company based on a proven business model.