Mandriva's Gnome expert Frédéric Crozat was kind enough to show me around the Mandriva office today. We then had lunch together. He is a real gentleman. We discovered we have a common interest in not only free software, but also photography. However our roles are somewhat reversed -- he knows more about software development than I do, and I know more about photography than he does ;-)
All the staff I met were friendly and kind. They gave me some free Mandriva products and goodies, which was a great surprise! I was also surprised to learn the language used inside the company is English, as that is the language shared with staff in other countries, e.g. Brazil.
For me it was an excellent experience to meet some of the people behind the software I have used at work and at home in different countries for so many years. With free software you know in your heart you are part of a larger movement that is improving the lives of people worldwide through meeting their needs.