Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 16th Jul 2006 20:16 UTC, submitted by jake tate
Linspire Kevin Carmony of Linspire/Freespire has announced that the first beta of Freespire has been released earlier than anticipated. Get it from the download page. According to Carmony, this release includes out-of-the-box support for proprietary formats such as .mp3 and WMV, plug-and-play support for Ati and nVIDIA cards without user intervention, Click-N-Run, and much more.
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by Kevin_Carmony on Mon 17th Jul 2006 02:52 UTC
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Well, looks like the cat's out of the bag. =)

I wanted to respond to a few of the comments...

I don't doubt that linspire is willing to work with the community, but I wonder how many in the community have a desire to work with freespire.

Linspire has a long history of working with open source projects. Everything we do has ALWAYS been open sourced with the one exception being the CNR client, and even that we're now open sourcing. We started and fund important projects like Nvu, Lphoto and Lsongs. We fund Mozilla, ReiserFS, KDE, GAIM, Kopete, and many more. Every piece of code we write on all these projects is open and contributed back. Linspire also has one of the largest and most active "communities" already, so I'm not sure why Freespire would be any different. I've got to believe I'm the most accessible and open CEO of any major Linux distro. You can find literally thousands of my posts on the net. Anyone is welcome to email me. I'd say we try pretty hard to not only work with the community, but be an important part of it.

While some users might appreciate the built-in support for W32Codecs and the like, others see it as a betrayal of OSS and Free Software in general.

We have a weekly blog at Linspire called the Linspire Letter. It goes out to about a half million subscribers each week. At the end of each blog, people can vote if they agree or disagree with the message that week. Agreement ranges from a low 42.9% agreeing, to the highest agreement of 94.3%. If you take a look at the results of these blogs here: you might be surprised to see the highest level of agreement was for my piece called Freespire: The "Hybrid" OS. Yes, as with anything, you can't please all the people all the time, but it would appear the idea of letting FOSS and all other software play nicely together is an idea that most people seem to like. All we're saying with Freespire is that users should be free to decide what software runs on their computer, no restrictions. Being beholden to the "God of Open Source" can be just as restrictive as being chained to the Microsoft monopoly. We believe in total freedom on our computers, beholden only to our personal preferences. People can choose to run Freespire without ANY proprietary software if they wish, or they can mix in nVidia drivers, mp3 support, DVD playback, etc. It's up to them. Not you. Not me. The user.

I would not be surprised if this announcement hits the Distro Watch Weekly Newsletter.

Who knows. Maybe that was my real plan all along. ;-)

One should really check out the Freespire site and Wiki before coming to any conclusions.

Thank you. That's all I'd ask as well.

I am not a legal expert but didn't the act of bundling proprietary nvidia card drivers land another distribution into trouble some time back?

Everything we include is legally licensed for use and distribution in this way.

I just hope they hurry and put the FREE in FREESPIRE! ;) Until then they have just rolled out a different linspire IMO. When I see them offering a truly "free" distro is when I will be interested and I will feel like they are really trying to be more than a commercial distro.

There will be two versions of Freespire, always made available for free (no cost) to download. The first is the regular, complete version with the proprietary bits tossed in, and the Freespire OSS Edition which uses only 100% open source software. We let the user decide. The OSS Edition will be available to download this week.

Kevin Carmony
CEO, Linspire

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