There's been much fuss over Lindows.com violating terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Flat out -- as close as I can see, there's no violation. Once you pay for the software and become an Insider, you have access to the source code of all GPL'ed software. Items like Click-N-Run, developed outside the GPL, are notably absent, but this is NOT a violation of the license. Only software that includes GPL'ed code must be revealed. Lindows.com is entirely within their right to keep some of their original code proprietary. Frankly, as much as my heart belongs to the Red Hat spirit, as a businessman, I think Lindows.com is smart.
Something that I find very satisfying is that the president's e-mail address has been published on the web page from day 1. I've written to him and received personal responses from him. I'm not star-struck, I'm just happy, as a user, that I'm heard. I even flat out told him I had hesitations about "run as root" and Click-N-Run reliability. Was he defensive? No. In fact, he shared that "run as root" has been a big debate around Lindows.com too. So remember, it wasn't an off-the-cuff decision.
UPDATE: As we speak, I've just now for the first time noticed a new Ask Michael section of the Lindows.com web site. With questions like
t seems to me that Lindows.com is constantly changing their plans; one minute saying that LindowsOS is designed to run Microsoft Windows compatible programs, and then the next minute talking about using native Linux programs with Click-N-Run. Which is it?
Why does it cost money to buy LindowsOS or belong to the Click-N-Run Warehouse? Isn't Linux suppose to be "free?"
and How secure is the LindowsOS operating system, and is it true it can only be run as root?
You really should read that for some interesting viewpoints. Also, it appears that Lindows.com, just today, announced some interesting plans that involve AOL. Stay tuned for more on that.
LindowsOS 2.0 includes an AOL IM client, Netscape 7.0, and a link to Earthlink, which clearly shows that have attracted some attention from the big time. One of my concerns with using any distribution is that Linux is so volatile, I am afraid I'll be caught using one that I soon find unsupported or abandoned. There's a professional feel to LindowsOS that makes you confident that it's not going anywhere for awhile.
One question that everyone wants answered: is it worth $99? I'm just not sure. With other desktop Linuxes like Lycoris so close in tow, it's tough to shell out $99 for an OS that only offers marginal ease of use over its competitors and is, price-wise, the same as Windows, which also buys you support, compatibility, drivers and hardware support, and confidence that the kid down the street could probably help you with your problems. I think it would be better priced between $59.99 and $79.99. I know you get Star Office and CNR access with that price, but it still seems like a lot. It should definitely be less money than the equivalent current version of Windows, period. All that aside, while I look at it again, it sure is nice.
I was skeptical about LindowsOS. The Linux community cries of "dumbed down!" and "Windows knock-off" tainted me, and for that I have to say I'm guilty of having prejudged LindowsOS. I can also say that I gave the OS a thorough testing and therefore I am now as qualified as anyone out there to judge the OS as it stands today.
LindowsOS is one of the most usable distributions I've ever laid eyes on. It's not a server OS. It's not an embedded OS for IAs or handhelds. It's not a development workstation (although it could be) - it's a desktop Linux, and it's very good at what it does.
It has its drawbacks. It has its share of mysterious errors. But its good outweighs its bad...by far.
I've written articles for osnews.com before, so many of you already know if your view of Linux is parallel to mine. So here it is in a nutshell: First off, I think LindowsOS is a step in the right direction for all Linux distributions. Secondly, I think LindowsOS is a viable standalone desktop OS. I think if you are a hard-core Linux user or a Window Maker/command line fanatic then accept LindowsOS as an alternative that simply isn't for you and pass it by. Thirdly, I think if you have ever said or thought bad things about LindowsOS but haven't used it, you should be receptive to change. Stop thinking like a Linux user and start thinking freely - not necessarily like Windows user, but like someone who might design something from scratch. See how close LindowsOS comes to your thoughts. Lastly, remember that nothing is more anti-Open Source spirit than judging software that you don't intend to use.
LindowsOS is impressive, concise, and easy. I'm now waiting anxiously for the general release. Until then, it's staying on my computer.
- "Introduction, Installation, Defaults"
- "Configuration, Software Installation"
- "Run as Root, General Use, Windows Interaction: SMB/WINE"
- "Some Other Points, Conclusion"