Adam Doxtater writes that some developers build desktop Linux for a living, and some build it with heart. Some developers understand the needs of desktop users and some just seem to live inside your head. Some may argue that Linspire, Inc. is either, neither, or both, but I am here to clear the air. For good. Review with screenshots.
First Look at Linspire 5.0
Submitted by SilentBob4 2005-03-21 Linspire 43 Comments
…As all reviews from Adam Doxtater are.
I wholeheartedly agree with his conclusions: Linspire 5.0 is a milestone in Linux user-friendliness.
Some minor rough edges around the corners, but no doubt they’ll be ironed out in no time.
I’m suspecting that was sarcastic, because you can install mplayer on any Linux machine and have Windows Media Support as far as I know. At any rate, kind of odd, but eh whatever.
As for the distro itself, used an older version (v4 I think) and it wasn’t that spectacular to me. Maybe they’ve done a great deal of improvement on it these days. It does look very sharp though, I can’t deny that.
Look, I use Linux every day, I like it, and I’m not what you’d call a M$ shill. But, in my opinion, the degree of user-unfriendliness of Linux has less to do with how well (or poorly) it models other operating system GUIs (ie. Windows, etc) than with (1) the lack of solid one-lick installation of apps (don’t even start talking about rpm or yum — that isn’t what I mean and you know it), (2) the lack of standardization between distributions, and (3) rampant disdain for system configuration UI (instead, preferring that users drop into a command-line and run vi on various config files). Linspire goes some distance toward addressing (3) — and you can argue that, if people standardize on it, it would become the defacto standard — which addresses (2). But I think we’re a long way off from addressing (1). One-click installation is one of the things that makes Windows easier to use. I don’t have to give my grandmother a tutorial in app installation. She puts in a disk, the OS mounts the disk automatically, and it runs the supplied setup script. Same thing for Web-installed apps. Granted, there are security issues there, but users naturally tend to favor ease-of-use over security.
I have tried all versions of Lindows/Linspire since 3.0 and I can promise you: the improvement is quite dramatic.
“But I think we’re a long way off from addressing (1). One-click installation is one of the things that makes Windows easier to use. I don’t have to give my grandmother a tutorial in app installation.”
So don’t you think that Linspire has just achieved that, with CNR?
Anyone who is somewhat regular around here knows I’m a pretty hardcore windows fanatic (dabbled w/ several distros of linux…bleh so far), however this review definitely has caught my eye…I am setting up a Linspire VPC asap. This looks GREAT.
I’m not a linux user, I look at the product screenshots first, like a lot of inexperienced users, before I buy something. I understand Linspire is trying to get Windows users to switch and I hope they succeed. However I don’t agree with a lot of distros user interfaces imitating windows. Maybe I don’t fully understand, but in my opinion, it just has to be user friendly and has instructions to make it easy for users to switch. I switched 2 years ago to OS X and found it very friendly for new users. I also bought my wife (long time windows user) an iBook and she had no problems what so ever. I would like to see something more clean (bluecurve theme) before I would recommend it.
It might not make sence to most of the guys here at OsNews but I’m talking like a person Linspire wants to convert.
I agree that Linspire got an unfair rap from the geek community, it’s not my desktop Linux of choice, but it’s a good system.
I do disagree though with his statement that the naming convention is for the best because it’s user-friendly. Well, it is user friendly, but the GAIM and MPlayer folks have a lot vested themselves in their projects’ names. I think it’s a disservice to them (and any project) to not give them their ‘branding props’
Anyway, good review, good product.
Until the vast number of apps work with CNR, it isn’t going to have an impact.
Well, honestly with names, I don’t see this as much of a huge issue either. Personally, when you’re on Windows, you end up using tons of different types of programs with different names. Things like AIM, or America Online Instant Messenger. That’s quite a name for you also. There’s also Internet Explorer, Outlook (or maybe Outlook Express) and so on with the list. You also have to keep in mind knowing names of different applications from different OS’s and Arch’s alone. Quicktime, iTunes, and so on. So, I can’t say it’s a real name problem as it is a pattern problem. People have heard these things so many times, and associated with the icons and such so well it comes as second nature to them. I think with enough time, anyone could come to terms with Gaim, OpenOffice, and other things as names.
Re: @ Anonymous Penguin: Well, that’s also good to know. Last time I used it, the system was horribly unstable and seemed rather clunky. I guess improvements could have came with the kernel also, so I can’t complain so much about it. I do like how they’re using Reiser4 now; I always wanted to try it out. Maybe I’ll take an evaluation sometime.
Very true, that is a tough issue. Standardizing isn’t the easiest of tasks either, though. If people stuck to even a certain system layout (like all apps enter /usr/bin/ or /usr/local/bin/) the cost of using one package on a system as opposed to another one wouldn’t be an issue, but it is, as every distro has different preferences. So, I have to agree as much as I love Linux, it’s going to need some changes similar to that IF it wants to compete. I use the term if boldly because it may very well not have that aim. Who knows I suppose, but I’m sure an example distro like this could continually make it easier to acomplish. As I said above, it’s also an issue of pattern. People are used to downloading an application, or popping in the CD and going through the wizard. The change of having to go through a huge website of applications is probably confusing, maybe even daunting to a newcoming user. So, I think with pattern changes, it could help.
There are numerous linux distros out there that have achieved the “good enough” criteria, but the sad fact is that most people just don’t care enough about their OS to bother changing. People always talk about “Aunt Millie”…well folks she spends very little time mulling over her OS.
Let Aunt Millie use Windows. Let McDweeb MockTurtleneck use OSX. I’m past caring. The PC itself has peaked, your best bet for MS alternatives are to work on alternative platforms like cellphones etc. The PC landscape won’t change much, and that is a negative for MS too because I doubt Aunt Millie really cares about Avalon or XAML etc to bother plonking down $200 on Longhorn. Aunt Millie will get Longhorn when she buys a new PC in 2010, not before.
I bought a lifetime membership to Linspire’s Click N Run a while back when they were doing the choicepc stuff overseas before they changed their name so the microsoft goons would leave them alone. While I agree with the fact that Linspire isn’t what a power linux user might want on their servers or their workstations at work, it is a good distribution to put on a personal home computer. I recently bought Xandros 3.0 Deluxe and that is what I use on my workstation, but for my servers I prefer to use either Redhat ES or Centos depending on if the system needs to be supported or not.
Just my 2 cents on the subject. Either way I applaud the efforts of Michael Robertson and his company.
Wont mind having this on a laptop.
“However I don’t agree with a lot of distros user interfaces imitating windows.”
But it looks a lot better than any Windows out of the box, believe me. Even with heavy customization, Windows wouldn’t look that good. And you don’t even pay a heavy price in performance for such a good look.
The PC itself has peaked, your best bet for MS alternatives are to work on alternative platforms like cellphones etc.
MS is gaining a much bigger foothold in cellphones than people realize. It’s signed a number of high profile deals with Nokia, Samsung, and others to bring smartphones to market. You can certainly argue whether these moves will be successful (the jury is still out) but, surprisingly, MS has shed a lot of baggage with Windows Mobile for SmartPhones. I borrowed one from a friend for a day and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually usable. Didn’t crash. Didn’t lock up. So, ya know, it almost doesn’t matter where you turn in computing. MS is vying for a place at the table — and they’re not going away. But, thankfully, there is competition in that space from many vendors to prevent the 800lb gorilla from taking things over.
“There are numerous linux distros out there that have achieved the “good enough” criteria, but the sad fact is that most people just don’t care enough about their OS to bother changing. People always talk about “Aunt Millie”…well folks she spends very little time mulling over her OS.”
Very true. So the point now is to convince whoever makes computers that Linux is ready (or it will soon be) for prime time.
Now I don’t know what takes in order to convince the “big boys” (HP, Dell…). I guess the billions being invested by IBM and Novell could make a difference.
But in this country, and I suppose in many others, PCs are assembled by single individuals or small factories. All depends on how much understanding of operating systems such people have. (surprisingly, not a lot)
I’m happy with it, and that’s all that matters to me. Not what any review or comment on any forum. It works, and it’s worth the money IMHO. I had been using 4.5, but started to fell limited with new tools I was using, so switched to Ubuntu. Now I’ve gotten Five-O setup and back in it.
Just like OS/2 and XP. It works for me too. Right tool for the right job. Each users needs are different. I feel there are many who need to figure that out.
People paying to have to install software on their system.
Xp = free installation.
I am wondering if these companies even want interoperable software using Linux Base System.
Seems like they’re making some $$$ keeping it difficult.
And they may not want a Linux Base System so that customers would move on to another linux os .
Well, I have to disagree with you. Trademarked names like Kleenex and Q-tip become synonomous with the product description themselves like tissue and cotton swabs, respectively.
Therefore, if you came up with a new product for users of Kleenex brand tissues, you would market it by calling it a tissue.
KDE 3.4 gives you an option. You can put in the menu:
tissue (your brand) or,
your brand (tissue)
When you buy a PC with XP Home or XP Pro on it, don’t be misled into thinking that you did not pay for OS. You paid for it alright. It is tucked away in the cost of that PC. They don’t just give it to you for free.
If you were instead meaning the cost to install software? Well, CNR “service” is well worth it. You don’t have to pay when the new versions come out. Those folks who were current members did not have to pay for the 5.0 download. That is not a bad deal.
With Windows – I’ve paid – and dearly. Maybe not $$$ for installing software, but in price of installing a program that totally screws up my system.
I use Linspire 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time I use XP Pro for video editing purposes.
>>but the GAIM and MPlayer folks have a lot vested themselves in their projects’ names. I think it’s a disservice to them (and any project) to not give them their ‘branding props’
their branding props are all over once they are installed so its not really an issue really. The ease of installing mplayer and legal codecs make Linspire worth every penny alone.
To me, the big story here is support for most popular audio codecs and nearly-free DVD support. Bravo, Linspire.
Was a success. I have (according to the NDIS Wrapper page) an unsupported wireless card. This has prevented me from going to windows because I bought a wireless card which wasn’t supported. If you can read that sentence, its late ok…
Anyways, even the LIVE boot of 5-0 found my wireless card and I was very easily able to configure it for WEP and hop into my network. Its a D-Link DWL-G520, afaik totally unsupported in linux. And it works.
IT JUST WORKS.
The live cd boot of 5-0 found nearly everything in my system, oddly enough my pc-97 onboard sound on this gigabyte board was not found. I’ll have to have a look at that.
Beyond no sound, very impressed with 5-0, the linspire crew has done a magnificent job.
I have found Linspire 5.0 to be quite slow compared to other current distros on my Celeron 2400 laptop. It really does feel sluggish compared to Xandros, PClinuxOS or VectorSOHO.
I thought the review was excellent and well balanced. Linspire really struck a good chord with this release, and after almost a year and a half in development, I would expect nothing less. However, I should note, that Linspire has NFS support. In fact, you can even go to the Control Center->Network->File Sharing->Shared Folders and share files or folders over the network using both NFS or SMB.
I was impressed with the LiveCD. I plan on removing Mandrake from my girlfriend’s PC to put Linspire instead. I’m confident the modem connection will work everytime with it.
I wish they didn’t include all those broken eyecandies like shadows and translucents menus. It slows things down and anybody can see how broken it is =(.
D-Link DWL-G520 support is getting better. It just works in Ubuntu 4.10 as well, including WEP.
One problem has been D-Link’s habit of changing chipset but not product number. My G520 has Atheros chip and works well. I’ve seen references to other G520 with a TI acx100 chip, which ought to just work too.
On the other hand, I never got a G520+ (acx111) to work, WEP support for that chipset is not yet available in the native Linux drivers, and I didn’t have a working network to download NDIS wrapper.
>I’m suspecting that was sarcastic, because you can install
>mplayer on any Linux machine and have Windows Media Support
>as far as I know. At any rate, kind of odd, but eh whatever.
No, you cannot install mplayer on any Linux machine and have full Windows Media Support. Linspire has licensed the codecs from Microsoft and added them to mplayer – of course, they cannot give these patches back to the community.
did you see the theme from linspire 5 ?
I love it !
Do someone know if this theme is under GPL and can be downloaded/used on other distribution ? If yes, where?
I would like to use it. I heard that all modification made to KDE are given back to community, but I don’t know what about the theme.
This OS is no longer vaporware. It works good, it’s fast, easy to install and pretty tight!
Also I see what that they have gone back and rebranded the software back to what it should be (No more Lindows this and Lindows that)
No matter what people say Click and Run is weak. But Click and Run kills everything else. Just the fact that it keeps a list of all the software you have ever installed. If you machine crashes you don’t have to worry about finding and picking out all the software you had. (Even using Synaptic you have to pick through and find what you had installed.)
I am very impressed at the hard work they put into this version. And the fact that they are listening to the community and critics is great!
One thing I think is bad though is that they have people believing that they are using Reiser4 out the box which is not true. They are using an updated version of Reiser3. If you go to the advanced install you can format partitions with Reiser4 but it tells you that it’s still exsperemental.
(If you look at your fstab file after install you see that it still tells you that it’s using reiserfs for root. If you use Reiser4 it will say Reiser4 for the filesystem)
I found this out when setting up a PC for my brother. By default Linspire puts all folders on /. My brother tends to fill his drive up with videos and MP3’s. If you don’t partition the drive and put home on it’s own partition then he will fill the drive and not be able to get back into the machine without going to the command line and deleting files. So I went in by hand and created partitions. When you go the the advanced option in the install and tell it to format the partitions it will give you the option to use Reiser or Reiser4 (You have to right click on the partition you want to format)
Now I could be wrong but I think I am right on this.
Anyone has a Coupon Code for the 5.0 version?
So I have become the in-house “literally in my house” IT department for the past couple of years. After my mother’s old machine finally got slow enough to replace, I just went to the local PC guy’s store and bought a motherboard and some things to build a machine.
I thought about using one of my many Windows XP licenses again and then I remembered that Linspire 5 came out last week or so. I d/l the iso and installed from scratch taking over the new machine’s harddrive.
Seriously, mom was like “Ok, where’s Email, Web Browser and Solitare”. It was all there. I used Click N Run to download an even more challenging Solitare game for her and she’s pretty happy now. Linspire is definitely EASY and somewhat polished.
I am now happy that I don’t have to worry about SPYWare or Virii anymore. I also didn’t have to fiddle with drivers or anything, even the color printer she has worked.
bring it on.
> still waiting for the uber distro with KDE4, reiser4 <
“Until the vast number of apps work with CNR, it isn’t going to have an impact.”
Exactly what are you referring of apps working within CNR? Every app I install works just fine. Or are you talking about the 50 cd players that exist in apt-get or the 150 web browsers or I could go on. I may be exaggerating the numbers but once again this is a comment that examples people lack of understanding of the target market for Linspire.
You are right. Aunt Millie doesn’t care but __I__ do when I have to go to “Aunt Millie’s” house and fix her computer again because she got another virus, worm, etc., and yes I had AV software on her computer and set to auto-update. But she clicks on every e-mail that comes in and sooner or later any AV software misses one and then Windows is hosed.
After installing Lindows on my parents and sisters’ computers I showed them where the apps (e-mail, wordprocessor, etc.) were and where CNR was so they could find and download other programs. Now I don’t have to worry about viruses.
LinSpire pays for itself. All you have to do is buy one piece of Windows software and you’ve paid for Lindows.
A thorough review and I wish Linspire luck with this latest version.
While some still scoff at CNR, my feelings are that this is great technology at work; an automated installation tool that the user doesn’t have to think twice about.
A subscription service? Sure. And why not? If CNR takes the burden away from the users, it’s worth the money. The work that went into CNR is quite obvious if you’ve tried it with the 14-day trial offer. CNR even tracks all s/w nstallations for future reference. No more hunting.
The Linspire target markets are a Moms-N-Pops, novices and non-technoid types. CNR is not only a great installation tool for those types of users, but it’s great for Linux veterans who probably scratch their heads & wonder, “How’d they do that?”
It appears that a lot of time & attention to detail went into this new version, and I hope they do well with it.
“It’s signed a number of high profile deals with Nokia, Samsung, and others to bring smartphones to market.”
I call BS. The day MS signs a cellphone OS agreement with Nokia will be a cold day in hell. Nokia is pretty much the prime mover behind Symbian, which is MS’s direct competitor in the cellphone space (and shifts comfortably more units). It’d be a bit like Apple signing an agreement with MS to ship XP on the next line of Macs…
dwl-g520 isn’t unsupported, it’s supported by the madwifi driver. This has a small non-free component so the free versions of most distros don’t ship it, but if you bought a paid-for copy of (certainly) MDK or (I believe) SuSE, you’d get madwifi configured during the networking stage of install like any other card.
Tom is right. You can read about it at…
Microsoft and Nokia agree music DRM deal – ZDNet UK News
Linspire 5 is all about eye candy. It is clearly aimed to first time Linux users and undoubtedly consumer oriented disto. Nothing bad, but it’s not for me.
It is very improved and I was quite surprised with xorg performace on my poor 4Mb integrated INTEL video chip (much than XFree ) but overall OS performace was questionable (I did test on C-466 MHZ and P-III 1.03 GHz). I turned off all dropsahdows,menu animations , event tooltip popups and it turned not to be the video performace problem but kernel.
I ran Five-0 for five days and I hate to admit but I’m back to Linspire 4.5.
I found many applications I used before (on Linspire 4.5 and Xandros Desktop 2.5 Business Edition) are broken and/or removed (Mplayer, Kino, Kamera, XMMS, ) and some other that I can’t live without have been,all the sudden, moved to paid applications ( GIMP 2.2 for instance ) and some quite functional JAVA based applications does not seem to be functional anymore ( Dial-up dialer for JUNO and NetZero ISP service). And ability to connect to my ISP (JUNO) was the reason #1 I installed Linspire 4.5 year ago.
I also couldn’t find the way for Lphoto to recognise my Oregon Scientific 1.3 Megapixel digital camera. There is a workaround : Gimp 2.2 detects my camera but then it cannot retreive more than one picture at the time and ther’s no way to delete pictures from memory card from within GUI.
There’s nothing atractive in Lsongs me but the ability to connect to ShoutCast internet radio.
RealPlayer as an default MP3 player is total miss. I simply cannot live without XMMS so I installed it. But,hey,
what went wrong with familiar ALSA or OSS sound drivers. Jack sound connector ( I never heard about it before) stands between XMMS and my integrated Intel sound card and I bounced of one more dead end.
Te me Linspire Five-0 might be a big dissapointment but it’s not. I’m going back to my fully functional Linspire 4.5
(the only prise I’m goin’ to pay is couple days worth 200+ applications download over CNR) since it’s perfect fit to my
Compaq Deskpro Small Form Factor(Celeron 466MHz + 384 Mb SDRAM). And I’m not going to upgrade my hardware just to meed more demanding OS requirements.
Linspire Five-0 (which was free download to me as Linspire CNR member) is going to wait for better days.