Home > Linspire > Why ‘Real Linux’ Users Should Support Linspire/Freespire Why ‘Real Linux’ Users Should Support Linspire/Freespire Submitted by Mark 2006-09-09 Linspire 60 Comments “Linspire/Freespire is real Linux, and if you are hoping to convert someone loaning them a Linspire PC might be the way to do it. If you are a regular Linux user, you don’t need it, but it makes a great set of training wheels.” About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 60 Comments 2006-09-09 4:33 pm stephanem reading this article! 2006-09-09 4:48 pm deb2006 … to convert someone loaning them a Ubuntu PC might be the way to do it. If you are a regular Linux user, you don’t need it, but it makes a great set of training wheels.” “SUSE is a real Linux, and if you are hoping to convert someone loaning them a SUSE PC might be the way to do it. If you are a regular Linux user, you don’t need it, but it makes a great set of training wheels.” etc. p.p. Edited 2006-09-09 16:49 2006-09-09 4:49 pm moleskine Just my 2 cents, but I don’t think distros benefit from special pleading like this. They survive or not on their merits in a very competitive world. Also, I don’t agree with the writer’s main point, which is that Joe Sixpack needs a special hand-holding distro that looks exactly like Windows, or else he won’t try Linux. This hasn’t stopped, say, Ubuntu, SuSE or Fedora from being great successes with an awful lot of users. I’ve never used Linspire/Freespire and it may be very good for all I know (probably is), but I don’t think articles like this do it many favours. Who wants to run a “starter kit” distro? Most folks want the real thing. 2006-09-09 5:27 pm Gullible Jones Just my 2 cents, but I don’t think distros benefit from special pleading like this. They survive or not on their merits in a very competitive world. I think biases might end up playing a bigger roll than software quality, at least in the short term. Microcenter’s low-end Powerspec machines usually come with Linspire preinstalled. I can think of a couple reasons for this: 1. Linspire is supposed to be “Linux like Windows”. Sounds good for pleasing Windows users, right? 2. Using CNR required a subscription, and Gold service still requires one. I may be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised of some of the money from that went to Microcenter, since it’s helping to popularize Linspire. 2006-09-09 5:56 pm jbauer Just my 2 cents, but I don’t think distros benefit from special pleading like this. They survive or not on their merits in a very competitive world. I think that if there is something that the technology world has taught us is that you can’t rely on technology alone if you are to compete, and we have many, many examples of this. Good image, promoting and marketing are essential as well. We’re talking about free software here, but still that principle holds true, IMO. I personally think Freespire is still suffering from the stigma of their almost propietary origins and the almost vaporware quality of the “a Linux like Windows” promotion back then when it was called Lindows. The conclusion that I draw from this is that Linspire didn’t get it right the first time and now they’re going to find it very hard to change people’s minds, no matter how good their product gets. That’s precisely where Ubuntu got it right: build a community around you from the very beginning, or it’s all uphill from there. Edited 2006-09-09 18:15 2006-09-09 4:51 pm SlackerJack May well be a “real Linux” but at the same time people want something different and not the same Window look and feel. Why us seasoned Linux users dont like Linspire is because its not for us and tries to be to much like Windows, i.e the old name Lindows. This is one way to try and sell your product, Linux is Linux not a windows clone and us Linux user just dont like that at all. Linspire’s menu default is just poor, distros like SUSE are far more easy and yes you can buy SUSE Linux in stores. I think Novell have the right idea, start with the enterprise so people get to use it and use it on their desktops at home. Selling Linspire on a self is not getting to get you hardly any market share IMHO. Linspire has only gone free because they are nothing without the Linux community behind them. I put bets on people knowing SUSE or Ubuntu more than Linspire. 2006-09-10 1:32 pm bosco_bearbank Linux is an os kernel. Linspire provides not only an os kernel, but also the rest of the os and a desktop environment. Windows provides all of these things too, but the average Windows user confuses the desktop with the whole package. For a somewhat-experienced Windows user looking at switching to a Linux distro, a familiar-looking and feeling desktop, such as that provided by Linspire, is definitely a good thing. Personally, I prefer GNOME 2006-09-09 5:04 pm fmaxwell This is typical of the Linux advocate mentality: Linspire is looked down upon because it doesn’t require that every user develop a knowledge of arcane command arguments, C compilers, and various non-standardized ways in which packages are distributed (RPMs, tar files, GZ files, GZipped tar files, etc.). It doesn’t require that they instinctively know whether an exectuble should go in /bin, /etc/bin, /sbin, or /user/bin. The user just finds a package that they want to run on the Click-and-Run web site, clicks an icon, and the package is installed. The Linspire people get it. They realize that not every computer user is a Linux software engineer. Unless the other Linux distros start embracing the Linspire model of how an OS should behave, then they will find themselves in niche computer-geek markets while Linspire becomes real competition to Microsoft. 2006-09-09 5:12 pm Gullible Jones No, Linspire is looked down upon because it is a shoddy insecure pile of garbage. There is a reason that , for instance, Ubuntu is subject to less criticism than Linspire, and it has nothing to do with ease of use. Edited 2006-09-09 17:12 2006-09-09 6:03 pm deanlinkous No Linspire is looked down upon because of themselves. NO OTHER REASON! Making up false reasons just makes it look worse and not better. Do yourself and linspire a favor and just be honest – it will go a long way toward improving your rep and theirs. I have used linux since around 96 and while I do know what is usually in /bin and so forth I have NEVER needed that knowledge and I never check either. Wherever apt/synaptic puts it is where it goes. Please stop fooling yourself thinking that Linspire has any more of a chance that any of the other distros at challenging microsoft. This attitude is one that drives me crazy. If saying that “my distro is the only one that is real competition” and “every distro should be like us” isn’t elite speak and indirectly distro-bashing then I do not know what is. This is one of the attitudes that hurts Linspires rep – not anything else you may want to make up. Please feel free to repost AFTER the company at least turns a profit then I will at least be willing to entertain the idea that it is the right model. I mean if everything Linspire was doing was “right” then why change and go the freespire route? 2006-09-10 1:09 am fmaxwell No Linspire is looked down upon because of themselves. NO OTHER REASON! Yelling something doesn’t make it true. Linspire is looked down upon because it tries to make Linux easy and accessible for the masses. It doesn’t try to force users to adopt an unfamiliar means of doing thing “for their own good.” Do yourself and linspire a favor and just be honest – it will go a long way toward improving your rep and theirs. Don’t worry about my reputation. It’s quite good. Wherever apt/synaptic puts it is where it goes. Let’s not pretend that all packages are available, precompiled, for your distro, packaged up with apt. That’s the problem. You’ve got apt zealots badmouthing rpm. You’ve got Gnome zealots badmouthing KDE. And the average Windows user just wants an OS that lets them use their computer. If saying that “my distro is the only one that is real competition” and “every distro should be like us” isn’t elite speak and indirectly distro-bashing then I do not know what is. Linspire isn’t “my distro”! Unlike you, it’s not a religion for me. I’ve got 8 or 9 computers here. I’ve got Ubuntu 6.06 running on one. I’ve got Solaris 10 running. I’ve got Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition on one. I’ve got XP on two of them. And I have Linspire loaded in a Virtual PC so that I can get a feel for it. So far, I’m impressed. 2006-09-10 2:37 am deanlinkous Yelling something doesn’t make it true. Linspire is looked down upon because it tries to make Linux easy and accessible for the masses. It doesn’t try to force users to adopt an unfamiliar means of doing thing “for their own good.” Just wanted to make sure you heard it. Seems some people are hard of hearing when it comes to that point. See it looks like you still missed it. Every distro is trying to make linux as easy as possible while also taking care of security. That is the right approach. Because they do not go this route – they are looked down upon. Once again, their actions and attitude is the key thing here. Once you become familar with the unfamilar – it IS familar. I have no problem with someone being informed and choosing to use root. I DO have a problem with root out of the box and things not working correctly when someone is not root. There are many more packages available via apt/synaptic than Linspire. So what is your point? Debian has like 20CDs I think it is plus many other unofficial repos as well as a easy tool to create packages if you wish. What does gnome zealots have to do with what we are talking about? “Gnome is better” – we just leave out the rest of the statement which is “for me”! I do not consider it badmouthing and rarely see badmouthing. I see preferences stated, I see technical considerations stated, I see opinions stated but rarely badmouthing. I think KDE is too “busy” and has too many lines and tabs and stuff like that. That isn’t badmouthing – just stating reasons I do not care for it. It is a religion mostly for me. It is something I believe in. To not believe in the underlying principles is to truly miss the point IMO. If a windows user wants something that just lets them use their computer then they are either well served by most any distro out there or if they have specific needs then they should probably stick with windows. Either way Linspire is no more of the equation than any other distro. Once again, it sounds like that “our distro is sooooooo superior to your distro” that you always claim OTHERS do but linspire-ites do not do. Once again, that attitude is part of what hurts them. Impressed huh…COOL for you. It must not take much. Edited 2006-09-10 02:42 2006-09-10 4:26 am fmaxwell I have no problem with someone being informed and choosing to use root. I DO have a problem with root out of the box and things not working correctly when someone is not root. I have a problem with end-users having to learn that “root” means something other than part of a plant. It’s up to software engineers to decide what’s reasonable security, not ill-informed end users. If you have a distro which you think is better because of the additional security, then inform the public and let the market decide. I was a key architect of a C2 secure workstation. I prepared and presented to the evaluation team. What scares me is what passes for “secure” in the Linux community. Sure, it would be great if the end-user didn’t have to run as root, but then you get into “SU” logins to do certain things. And most home users will hit the “OK” button without even knowing what they are saying okay to. The average trojan horse could tell the user to login as root prior to installing it and they would do so in a heartbeat. So I’ll grant that running as root does reduce security, but not by as much as you might think when talking about the general public. Impressed huh…COOL for you. It must not take much. So where does that leave you, since you failed to impress me? 2006-09-10 2:30 am r_a_trip I would be quite content with GNU/Linux as a high-end computer user OS. Why does everything have to be dragged down to the lowest common denominator? As a versed GNU/Linux user I don’t see merit in raping a powerful Unix-style system just to cater to people already well served with Windows. Linspire may get it on how to potentially make money and maybe they could topple MS to become the draconian-software-supplier-nobody-likes themselves. I just don’t see how I should feel obligated to help Linspire further their business model. A model I simply don’t believe in and strongly disapprove of. I don’t look down on Linspire, for that I’d have to be aware that they play a part in the GNU/Linux ecosphere and that I deem them unworthy because of un-geekiness. Truth be told, they aren’t even on my radar. What Linspire produces didn’t and doesn’t tickle my fancy and if it weren’t for articles like these, I’d probably forget they even existed. 2006-09-10 6:23 am Coxy fmaxwell, everything you said is 100% right 2006-09-09 5:09 pm Gullible Jones Linspire gives new users all the wrong lessons. For crying out loud, it encourages users to run their GUI as root. If it’s like a set of training wheels, then it comes with a big friendly manual that says, “By the way, don’t bother with the helmet.” On top of all this, Linspire performs worse than any other distro I’ve so far used. It’s Windows XP with a monolithic open-source kernel and an oddball filesystem hierarchy. In other words, it inhales vigorously. Seriously, if you want a newbie-safe distro, use Ubuntu or SuSE or something that has decent default security policies and is a bit snappier than a slug on barbiturates. 2006-09-09 10:29 pm Omega Penguin (deleted) Edited 2006-09-09 22:31 2006-09-10 3:38 pm DigitalAxis Uh, I was under the distinct impression that Linspire no longer suggests running as root, and hasn’t for quite some time. I mean, ok, so they did. But they wised up about how monumentally stupid that is. 2006-09-10 4:44 pm kernelpanicked No they no longer force you to run as root. they made it worse. Now the system uses sudo with no password. So if I were to send a Lin/Freespire user a file called omgbrittneyspearsnaked.exe that contained the following #!/bin/sh sudo rm -rf / and they ran it, they’d be proper f–ked. Edited 2006-09-10 16:45 2006-09-10 9:57 pm kernelpanicked Maybe our resident mod trolls would like to explain why my last comment was modded down? Did I say something inaccurate at all? Didn’t think so. 2006-09-11 4:10 pm DrillSgt “Linspire gives new users all the wrong lessons. For crying out loud, it encourages users to run their GUI as root.” Huh?? You really have never tried Linspire, have you. How does it encourage them to run as root? 2006-09-09 5:46 pm cyber_rigger Freespire is a move in the right direction, but Ubuntu has bigger (free) repositories. Companies selling preinstalled Linux http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/ Edited 2006-09-09 17:49 2006-09-09 6:00 pm da_Chicken Quote from the article: Then if you look critically at the average distro’s site it isn’t even trying to appeal to Joe Public. The big corporate distros sites like SuSE and Red Hat are designed to appeal to corporate suits and CIOs. Debian is pure and ascetic as befits its philosophy. If you know you want Debian, it’s a very simple site to navigate with clear links to downloads, documentation, support pages and news items. If you’ve never heard of Debian and have no idea what it is and why you might want it, then Debian is content to leave it at that. When you go to Debian’s website and you want to know what Debian is, all you need to do is to click “About Debian” (it’s on the top left corner of the page, you can’t miss it). Clicking that link takes you to this page: http://www.debian.org/intro/about This page has lots of information about what Debian is. And if you read that page onward, you’ll see a link that says “pros and cons of Debian”. Clicking that link takes you to this page: http://www.debian.org/intro/why_debian that will tell you why you might want Debian (and also why you might not want Debian). 2006-09-09 6:17 pm Xaero_Vincent Linspire/Freespire dont offer anything that great OSes like Ubuntu, RHEL/Fedora, and especially SLED/openSUSE and Mandriva dont already have. On the contrary they offer a whole lot more: 1) Are built for more architectures (AMD64, PPC, IA64, SPARC) and have thousands of packages for each. Debian and Ubuntu are the undisputed winners in package size but Mandriva offers over half that and SLED/openSUSE are bound to improve with its new community-operated Build Service. 2) Are more updated. They offer the latest kernels, KDE, Gnome, X.Org, Open Office, udev, etc. for each architecture. Linspire 6.0/Freespire 1.1 just may be in-sync with Debian Etch but nothing Ubuntu or Mepis dont already do with Debian’s unstable branch. 3) Better kernel options. There are kernels designed for hyperthreading and multi-core CPUs, kernels with SMP and support for Physical Address Extention (PAE) that allow upto 64 GB of RAM on 32-bit CPUs; kernels that are Zen virtualization ready, all of which have advanced ACPI patches that allow for improved power managment with features like S2RAM, S2Disk, Standby, frequency scaling, disk idling, etc. all critical on battery powered laptops, tablet PCs and other mobile devices. 4) Better system tools. At least SLED/openSUSE and Mandriva have unique GUI and CLI (ncurses) system admistration tools that complement tools provided by the typical desktop environment. SLED/openSUSE both YaST for GUI and console; Mandriva has DrakeConf for GUI and many tools for the console. RHEL/Fedora have many graphical and console tools as well. All these make system configuration easy like Windows without sacrificing usability. 5) Finally, target audience. In addition to being a great desktop RHEL/Fedora, Ubuntu, SLES/openSUSE, Mandriva, etc. are better at powering a server or workstation because of either a smaller, minimal installation footprint without X.Org or advanced adminstrative tools like YaST (ncruses too) and DrakeConf enhancing a typical LAMP configuration. So now ask yourself which distributions should you support and why. Edited 2006-09-09 18:22 2006-09-09 10:37 pm Omega Penguin Linspire is better than Ubuntu and Fedora when playing DVDs or MP3 files, and with Java and Flash.If you don’t have Internet access, you cannot play them at all with Ubuntu and Fedora. Of course, Ubuntu is including Automatix when Edgy comes out, so I may be wrong. 2006-09-10 1:08 am egon_spengler I do believe that Linspire is touted as a “broadband OS” which is certainly not “if you don’t have internet access.” To download ANYTHING requires internet access, and the main advantage to Linspire over any other distro, the CNR warehouse is useless without it. Linspire will not play encrypted DVDs, either. 2006-09-10 8:46 am Nikato I have NEVER been forced to run as Root I purchased DVD player from warehouse which DOES play encrypted DVD pretty well. Linspire specializes in intel X86 architecture which is the only one of major importance to most people. Apt-get works great with Linspire, and costs nothing, but for non-technical users there is NOTHING quite as easy as CNR. Xandros comes close. CNR basic service now costs nothing. This is not because Linspire is desperate, but because they have some interesting services for sale through CNR (DVD Player, antivirus, other commercial software, backgrounds, reminders, and others coming) CNR is NOT useless without broadband, a little known fact is that you may save downloads as archives and use CNR to re-install them offline. CNR does not have to be connected to web to re-install from local archives. Linspire intends to make CNR open-source as they have with freespire. After release of linspire 6.0, freespire 1.1 there will be nothing preventing CNR for Ubuntu, Debian, and even RPM based distributions. Also it will be possible to see CNR running on Mac OSX, as apt and X run quite nicely on OSX and Linspire already has some programs for Mac, (Gizmo, NVU). Linspire IS capable of running other GUI’s. Expert friends of mine have compiled Gnome and xfce to run on it and it works just fine. The main thing I find wrong with Linspire, is that they do not run on my Macbook without paralells or other virtualization. Ubuntu can be made to boot on macbook but it is not easy yet. 2006-09-10 2:21 pm egon_spengler “CNR is NOT useless without broadband, a little known fact is that you may save downloads as archives and use CNR to re-install them offline. CNR does not have to be connected to web to re-install from local archives.” Quoting from a Dr. Jones on the Freespire forums on a question about CNR: “Currently CNR requires an Internet connection to function (w/o a connection there’s no access to the warehouse product pages to determine version). Yes currently CNR installs some products using an encrypted .deb file that can be stored locally (/var/cache/.repository) after the installation is complete (again an Internet connection is required for all CNR functions)” So, CNR is useless without internet connection. What are the dire warnings posted EVERY time someone mentions apt-get and Linspire in the same sentence? Edited 2006-09-10 14:23 2006-09-10 2:16 am r_a_trip Linspire is not better when doing MP3, flash and the other codec magic. Linspire certainly is legal in some parts of the world when doing that, when others might not be. 2006-09-10 9:41 am kernelpanicked Don’t know about you but my Ubuntu machine as well as my Fedora box play DVDs and MP3s just fine. 2006-09-10 1:25 am fmaxwell n the contrary they offer a whole lot more: 1) Are built for more architectures (AMD64, PPC, IA64, SPARC) and have thousands of packages for each. Joe Home User doesn’t give a rat’s @ss whether there is a SPARC or IA64 version. He just wants to surf the web, send some e-mails, play some DVDs, etc. As to having thousands of packages, that’s great, but 95% of the people out there still run Internet Explorer because they’ve never been willing to download and install software. Linspire makes it a simple, single-button click and the package is available. Pretty smart. 2) Are more updated. They offer the latest kernels, KDE, Gnome, X.Org, Open Office, udev, etc. for each architecture. You act like that’s a good thing. It’s not. Microsoft has enough sense to realize that people don’t want to have a new build of the OS ever 30 days. The Linspire people get it, too. You can start a Linspire box up and not have to check four times a day to stay current. 3) Better kernel options. There are kernels designed for hyperthreading and multi-core CPUs, kernels with SMP and support for Physical Address Extention (PAE) that allow upto 64 GB of RAM on 32-bit CPUs; kernels that are Zen virtualization ready, all of which have advanced ACPI patches that allow for improved power managment with features like S2RAM, S2Disk, Standby, frequency scaling, disk idling, etc. all critical on battery powered laptops, tablet PCs and other mobile devices. And God knows that the average Best Buy customer is driven mad by the fact that their OS is not optimized for symmetric multiprocessing, does not support PAE (since we know that they all run 16GB of RAM minimum), and don’t have Zen virtualization-ready kernels. You are the poster child for arrogant Linux users, aren’t you? Get a clue! The general public doesn’t care about anything that you’ve mentioned. None of it. It’s that kind of attitude that makes the average computer user shy away from Linux. They don’t want to have to know about anything you’ve mentioned. So now ask yourself which distributions should you support and why. I should support the ones that popularize Linux and make it desirable for average users. I should support the ones that improve the greatest number of peope’s lives. Easy question. 2006-09-10 2:44 am r_a_trip And God knows that the average Best Buy customer is driven mad by the fact that their OS is not optimized for symmetric multiprocessing, does not support PAE (since we know that they all run 16GB of RAM minimum), and don’t have Zen virtualization-ready kernels. You are the poster child for arrogant Linux users, aren’t you? Get a clue! The general public doesn’t care about anything that you’ve mentioned. None of it. Then why should they even look at GNU/Linux? Because that is what the OS has to offer to those who do give a behind of the rodent. It’s that kind of attitude that makes the average computer user shy away from Linux. They don’t want to have to know about anything you’ve mentioned. That in my opinion is a good thing. GNU/Linux is a tool completely unfit for them. Lowest common denominator users should stick to the major system, as they can get more help with their problems. I should support the [distributions] that popularize Linux and make it desirable for average users. I should support the ones that improve the greatest number of peope’s lives. Easy question. Why would you support distributions that are not going to get the support from the development community? Besides that, since you’ve basically said that GNU/Linux is unfit for the average user, why would you struggle to change a hostile tool to fit them, if Windows and OS X can more than adequately cater to them right now out of the box. 2006-09-10 4:12 am fmaxwell Then why should they even look at GNU/Linux? Because that is what the OS has to offer to those who do give a behind of the rodent. Let’s look at why: 1. Cost. Windows is getting more and more costly. It costs a lot of money to procure initially and the “Windows Genuine Advantage” anti-piracy software makes it darned near impossible for a user move their legally purchased copy to a new PC when they retire the old one PC. 2. It’s being saddled with more and more DRM, to the point that even tech-savvy people don’t know what hardware will be needed to play content on Vista. 3. The Windows registry and its inevitable corruption and bloat over time. Enough said on that subject. That in my opinion is a good thing. GNU/Linux is a tool completely unfit for them. Lowest common denominator users should stick to the major system, as they can get more help with their problems. You seem to think that there’s only room for one Linux distro — or at least that all distros must be aimed squarely at developers. I disagree. While it’s great that there are high-end distros suitable for developers, there’s no reason why there can’t also be distros aimed at the masses. By the way, someone who uses a PC for something other than software development is not automatically the “least common denominator.” Besides that, since you’ve basically said that GNU/Linux is unfit for the average user No, you said that. Just look at a TiVo if you think that Linux must be hostile, difficult, and complex. Just as Linux can be molded into a friendly, easy-to-use DVR, it can also be molded into a friendly, easy-to-use desktop OS. Will it be as powerful, scalable, and flexible as your distro? Nope, but that’s fine. Why would you support distributions that are not going to get the support from the development community? There are plenty of people in the development community that get a lot of satisfaction from developing polished applications and front-ends for non-technical end-users. 2006-09-10 2:55 am deanlinkous Linspire makes it a simple, single-button click and the package is available. I do a non-click install. Simply type apt-get install packagename and then hit enter. Zero clicks beats one click! Microsoft has enough sense to realize that people don’t want to have a new build of the OS ever 30 days. The Linspire people get it, too. You can start a Linspire box up and not have to check four times a day to stay current. Actually a lot of users do want the shiny fresh model. But for those that do not practically every distro provides a stable release for a good while. The cool thing is that other distros also have CD sets and you can use them forever if you want to do that – try that with linspire! Staying current is also a good idea for security. Security is a aspect that is very much lacking in linspire. I mean if every distro says packageXYZ has a critical flaw and offers a update yet linspire chooses to state that they do not feel it is serious enough to affect their users…well which would you rather be using? If we are going to just create yat another closed source OS and lock users in to the same bull and spin and twist everything then I do not see why users would want that since they are looking for something different! 2006-09-10 7:03 am Xaero_Vincent Joe Home User doesn’t give a rat’s @ss whether there is a SPARC or IA64 version. He just wants to surf the web, send some e-mails, play some DVDs, etc. I think Joe home-user would like to use the option that is best optimized for his system, taking advantage of its capabilities and rendering his money well spent. However there is nothing prohibiting him from using a least commom denominator setup. As to having thousands of packages, that’s great, but 95% of the people out there still run Internet Explorer because they’ve never been willing to download and install software. Linspire makes it a simple, single-button click and the package is available. Pretty smart. Being a Window user for twelve years now has taught me that searching for programs on the web is very common. There is no package repository like Linux, so you have get your Adaware, Spybot S@D, Trojan Hunter, etc. all from the internet; thus your first sentence makes no sense at all. Linspire’s CNR seems nice but YaST, Smart, Synapic, etc. are just as functional without the colorful tree menu icons and pointless user-ratings. Nevertheless Mandriva offers a simular product and service called Kiosk. You act like that’s a good thing. It’s not. Microsoft has enough sense to realize that people don’t want to have a new build of the OS ever 30 days. The Linspire people get it, too. You can start a Linspire box up and not have to check four times a day to stay current. It is a great thing! Being updated means you’ll recieve the latest bug fixes and improvements. While Linspire’s latest release is even more outdated than Debian Sarge (Stable). Additionaly, I think you’re confusing the bleeding-edge distributions like Arch and Frugalware (software updates daily) with up-to-date distributions like SUSE and Mandriva which recieve software upgrades for each new release (updating 6-12 months, excluding occassional bug fix updates). You are the poster child for arrogant Linux users, aren’t you? Get a clue! The general public doesn’t care about anything that you’ve mentioned. None of it. It’s that kind of attitude that makes the average computer user shy away from Linux. They don’t want to have to know about anything you’ve mentioned. If you look at it from Joe’s perspective, then yes many of these features are irreverent because of thier lack of knowledge. Linspire could cater to these class of users. But SUSE, Mandriva, Fedora, etc. all offer as much too. But what about advanced home and enterprise users? The features I mentioned are likely far more important to them yet Linspire/Freespire doesn’t offer any of it. while SUSE, Mandriva, Fedora do. Case and point: It all boils down to target audience. Linspire only targets home users whereas Mandriva, SUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu, etc. offer all that PLUS cater to the needs of power users and enterprise customers with workstations and servers. Edited 2006-09-10 07:07 2006-09-10 6:08 pm jcpinto To be fair you should compare “One Vs Another” and not “One Vs All”… If you do that, you’ll find that even if Linspire/Freespire doesn’t appeal to you it will have an average score for “mum and dad”. It might not be the best. It might be Ubuntu, Mandriva, OpenSuse, Fedora, insert your favorite distro here, but Linspire/Freespire is a distro which offers something any other has. I guess one should choose the best one for the job, and in my opinion this distro performs some jobs very well. So, what do you want to accomplish with your PC? 2006-09-09 8:34 pm cyber_rigger Linspire does have the instructional videos that might prove helpful for beginners. 2006-09-09 8:48 pm bousozoku So many people believe that computer users are not computer users unless they’re dealing with text 24/7. It’s been this way since the first graphical shell in the early 1980s. DOS users cried out when Microsoft went to Windows 95. The uptick in users is completely in the graphical access. Is there shame in actually getting something done rather than building some applications to eventually get something done and not having enough time to actually do it? If Linspire actually works for people, why worry about it? They might just be funding more Linux research. 2006-09-10 2:22 am Wemgadge Just a year or so ago (pre linspire 5.0)Linspire was yet another commercial Linux company making an MS clone OS using OSS and giving little but the minimum (ie: source code) back. When Andrew Betts made his from source freespire/squiggle, I think it was a wakeup call to Linspire that they should start giving back. In this time they have open sourced CNR, they have released Freespire which is available in an OSS only version and they have shown (through Kevin Carmony’s lurking here at OSNews) a real interest in winning over the developer community. Sure, Michael Robertson made a lot of decisions in Lindows that rubbed people the wrong way, but under Kevin Carmony’s stewardship Linspire is becoming a legitimate user friendly operating system that is no longer “broken”. 2006-09-10 2:48 am deanlinkous Nah, it is called being marginalized by the GREAT free distros out there. Realizing that the only chance they have is to get people interested. I think it is the final tactic before going under next year or so… 2006-09-10 9:37 am kernelpanicked they have shown (through Kevin Carmony’s lurking here at OSNews) You misspelled trolling 2006-09-10 8:20 am rexbinary …when the author said that you ‘buy a Mac if you work in the media’. Too out of touch. 2006-09-10 10:09 am kernelpanicked Sure it’s not perfect, but then everyone’s computer crashes sometime just like your car breaks down and the washing machine springs a leak, it’s just the way things are. No that’s the way things are in the windows world. I, however, have much higher expectations for my computers. If Linspire/Freespire only intends to maintain a Windows level of usability and reliability, it is most definately not for me, and IMO should not be supported by the Linux community as a whole. 2006-09-10 4:32 pm JeffS I’ve been using Linux for over 4 years. I’m also a programmer/systems analyst/trainer/developer by trade. I’ve used all sorts of Linux distros, and BSD. I’ve installed and used everything from the most newbie friendly to the most technically oriented (BSD, Slackware), and liked all of them for various reasons. I’m fully capable, and have done so and enjoyed it, of installing and using a more purely command line/edit config file distro type distro. But after having done all that kind of stuff, and considering that I’m a busy professional, and I’m married and have two little daughters that use up much of my time (quite happily), so I very much prefer using software that is easy, convenient, looks good, and “just works”. Enter Freespire. I’ve previously used Linspire, helping my mother get one of those $150 PCs with Linspire pre-installed from Fry’s. But didn’t really get into using. And I’ve been searching for that perfect desktop oriented distro that will suit both my technical and general usage needs. In that search I’ve tried, used, and switched from one distro to another, but always kept switching because there was something that I didn’t like or did not quite work correctly. In that endeavor I used Ubuntu, Mepis, Kanotix, Knoppix, Mandriva, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Slackware, PCBSD, and an assortment of others. But now I’ve tried Freespire, and I’m really liking it. Everything, so far, has worked perfectly. And it seems stable and bug free. And it looks great (sure, it has a Windows lnf, but it’s KDE, which is endlessly configurable). And it does not require logging on as root. And CNR is a dream. And everything is free. And Linspire is proving to an awesome OSS citizen (Open sourcing CNR, extending Mozilla Composer to produce Nvu – and releasing it as OSS, Lsongs and Lphoto as OSS, and hosting Linux desktop summits at their expense). And to add to all of this, Linspire/Freespire is just Debian under the hood, with extra niceties on top. It’s just as much Debian as Ubuntu, Kanotix, Mepis, Xandros, Knoppix, and countless other deb derivatives. 2006-09-10 5:12 pm DarkMavis I can’t stand it when people get the origins of the Linspire name wrong. It detracts from the authors overall credibility. Linspire does not come from Linux + Inspire. It comes from Linux + Spire. For the uninitiated, spire means the top of a structure, building, or even mountain. So Linspire means the very best of linux. NOT inspirational linux. Although I agree with your overall article I ask you to do your research Phil Thane. 2006-09-10 5:46 pm Don T. Bothers I just don’t see the point for Linspire. It isn’t bad. It is just that it is useless. Why go for it when Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSuse are just plainly better and are completely free. The original premise, to be able to run all Windows applications on it, was very promising. But when that fizzled, all they had was a pretty good, but subpar distro that costed money. 2006-09-10 7:27 pm JeffS “Why go for it when Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSuse are just plainly better and are completely free.” I haven’t tried OpenSuSE lately, but Ubuntu and Fedora are definitely not better in my experience. First, Fedora is too heavy for my general usage, and I’ve found it to be rather buggy at times. Also, while yum is nice (along with the various GUI front ends), it’s not as good as apt/synaptic, and is a major step down from Freespire’s CNR (by a long shot). Second, Ubuntu is a very nice all around desktop distro. However, in my experience it’s hardware detection is less than stellar. It has failed to detect hardware, particularly video, on half the machines I’ve attempted it on. Also, Automatix is pretty cool, but it does take a long time, where as with Freespire all that stuff Automatix does in Ubuntu is already there, no extra time, no fuss, no muss. Third, Freespire is 100% free – as in beer, and mostly as in speach (it does ship with proprietary drivers/codecs be default). And Freespire comes in a 100% OSS version, which is 100% free as in beer and as in speech. Please get your facts straight when talking about Freespire/Linspire. Finally, stating that distros X, Y, and Z are “plainly better” than distro A, is completely subjective. And I question whether or not you’ve even tried the latest Freespire. If you haven’t, you have no basis for your subjective opinions. In my experience and in my opinion, Freespire has been better than the distros you mentioned. Edited 2006-09-10 19:30 2006-09-10 10:06 pm kernelpanicked hird, Freespire is 100% free – as in beer, and mostly as in speach (it does ship with proprietary drivers/codecs be default). And Freespire comes in a 100% OSS version, which is 100% free as in beer and as in speech. For all of a whole month or so now. What about the first five years? Please get your facts straight when talking about Freespire/Linspire. Why? Use of actual facts don’t seem to be a concern for you when you’re deriding other distributions. 2006-09-11 12:47 am JeffS “For all of a whole month or so now. What about the first five years?” Actually, they had offered their Live CD for a free download over the last couple of years. And they’ve always made their source available. Plus, even though their complete free version is just about a month old now, it’s better late than never. And we are talking about right now. “Why? Use of actual facts don’t seem to be a concern for you when you’re deriding other distributions.” When did I deride other distributions? I merely stated that I thought Freespire was better for me than Ubuntu or Fedora. I also stated that Ubuntu did not properly detect hd on half the machines I tried it on. That is a fact, it’s not derision. And, I stated that I thought Fedora was more heavy and more buggy than I like. That’s my opinion and experience. Fedora is really RHEL’s test bed, and is really, for intents and purposes, a constant beta. I actually like a lot about Fedora – the themes, the installer, the GUI config tools, Eclipse and Tomcat included, etc. But for my all around needs, Fedora does not quite cut it. And isn’t it great that Linux provides us with so many choices, so that we can try as many distros as we want until we find one that best suits our needs? Fedora and Ubuntu might be better for you, but for the time being Freespire is better for me. Edited 2006-09-11 00:49 2006-09-11 2:51 am Mage66 If Linspire or Freespire isn’t for you… It doesn’t take away from other distributions. Go use one of those! All the negativity, sour grapes, baseless attacks, and hatred for Linspire seems not at all well founded. You all DO understand what choice is? Because I like Chocolate, doesn’t mean that you can’t like Vanilla, or Strawberry or Chocolate Chip Mint or whatever… The existance of Linspire/Freespire doesn’t mean you can’t use Ubuntu, RedHat, Fedora, MEPIS or any other distribution… I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Nobody is twisting anybodies arm to use Linspire, Inc. Linux products. And you are all benefitting from Linspire as the company funds OSS development that goes back to the projects for everyone. Talk about short-sightedness! 2006-09-11 2:33 pm JeffS I modded you up for this outstanding post. The hate for Linspire is, unfortunately, typical for the OSNews message boards. It’s a lot like Slashdot. A lot of the posters have the same negative attitude towards Mandriva. And what do Linspire and Mandriva have in common (besides both producing outstanding distros)? 1. They both produce distros that are super easy to install and use, even for the complete non-technical person. 2. They both emphasize the Linux desktop experience. 3. They both include proprietary codecs and drivers, to present a no-hassle end user experience 4. They are both commercial companies trying to make money selling value-add products/services on top of OSS and Linux. All 4 of those things are typically hated by the hard core elist geeks and hard core OSS zealots that lurk on OSNews. Heaven forbid Linux should be easy for the non tech. Heaven forbid someone should make money selling products/services on top of open source. Oh well, for 99% of users out there (the reasonable mainstream folks), fine distros like Mandriva and Linspire will do splendidly. 2006-09-11 2:54 pm deanlinkous Oh yes, us horrible OSS zealots and RMS fanatics and hard core elitist geeks… Heaven forbid making a distro that is not running as root and is still functional even though you are not root. Heaven forbid making money….oh bother 2006-09-11 4:18 pm JeffS “But I do care that they make a informed decision. ” “Heaven forbid making a distro that is not running as root and is still functional even though you are not root.” And evidently, you remain utterly, embarassingly unimformed on this subject. Either that or you’re just plain lying, because you have an axe to grind. Linspire/Freespire does not have you running as root, either by default, or by force. In a default Freespire install, your user account is added to the sudo group, so you just have to enter your user account password when you have to do something that requires root priviledges, just like Ubuntu!. Then, it is completely easy and trivial to add a root account, and make your regular user account not part of sudo, using KUser. This is what I’ve done. I don’t like the sudo thing, either with Freespire, or Ubuntu. I’ve been using Freespire for the last couple of weeks, and I know exactly what I’m talking about. Yes, a few years ago the old Lindows had you logging on as a full root account. But Linspire listened to the community and did away with that policy. deanlinkous, you have been repeatedly spreading this misinformation in several OSNews Linspire threads, including on the Linspire forums. Please, either inform yourself by going to their wiki, or (heaven forbid) trying Freespire, or simply stop being a blatant liar and spreading FUD. That’s the bottom line – you’re either ignorant, or you’re lying – take your pick. In either case, stop it. I, and anybody else for that matter, couldn’t care less what you think about Linspire. If you don’t like Linspire, fine – there’s plenty of other good distros out there. But please stop spreading misinformation. 2006-09-11 5:13 pm kernelpanicked And evidently, you remain utterly, embarassingly unimformed on this subject. Either that or you’re just plain lying, because you have an axe to grind. Linspire/Freespire does not have you running as root, either by default, or by force. In a default Freespire install, your user account is added to the sudo group, so you just have to enter your user account password when you have to do something that requires root priviledges, just like Ubuntu!. And evidently, you remain utterly, embarassingly unimformed on this subject. In a default Freespire install, your user account is added to the sudo group passwordless, so you don’t have to enter your user account password which is equivalent to running with root privileges, not like Ubuntu!. ” Fixed it up for you. 2006-09-11 5:27 pm JeffS “n a default Freespire install, your user account is added to the sudo group passwordless” … yes, but it does prompt you to enter a password. And again, you can set up your accounts however you want, very easily using kuser. Now I do greatly prefer having user accounts set up in the traditional way, and I wish that Freespire, and Ubuntu as well, would do this. But it’s a non issue for me to change it to the way I want it. And you make a valid point in that complete newbies might be unsuspectingly set up for a security hole (no password on a sudo account), if they are not paying attention (as newbies typically do). As a matter of fact, I will be recommending to Freespire to handle user accounts in the traditional Unix/Linux way, and do away with sudo. Nevertheless, it is spreading FUD to state that Linspire/Freespire require root to run the GUI, or require it. 2006-09-11 5:19 pm egon_spengler Sorry to burst your bubble, but WHAT account is the only one active when a Linspire user accepts only the defaults for login/installation? Granted, there are warnings about security and how you should create another user, but what is the DEFAULT account? You breeze through all the “yeah, yeah, sure, sure” screens and you end up with one account only. ROOT. So, up to and including the 5.0 wonderweapon (V2) release, the default account is root. Freespire has Ubuntuized the first account created by entering that one in /etc/sudoers and not requiring a password for sudo actions, but Linspire is still root by default. 2006-09-11 2:40 pm deanlinkous And you are all benefitting from Linspire as the company funds OSS development that goes back to the projects for everyone. Strange, I can look in almost any debian based distro and find packages marked with the ubuntu name but rarely (if ever) find all those linspire packages that they are providing for everyone. Oh, you meant they were contributing to THEIR own open source projects. Well yes I guess we all should be thankful for them contributing to themsleves. I sure am. Nobody is twisting anybodies arm to use Linspire Nope they are just selling it. The worlds easiest, this is the old way of installing software, we are the best, everyone should be like us, on sale now for only $29.99 so do not be fooled with those free hard distros – just pony up the money. Then of course when they cannot get linspire to even install – what do they think of linux in general since this is suppose to be the “easiest” linux. What happens when they delete important system files because they are root. What happens when their friend comes over and shows them the new OS they got and it was for no charge and has tons of software available and a crazy name like Ubuntu? I don’t care if someone chooses linspire. But I do care that they make a informed decision. I think they should know the negative along with the positive. You do understand what a informed decision is don’t you? Ever bought a product you thought would be great for the job and got home and realized someone sold you a lemon. Is this what you want others to do? 2006-09-11 6:10 pm kernelpanicked We’re not getting anywhere with people still holding on to things that were wrong with Lin/Freespire years ago, as well as the apparent lack of ability to admit any faults in the system by it’s own users. Since I don’t have to work for the next 3 days, I plan to do the unthinkable for an uber-geek. I’m going to install Freespire on my box, spend a day or so with it and write a review. If it gets posted on OSN, great, if not I’ll post another comment in the next Frespire article that links to it. 2006-09-12 3:34 am deanlinkous We aren’t talking about you or me or anyone else here. We are talking about Joe Clueless User and he will end up as root. Most will not even know they are root. Some may even read about setting up another account and think – why would I do that since I am the only one using the system. So let us say they do manage to make another user, how many problems have we seen from file permissions to dialup ability to scanner usage and so forth… care for one example… http://help.linspire.com/cgi-bin/linspire.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.p… How do I get my scanner to work with XSANE (a graphical user interface used by scanners in Linspire) as a non-root user? NOTE: These instructions are for ADVANCED users! If you are not comfortable with utilizing the Command Line/Console or you are new to Linux, please do not attempt this solution as it may cause additional issues with your system. Then you need to edit your fstab file! How newbie friendly is that? Isn’t spire the ones that always say that command line should not be needed. I guess they mean not needed if you are root. blatant liar? What am I blantantly lying about? Please tell me and I will just admit it or offer proof. What exactly is the lie(s) I am telling? Can you install Linspire and only choose the default choices and come out of it as anything BUT root? Freespire you are AS GOOD AS root or should I say ‘as bad as’? Sounds like you are making me out to be someone who has not even tried *spire. Who is blatant now? Please check the freespire forums I have posted many screenshots including the one of knoppix with CNR running on it. What other misinformation and I spreading. Where have you seen me say anything and not offer proof or evidence about what I am stating? As far as security updates – I have seen this issue brought up time and time again at the forums. When every distro considers something a security risk except linspire then I feel there is a problem with linspire not every other distro. Here is a fact for you – *spire has NO team dedicated to security. They do not have people that are specifically responsible for updates, for targetting security flaws, for fixing the flaws and so forth. Is this a good thing? 2006-09-12 4:29 am deanlinkous Jeff Schroeder?