This is a read-only archive. Find the latest Linux articles, documentation, and answers at the new Linux.com!

Linux.com

Feature: Linspire/Freespire

Linspire 6: Two steps back

By Mayank Sharma on October 17, 2007 (4:00:00 PM)

Share    Print    Comments   

Former Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony was pretty gung-ho about the company's upcoming release back in June. He said it would "fill some key holes in our current offering." Unfortunately Linspire 6, released last week, lacks the refinements you'd expect in a distro you pay $50 to download. It drops some key distinguishing features, and in return gains only some Microsoft technology as spelled out in the Microsoft patent covenants Linspire agreed to. This release seems to be about deferring to Microsoft.

The Linspire 6 CD, like its predecessors, is both an install disc and a live CD. Linspire 6 has impressive hardware support; running on both my dual core desktops (E4400 and E6300) and slower 1.3GHz Celeron laptop, it detected everything from the PCMCIA and PCI wireless cards to USB pen drives, USB hard disks, and USB camera.

Linspire 6 installs quickly -- less than 10 minutes on the dual core boxes -- after the simplest of installation procedures. While the installation offers an advanced installation option, all you can do with it is select the partition you want to install on. If you like keeping your /home, /root, and other directories on separate partitions, you're out of luck. Linspire is one of the few distributions that still defaults to a ReiserFS filesystem, though you get the option to format the partition and install it on other filesystems, such as ext3.

It's after installation that Linspire 6 shows it rough edges. Linspire's previous major release, Linspire 5.0, was a showstopper of a distro. It turned eyes with its user interface eye candy and impressed with its applications. Linspire 6 disappoints in both of those areas. The release has a standard wallpaper, no 3-D desktop, and has dropped some of its own custom applications, such as LTorrent (now replaced with KTorrent) and Nvu.

For a $50 distro on a CD, Linspire doesn't pack much. You get a standard set of office and Internet apps, including the OpenOffice.org office suite, Pidgin for instant messaging, RealPlayer for playing music, K3b for burning CDs and DVDs, KTorrent for downloading torrents, and other KDE apps, including KMPlayer and KDE games. You configure the system using KDE's Control Center. Also included is Firestarter for setting up firewalls and GParted for managing partitions. Like many distros, Linspire has custom apps as well, but only two -- Lsongs and Lphoto. The distro uses a modified version of Firefox for Web browsing and includes Linspire's popular Hot Words extension.

One of the best user-oriented feature of Linspire 5.0 was the guided video tour and help. This has been dropped from Linspire 6.0. In fact there isn't any Linspire-specific help bundled with the release. It comes with the standard KDE help and nothing more.

To make matters worse, this latest release has some very irritating habits. For example, when you click the terminal quick launch icon in the taskbar at the bottom, instead of popping up a terminal window, it brings up a menu with options to launch a shell, a Linux console, a Python interpreter, or a root terminal. This might be useful to a power user but is irritating for Linspire's primary audience of desktop and office users.

But let's not forget the list of software highlighted in the press release -- Microsoft's TrueType fonts, the ability to play Windows Media files, and the ability to open and save documents in Microsoft's OpenXML format. Yes, these are all included and work without a glitch. But this doesn't make Linspire a more interoperable distro. It failed to mount all FAT32 and NTFS Windows partitions on my computers.

The other bleeding edge software in this release is the beta version of the Linspire-developed Click-N-Run (CNR) service now available to other distros as well. The first time you run it, Linspire syncronizes your local installed software repository with the one on the CNR Web site, which it then opens in the Web browser. CNR stands up to its name -- I used it to install several apps, including Beryl and Trigger, a 3-D rally game, without a hitch.

It was only when I wanted to remove these apps that I realized that Linspire includes no package management utility. You can grab the KDE package manager from CNR, or, since Linspire 6 is based on Ubuntu, use apt-get to download Synaptic.

In another installation-related issue, I couldn't get the kernel sources for the running Linspire 6 kernel (2.6.20-16-lowlatency) to install vmware-tools while running the distro under VMware 6. The one available on CNR said it wasn't for the running distro, and Synaptic didn't have this kernel at all.

Linspire is one of the few non-free distros available. As a single-CD distro, Linspire has a huge uphill battle against commercial DVD distros. Linspire 6.0 won't win many converts, except perhaps for companies frightened by the recent patent infringnment claims against Linux vendors whose priority is a distro that offers Microsoft's patent promises.

Share    Print    Comments   

Comments

on Linspire 6: Two steps back

Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.

Sheesh.. just save your self some time and

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.14.243.4] on October 17, 2007 04:50 PM
download the free Mandriva 2008.0 Linux distribution and never look back.

#

doesn't surprise me

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.138.63.131] on October 17, 2007 05:12 PM
> This might be useful to a power user but is irritating for Linspire's primary audience of desktop and office users.

how else should the primary audience realize that gnu+linux is too complicated for them and they should stick to their windows?

sellouts...

#

As a user

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.176.151.6] on October 17, 2007 05:40 PM
I really am not concerned about being sued by Microsoft, but if I was to be worried, I should be more concerned about true patent trolls. Does Linspire protect me from them too? It's just so absurd to think the patent deal was a good thing.

They had such potential in the beginning. Too bad. Just another failed idea run into the ground by incompetence. When you can't compete on quality, compete on fear. Linspire: with our product, Microsoft will not sue you for now. That should be good enough for you to buy from us, and not others.

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.46.32.4] on October 17, 2007 05:52 PM
If you want to use Linux with KDE use Kubuntu. It has the features without the garbage plus it is free to download and use. Buying Linux doesn't make much sense unless you are using the enterprise versions in business.

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.6.168.152] on October 17, 2007 10:54 PM
Ubuntu for GNOME
Pardus for KDE (www.pardus.org)

-------------------------------------------------

Forget Linspire

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.117.5.196] on October 18, 2007 10:59 AM
IMHO I think that Kubuntu is one of the worst implementations of KDE. It has gotten better over time, it used to be extremely buggy, but Feisty Fawn wasn't too bad. Compared to other KDE based distros they have a ways to go.

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 87.194.113.211] on October 18, 2007 09:28 PM
"If you want to use Linux with KDE use Kubuntu."



Mepis does that better for me.


#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.73.201.72] on October 20, 2007 08:32 AM
If you want a good KDE distro with a big community and excellent documentation, then openSUSE is the choioce. www.opensuse.org.

The openSUSE team is very active in the devlopment of the KDE desktop environment. And that is very visible in the very polished KDE distro. It also has a set of configuration tools that no xUbuntu distro comes close to.

#

Linspire 5.0 wasn't so hot either

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.169.163.241] on October 17, 2007 06:08 PM
In fact, it sucked rocks. The installer only created a root user and gave no options to create unprivileged users. It faithfully duplicated the worst of Windows- endless crapware and nagware, and all kinds of trial versions that appeared to be the full versions, but weren't. They kept hyping CNR like it was something special, but at that time the CNR repos were pretty bare, and contained mainly commercial software. What the heck is so special about CNR that Linspire keeps hyping it like it's something special?

Linspire is junk. Don't waste your money.

#

Re: Linspire 5.0 wasn't so hot either

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.208.133.123] on October 18, 2007 07:57 AM
CNR is an easy way to purchase a legal media player (to legally play encrypted DVDs) along with legal codecs, other than the legalities of the situation it is rather pointless software.

#

Re(1): Linspire 5.0 wasn't so hot either

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.80.34.124] on October 18, 2007 02:51 PM
In your country maybe. Don't think the whole world has the same needs you do just because your government created certain laws.

#

Re(2): Linspire 5.0 wasn't so hot either

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 141.151.116.91] on October 19, 2007 02:27 PM
It is of relevance being that Linspire *is* a US company and can suffer the consequences if they break the law, especially the ones that revolve around DRM, audio/video sharing, and DVDCSS issues.

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.71.230.250] on October 17, 2007 06:11 PM
The problem in my honest opinion is the freespire community branch. It seems that they are the ones pushing the distro away from the non-standard Linspire specific additions. I started using Linspire back when it was still Lindows and really enjoyed it as a Linux beginner. They made it so simple with CNR and with all of there bradning. I really liked that they set the menus to label programs for what they were for instead of the actual program names. i.e. Media Player or Instant Messenger instead of Xine or GAIM respectively. There was also something wonderful about the Linspire Desktop Manager (LDM) Whic if my understanding is correct has been being tossed out for another more standard and accepted Desktop Manager. The strength on Linspir has always been in it's branding and user friendly distinction. It's a shame to see it turning into just another clone of a distro. Making CNR run across distros is a nice idea, but the focus on that shouldn't be killing the rest of the features.

#

If you really want a Linux you can use...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.174.233.85] on October 17, 2007 06:33 PM
What can I say, I've used MEPIS for years, and now someone finally puts into words why so many people love it
http://desktoplinux.com/news/NS6972959691.html

#

Even Carmony switched from Linspire to Ubuntu

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.181.222.119] on October 17, 2007 06:35 PM
Even Kevin Carmony switched from Linspire to Ubuntu: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=577927

#

Re: Even Carmony switched from Linspire to Ubuntu

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.169.163.241] on October 18, 2007 03:07 AM
That's not a recommendation, sheesh.

#

Re: Even Carmony switched from Linspire to Ubuntu

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.106.198.153] on October 18, 2007 03:18 PM
Well.. they can't really refuse to let him use it can they?

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 206.118.26.14] on October 17, 2007 07:03 PM
There are some things wrong with this article. The main one being that you can't remove software with CNR. That is not true. When you run CNR it puts an icon next to the clock. You right click on it and go to configure CNR. and then go to the manage software tab and there you can remove any software on the machine. (By using the uninstall button)

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 141.158.147.144] on October 17, 2007 07:43 PM
Just use Freespire if you want all the goodness of Linspire. Or, better yet, download and install any number of distro's that are stellar in their own right: PCLOS, Sabayon, Mandriva, Ubuntu and openSUSE just to name a few. We don't need Microsoft's FUD on the desktop, and on the server/corporate desktop, we have Red Hat, Novell, and Mandriva. Move over Sinspire, you're not the only easy-to-use distro in town anymore.

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.184.186.170] on October 17, 2007 09:35 PM
Goes to show you... MS will do anything to stay in the game... just download puppy linux or ubuntu or kubuntu linux's, and be done with it.

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.26.91.67] on October 17, 2007 10:17 PM
Oh quit the fear mongering, Linspire 6.0 is a fantastic release. If you dont like the patent covenant then thats fine. Do not resort to just outright lies.

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.169.163.241] on October 17, 2007 11:39 PM
What lies? "piece of crap" is absolutely true. So what else?

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 60.241.217.28] on October 18, 2007 08:29 AM
How is it fantastic? It seems to have dropped any features that would make anyone want to pay for it...

It doesn't look like it has the polish of Ubuntu or SUSE

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 211.30.163.5] on October 18, 2007 11:52 AM
"Linspire 6.0 is a fantastic release."
=> What have you been smoking in the last 24 hours? Please get off it.

"Do not resort to just outright lies."
=> The author of the article isn't lying. Linspire 6.0 is the new low. You can't lie when something is crap. (Regardless if they signed a patent convenant with MS or not). To say Linspire 6.0 isn't crap is downright dishonest.

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 217.207.197.142] on October 18, 2007 03:52 PM
"Linspire 6.0 is a fantastic release" => only a senior manager at Linspire would say something like this. There is *no* compelling reason to use this distro.

I know from dealings with Scalix (another company that's been tarred with the Mafiasoft patent brush) that only the real sleaze balls are not embarrassed by the direction their employer is taking.

Why would anybody want to use Linspire when there are superior commercial and free Linux distributions around?

#

I used to wish Linspire well

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 198.240.213.26] on October 18, 2007 11:04 AM

The original idea behind Linspire seemed reasonable to me. I thought there was a legitimate niche for it. I'd even have recommended it. But:


the ability to play Windows Media files, and the ability to open and save documents in Microsoft's OpenXML format.


Clue to Carmony: Don't be evil if you want people to support your product. Helping Microsoft to pass off its obfuscated, proprietary file formats as "standards" counts as evil in my book.

#

Re: I used to wish Linspire well

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 141.158.136.106] on October 18, 2007 05:00 PM
As did I, and the reason most people wanted to switch to Linspire or Linux in general was because of their need to get rid of Windows. Now that Linspire is incorporating the garbage Linux users wanted to get away from in the first place, what's the point?

#

When you sleep with swine...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.71.34.137] on October 18, 2007 01:05 PM
You smell like them. That's what happens when you embrace Micro$oft: you gain their level of innovation, which is none at all.

#

Not worth 50 cents

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.115.49.242] on October 18, 2007 01:40 PM
I would'nt pay 50 cents for this distro-especially when I can download superior ones for free.PCLinuxOS for
instance works great on my desktop and laptop.

#

Windows Live :D:D:D

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.177.138.109] on October 18, 2007 03:02 PM
Check out the 4th screenshot on their screenshot page: http://www.linspire.com/products_linspire_whatis.php?tab=screenshots

Are they infact using windows live search as their default search engine in firefox????

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: RJDohnert on October 20, 2007 02:42 AM
I have my own
<a href="http://rjdohnert.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/linspire-60-two-steps-backwards-or-hurt-feelings/">opinions</a> I do think the author is dead wrong. For an Ubuntu based system its better than the mother ship. I would love to see a failed mounting of FAT32 and NTFS partitions, they mounted flawlessly on my system, IBM ThinkPad T21 test system. Get it, see for yourself.

#

Re: Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.171.0.144] on October 20, 2007 04:23 AM
The point the other article this piece refers to was missed. The main point, from what I could tell, had a lot to do with the price tag along with the quality of Linspire. $50 is not a huge drop in the bucket, but compare Linspire to the totally-free version of Mandriva (Free or One) and/or Sabayon and people would want to strangle someone/something because they basically wasted their money for similar functionality (minus the proprietary Windows stuff and their indemnity). What does Linspire offer over it's free counterpart Freespire? Or Linux Mint? Or Sabayon? Without sounding redundant, other than the MS-specific stuff, you can find the same programs with any of the distro's listed above for free as you could the $50 version of Linspire. I'm not sold on the "Linspire is a better Ubuntu and Ubuntu" thing either. I just installed 7.10 and have every piece of my hardware detected and running flawlessly. The Linux community is angered because a company can take something totally free, polish it up and brand it, then turn around and sell it to customers with some sort of protection against IP lawsuits. Thank the Lord for GPLv3.

#

Carmony's review of Ubuntu 7.10 gives some insight into Linspire losing its edge

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.181.222.119] on October 22, 2007 12:31 AM
Here is Kevin Carmony's review of Ubuntu 7.10 from his personal blog and how Ubuntu has over taken the last few remaining advantages Linspire once had:

http://kevincarmony.com/indexBLOG.htm

#

Re: Carmony's review of Ubuntu 7.10 gives some insight into Linspire losing its edge

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.18.68.45] on October 22, 2007 07:59 PM
openSUSE is the free community edition of Novell's SUSE (SLED/SLES). Fedora is the free community edition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Linspire is now the new for-a-fee edition (albeit much cheaper) of Windows. It would seem to me Carmony's blog did not take this into consideration as another reason why Linspire is falling from grace not only in the Windows community, but also within the Linux community as well.

#

Showstopper is a bad thing actually

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.187.214.91] on October 23, 2007 02:14 PM
Gah! People are starting to use Showstopper for something that instills awe, which is the opposite of its original meaning: a software bug so disturbing in its magnitude that it precludes the release from shipping :-(

#

free movies

Posted by: Jen on October 31, 2007 02:03 AM
I found http://www.boxsweeper.com has a lot of movies anime music and games!This website is quite great! And it's free for you to streaming and download! Check it out and enjoy it! It will save you much time and money! Don't forgot to thanks me........ha ha

#

Re: The only almost good Unix OS!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.61.69.39] on November 11, 2007 07:54 AM
Grow up! Years ago I rode a Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle, 650, twin carbs ect.-KICK START! Then came in the Japanese bikes, ELECTRIC START! The group I rode with decided that if it didn't have a kick start it wasn't a motorcycle, well guess what? Now they are all electric start unless they are a DIRT BIKE! I do have great resolve about the subject though of getting in bed with Microsoft but sometimes you just have to get to know the Devil as to say to be able to make a better mouse trap. Grunt007

#

Linspire 6: Two steps back

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 172.16.7.12] on November 19, 2007 09:36 PM
TANK VERY MUCH

#

This story has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.



 
Tableless layout Validate XHTML 1.0 Strict Validate CSS Powered by Xaraya