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New CNR.com is a work in progress

By Andrew Min on January 16, 2008 (7:00:00 PM)

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Last year, Linspire announced that it was opening its software distribution service, CNR (short for Click 'n' Run), to users of the Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu distributions. A month ago, it announced a beta version of CNR that includes support for Ubuntu 7.04 and 7.10 (the two most recent versions), with versions for the other systems on the way. Alas, after trying it on my Ubuntu system, I think it needs work.

On my system, which is basically a stock Ubuntu install, installing the CNR Client (available through a Linspire repository or through a provided .deb package) also installed 13 additional dependency pacakges. The procedure also added users to the cnr group (apparently, only users in the cnr group can use CNR), so I restarted my computer just in case.

When my system booted up, I started a browser and headed over to CNR.com. The site lets you download .cnr files, which are XML files that tell the CNR client where to get each application. Each CNR program has its own homepage, complete with a description and user-submitted rating and screenshots (though many programs have little or no user-submitted information).

I downloaded the Wine .cnr file and double-clicked on it. A progress window opened up and the CNR client began downloading the application's .deb package, and when that completed installing Wine. After it was done, I checked the version of Wine it installed and found it was 0.9.46, the version in both Linspire's and Ubuntu's repositories, which was released in September. The latest version, however, is 0.9.52.

Installing Glest, a real-time strategy game, was a different story. The Ubuntu version in the Canonical repositories is only for the upcoming Ubuntu 8.04. Unfortunately, this means that Glest will only install from CNR.com on Linspire and Freespire (it is apparently in the Linspire repositories), not Ubuntu. Why doesn't Linspire offer an option to filter the software list so that users who ask for software for a particular platform can see only what's available to them?

For installing free software, CNR is basically a front end to APT, similar to Synaptic or Adept -- though not as good. It requires a two-step process: you need to download the .cnr file, then double-click on it to install it. Using the Web version is clunky and slower than using a native client. It's not clear why Linspire doesn't create such a client -- it doesn't have to use a Web page -- but all the current cnr program does is process .cnr files.

Installing commercial software

CNR does a better job when it comes to installing commerical software. There's a decent collection of commercial software, ranging from StarOffice 8 to TuxRacer Deluxe, though I was surprised to see popular programs like Crossover Linux and Cedega missing. Software Tycoon looked cool (despite the 1.5 star user rating), so I clicked on it. That took me to the purchase page for Software Tycoon on the CNR site. To buy software, you must have an account set up with CNR already, and you can pay with Mastercard, American Express, Discover, or Visa (though surprisingly, not PayPal or any other online checkout system). Linspire also offers a $50 premium account, which lets users get discounts of as much as 30%. If you expect to buy a lot of software, it's a nice deal.

To uninstall software installed by CNR, I had to use APT, Synaptic, or Adept to find the appropriate package; it appeared that CNR didn't provide a way to uninstall software using CNR.com. A Web search brought me to uninstall instructions on Freespire's wiki, but they didn't seem to work. A client that can install but not uninstall software seems incomplete.

In fact, overall, CNR seems like a half-baked program. Sure, it does a good job of installing commercial software, but it's not meant for installing just commercial software. Linspire needs to make some modifications to its new site and software before it becomes truly useful.

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on New CNR.com is a work in progress

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Author is a n00btard

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 169.233.25.12] on January 16, 2008 07:58 PM
"On my system, which is basically a stock Ubuntu install, installing the CNR Client (available through a Linspire repository or through a provided .deb package) also installed 13 additional dependency pacakges. The procedure also added users to the cnr group (apparently, only users in the cnr group can use CNR), so I restarted my computer just in case." -> You just need to log out and log back in for the group settings to apply.

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Author lacks insight

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 169.233.25.12] on January 16, 2008 07:59 PM
"Using the Web version is clunky and slower than using a native client. It's not clear why Linspire doesn't create such a client -- it doesn't have to use a Web page -- but all the current cnr program does is process .cnr files." -> The web page is probably to track how many people are actually interested.

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Didn't LinSpire make a deal with Microsoft?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.226.1.174] on January 16, 2008 09:55 PM
A patent deal with Microsoft, is something that many do not respect at all. Period.

I was about to set up someone I know with LinSpire, and then bam, Microsoft deal, so had to back off and do something else.

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New CNR.com is a work in progress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.136.186.184] on January 16, 2008 10:16 PM
How the hell did they get the cnr.com? It's near impossible to get your hands on a 3-letter .com domain. Must've payed a pretty penny for it.

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mixing it up

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.122.165.195] on January 16, 2008 11:30 PM
Statigicaly it would seem an advantage if only by marketing standards if all proprietary software could run open source as well. That sword cuts both ways I suppose. There is an obvious and persistant value in a pristine open system. Dialog- my grand pappy used to say to et well it sometimes helps to mix things up. It's interesting how successfull media is often a mixture as if a ying and yang duality allmost a validation of Heisenberg. Television news often harks from jurnalism talk shows often have host that were dancers or commedians or just have red hair or are from Austrailia their is a dual component at work. A popular talk show reminded me how components become the essence. So video game or virtualization wether systems or graphic models could simply contain a story heap, a motion framwork structure, and a library of both open, free, and commertial applications that hang on the frames and thereby could be developed independantly to provide charicture images wether creatures or objects used as creature habitation. They could be taged with a licences and a filter would provide or prevent missability as well pipe tabs to create documentation like film credits. Context free verse- Remenicence, Lapuslapusey, rinestone cowboy, emeraled belly dancer, red carpet, ingnited,reflecting upon the mirored glass smoth serfaces I started to the hard edge stacatoed accented, pop click as from a fantasy sodafest from the throng of photographers creating a heady spectical of delirium for all in attendance. For those in the states if only the media who may miss award cerrimony..

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New CNR.com is a work in progress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.195.189.119] on January 17, 2008 06:27 PM
Maybe the author didn't notice that the CNR client is still in Beta? If this is taken into account, please mention it more visibly in the post.

I get the nagging feeling that this could have been a much better article. I keep looking for links to click on that take me to the real article somewhere else on the site. This is way too limited and short to be considered a full test of CNR.

This article, just like CNR, needs work. Maybe it's a beta article?

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New CNR.com is a work in progress

Posted by: S3Indiana on January 18, 2008 12:18 AM
Quote:
To uninstall software installed by CNR, I had to use APT, Synaptic, or Adept to find the appropriate package; it appeared that CNR didn't provide a way to uninstall software using CNR.com. A Web search brought me to uninstall instructions on Freespire's wiki, but they didn't seem to work. A client that can install but not uninstall software seems incomplete.
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Is inaccurate. Opening the green CNR Client in the system tray (right-click Launch CNR), then select the Manage Software tab > CNR Software, highlight the package then select the Uninstall button at the bottom of the client. Could it be easier??? Also provides what packages were installed and the location: right-click the package, then select Files Associated. BTW using a web site - http://www.cnr.com - is the most reliable way to function cross platform...
[Modified by: S3Indiana on January 18, 2008 12:20 AM]

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