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Freespire Lives, Goes Back To Debian

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the olde-school dept.

Linux Business 104

nerdyH writes "Following Xandros's acquisition of Linspire, some feared for the future of Freespire, the free version of Linspire. However, Xandros today announced a new version of Freespire that will return the popular free Linux distro to its Debian-based roots."

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Xandros and Linspire (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24503881)

Neither of these are particularly great distros. Xandros signed an evil patent-deal, and neither distro jumps out at me with any real advantages to use them.

Can someone please explain what these guys have to offer?

I'd certainly like to see fewer distros. I sincerely believe we'd see higher quality if people focused their efforts to improving a few major distros rather than forking them every few seconds.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (5, Insightful)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | about 6 years ago | (#24503951)

We wouldn't have Ubuntu if people followed that advice a few years ago.

Don't forget... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504099)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock smoking teabaggers!

Re:Don't forget... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504765)

Good point. Remember folks this is ESRs distro and Freespire/Linspire are in bed with Microsoft as much as Novell are:

Novell was the first to acknowledge that Microsoft FUD tactics had substance. Novell then used anti-Linux FUD to market itself.

Xandros founderHighlight: Xandros let Microsoft make patent claims and brag about (paid-for) OOXML support

Linspire CEO Kevin CarmonyHighlight: Linspire's CEO not only fell into Microsoft arms, but he also assisted the company's attack on GNU/Linux.

-- Source [boycottnovell.com]

Re:Don't forget... (1)

renegadesx (977007) | about 6 years ago | (#24505873)

Ah but everyone knows boycottnovell.com is run by a twitter sockpuppet.

Re:Don't forget... (1)

byolinux (535260) | about 6 years ago | (#24507003)

What does that mean, twitter sockpuppet?

Re:Don't forget... (1)

renegadesx (977007) | about 6 years ago | (#24507047)

You must be new here

Re:Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24509217)

There is a /. user, Twitter [slashdot.org] who has many other accounts on /. These accounts are known as "sock puppets" presumably because they are under control of the original (Twitter). These accounts are used by Twitter when his 'Twitter' account is in karma hell and can't post or when he wants to agree with himself in a thread.

While many people do the same sorts of things on /., Twitter is most infamous for it.

Re:Don't forget... (1, Informative)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 6 years ago | (#24509553)

What does that mean, twitter sockpuppet?

Since the original poster has replied but completely ignored your question I will answer for him. No doubt my reply is going to start a colossal flamewar since I very much doubt my opinion of Twitter matches with his judging by the tone of his original post and his entirely useless reply.

Twitter is a user of slashdot who has been here for a great while longer than many of his detractors. He has a habit of posting inflammatory anti-microsoft rants. He has become the victim of a concerted campaign to drive him off slashdot for good. This campaign has mainly consisted of people systematically modding his posts down without reading them but there are also some who reply to his posts with offtopic rants.

Since slashdot has the karma system and his ended up in the toilet it did not take long for him to open another account with neutral karma. Unfortunately his posting style is fairly recognisable so these accounts are usually spotted pretty quickly and they are then attacked as well. These other accounts are often called Twitter sockpuppets. To his credit Twitter has stood his ground and still posts on slashdot, now mostly under his original account it seems.

A link to twitters slashdot page is below. You can read some of his previous posts here and make up your own mind about him:
http://slashdot.org/~twitter/ [slashdot.org]

Since your account ID is fairly old I am surprised you have not heard of him. You may well be a sock puppet yourself but who cares. If you read this Twitter, remember that some of us value your contribution to a debate and hope you do not give in to the people who wish to censor you to oblivion.

To his detractors please remember that slashdot comes as a package. There are bound to be people here you do not like and who annoy you but you have to take the rough with the smooth in all walks of life.

Re:Don't forget... (1)

byolinux (535260) | about 6 years ago | (#24513471)

Someone accused me of being a Twitter sockpuppet a few weeks ago. I thought they were referring to Twitter.com.

Thanks for clarifying. I'm certainly not a sockpuppet -- I tend to only post in threads around GNU and GPL. I look after www.gnu.org :)

Re:Don't forget... (1)

renegadesx (977007) | about 6 years ago | (#24519251)


Someone accused me of being a Twitter sockpuppet a few weeks ago...
I tend to only post in threads around GNU and GPL

That would be why, Twitter is a GNU and Linux troll, that really gives the open source community a bad name. However Twitter almost never (he's starting to in his sockpuppets) mentions MS, Microsoft or Windows, its always M$ and Windoze.

Twitter thrives on the facts that not everyone knows all of his sockpuppets (he has plenty of sockpuppets with very high karma that he uses to mod himself up) and when people are falely accused of being his sockpuppets. Caution

Re:Don't forget... (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 6 years ago | (#24523353)

Twitter thrives on the facts that not everyone knows all of his sockpuppets (he has plenty of sockpuppets with very high karma that he uses to mod himself up) and when people are falely accused of being his sockpuppets. Caution

Sounds like paranoia too me :)

Re:Don't forget... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24516721)

Check my sig.

Re:Don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24506077)

<yawn>

How tired. Get around to copying & pasting much?

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504165)

I still haven't u what we need Ubuntu for. We have Debian. Granted, not that trendy but it works.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 6 years ago | (#24504545)

I still haven't u what we need Ubuntu for. We have Debian

Oh, come on now. I prefer Debian myself, but I put my non-geek friends and family on Ubuntu. If I put them on Debian I'll have to explain so much crap their eyes will glaze over and they'll ask me to put Windows back on. It may be trivial to you and me when something goes wrong (an apt-get dist-upgrade breaks the menu system, or optical discs suddenly stop mounting automagically, or the wireless network card no longer shows up in the Gnetwork box), but to a non-geek any one of those things is a total deal killer. Ubuntu may just be Debian slowed down by a bit of idiot-proofing, but it's exactly that idiot-proofing that makes it usable for so many people. When those same people see my ion3 Debian desktop they're like, "WTF? Why don't you just use the easy one, like you gave me?". And of course I explain it's because a more CLI-centric install is easier for me.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504563)

Some people like typing "sudo" before everything they do. What other distro could they use?

Re:Xandros and Linspire (0)

mweather (1089505) | about 6 years ago | (#24504615)

sudo su

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Informative)

J053 (673094) | about 6 years ago | (#24505331)

sudo su

sudo -i

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | about 6 years ago | (#24505167)

The Debian Etch installer lets you choose between the Ubuntu-style single-user-with-sudo setup or a more traditional separate root and unprivileged user (who is NOT in wheel and cannot use sudo out of the box.) So you can do the whole sudo before everything bit on Debian too.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | about 6 years ago | (#24506355)

sudo passwd

because i choose not to.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

otopico (32364) | about 6 years ago | (#24520649)

sudo? bah

I got root baby, and by hell i'm going to login on it.

telnet forever, root will save us all!

Re:Xandros and Linspire (4, Interesting)

BlackCreek (1004083) | about 6 years ago | (#24504607)

I still haven't u what we need Ubuntu for. We have Debian. Granted, not that trendy but it works.

Except that

  • stable releases took 2 / 3 years to happen
  • that manners were often lacking at Debian mailing lists.
  • Debian didn't really strive to simply "work out of the box".

    On the topic of working out of the box:

    1. the installation process was NOT newbie friendly, and stopped short of setting many useful stuff by default (this was a long time ago but -- why couldn't it simply detect which device was handling the mouse?)
    2. everyone (with experience) knew that the boot time would get much faster by using ash/dash, but that never became a default...
    3. the mentality when reaching a difficult point was often to let it, in the name of security, unconfigured by default (user belonging to audio groups -- but how many users would actually solve that right? (Mandrake had gotten that right *years* before...))
    4. did you ever read that scary 'charset for the "less" pager' configuration question during installation? I had years as a SysAdmin when I faced that for the first time, and had no clue of what exactly was being asked. For a novice, it would be the confirmation of everything they feared about Linux.
    5. often the cause of the lack of a setting was not even

They often avoided a difficult (political or technical) decision and left it to the user. Who was supposed to "know better what to do", or to read and study in order to take any decision. Increasing the dedication necessary to run the system.

In short, Debian //never// went own to produce a system for someone who wasn't, at least, a hobbyist UNIX sysadmin.

Sure, many of these points are probably much better now, but this was surely the context that made Ubuntu a welcomed offering.

The greatest plague of modern computing is complexity. Debian tackles a whole world of it through its dependency work, testing, and dpkg/APT. But they still (leave?) left way too much unnecessary complexity into the system.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Earered (856958) | about 6 years ago | (#24508039)

When ubuntu came, those point were better (or solved).

What was missing was not users, but users who promote what they use, producing a virtuous cycle of growth.

i.e. Canonical has several "community manager" on its payroll kickstarting this process.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | about 6 years ago | (#24509651)

I agree with you about Debian being historically user-unfriendly, but I would call your attention to the following points:

1. Debian was always meant for production servers, not for desktops. Why do you think stable releases took so long? Because upgrading production servers all the time is a negative. You do fully regression test your upgrades, don't you? Hmm?

2. Debian has gotten a lot more user-friendly over time. I mean, dselect? Come the fuck, on. But over time, they gave us aptitude, synaptic, gnome-apt, debian-installer, etc.

How much of this was inspired by the "competition" from Ubuntu? I dunno. A lot of it predates Ubuntu, but I'm sure the fact that there was someone out there improving usability didn't hurt.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Interesting)

EvilNTUser (573674) | about 6 years ago | (#24511171)

Why should Debian be like Ubuntu? New users could perfectly well use Suse, Mandrake or Red Hat before shit brown became fashionable.

While I don't actively dislike Ubuntu, I'm not a big fan because it feels like they equate usability with condescension. Many people, not limited to them, seem to think that it's impossible to create something that's both easy and powerful. I don't agree.

On the other hand, this argument also justifies its existence. The people who don't agree with me get to use what they prefer. Mostly I'm worried that a lot of new users with the potential to understand more won't realize that there are other options, since it gets so much publicity.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24504409)

Frankly, I don't think Ubuntu is all that great of a distro. I think Shuttleworth does a great job selling and marketing his product, and I give him props for that. He is doing a much better job than I convincing people to try Linux.

My point still stands. The Ubuntu devs could have focused their efforts on Debian. Their distro today still is binary compatible with Debian. If they added their new features to the stock Debian, all Debian users benefit.

The other point is that while a few people make major forks and make major new features, it seems we have tons and tons of distros with nothing really unique to offer. So why pull away all those package maintainers, devs, support people, etc. away from other distros?

Why doesn't Debian adopt Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504975)

My point still stands. The Ubuntu devs could have focused their efforts on Debian. Their distro today still is binary compatible with Debian. If they added their new features to the stock Debian, all Debian users benefit.

The problem with that theory, is that it presumes that the Debian devs would be willing or want to take Debian in the direction Ubuntu went. As it stands I haven't heard of any great exclamation made by Debian of "That's what we should do!".

Debian is doing what it does well. Ubuntu is building on the current Debian and doing what it does well.

This is an example of where fracturing the distro works very well. Ubuntu is arguably not a fork of Debian at all, but instead it's an extension. By having different groups work on different layers of a distro or distro family, we're getting better focus on the areas that the different groups are working on.

Re:Why doesn't Debian adopt Ubuntu? (2, Interesting)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | about 6 years ago | (#24505259)

The problem with that theory, is that it presumes that the Debian devs would be willing or want to take Debian in the direction Ubuntu went.

Specifically, starting a bunch of unnecessary modules at boot just in case you may have that hardware may be OK for a system that "just works" but some of us prefer to optimize for faster bootup time and the reliability that comes from running fewer unknowns in kernel space.

(I'm not saying that Debian necessarily boots faster, as it will let you add all manner of services if you tell it to install the kitchen sink, but, well, you get the picture...)

Re:Why doesn't Debian adopt Ubuntu? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#24508671)

"I'm not saying that Debian necessarily boots faster, as it will let you add all manner of services if you tell it to install the kitchen sink, but, well, you get the picture..."

I don't know how, being just an palm synchroniztion tool can kitchensync make your computer boot slower :p

But now seriously, do you optimize the boot procedure of your Debian machines? How do you make your changes survive an apt-get upgrade? Do they generate a lot of "this file was changed by you or a script" messages?

Re:Why doesn't Debian adopt Ubuntu? (2, Interesting)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | about 6 years ago | (#24521465)

If I'm sure I won't ever be needing a specific service and I disable it manually, I'm not exactly worried that it won't get upgraded, I'm probably just trying it temporarily and will soon get by to uninstalling it. But if I were worried about that and I disabled it due to a false dependency, then I would restore things to the way the installer left it, and then upgrade as normal.

There are various ways to do that. The quickest way is probably to keep a separate directory for initscripts you don't want, and move the junk to there. During an upgrade, you can move them all back (maybe keep a list), do the upgrade, and then promptly put them back in their holding area. It's a terrible hack - but it's easy and quick regardless of whether its debian or something else. Another way is to check the scripts into a source code revision system, edit them to comment out the start section and then backtrack the changes during an upgrade. Yet another way is to write a shell script that creates a K link for each S link for each init level and removes the S links, with a mirror script that does the reverse. I may be overlooking an even simpler way of doing this with unionfs, but I don't think of it as anything more than a convenient hack which isn't going to cause any problems I can't fix.

If all of the above sounds like much ado about nothing because it only represents a tiny fraction of system resources, you may understand my motivation a bit better by opening a command terminal in Ubuntu, sudo bash, then lsmod. If the last time you did this was before ACPI was fully implemented, this will open your eyes because that list used to fit on one screen. After ACPI and bluetooth, that list grew by leaps and bounds, and I see drivers loaded in memory for hardware I *know* I don't have... I also won't accept the fact that you can't simply rmmod ipv6 if you know you're not using it. Once you load that module it sinks its teeth into the kernel like some sort of memory leech and won't come out. [Insert some George Carlin-like expletives here]! Unused code sitting in memory is a problem waiting to happen, and the larger it is the bigger the potential security hole.

Each running service is also a potential problem. Don't use the "at" daemon? Nix it. Don't use NFS? Maybe you can do without RPC... Don't use samba? No need for samba daemon either. The dictionary program wants to run a server by default... *rolls eyes*. Some game wants its own sound server to start before anything else. Gone. A desktop system wants to start a sound server each time it utters a sound.... There's all this stuff that wants to be running all of the time that could just have been linked to a library or something. So, excuse me if I sometimes use a hack to route the trash elsewhere...

Now, if we are to keep Linux viable for running on embedded stuff like digital cameras and the like, it's going to have to become more systematic to get rid of this sort of excess. Maybe someday this sort of optimization will get easier. Case in point: Did you know that it's technically possible to boot Linux from flash in as little as .5 seconds? On a 200Mhz arm processor?

If someday my Linux systems boot in a sweet fraction of a second, I figure it will be because debian or something similar will be installed, not Ubuntu, and certainly not some hardware-treadmilled adware-laden commercial product. Ubuntu just doesn't seem headed in that philosophical direction, and if modules are going to be resisting their removal by the superuser then that's not a good omen for the way things could become. I mean, if a software monopoly wants to bloat its OS to the point of nonfunctionality then by all means, but they should keep the brain damage to themselves and not require all Linux users to standardize on the same philosophy just to keep hardware companies happy.

Re:Why doesn't Debian adopt Ubuntu? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 6 years ago | (#24529665)

Funny, I never tought about rolling-back my changes before an upgrade. I have even tried to make the boot procedure asynchronous, but never something that simple.

Nice hint, thanks.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

codemachine (245871) | about 6 years ago | (#24505115)

What exactly is stopping Debian from adopting the changes that Ubuntu makes? It is all open source remember. Debian simply has different goals and policies than Ubuntu. Ubuntu gains from Debian's work by using them as the base for their distro, and Debian gains from the many contributions that the Ubuntu devs contribute to Debian.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (4, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | about 6 years ago | (#24505251)

If they added their new features to the stock Debian, all Debian users benefit.

As far as I can tell, Ubuntu is nothing but a dumbed down version of Debian. If they had hijacked Debian I would have switch to something else. Some of us don't want to be treated like idiots by our computer.

The other point is that while a few people make major forks and make major new features, it seems we have tons and tons of distros with nothing really unique to offer. So why pull away all those package maintainers, devs, support people, etc. away from other distros?

The entire point of "Free Software" is that anybody with an itch to scratch can grab a copy of the code and make their own version. That's the benefit over proprietary software. If you take that away, what's the point?

The people working on obscure distros are working on those distros because they want to. If you told them, "Your needs and interests aren't important, get working on Ubuntu," they would probably laugh at you.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24505353)

I'm just going to respond to you, though it seems several people were suggesting the same thing.

Ubuntu is a bad example largely because their fork features major changes. Mint basically just includes codecs. PCLinuxOS was originally largely just changing the defaults of the desktop. Then are hundreds of active distros, many of which offer minor changes at best, yet pull away tons of developer time to maintain different repos and such.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (3, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | about 6 years ago | (#24506701)

Ubuntu is a bad example largely because their fork features major changes. Mint basically just includes codecs. PCLinuxOS was originally largely just changing the defaults of the desktop. Then are hundreds of active distros, many of which offer minor changes at best, yet pull away tons of developer time to maintain different repos and such.

But there's nothing to pull away from. There's isn't a fixed pool of developers working on open source projects. By and large most new distros are created by people who have no interest in helping out with another distro or by people who's ideas had been rejected by other distros. If they weren't maintaining their own distro they wouldn't go get involved with a different project, they'd just stay uninvolved.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24528855)

As far as I can tell, Ubuntu is nothing but a dumbed down version of Debian. If they had hijacked Debian I would have switch to something else. Some of us don't want to be treated like idiots by our computer.

damn right. i got my first PC nine months ago. i didnt know anything about computers and so relied on a friend, who installed then Ubuntu for me, though i wanted Debian, telling me "Ubuntu _is_ Debian", what is exactly what you hear from most Ubuntu folks these days (as if Ubuntu did all the hard work). however i didnt like it, so i grabbed a cd of Etch out of a linux mag and managed to install it with help of the Debian installation HOWTO at the second try. i had then some really tough weeks of reinstalations after rm -dr this rm -dr that (while affected by some really serious case of rootkit paranoia). in the meantime i write my own bash scripts and iptables and read every HOWTO i can get. i love the Etch and was never happier and cannot imagine to use anything else than Debian. i did not understand what unix is all about while using Ubuntu...(where is the root prompt?) if you ask me free software is about more than just a slow desktop with fake office programs. its about choice. dumbed down? i can just agree.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

DigDuality (918867) | about 6 years ago | (#24505725)

yeah, just TRY to get new features into Debian. Debian grows at a snail's pace and it's not because of a lack of devs.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (5, Interesting)

tinkertim (918832) | about 6 years ago | (#24506255)

My point still stands. The Ubuntu devs could have focused their efforts on Debian. Their distro today still is binary compatible with Debian.

Actually, they have focused their attention on Debian. You would have to examine Ubuntu and Debian source packages to really see just how much effort Ubuntu is putting into Debian.

In every distro there is a list of stuff that nobody wants to do. For instance, getting 'bashisms' out of init and other shell scripts so that a fully POSIX compatible shell (such as dash) can parse them correctly. Ubuntu tackled a lot of that list.

If you look at the Ubuntu source packages, you will see a ton of patches in debian/ , Ubuntu has structured their patches so that Debian can cherry pick from their improvements easily. Debian has and will continue to do this. For instance, if Debian just wants the patch that takes bashisms out of a given script, they can just take that and leave the rest.

Similarly, Debian security updates and other things are easily cherry picked by Ubuntu. Managing patches like this is very time consuming, Ubuntu could have said 'screw that' but they didn't.

Its a rather interesting symbiosis. While the projects are going in separate directions, devs from both camps continue to ensure that improvements remain isolated and rather portable.

My desktop is a mix of Ubuntu and Debian packages, for instance. Most things I use begin with Debian source packages, then I grab the Ubuntu source packages and get the patches that I want ... then make my own thing. Granted, this isn't typical use but it illustrates the benefits of a larger cooperative effort.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Earered (856958) | about 6 years ago | (#24508069)

For instance, getting 'bashisms' out of init and other shell scripts so that a fully POSIX compatible shell (such as dash) can parse them correctly. Ubuntu tackled a lot of that list.

I didn't get the impression that it cames from ubuntu (you do know that dash stand for debian almquist shell?).

Though, seing how the credit does not go to redhat for the networkmanager, I'm not that surprised.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2)

A.K.A_Magnet (860822) | about 6 years ago | (#24508629)

He didn't mean dash was made by the Ubuntu team, he said that some shell scripts used non-POSIX compliant bash extensions, and that some Ubuntu devs did rewrite bash specific parts into POSIX counterparts to have those scripts work with POSIX shells, including dash, which benefits to everyone but that no one wanted to.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Earered (856958) | about 6 years ago | (#24515129)

> which benefits to everyone but that no one wanted to.

some debian devs did rewrite some of those too

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24510749)

"My point still stands. The Ubuntu devs could have focused their efforts on Debian. Their distro today still is binary compatible with Debian. If they added their new features to the stock Debian, all Debian users benefit."
They did and they called it Ubuntu. Shuttleworth has plans to make money with support and probably some other things and I doubt that would have worked just contributing to Debian.
Also Shuttle worth would have no control over release dates, features, and then you have the entire what is free enough to include battle.
Debian is a good distro and that is fine. They have there own goals and ideas of how Linux should be.
But they are not compatible with Shuttleworth's. Also Ubuntu's cool new stuff is all GPL'd Nothing stops Debian from using what they want so the Ubuntu developers have contributed to Debian if the Debian developers want to take advantage of it.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Insightful)

fwarren (579763) | about 6 years ago | (#24521275)

I think it is fair to say, that Debian has their own way of doing things. What if you want to be able to include video codecs? Include the Adobe flash player? Binary video drivers? Nope, those things are not the Debian way.

What if you want to run software that is newer than 2 or 3 years old? Well you could go run Debian unstable, but if one of the packages gets broke, you have to wait for someone to fix it or figure it out yourself.

There are plenty of reasons why someone would want something almost Debian but not quite. If you yell loud enough in the support forms they will tell you to piss up a rope, that is not the way they do things.

What Mark Shuttleworth has done is made a Debian derivative that is essentially a binary compatible fork. It is built on top of Debian in such a manner that things can be contributed back. The way they roll is different from Debian. No need to wait 3 years for Network Manager to get put in Debian. They just put it right in without the debate, without being told they cant do that. They invested in setting up forums and running them where novices asking stupid questions can get help. Where people are not crucified for asking how come the distro does not do this and that.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24514061)

Ubuntu DOES focus efforts on Debian. I mean, a given release of Ubuntu basically is Debian + some "fluff" -- stuff like a Ubuntu-specific firefox plugin manager, codec auto-download thingy for VLC, etc. that just make it a little easier for the noobs. Debian's welcome to that stuff if they want (it's open source), it just doesn't necessarily fit in well with the Debian way of doing things. Any other bugfixes to Ubuntu go right upstream to Debian. Honestly, I thought Ubuntu made tons of changes -- until I installed a recent install of Debian. Slap on a Ubuntu screen background, and it might even be hard to tell side-by-side which is which... Ubuntu tracks Debian VERY closely.

         

Re:Xandros and Linspire (4, Insightful)

teh moges (875080) | about 6 years ago | (#24504115)

I think the problem is not 'too many distros', rather that not everything that runs on distroX runs on distroY. If a standard base could be setup that still allows for distros to be unique, but also allows for them to work together a lot better, then we will see an increase in applications made for linux, both open and closed source.

As it stands, if you want to make something non-trivial that runs on a linux distro, you either need to pick your distro (at least decide between RHEL, Debian or another base), and just hope that it runs on the others.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (4, Funny)

Drantin (569921) | about 6 years ago | (#24504217)

A "standard base"... I think you may be on to something [linuxbase.org] there.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504437)

There is a standard base. It's called Debian. 60% of Linux users use it or a derivative. The derivatives have the same packaging system. LSB is retarded since they didn't include Debian.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

sxeraverx (962068) | about 6 years ago | (#24505777)

Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with LSB. One of the worst problems is that of Fortran. Fortran libraries aren't in LSB, and most distros don't distribute them by default. (Ones I've tested: Fedora, RHEL, Debian, and Ubuntu). Sure, everyone knows and loves C, but especially a lot of scientific computing applications that are still actively being used and developed today, were written in Fortran, and it would be more effort than the developers are willing to put in to port them to C. But LSB complains about Fortran that there aren't enough active developers of it (are there any? is there even a 4.0 version of g77?) and that not enough major distros are throwing it in by default. The other major problem is that of simply not including Debian, on account of not having a compatible packaging system (which, by the way, is more widespread than RPM, arguably more powerful than RPM, and precedes it).

Re:Xandros and Linspire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24510593)

Don't forget: IS FASTER

I mean shit, after moving from slackware to redhat (back in the dark ages of Slack being all but dead), I moved to sorcerer and eventually gentoo because of how long RPMs took to upgrade/install (it was for years easier to just reinstall my linux distro every couple of years than to attempt an upgrade, which took 4x as long as an initial install. And at the time debian was too much of a nightmare for installing dependancies for what I wanted.) It wasn't until I tried ubuntu after a teacher mentioned it that I realized just how fast dpkg/apt could be, and combined with a good GUI package manager made hunting down what I wanted to install a breeze (I had in my previous attempts with debian/apt not learned of apt-cache search, and thus had a hell of a time finding the packages I wanted to install. Sorcerer/Gentoo's dir-o-packages was much easier for me to grok, if messy).

Anyways, my point being RPM seems to have only become so well standardized because RPM was prevalent and easy to write for, and debian wasn't, at a crucial juncture in standardization.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 6 years ago | (#24504515)

I started thinking about this a lot since the announcement of LSB (Linux Standard Base) 4.*. The idea that a distro could have core components in common to target sounds great. But tackle it from a different angle. Lets say I am using distro Y to develop an application targeted to work on LSB. The problem is now, I have to be VERY CONSCIOUS of what libs/bins I am using, and how. Just because it runs on distro Y that is LSB compliant doesn't mean that it will work on any LSB distro. Now everything I touch, and how I touch it, needs to be looked up, analyzed, and tested on however many LSB compliant distros, JUST TO MAKE SURE that I haven't tried to use something that isn't actually part of LSB.

The only way I can see something like LSB working is to have a distro that is ONLY LSB... as in, nothing else. But seriously... does the spec even encompass a whole working OS?

Re:Xandros and Linspire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24506111)

Lets say I am using distro Y to develop an application targeted to work on LSB. The problem is now, I have to be VERY CONSCIOUS of what libs/bins I am using, and how. Just because it runs on distro Y that is LSB compliant doesn't mean that it will work on any LSB distro. Now everything I touch, and how I touch it, needs to be looked up, analyzed, and tested on however many LSB compliant distros, JUST TO MAKE SURE that I haven't tried to use something that isn't actually part of LSB.

So in other words you're saying that you have to be meticulous while developing software?

Who'd a thunk it?

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | about 6 years ago | (#24508483)

That is the same mindset that led to a gazillion web pages that were IE only. People wrote for IE rather than writing for the spec.

Write for LSB, and it will work on LSB compliant distros.

The idea of a reference implementation of LSB is a good one though.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | about 6 years ago | (#24513805)

It's called a developers environment, and it isn't hard to set up

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#24504707)

Do you have some examples? I've been running debian since 3.0 and I've never found a piece of software I needed redhat or whatever to run. Worst case scenario, I just compile it myself. And it's very rare that I've needed to do that.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Tacvek (948259) | about 6 years ago | (#24505461)

Generally only proprietary software has trouble of this kind, and these days even they usually work well on all the major distributions. Of course, distro specific software may also somewhat fall into this category, as in some cases they depend on the very infrastructure of the project. But even those tools are often ported.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Optic7 (688717) | about 6 years ago | (#24509727)

I frequent some 3d animation forums (cgtalk.com) and the topic of running Softimage XSI, one of the major 3d animation software packages, on linux came up a few weeks ago. Their target distro is Fedora, but people apparently can finagle other RPM based distros to work, but someone mentioned there that it will just not work with Debian based distros. Who knows if it's something that a Linux hacker could figure out though...

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Walles (99143) | about 6 years ago | (#24506817)

If a standard base could be setup that still allows for distros to be unique, but also allows for them to work together a lot better, then we will see an increase in applications made for linux, both open and closed source.

Here you go. [debian.org]

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 years ago | (#24504255)

I'd certainly like to see fewer distros. I sincerely believe we'd see higher quality if people focused their efforts to improving a few major distros rather than forking them every few seconds.

I keep hearing that, but the answer is that it already does. Most of the application development happens upstream, the distros usually compete on doing what a distro should which is to deliver it all to you in a nice package. Distros come and go as the need arises, many fork off more or less as specialist distros and gets absorbed back in the distro they came from. Take for example MythTV. It was a long time it more or less had its own distro, now "mythbuntu" is basicly MythTV which you can install alongside ubuntu/kubuntu/edubuntu/xbuntu etc. Honestly, it's not that many realistic options to choose from, if you want to have any decent community and support for your distro.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Interesting)

bill_kress (99356) | about 6 years ago | (#24504339)

The only thing they really "Have" is the application store. It's the only place I know of that is like the app store on the iPhone (the first of that type I ever saw actually) where it combines free and commercial apps, has a single install/remove point, is trivial to use automatically adds it to your menus, ...

The thing is, Ubuntu's is at least as good now, so I'm guessing that the only reason they have to stick around is so that some current users can avoid change.

As I've been told when trying to update the family's apps: "Nobody likes change"

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24504421)

Sounds like portage.

And I thought commercial software has been added to Ubuntu's repositories before.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 6 years ago | (#24504727)

Commercial free (like flash player, for example) is different from paid software. CNR allows you to buy software.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24505369)

Portage allows you to install commercial software like crossover-office. You still need a license, but portage will pull in the installer through the standard install process, and keep track that it is installed for dependency purposes.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#24504711)

They have more than that. And CNR is a lot more useful than Synaptic for a budding user.

Don't forget Freespire bundles WMP codecs, DVD playback tools, and a whole bunch of other stuff, legally and for free. For those in the US who fear to break idiot laws, it's there for you.

libdvdcss (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 6 years ago | (#24505385)

Anyone who bundles DVD playbook tools does so legally. The DCMA states that it is illegal to circumvent copyright technology for the purpose of pirating content. It isn't illegal to reverse engineer the ability to play your original DVDs that you legally own. Several lawyers have even spoken out on the subject, and no distro in the US has even been sued for including libdvdcss that I know of. Yet people are terrified of including it.

Re:libdvdcss (2, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 6 years ago | (#24508201)

This is actually untrue. The DMCA states it's illegal to make, possess, or import something that circumvents an access control mechanism or a copy control mechanism. It does not tie the prohibition to copying.

There are no distros of any visibility in the US that bundle libdvdcss that haven't been licensed in some way. It is probably that the DVD CCA would take a pragmatic view and not sue at this point, largely because it's easy for an end user to circumvent the ban anyway and because while its damaging to other manufacturers of DVD players that they have to pay CSS license fees when unauthorized distributors of libdvdcss do not, it certainly isn't damaging to Hollywood that people be able to play DVDs on GNU/Linux based computers, and at this stage the law of diminishing returns would apply when trying to push a lawsuit. But I certainly wouldn't gamble a business's livelihood on the DVD CCA's likely liberalism.

Up out of the basement and into the den (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about 6 years ago | (#24504403)

Can someone please explain what these guys have to offer?
,

The OEM Linspire PC has at least a minimal presence in big box retail.

It is close on to thirty years since the OEM system install became standard in the home market.

Linspire pioneered the "Click-N'Run" repository of free and non-free software for the user who will never give a damn about the ideology of free and open source.

What Linspire gave them was the comfort level of Download.com. Screen shots. Product reviews - from outside the geek community - reviews that could be etched in acid.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 6 years ago | (#24504465)

Well,as some who uses Xandros Business 4 on my laptop I can tell you why I use it,and that is because it works flawlessly for me when dealing with AD and Exchange,and was the only distro that worked with my evil Broadcom wireless. The built in Crossover Office was nice,as it allows me to have MS Office 2K for the occasionally funky formatted .doc or .ppt,and finally for me it just works. No CLI hoops,no "it works kinda sorta",it just all works perfectly for me out of the box. And the Xandros File Manager is nice and the layout of the UI is close enough to XP that when I'm out on a repair job and the boss asks me to lend one of his employees my laptop so they can work while I repair their machine I don't have to explain anything,they can just start to work. So those are the reasons why I use Xandros..

And finally about the MSFT deal.Please remember that at the time there was no EU forcing MSFT to open up their server protocols and Xandros was trying to integrate Xandros Server with Scalix into a windows AD forest and have it work as either a member or a domain controller. So basically MSFT had their balls in a sling because without those server protocols they couldn't integrate. And the one thing that Xandros really does well is play nice with Windows networks,which is why I use it when I go out to work on SMBs. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

YES! Less distros == better quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504731)

I second your call for fewer distros. We have way too many with too few differences between them, resulting in lots of people wasting precious human capital duplicating what already exists.

Re:Xandros and Linspire (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | about 6 years ago | (#24512389)

The Xandros has crossover installed and running on it. Which lets regular people (read non geeky people) install those applications that they so love. Does it work with everything, Most likely not. But it does let the regular person use a linus OS and install office (2003 yes not sure of 2007 haven't tried 2007).

There were some issues getting wine to run office on Ubuntu. Then after office was working (office was a deal breaker open office not an option for them) a few days later then complained because they couldn't install some other windows app (I forget what it was it wasn't work related). Configuring wine for every app was not something they wanted to do. So I tried xandros. It let them, the regular user, install their windows app. They did wonder why it was asking for the root password on install but that was about it. They could use it and not have major issues. Ubuntu worked until they wanted another windows app. They want the app they are used to, not something close to it. In that reguard xandros worked. also this is a non profit place. Buying one copy of xandros was cheaper then 40 copies of crossover for Ubuntu. I did email and got a reply about the 40 installs for the non profit. Xandros people had no issue with buying one and installing it over and over.

Popular? (4, Insightful)

Zaurus (674150) | about 6 years ago | (#24504015)

Just how popular is it? I've personally used and seen a lot of people use a lot of distros (over a dozen), but I've never used or seen anyone use Linspire or Freespire.

Re:Popular? (3, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | about 6 years ago | (#24504121)

There's a small company in Chile that sells custom-built boxes with it installed, and they sell quite a lot of them to lower-middle income families in the capital.

Don't ask me why they picked it, I have no idea. Having seen one of these systems up close, they're really crappy (hardware-wise), but I guess they work well enough. They also provide tech support for a nominal fee.

Re:Popular? (3, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 6 years ago | (#24504177)

There's a small company in Chile that sells custom-built boxes with it installed, and they sell quite a lot of them to lower-middle income families in the capital.

This must be some strange new meaning of the word "popular" that I was not previously aware of.

Do they also have a "Beware of the Leopard" sign on the basement stairs?

Re:Popular? (1)

dedazo (737510) | about 6 years ago | (#24504539)

That's my data point, take it or leave it. "Popular" is not limited to whether or not Michael Dell likes you, and the world is not just Europe and North America.

Re:Popular? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 6 years ago | (#24504751)

"Popular" is not limited to whether or not Michael Dell likes you, and the world is not just Europe and North America.

Contrariwise, popular in Santiago is about as useful on a global scale as popular in East L.A.

The question is not do Freespire have any customers at all, the question is whether is is reasonable to refer to them as a popular distribution.

I've been messing with Linux since 0.9, and like one of the earlier posters I've never seen Freespire/Linspire in the wild.

Chile (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 6 years ago | (#24504631)

This must be some strange new meaning of the word "popular" that I was not previously aware of.
.

Chile has a population of 17 million and a per capita income of $14,000 a year. Chile [wikipedia.org]

In 2006 Chile had 1 million broadband users - not bad for a country that didn't have DSL or cable Internet service before the year 2000.

The "e-business" potential of the country looks quite good.A Wired Country [cinver.cl]

Re:Chile (2, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | about 6 years ago | (#24504741)

One of the things to remember about countries like Chile (and Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, etc) is that there's a HUGE divide between the upper and lower middle class, in the sense that there's no true middle class like there is in the US, Canada or Germany. They also tend to suffer from unregulated state-owned monopolies that have subtle effects on the spread of technology. For example, in the 90s getting on the Internet in Mexico was extremely expensive because of a stupid charge-per-call rule the state telephony company had. If your modem was dropping connections, you were in for pain at the end of the month when the bill arrived. I remember having to call home and ask my dad for more money just to pay the damn phone bill.

All this has the effect of putting the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder at a disadvantage. So the availability of cheap hardware running cheap software is important, because it offsets costs like electricity and broadband. There are retailers in Santiago, Caracas and Buenos Aires that will sell you essentially the same machines Dell or Gateway sell in the US. Trust me, those are not contributing to the tech revolution down there. It's the little mom and pop shops that sell crappy boxes with Linux (or pirated Windows...) that are doing that.

Re:Popular? (1)

demallien2 (991621) | about 6 years ago | (#24507935)

Ha! I'm going to comment, just because I can!

Remember when you were in high school? Remember how there were 'popular' kids?

Anyway, it's highly unlikely that those kids were 'popular' outside their own year at their own school. And yet... popular. The GP's usage of 'popular' fits perfectly with this well-known usage of the word, no?

Re:Popular? (1)

Beowulf878 (1304661) | about 6 years ago | (#24504685)

I bought their retail version, coz of the codecs it had with it, which was fine but the click-and-install system didn't work, the command line didn't work - no matter how often I have reinstalled it onto different boxes. Not a good use of £25 I feel...

Everyone in unison now.. (4, Funny)

Anrego (830717) | about 6 years ago | (#24504027)

WHO CARES!

My first troll :) .. but seriously.. meh

Evil distro 1 acquires lame distro 2 and proceeds to make it more like evil distro 3 (which it is based upon itself)

Hey Fucktard (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504905)

All Fucking Commercial Distros are fucking evil. If you can't fucking build your own fucking distribution then you are too fucking stupid to even fucking exist let alone use a god damned mother fucking computer. If you are too fucking stupid to even exist, then I sugget you fucking go out and fucking commit suicide or commit mass fucking suicide with your entire fucktarded family to eliminate your fucking genes from the fucking gene pool

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY!

Re:Hey Fucktard (3, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | about 6 years ago | (#24505827)

Lighten up, Francis.

Re:Hey Fucktard (1)

deniable (76198) | about 6 years ago | (#24506699)

Call me Psycho or I'll cut you. And if anybody touches my stuff...

(It took me a minute, but I hope we're talking Stripes.)

The Mothership - Debian (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 6 years ago | (#24504123)

The Mothership - Debian!!!

Press Release (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504333)

We, Open Blue Enterprises Inc., the makers of Blue Cat Enterprise Linux (recently merged with "Advanced Carrier Grade Enterprise Linux Business Solutions") announce that our next release will be based on Debian Lenny.

Debian will provide a robust base for our leading Linux enterprise distribution and allow us to concentrate on what we know best: wallpapers with cats providing a unique desktop experience.

Blue Cats (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 years ago | (#24507839)

Cute! [wikipedia.org]

Underground distro (5, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | about 6 years ago | (#24504383)

It was going to the grave, but changed direction. Now they are going to their roots.

moo cows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24504407)

"Following Xandros's acquisition of Linspire, some feared for the future of Freespire, the free version of Linspire"

I thought the GPL had an effect that requires that Linspire be identical to Freespire except for the price and the name.

Re:moo cows (2, Insightful)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 6 years ago | (#24504763)

The GPL says nothing about what applications you can include on CD you sell. An expensive linux distro can ship with crossover and Microsoft Office if it wants to.

Why did Linspire's CNR fail? (4, Interesting)

ricegf (1059658) | about 6 years ago | (#24504885)

I'm honestly not sure why CNR [cnr.com] hasn't done better (which is to say, generate any noticeable use). It's free-as-in-beer, supports several major distros in a central location, offers social features such as reviews and ratings, allows grouping of apps into "aisles" for easy one-click installation and sharing, handles commercial software sales as well as free software installation compatibly and rather efficiently, and generally provides a rather nice experience.

Why has it wilted like a Friendster? Because it's not free-as-in-speech? Is Applications -> Add / Remove or Synaptic simply "good enough"? Do enough Linux users really object to their Microsoft deal and abstain on moral grounds?

Of course, I don't use it personally. And I'm not sure why. Would a FOSS version by a more credible member of the community generate more interest and enjoy some success?

Re:Why did Linspire's CNR fail? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 6 years ago | (#24508605)

CNR is a nice concept. Hopefully it can be merged into the Add/Remove Applications app. Having a central repository for commercial and FOSS apps is a definite win.

Of course, apps would have to be well tagged to say if they are commercial, crippleware, shareware, or free. Hopefully crippleware will be completely excluded since it gives a bad experience to the whole system.

Re:Why did Linspire's CNR fail? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508689)

It's not done better because it's a commercial project.

Rightly or wrongly, Linux people HATE anything with money attached. Unless that money is being given to them, with no strings attached, in which case they'll sit on it forever more like demented spinsters.

Re:Why did Linspire's CNR fail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508869)

"Do enough Linux users really object to their Microsoft deal and abstain on moral grounds?"

You bet we do.

Re:Why did Linspire's CNR fail? (1)

EvilNTUser (573674) | about 6 years ago | (#24511483)

I don't know the specifics, but personally I always avoid installing software that isn't available in my distribution's repository. It's never worth the hassle unless it's something very specific, and then I'll probably compile from source. The biggest reason Windows is a pain in the ass, imho, is how many different update mechanisms are running at the same time. I have to provide the administrator password to something nearly every time I reboot my one Windows installation.

Considering using such a service on Linux has alarm bells ringing throughout my head. Especially when it was created by a company that encourages users to run as root, and attempted trademark violation against Microsoft. No thanks.

Re:Why did Linspire's CNR fail? (1)

Smenj (648240) | about 6 years ago | (#24515425)

Would a FOSS version by a more credible member of the community generate more interest and enjoy some success?

Perhaps. I think you're pretty much answering your own question.

[...] handles commercial software sales as well as free software installation compatibly and rather efficiently [...]

Aha! Yes, that's exactly why I have no interest in CNR.

Example: I recently succumbed to temptation and got an iPhone. I love it despite it's shortcomings. One thing I don't love, however, is the slippery slope that is the App Store. I am only interested in the free (as in beer) apps (and would prefer if they were libre as well, of course). But Apple intentionally presents free apps the same way it does those that cost money. Each time I download a free app, I receive a "receipt" in my email, with a total of $0.00. There is no way to restrict access to only the free apps; it's all or nothing. They require an iTunes account to download even the free content. Their motivation is clear: to separate me and my money. This is their right, and I respect their desire to turn a profit, but I resent their closed nature. Thank geekdom for jailbreaks.

The free software movement has made tremendous progress toward their goal of producing a completely free stack. I have no interest in blurring the lines between what I can redistribute freely and what I can't.

Re:Why did Linspire's CNR fail? (1)

mocoloco (1136259) | about 6 years ago | (#24529523)

Is Applications -> Add / Remove or Synaptic simply "good enough"?

Yup, it is. There's nothing in CNR that I use that I don't find in the Ubuntu repositories. The few apps I don't get from the repos are not in CNR, so I have no use for it.

Now if the project focused not on offering things already available as .debs but instead on packaging those that aren't you might have something. But that would be a big undertaking.

The world does not need more Ubuntu derivatives (1)

kriston (7886) | about 6 years ago | (#24506281)

The world does not need any more Ubuntu derivatives.
I like the move.

Kris

FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24512921)

This may be an unpopular opinion but FreeBSD is a much better operating system than any of the Linux distributions.

Re:FreeBSD (1)

otopico (32364) | about 6 years ago | (#24520783)

Hell yes. Plus you get the ports tree and, oh sweet lord, it's really a unix!

Another distro? (1)

EvilIntelligence (1339913) | about 6 years ago | (#24512929)

I agree that we may not need yet another distro, but Freespire/Linspire did have a couple of nice feaures, such as Click 'n Run. Take that feature and strip the prices off the downloadable apps, and you have an easier alternative for yum. That could be helpful for mass audience users that are simply looking to switch from Windows. There's value in everything. You just have to look for it. And anything that gives users more choices has merit.
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