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Canonical and Linspire Make a Deal

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the consolidating dept.

Linux Business 282

Nate writes "Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, has teamed up with Linspire to share technologies between the two distros. When Freespire 2.0 arrives in April, it will use Ubuntu as its base, moving off of the current Debian. Ubuntu users will get access to proprietary software (DVD players, media codecs) via Linspire's newly opened Click 'N Run. Check out the press release and the obligatory FAQ."

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282 comments

Red Hat, Corel, Linspire (2, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937704)

Looks like someone has figured out that maintaining a distro is expensive.

Re:Red Hat, Corel, Linspire (1)

tnhtnh (870708) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937768)

This doesnt sound too bad - at least desktop linux will benefit!

Re:Red Hat, Corel, Linspire (-1, Flamebait)

earbenT (992594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937810)

It's good to see more collaboration between major luser-oriented distros, rather than each having an isolated community with its own attempt at reinventing the wheel.

Windows 95... almost? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938106)

Looks like someone has figured out chasing Microsoft's tail lights is expensive.

So Linux will be ready for the desktop in what, say, ten more years? Maybe? At least we got the text editor thing covered: take that, Mikr0$loth!!!

Re:Windows 95... almost? (3, Interesting)

coastin (780654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938474)

Funny you say that, Linspire 5.0 is was out way ahead of Vista and many of the features in Vista look alot like my Linspire desktop. I think I still boot into Win XP every few months to update my AV software, then I shut it down again.

Re:Red Hat, Corel, Linspire (5, Insightful)

0xygen (595606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938110)

To be honest it is probably a good thing in the long run. A long term criticism of Linux has been the number of different distros leading to numerous ways of performing the same tasks.

More cooperation between the leading distros will hopefully push for more commonality between the distros, especially if this means a way to include proprietary software.

Hopefully some of the resulting technology may even end up as part of LSB or similar one day.

"Streaming Penguin" (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17939030)

A long term criticism of Linux has been the number of different distros leading to numerous ways of performing the same tasks.

Absolutely. Another perennial criticism of Linux as a desktop OS is the lack of proprietary codecs and software, which hamper its usefulness with regards to digital media in its default configuration. An operating system that can't play DVDs without some shady "wink, wink, nudge, nudge, here are the addresses of some mirrors in France," is a non-starter for most people.

Hopefully, the collaboration between Linspire (who are one of the only distros that I know of, who actually license the codecs and thus can have a fully-functional, U.S.-legal distro out of the box) and Ubuntu (which seems to have the largest desktop userbase, and the most mindshare among users), will move Linux a little closer to parity with Windows.

Windows zealots are always going to have something to use as an excuse for the inferiority of Linux; ultimately, their objections (and many PHB's) tend to boil down to "Linux is not Windows," and are really sham arguments used to justify a decision that's already been made. These people are not convertible. Linux isn't Windows, and shouldn't try to be; to attempt to make Windows more attractive to them is probably to damage it. However, there are a significant number of people 'on the fence,' without strong feelings for or against Linux, and who are kept from being more interested because it's perceived as too complicated or limited. Providing U.S.-legal media codecs in mainstream distributions -- even if this means knuckling under and paying royalties in the short term -- is an important step towards bringing those users onto a Free platform.

Ubuntu / Debian (3, Insightful)

Marauder2 (82448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937716)

"When Freespire 2.0 arrives in April, it will use Ubuntu as its base, moving off of the current Debian."

Um, last time I checked, Ubuntu was itself a Debian based distro which would mean that even if Freespire were to base itself on Ubuntu, it's roots would still be in Debian.

Re:Ubuntu / Debian (3, Insightful)

earbenT (992594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937762)

I'm not sure exactly which Debian branch Linspire derives from, but if it's "stable," then there's a world of difference between that and Ubuntu.

Re:Ubuntu / Debian (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937848)

True, but Ubuntu differentiates itself from Debian in several ways. First off, Ubuntu is based on Debian unstable, and somewhat loosely based at that -- so much so that Debian's leaders have accused Ubuntu of deviating too far from the Debian release. Many Debian packages will work with Ubuntu, but not all -- many Debian packages are ported to Ubuntu by changing compilation options and, most importantly, specify dependencies differently. Ubuntu is a little more liberal when it comes to copyright and licensing -- Ubuntu distributes the proprietary NVidia and ATI drivers, for instance, and provides kernels with these modules pre-built and linked. Finally, Debian's goal is general-purpose distro that consists entirely of Free software, while Ubuntu's goal is to have desktop and server distros that are highly-polished and ready for the non-technical end user. Hence, the default menus and such differ signficantly between Ubuntu and Debian. So it's a bit disingenious to say that Linspire continue to be based on Debian.

Re:Ubuntu / Debian (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938374)

Yet, acording to rms, debian is not free enough. I don't know his reasons, but he seems to regard just a few distros as "pure free software". Ututo is one, among others.

Re:Ubuntu / Debian (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938458)

RMS's main beef with Debian is the optional non-free archive. That, and kernel firmwares which Debian might get rid of some time after Etch ships. That being said, RMS did sponsor Debian in its salad days and I think the FSF still uses it internally.

Re:Ubuntu / Debian and Linspire (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938658)

Debian's goal is general-purpose distro that consists entirely of Free software, while Ubuntu's goal is to have desktop and server distros that are highly-polished and ready for the non-technical end user. Hence, the default menus and such differ signficantly between Ubuntu and Debian. So it's a bit disingenious to say that Linspire continue to be based on Debian.

Linspire is pretty much a desktop that's polished and ready for use by nontechnical people now. It looks like Windows with "My Computer" and "My Documents" on the desktop and the ubiguous start button which Linspire calls "Launch" instead of "Start", probably for legal reasons. Where Linspire differs from Ubuntu is that while Ubuntu has as you say a server distro Linspire is specifically for the desktop mass market. A few months ago I got a new desktop, tower really, PC with Linspire preinstalled however I also would like to install Ubuntu and start working with servers.

Falcon

Re:Ubuntu / Debian (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938436)

"When Freespire 2.0 arrives in April, it will use Ubuntu as its base, moving off of the current Debian."
Um, last time I checked, Ubuntu was itself a Debian based distro which would mean that even if Freespire were to base itself on Ubuntu, it's roots would still be in Debian.

Um, last time I checked, nobody claimed that Freespire's roots would not be in Debian. Everybody knows that Ubuntu is based on Debian; the quote above does not dispute that. What exactly are you trying to say?

Debian based? (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937748)

it will use Ubuntu as its base, moving off of the current Debian

I thought Ubuntu was Debian based. Am I wrong with that assumption?

Re:Debian based? (1)

Mantle (104724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937858)

"It" is referring to Linspire, not Ubuntu.

Re:Debian based? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938670)

"It" is referring to Linspire, not Ubuntu.

Both are Debian based.

Re:Debian based? (2, Informative)

malkavian (9512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937966)

Yes, Ubuntu has it's roots in Debian. However, it does for Debian what Mandrake did for Red Hat when it came on the scene. Adds support for far more devices, codecs and has far more up to date releases of the applications.
Debian Stable is usually about a year or more "behind the times", though it does what it says on the tin (I use Debian for servers that really need to be stable, but I'm not too fussed about having the latest shiny release number).
Ubuntu makes for a far shiner desktop. Although some of the tech affictionados around here may drop the distro and head for pastures new (perhaps back to Debian, Gentoo or some other distro, maybe even Free BSD!), there are a lot of plain ordinary people out there who just want things to work, and be able to play DVD and have the codecs available to play the media they get sent in attachments via email, or on the web.
Ubuntu merging with Linspire, and getting access to all this could be a rather big step forward in getting the ordinary, everyday person who knows little to nothing about computers to have a closer look (especially when you can hand them a live CD, and say "Go play with it and see how it works for you").
Debian is a great base, and Ubuntu is all the easier for the hard work put in by the Debian team. It just wants to be less political and 'proper', and just get on with the job of making the framework work better for the average uninitiated person in the street.

Re:Debian based? (5, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938244)

I agree. I see a lot of people posting here are trying to make this out to be a bad thing and some even saying they are planning on switching distros because of it. And thats fine, its their choice...thats what its all about right? But if linux ever wants to become a serious competitor in the OS market, it's going to have to "just work" and be easier to manage for your average joes.

Just because linux is free, doesn't mean people don't want to run non-free software on it. I want too. I'm sure a lot of businesses are holding out because their favorite application doesn't support it. This almost feels like a bunch of people's favorite band garage band has an opportunity to become famous and they're pooping on it because then they won't be memebers of an exclusive club anymore! Linux needs to get popular to gain some traction with hardware makers and people that make a lot the desktop software the world uses. That'll create a chain reaction.

Re:Debian based? (2, Funny)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938286)

My FreeBSD desktop is quite shiney thank you... Fast and pretty graphics... *drool*

Re:Debian based? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938132)

Yes, Ubuntu derived from Debian. So now Linspire is based on Ubuntu which is derived from Debian. Ubuntu has made some changes which are not in Debian, but many of those changes make it back to Debian.

Entirely offtopic (-1, Troll)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938190)

We don't have enough troops in Iraq," Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, 2005.
Yes, because two years ago more troops may have made a difference. Three years ago would have been even better. Had we been able to maintain security in the first place (especially of critical infrastructure such as the power grid), things likely wouldn't be the way they are now. Or heck, perhaps there could have been some planning for the "post-war" - because it's damn obvious the plan was "they'll adore us and all problems will go away".

Now it's too late to "win", in any meaningful way.

Re:Entirely offtopic (0, Offtopic)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938906)

Best lead in to a sig EVER.

Debian? (0, Offtopic)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937756)

Off-topic post here. Can someone give us a low-down on the status of Debian's next release? I know time/effort is always an issue for voluntary projects, and some extra fund always helps, even if it's just beer money. Link for donation? I don't really have the time to volunteer.

Uhm. Okay... (1, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937760)

Not really sure if I'm all that thrilled about getting access to a bunch of proprietary software that I have to buy through somebody's portal.

Yeah, I guess the automated installation is nice for those living in the Land of Ludd. But I have little use for it.

That could just be me though.

Access to proprietary software and codecs (4, Insightful)

sgtron (35704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937786)

I don't want access to proprietary software and codecs. I run Linux to use free software. I want open codecs, and GPL'd DVD player software et. al.

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17937878)

Meanwhile, back in the real world...

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17937896)

Meanwhile, those of us not stuck in dreamland have to deal with reality. Proprietary codecs and software are part of reality, and thus, I'm happy that something is about to come along and make it easier to access them.

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937910)

And I want a pony.

(Sorry, I had to. Yeah, I'm a jackass.)

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938124)

No, you can't have a pony.

( -|-|~ Not yours)

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (4, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937934)

Then don't buy them off Click and Run. Seems simple enough.

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (2, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938162)

The Ubuntu developers have put a lot of effort into making it clear what is non-Free software so you can avoid installing it. The only exception is drivers that are required to make your hardware work, and it even will start popping up warnings about that... but you don't have any hardware like that, right?

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (1)

NSIM (953498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938260)

I run Linux to use free software. I want open codecs, and GPL'd DVD player software et. al.

Don't hold your breath waiting for them.

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938910)

I don't see why not. I use a Mac as my primary machine, but the media player I use for all videos, including DVDs [videolan.org] is GPL'd, and also runs fine on my FreeBSD box. The preferences UI is a bit rough around the edges, but apart from that it's a very nice piece of software. I can't remember the last time I ran across a video file it couldn't play.

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (1, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938326)

some people (myself included) couldn't give a damn is the software is free as in beer/speach/viewing or not. Some people just want their computers to work, work well, and with no more than a trivial amount of work to get them working.

-Jim Stapleton

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (5, Insightful)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17939032)

Some people don't know their history and are extremely shortsighted. It's the Free that got Linux where it is today. If people had your attitude when this thing was starting up there'd be no Ubuntu, Linspire, or CNR. If people continue to have your attitude we will always have to jump through hoops just to get the latest codec/flash/nex-gen dvd playing on our systems.

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938356)

And I want a castle in Spain. And a pony.

Re:Access to proprietary software and codecs (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938904)

I don't want access to proprietary software and codecs. I run Linux to use free software. I want open codecs, and GPL'd DVD player software et. al

That's your choice. Others just want a computer that works for them. They want to be able to legally play a movie, or like me use Photoshop to edit my photos. Though I have a desktop Linux PC I plan to get a Macbook Pro, then if I need to I can use Photoshop. Before I get PS I'll tryout different FOOS graphics apps but if they won't do what I want then when I can I'll get PS. Simply, though I'd like to be a Linux power user, I don't see why I should have to be one to use a computer. And the typical Joe/Jill can use Linspire as well as Ubuntu without needing to be a guru.

Too little open source? (0, Troll)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937792)


I'm starting to think that it's time to quit Ubuntu and move on. I was drawn to Linux originally because I liked the Open Source idea (and because I was a C programmer it seemed required somehow). But Ubuntu is turning into quite a haven for proprietary and binary only software and I wonder if I'm undermining the open source movement by not sticking with something a bit more free.

Re:Too little open source? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17937830)

h4rm0ny@tarddell.net

Re:Too little open source? (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937852)

Ubuntu doesn't include any proprietary stuff, really.

And honestly, the only "proprietary" or "closed" things that EVER get included with ANY distro are things like *decent* drivers for 3D video cards, and codecs.

The video card driver situation kind of sucks, but it's just a driver. It would be nice if there were open-source drivers that worked well, but the fact is that Nvidia and ATI are better at writing drivers for their own hardware than anyone else could ever hope to be.

The codec thing ALSO sucks, but there is nothing to do about it. If you want to keep you system "pure", then you aren't going to be watching any Quicktime or Windows Media files or DVDs.

Re:Too little open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17937894)

And honestly, the only "proprietary" or "closed" things that EVER get included with ANY distro are things like *decent* drivers for 3D video cards, and codecs.

Wireless cards as well.

the fact is that Nvidia and ATI are better at writing drivers for their own hardware than anyone else could ever hope to be.

No, they're better at designing the hardware. Drivers are still not (yet) the expression of the design, merely the interface to them.

Re:Too little open source? (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938028)

Oh, come on. Are you trying to tell me that if only ATI and Nvidia would open up the specs to their video cards, someone would write a FREE driver that worked better? Or even nearly as well?

They've been writing 3D drivers for almost a decade at this point. They have entire teams of guys writing the drivers. How can anyone compete with that? And why would they try?

Re:Too little open source? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938274)

The drivers might work well enough and that's the key. If I can run e.g. Compiz and UT2004 with decent framerates, good enough, especially if the 2D acceleration trickles over to fbdev.

Re:Too little open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938296)

Oh, come on. Are you trying to tell me that if only ATI and Nvidia would open up the specs to their video cards, someone would write a FREE driver that worked better? Or even nearly as well?
Try me.

Re:Too little open source? (1)

Pastis (145655) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938562)

Q: someone would write a FREE driver that worked better? Or even nearly as well?

1- peer review
2- in the long run the free drivers would be better. They would be maintained long after the official ones would get unsupported
3- I am pretty sure the people behind the various Linux system/drivers are pretty bright and I would trust them to better
4- Linux is pretty different from other operating systems in terms of development practises. e.g. APIs are not stable. I trust kernel developers to do a better job at integrating the driver and following the proper conventions than external writers
5- they would write drivers supported on more Linux platform than just Linux i386... for those people, little bit support is better than none
6....

note there are various components that have worked out of the box on Linux systems long before they existed on alternative systems.

I can't wait for the 'nouveau' driver to be stable for me to use it. I run the nv driver today on my brand new thinkpad and it works OK for my needs.

Q: why would they try ?
pick your reason(s): challenge, itch, fame, money, nothing else more interesting to do...

Re:Too little open source? (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938704)

2. Relevant for old hardware, yes. For new hardware, use the closed-source ones.
3. Ha ha. Good devs aren't common or expendable. nvidia has some VERY good devs working at these drivers. A 3D graphics driver is not trivial to develop. And unlike many free-as-in-freedom evangelists think, it IS much more difficult than a NIC driver.
4. Unfortunately, this is one reason why IHVs tend not to support Linux (read "support" as in writing drivers by themselves and providing call-center support).

Nouveaux is the closest thing there is to a free, decent 3D graphics driver, and guess what - its because they use reverse-engineered stuff. Its not just the specs. A lot of the 3D functionality is in the drivers themselves.

Re:Too little open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938664)

Have you used the official ATI drivers for Linux recently? How long do you think it would have taken the OSS community to support AIGLX? ATI's official drivers still don't.

Re:Too little open source? (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937982)

No shit.... when I run Ubuntu, my idea was to have a mostly freely maintainable system with as little to do with Windows as possible and that I can install without fear of licensing keys and having WGA issues (not that I don't use Windows, i do - XP also runs just fine for me, it is more of a PITA to install IMNSHO). *Sometimes* you need a few extras that aren't free or open-source and I find that upholding this OSS-only front, keeping to "principles" (whatever "principles" these people are trying to exemplify) and denying yourself certain things that run well even on free/oss operating systems is a bit retarded. I go for what works, $$ or not. However, that's me... some people find those principles important I guess.

Re:Too little open source? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938254)

Yea, I have a principle that murder is bad.. But meat is tasty, so I eat meat. See life is full of compromises its not just the computer world.

Re:Too little open source? (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938794)

wait... what... murder is BAD? *hides bodies*

Re:Too little open source? (1)

earbenT (992594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938006)

Pretty much. If you want a totally free (as in freedom) variation of Ubuntu, there's gNewSense [gnewsense.org] .

Keep in mind that it does come with a price, though, since open-source GPU drivers are still lightyears behind IHV solutions, and limiting yourself to only Ogg media is also a pretty lofty prospect.

Re:Too little open source? (3, Informative)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938068)

It would be nice if there were open-source drivers that worked well, but the fact is that Nvidia and ATI are better at writing drivers for their own hardware than anyone else could ever hope to be.
They're better at writing the drivers because they're the only ones with the specs...

Re:Too little open source? (1)

petabyte (238821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937860)

I actually had a similar thought. I've been using Linux for about a decade with Debian being my first distro. I liked Ubuntu because it seemed to clear up the cobwebs a bit and let me use apt. I've run Suse, Slackware, Gentoo and all 3 BSD (going to be building a new freebsd fileserver tomorrow) but ubuntu filled the niche on my laptop where I want to install programs quickly without compiling. Maybe I'll try Fedora on my desktop the next time they have a respin. I hear good things about yum these days and I'm curious about Selinux. I guess I could try CentOS as well.

Re:Too little open source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938610)

I used Red Hat from '95 up until 2005. I'm now using Ubuntu for desktops and Debian for servers. Fedora drove me to switching.

This isn't meant as a troll, but there are several issues I have with it. First off, too many damn updates. Every time I'd run "yum update" it'd pull down a few hundred megs. Occasionally these updates would cause breakage.

Second is the selection of packages. Very limited. To get a usable system, you have to use core, extras, and several "RPMForge" repos. Also for certain things, you'd need to use Livna (also limited, and incompatible with RPMForge). Still I'd often run into the problem of stuff I want either not being available, or being broken (breakage was mostly through RPMForge). So often I had to compile things myself, which gets tiring after years of doing it.

Third is how every new release feels slower. FC5 feels slower than FC4. FC6 feels much slower than FC5. YMMV.

After bouncing around a bit, I settled on Ubuntu. Mainly because it has a wide variety of packages and nearly all I've tried work.

There are certain things I've had issues with. They still link wxGTK against GTK1. I do development with wxWidgets, so this is quite annoying. So I had to build it from source along with the wxWidgets-based apps I use.

The other issues I've had are mostly an issue on servers. I've had it happen with Ubuntu Dapper (experimented with), and also with Debian Etch (using in production). I was trying to get netbooting working. Under CentOS, I'd run "yum install xinetd tftp-server nfs-utils", do some configuring and then be done with it. With both Dapper and Etch, it was nowhere near as easy. There are three different tftpd servers (tftpd, atftpd, tftp-hpa), only one of which I was actually able to get to work (atftpd). Same with the inetd servers, there are four (inetutils-inetd, netkit-inetd, openbsd-inetd, xinetd). The only one I was able to get working with atftpd was netkit-inetd. Once I got past that, there were two options for nfsd (nfs-user-server, nfs-kernel-server). The only one I was able to get to work was nfs-kernel-server. This was rather frustrating. Something that would take 5 minutes to get working under CentOS took me all day under Debian. Everything else (samba, openldap, kerberos, bind9, apache2, cupsys, etc) went smoothly.

Other than that, though, Debian and Ubuntu have been very pleasant to work with. With the exception of wxWidgets, I haven't had to compile anything myself. The only third party repositories I need to use are Beryl and Medibuntu (dvdcss, w32codecs). No breakage at all, either.

If you want to experiment with Fedora, try it in a virtual machine first.

Re:Too little open source? (3, Informative)

Dillon2112 (197474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937998)

Ubuntu isn't really proprietary. CNR isn't a bad move, honestlly (and I'm as much an OSS zealot as almost anyone). CNR itself is open source, it simply gives you access to closed source software, should you want to interoperate with someone who uses such software (Opera, Skype, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash, etc.) Many of these pieces of software many Linux users will install anyway, but now at least they are manageable via Linux's own mechanism: package management.

In the end, no closed source software has been added to the distro by default, the entire CNR add-on is optional (at least in it's use), and we may even stand to gain some ground in the OS wars. I'll count it as a win.

I think the plan is to make CNR part of many "big" distros: openSuse, Fedora, Freespire (duh), Linspire (duh), Ubuntu to name those listed at the top of CNR.com. At least when people try to switch, they will see some familiar applications available.

on balance it's a good thing for FOSS, IMHO (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938054)

I don't run Ubuntu myself, but it seems to me this deal provides more freedom. From the FAQ [freespire.org] :

In addition to the free service and products, users may also use CNR to access commercial products and services as well as proprietary drivers, but it's entirely up to them.

That means if you want to, you can buy proprietary codecs and stuff. But it's not part of Ubuntu's distro, and nobody will twist your arm.

This might help make it possible to finally switch grandmas and girlfriends from Windows.

Re:Too little open source? (4, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938400)

The Ubuntu developers strongly support the ideals of the Free Software movement. They also want to make an operating system that's useful to their users.

One of the primary usage patterns that the Ubuntu developers expect for their software is for it to be installed on computers that are outdated or even second-hand. They feel that it's better for these machines to have a binary driver or two then for them to not work. With Fiesty Fawn, they will warn the user about binary drivers, but it's important to make the hardware work anyway - $30 for a new ethernet card just isn't a good deal on a second-hand computer donated to a school in Africa.

This deal with Linspire is a little bit different - it's a legality issue about software patents. Sure, it has the secondary effect that Linspire will get to sell proprietary software to Ubuntu users, but the important thing is that it provides a legal way to play Windows Media files on Ubuntu in the USA. Not having to tell all your users to break the law to watch a video is a good thing.

Re:Too little open source? (2)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938404)

Use Debian. Some of us want a system that works out of the box to compete with Apple and MS.

Ubuntu was never created to be a Free distro the way Debian was.

Re:Too little open source? (1)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938476)

In 1996 I heard the same argument about Netscape. Really, we have three choices.
  1. Ignore closed media. WMV,Sorenson,Mp3,etc. Just pretend they don't exist.
  2. Implement closed media codecs in an illegal, partially open but not really open way.
  3. Play the game to deliver capabilities that most people have come to expect of a modern OS in the last ten years. for a short time

I'll keep using Netscape as an example. Using a closed source app was a stopgap measure until an open replacement was available. Are we such purists that we'll disregard anything that contains any non-free software? Or are we going to be willing to allow linux to prove itself a valuable part of the computing ecosystem? Then leveraging that to push open standards and codecs and formats.

It's a fscking codec, it's not like MS is pushing office down our throats. And these same codecs are already being used (possibly)illegally(in the US, perhaps the EU) in many systems today.

Awesome (4, Insightful)

lnxpilot (453564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937816)

It's nice to see.
If we are to compete with the evil M$, we need cooperation between distros, not bickering.
United, we stand. :)
Sure, I have my favorite distro(s), but as long as it's not Microsoft, I'm happy.

Re:Awesome (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938390)

wow -- that's seriously the first time I've ever heard anyone say anything about the logical cooperation between distros that should be happening but just isn't, from what I've seen. I'm new to the linux world, and all I've seen so far is a lot of:

"X distro is better."
"Nuh uh -- X distro is da bomb!"
"You all suck -- I've been running X distro since 1990 and I own you all."

I don't know how linux users like this ever expect to see their OS gain a meaningful market share in the desktop world with attitudes like this.

More proprietary stuff. (5, Insightful)

rabbit78 (822735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937900)

So we get more ways to easier install proprietary stuff on that OS that was originally proposing to 'support free software'. Sigh. Can anybody enlighten me how Canonical is actively supporting and advertising free software? By pulling in more and more options for proprietary software?

I know they argue that the lack of certain applications and / or drivers is hindering adoption of free software and there is certainly some thruth to it. Well, I don't know. I think as long as I have the choice to exclude the proprietary repositories I'll be fine with it. But I probably wouldn't encourage people to install Ubuntu first, like I did in the past, but instead point them to Fedora.

Re:More proprietary stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938026)

They actively support and advertise Ubuntu. Ubuntu is free software. I've enlightened you.

I would encourage people to install Ubuntu first if it sounded like it would do the job for them after listening to their needs, instead of succumbing to Proprietary Software is the Demise of Linux FUD.

Re:More proprietary stuff. (1)

prestonmichaelh (773400) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938140)

I know they argue that the lack of certain applications and / or drivers is hindering adoption of free software and there is certainly some thruth to it. Well, I don't know. I think as long as I have the choice to exclude the proprietary repositories I'll be fine with it. But I probably wouldn't encourage people to install Ubuntu first, like I did in the past, but instead point them to Fedora.


This is the kind of thing that frustrates me about most Linux users. Ubuntu, or even Freespire/Linspire would be one of the first distros I would suggest. I have been using Gentoo for a while now and just recently switched to Ubuntu. I plugged in my USB thumb drive for the first time yesterday and all of a sudden a dialog box popped up asking what I wanted to do (Open the folder, etc.) and I was AMAZED! I never told it I would have USB thumbdrives. I never put in any obscure automount commands. I didn't have to do a dmesg to see what the device connected as followed by a mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/usb_drive. It just worked. Same with my sound card, video card, network card, monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Usually, with most distros I have to spend at least a couple of hours googling and tweaking config files to get at least some of those components working properly. I am all for free software, but I am also for being able to get my work done. The fact of the matter is that some companies either will not or cannot have open drivers. I would much rather have something that worked, and worked without headache that was closed, than nothing at all or a reverse-engineered solution that is flaky at best and never works quite right.

The fact of the matter is this, if anyone wants Linux to have significant desktop market share, then it will have to include proprietary software/drivers. My grandmother, father, sister, or non-computer geek friends with never use a system where they have to edit a configuration file by hand and use google to be able to play their mp3s. They are used to things just working with Windows. Look at the current outrage about Vista. Most problems are because some device or piece of software does not work. Quite often there are workarounds, but people are pissed that they even have to do a workaround. All Linux (without the proprietary drivers/software) is is a bunch of workarounds.

My final thought is this, maybe Linux shouldn't try to for significant desktop market share. I love Linux, I use it on my desktop and on my servers, but it is not for everyone. Maybe Linux should not worry about beating Microsoft for the home user and focus on what it is best for, servers and development.

Anyway, that is my 2 cents.

Re:More proprietary stuff. (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938544)

But I probably wouldn't encourage people to install Ubuntu first, like I did in the past, but instead point them to Fedora.

It's funny you didn't say RHEL instead of Fedora. I wonder why. Oh that's right, you have to *pay* for it. Does that mean Red Hat doesn't support FOSS either? I'm just so confused.

P.S., I'm making a point, not baiting flames.

Re:More proprietary stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938818)

Because RHEL is for *enterprise*, not for personal use? because it's much more expensive than Windows or Mac OS? because RHEL is based on rather outdated software, unlike Fedora?

This is really big news.... (5, Interesting)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937914)

Because with the CNR technology, Linux is closing the gap between Windows and Macs in ease of use.

Give it time... it will catch on. RPMs are great but if you need XXX dependancies first to install something, people get confused (as I did). This is the best thing for Linux since sliced bread :)

Re:This is really big news.... (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938750)

RPMs are great but if you need XXX dependancies first to install something, people get confused (as I did).

Have you used Debian or a Debian derivative? This hasn't been a problem with those distributions in over a decade.

Re:This is really big news.... (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938992)

Yes it is. If you get a random dpkg that is not from a repository, you will also need to hunt down the dpkgs it depends on. If you install dpkg from a standard repository, the dependencies will also be there and they can be fetched. This is exactly the same situation as with RPMs (or *BSD packages). The only difference is that people have a habit of making binary RPMs available for download and just hoping that you have access to the dependencies.

Re:This is really big news.... (1)

dodongo (412749) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938786)

I never saw a reason to have sliced bread on my system, since I couldn't fill the dependencies for libtoast0.

Re:This is really big news.... (2, Funny)

cooley (261024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17939018)

I tried both Synaptic and apt-get, but I just can't find this "sliced bread" package you speak of. I have also tried searching for "sliced-bread", "slicedbread", and "sliced_bread" to no avail. I'm confused, and I sure wish there were an easier way to find and install....

Click'n'Run as a shop? (2)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937970)

No one will forced to buy anything trough Click'n'Run. It will just offer users who will want to use some commercial apps their way to do so.

What bother me more is prioritary codecs. If they are Fluendo ones, I am fine, but if they are some thirty party hacks, sorry, I don't think Ubuntu should get involved in this.

Anyway, interesting move. If it means that Canonical things more about commercial offerings, more power to them, because I would like to recommend some enterprise crowd to use Ubuntu instead of RHES/SLES, because I don't think very good about them.

What I don't want to see either is Add/Remove and Synaptic gone. It would be very foolish.

Re:Click'n'Run as a shop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938534)

Augh! You polluted my mind so badly with the word 'prioritary' that it took me forever to think of the word that it seems like you meant: 'proprietary'.

Starting to really like this guy (5, Interesting)

adrenalinekick (884201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937972)

I'm starting to really like Kevin Carmony - the Linspire CEO. First the Desktop Linux Summit, then CNR for all major Linux distros, now this partnership with Ubuntu. Anyone else get the feeling that Carmony is taking all the right steps to setup linux as a viable alternative to M$?

Re:Starting to really like this guy (1)

coastin (780654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938372)

Yep, he has the right vision. I have seen many improvements at Linspire since he stepped in. This is really good news for linux and for Linspire.

Re:Starting to really like this guy (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938468)

sounds like a good guy -- let's hope he has the cajones to stand up to MS if he gets the call one day about a SuSE-like deal.

This is it. (4, Insightful)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17937996)

This is what Eric S. Raymond was on about at Christmas, that this is what was needed to be the desktop of the future in a 64bit world. Remember ESR's Desktop Linux 2008 Deadline [slashdot.org] ?

Re:This is it. (2, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938624)

I have some qualms about the timeline in that essay. For one thing, I don't think the pressure will really be on until the "64-bit killer app" appears. (And if I knew what that app would be, I'd be writing it now and planning how to spend my millions.) It's hard to think what a typical desktop user (or even a "power user") would do that would require more than 4GB of RAM.

And the computing market has become more diffuse and less desktop-centric. Game consoles, smartphones, web-centered apps... I think that platform transitions will become more diffuse, too.

But yeah, I think he's spot on about a strong need for a simple, legal way for people to play media on Linux. This is a net, long-term good thing, even if it has some downsides in terms of open-source purity short-term.

This is (not all of) it. (0)

ESR (3702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938798)

This is only part of what I was going on about. The distribution-independent codec installer that Linspire is working on -- what Kevin Carmony now tells me they'll be calling "LinCodex" will be just as important, if not more so.

Ubuntu...the new super-distro? (4, Interesting)

darealpat (826858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938064)

It seems to me that the folks at Canonical are positioning themselves to be the distro of choice for users coming from Windows that have expectation of certain types of software, and are not averse to proprietary software, that is, the non hard-core linux users. By keeping themselves in the public's eye they stand a good chance of doing so.

Well... (2, Funny)

DJ Wings (954277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938076)

...I was debating over whether to recommend Ubuntu or Freespire to one of my classmates, but I guess I'll have to go for either Freebuntu or Ubire. Both are 1337er than *buntu and Freespire put together... Never mind, they're about the same as *buntu and Freespire put together.
Plus, "Ubire" sounds like "Uber"...

Why is .deb dpkg so broken? Why not .src.rpm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938096)

Can some Debian/Ubuntu expert explain why Debian/Ubuntu doesn't move to some src.deb (similar to src.rpm), unify the tools a bit, to simplify package building, extracting, rebuild steps.

There is no .src.deb file.
Instead, you have:
  - something_1.0.orig.tar.gz. Why is the original archive required to fit Debian arbitary naming conventions?
  - something...dsc
  - something...diff. Which for an odd reason needs to patch the original source code with debian specific junk just to build.
  - also note that this .diff often contains a collection of diffs. is patch/diff an archive format?

The design problems with this are:
  - the name and contents of the original file should be untouched.
  - any build rules/scripts should be externally defined, and not be required to be put in the original source.
  - all the diffs needed should not be required to be combined unnaturally into one. The should be separate diffs, logically.
  - The diffs, build rules and extra build scripts should be archived together. Optionally, the original source two. But two files is manageable.

Yes, .src.rpm is closer to the "right" way. It is possible to just adopt .src.rpm to build a debian system. "alien" can build .debs from .src.rpm.
But I am not religious about .src.rpm.
But I do know that the current state of ".src-deb-pile-of-stuff-build-system" needs to be replaced.

Ideology or Pragmatism? (0, Troll)

earbenT (992594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938120)

I'm sure this headline will send RMS into a tizzy, but it also resurfaces the question of where open-source is headed if it is to survive and flourish against staunchly proprietary competitors.

Shades of MicroSuse. (-1, Flamebait)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938250)

I've been a Linux fanboy for a long time. Several years ago (Suse 7.3) I got on board with Suse and rode the wave up until 10.0. Currently my #1 work horse is a Suse 10.0 box. I tried 10.1 and hated it so I've stayed with 10.0

Now with the MicroSuse deal, I am compelled to withdraw my support, financial and otherwise for Novell/Suse.
The past several months I've considered Ubuntu because of all the noise over it.
That and Shuttleworth putting on a dog and pony show (anti MicroSuse pro freedom).
Well an opportunity arose to install Ubuntu on a machine for a friend so I didn't have to risk my work machine. Man, I was sadly disappointed. What a LAME distro. If you are a tweak freak power user, forget Ubuntu. BASIC.. And yes, I enabled all the extra repositories. Still, BASIC.. Oh, and the security on Ubuntu? Are you shittin me? The "user is root is user" thing alarmed the shit out of me. Uh uh.

I then understood why everyone loves it so much, because it's so BASIC.
I told my friend that he wouldn't be happy with Ubuntu and that he should run something else.
I have dabbled with Gentoo and I'm pretty sure that that's where I'm headed and will recommend my friends go too.

Now this thing with Ubuntu and Linspire. I guess this will be the new wet dream system for the folks that love and embrace basic and simple and insecure systems. Hell, why even bother, this will be so much like XP that there really won't be enough difference to make it worth the trouble to convert. I read on Digg a few days back some guy installed Ubuntu for his dad (dad requested son to install Vista) and his dad actually believed he was running windows Vista. Are people really that dumb?

Re:Shades of MicroSuse. (1)

earbenT (992594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938360)

Why would you lambast something for accomplishing what it set out to do? I don't believe Ubuntu ever claimed to be a distro for power users.

Re:Shades of MicroSuse. (1)

earbenT (992594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938440)

Oh, and by the way, I hope you're very happy satisfying your OCD with GCC flags in Gentoo and being generally unproductive.

Re:Shades of MicroSuse. (2, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938618)

you can change the default sudo privileges if that bothers you. Compile apps from source or bring in ones from other distros (alien, etc.) if ubuntu doesn't have package. Compile custom kernels if that floats your boat. Add another runlevel to the two-step one. What exactly can't be tweaked in Ubuntu that some other Linux distro allows? I threw my SuSE in the garbage can a few months back, and Kubuntu isn't lacking anything, nor is anything not tweakable.

Re:Shades of MicroSuse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938622)

1) 'BASIC' is an acronym that describes a programming language. The word that you're trying to use is simply 'basic' with no abnormal capitalization at all.

2) The "user is root is user" thing... wha? Of course the user doesn't normally run as root. Did you use the installer properly?

3) As for power users... I don't know exactly what it is that you want to tweak, but in Ubuntu, just like most other flavors of Linux, you can just go ahead and do it.

4) Are you a troll?

Re:Shades of MicroSuse. (3)

concept10 (877921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938652)

"If you are a tweak freak power user, forget Ubuntu. BASIC.. And yes, I enabled all the extra repositories. Still, BASIC..:

This stupid comment bothers me as it only represents FUD. How does Ubuntu (or any other distro) prevent you from tweaking your system, or being a so-called power user. Give me a break.

Last time I checked, the Ubuntu repo's had over 21,000 packages. What more do you want, and what does the repository have to do with it in the first place? What did you think would happen when you enabled more repos? The distro is supposed to automagically turn into Gentoo or "Enterprise Ready(TM)" ?

 

Re:Shades of MicroSuse. (2, Insightful)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938816)

The fact that Ubuntu is BASIC is why it's so great. Normal people don't want to tweak shit and work with the console/terminal and all that crap. We want to be able to browse the web, type a paper, send some e-mail, and instant message, and damnit, we want to do it "out of the box," as in right after the install is done. We don't give a shit about your free software jihad and your extreme phobias of running non-free/proprietary software. We want an operating system that simply works.

Re:Shades of MicroSuse. (2, Informative)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938860)

Oh, and the security on Ubuntu? Are you shittin me? The "user is root is user" thing alarmed the shit out of me. Uh uh.


I think you're confused about something. At one point, Linspire was configured such that the user always ran as root. Ubuntu does not, and to my knowledge never has. Perhaps you are thinking sudo/gksudo? Ubuntu is not the only system that has this ability. Every day I run Ubuntu as a non-root user. When I need to perform administrative tasks, I am prompted for the root password, which elevates the process to run as root. I don't understand how you can think this is insecure.

Interesting (2, Informative)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938280)

I'd read a paper a while back that spoke of the need to provide legal and simple codec plugins for linux. The authors had mentioned that Linspire was in the unique position as the only linux distro with legal right to use wmf.

The paper was Here [catb.org]
The portion about Linspire was towards the bottom.

To the authors: Congratulations and thank you for tackling one of the large hurdles preventing mainstream adoption.

Re:Interesting (1)

ESR (3702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938930)

And in answer to the implied question -- yes, I do believe the things Rob Landley and I wrote in "World Domination 201" helped this happen sooner. I know we influenced Kevin Carmony's thinking because he's said so, and we also know that Mark Shuttleworth read a draft of the paper.

Don't forget (0, Troll)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938342)

Don't forget to pay your $699 license fee to SCO^WIBM, you cock-smoking teabaggers.

Re:Don't forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17938878)

I appreciate the effort (it was brave of you), but it just isn't the same not coming from the scofeetroll himself...

Way to go (1)

Maznio (137785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938578)

Indeed, some consolidation is needed - makes it easier for people to identify Linux through 1 distro rather than 10.

Incorporating proprietary software is not as scary as it sounds - noone forces users to buy the stuff and as we know, every Linux app has 5 alternatives.
I think this would be some motivation for proprietary software writers to port to Linux. This makes the "but my app does not run on Linux" excuse go away (I've heard that a lot).

If it works... (1, Redundant)

UED++ (1043486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938656)

I want stuff to work. I don't care about binary blobs etc and neither does the average user? If Ubuntu frustrates you go back to using slackware or some other distro where hardly anything works...

Proprietary is NOT Required (3, Interesting)

apharmdq (219181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938804)

What a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that running Ubuntu with proprietary binaries is optional. They still have their restricted/universe/multiverse repositories, and so you make the choice of whether to include proprietary/unstable/etc packages. And that's what Linux is all about, being given a choice.

If you want to support free software, just don't install proprietary packages. If you just want things to work as best they can, then having these extra options is a good thing.

And honestly, if one is such a zealot for free software, why would that person be using Ubuntu anyway? Last I checked, it included the "controversial" Firefox browser, as opposed to something truly free, like Iceweasel.

The point is that Ubuntu hasn't entirely been strictly free software for quite some time now. But their default setup is, (else why would people be using scripts like Automatix to install all the non-free stuff quickly) and they only offer the choice of using non-free packages. They don't force people to use it.

Canonical+Linspire =Conspire? (0)

mystyc (561347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17938996)

Okay, maybe "canspire" would be better, but it would not be as funny.
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