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Linspire Releases Controversial Version 6.0

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the like-free-but-not dept.

Linux Business 202

christian.einfeldt writes "Today, Linspire releases version 6.0, its first new GNU/Linux distro in more than two years. With version 6.0, Linspire is betting that its business model of including licenses for proprietary software and formats such as Quicktime, Windows Media Player, Flash, Real, and Microsoft OOXML will win enough market share among mainstream Apple and Microsoft users to offset the backlash from opponents of proprietary software and formats. Version 6.0 also includes the highly controversial Microsoft patent coverage that has incited wide-reaching negative press coverage in the Free Open Source Software press, forums and blogosphere. But from Linspire's perspective, it's all about those new GNU/Linux users. '"Today we continue the Linspire tradition by offering the choice of a better overall experience for users new to desktop Linux,'" said Larry Kettler, President and CEO of Linspire, Inc. "Linspire 6.0 further bridges the gap between open source and commercial software, combining the best from each into a single easy-to-use, familiar and productive operating system."'"

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202 comments

Thanks but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928419)

no thanks.

Linspire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928431)

Don't remember them.

Who the hell are they again?

Re:Linspire... (4, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928485)

They use to be Lindows. Until Microsoft sued them for their name.

Re:Linspire... (2, Insightful)

japetto_bootsnakes (588410) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928627)

Exactly. If you can't beat em...

Re:Linspire... (4, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928765)

Except Lindows DID beat them, in the sense that Microsoft would've ended up losing 'Windows' if it went to trial. The rename was part of a deal they hashed out. I forget the rest of the details.

It's probably on the Wiki page if you care enough. I don't.

Re:Linspire... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929631)

iirc MS basically said that while lindows had won in the US they were going to keep hounding them with lawsuits in every country they did buisness in until they found somewhere where they would win.

Re:Linspire... (4, Informative)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929899)

And they're going to sue Linux users because of patent infringements. Could just as well have been trying to keep up appearances after paying off some startup Linux company.

The rest of the deal was Microsoft paying $20 mil to Linspire and Linspire giving MS the Lindows trademark. I did end up getting curious.

Re:Linspire... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929325)

Yeah its a weird history between the two. Initially it was going to be called lindows because they were aiming on making wine good enough to run every windows program available to make the transition to Linux easier for people. Then they discovered it was very difficult and expensive, so they decided to take the opposite path and declare that any thing using drm or proprietary formats was evil. Now this. I think its pretty clear that they will do what every makes them money. Not that its a bad thing for companies to do, but I wish they would stop making grandiose claims that what they are doing is for the principal of it, every time they change their business model.

They are the cooperate equivalent of a US Senator ( party doesn't really matter IMHO).

See this? (5, Funny)

michrech (468134) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928441)

Right here? This is me not purchasing it. :)

Re:See this? (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928531)

Yeah, I'm not sure what the big deal is. If you don't like Linspire's approach, don't buy it. If you really want a Linux distro with all these things built-in and installed by default, then it's good for you that someone is providing that.

Does there need to be conflict and controversy?

Re:See this? (4, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928593)

> Does there need to be conflict and controversy?

Half of slashdot seems to validate their existence from it. Not excluding myself either -- I'm sorry to say I'm often drawn into it too.

We need some kind of pledge, or at least a maxim like "Is it worth it to be right if the argument itself is stupid?"

Great idea (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929399)

"Is it worth it to be right if the argument itself is stupid?"

You must be new here. This is slashdot, where we argue over everything, and now that includes your stupid question .....

thanks for nothing!

Re:See this? (2, Informative)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928713)

I was going to say about the same thing. But check out this FUD http://www.linspire.com/products_linspire_whatis.php [linspire.com] . I don't know all the details but I run Ubuntu and allot of the stuff in there they say Ubuntu does not have I do have. CNR? I have apt-get. Is that all that diffrent? KDE? You can get it from apt-get or better yet use Kubuntu. I am all for paying for something worth paying for but it seems like they are grasping at straws here.

wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928997)

Does there need to be conflict and controversy?

stfu! yes!

Re:See this? (3, Funny)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929213)

"Does there need to be conflict and controversy?"

Welcome to Slashdot! Please, let me take your coat...

Re:See this? (1)

nilbud (1155087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929593)

If you're not sure what the big deal is how come you feel qualified to venture an opinion? Maybe you should wander off in whatever daze you're in and join the army or the church. If you could be bothered you might look up what RMS has to say on the matter or even just be quiet.

Re:See this? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929853)

Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but is the controversy over the fact that they're including proprietary software? If so, that's damnably stupid... it's like saying that you can choose whatever software you want to use, as long as it's only the software I approve of.

Anyways, you're correct, there shouldn't be controversy regardless. Don't like it, don't buy it. Its availability doesn't harm you in any way.

Mandriva just did this as well? (3, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928449)

Didn't Mandriva just do the same - by default the download includes Nvidia drivers and PDF etc?

http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/09/1757214 [slashdot.org]

Re:Mandriva just did this as well? (3, Informative)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928677)

I believe Mandriva has provided proprietary products, drivers, etc. with their commercial offerings since at least their Mandrake name (they were sued into another name by a magician rather than a chair tosser). The philosophical difference is that Mandriva hasn't licensed Microsoft's secret 235 patents that allegedly might be related in some slight way to various undisclosed free software products. Whatever.

Re:Mandriva just did this as well? (1)

BokLM (550487) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929069)

You're right, it's included in the commercial version. There's also a "Free" version which includes none of theses things. The non-free stuff is in a separate repository, which you can decide to use or not to use.

Re:Mandriva just did this as well? (3, Informative)

imr (106517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929107)

Mandriva's business model is this:
3 situations, 3 editions

FREE as in FREEDOM:
"Mandriva FREE" dvd.
All rpm inside come from main and contrib repository which are fordidden to non free software. If a rpm in those is non free, it's a mistake.

free as in free beer:
"Mandriva ONE", live-cd:
you can test it all your heart content, then install it if you want.
Proprietary drivers are in there, wifi, 3d, modems, to make easy installation for everyone.

Commercial edition as in value added:
"Mandriva PowerPack", dvd
This one has the same size than the Free Edition, the same proprietary stuff than the ONE, but also has more commercial programs added, like Cedega or Lindvd, and a bunch of others (skype?).

About the codecs problem, the solution chosen is fluendo.
This guys are supporting gstreamer on the free software side and providing linux and solaris native solution for codecs on the closed prooprietary one.
http://www.fluendo.com/presentation.php [fluendo.com]
http://www.fluendo.com/press/releases/PR-2007-01.html [fluendo.com]
https://shop.fluendo.com/ [fluendo.com]

Re:Mandriva just did this as well? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929657)

I thought the Mandrake to Mandriva change was the combination of the words "Mandrake" and "Connectiva" after the two merged. In fact, lots of references to "Mandrake" are still found within the distribution. I guess I'd never heard about this lawsuit, but I found information quickly with a Google search after reading your post. It seems I was right about how the name came about, but that they changed at all was indeed prompted by the suit.

Internet News [internetnews.com] has the story from 2005 and the info is in Wikipedia's Mandriva article [wikipedia.org] .

I also keep seeing references to an appeal, but never the results for it or any information about it continuing either. I'm wondering if Mandriva dropped the appeal after changing names. It might be silly to change back anyway, with all the disruption a name change can cause.

Thanks for your informative post. I'm a long-time Mandrake/Mandriva user and I didn't know this. I was just flipping through my collection of Linux distros the other night and I have 7.0, 8.0-8.2, 9.0-9.1, 10.0-10.1, 2006 Community, and 2008 One CD RC2. My 8.0 is even PowerPack retail box. I also use some other distros from time to time, but Mandriva seems to have the most consistent hardware detection across all the odd stuff on which I've tried installing Linux. It's a shame I missed this tidbit about the company behind the distro until now.

Re:Mandriva just did this as well? (2, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928975)

Yup, the difference is that Mandriva is based in Europe, where the inclusion of these things without legal controversy.

Wow that is a loaded story. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928455)

So the product is controversial because they worked with other companies (who may not be RMS's version of Open Source Advocates) to create a product that will work well with other systems and try to give features that Customers want. Life is sometimes a lot better when you decide to work with the system other then fighting it all the time.
        There is a common misconception that everyone needs to change the world, for most people they just want to get by. Without the Morality of it all Linux is a Good OS not great but good, and technically not worth all the zealotry. So for the majority of people who needs a Good OS that is inexpensive Linux is a good option if they need to pay some price for a distribution to get improved compatibility so they can get along with their lives easer then all the better.
        Microsoft, Apple, ... are not the enemies they are competitors. There is a difference between the two. Competitors you can work together for a common goal enemies you can't. Microsoft and Apple are willing to work with Linux distribution makers if they realize they can benefit from it. The Linux Zealots who have make Microsoft their enemy have loss out on a chance to expand what they can do.
        So if I can now go to a web site and view Quicktime and Microsoft Format then all the better and if it is supported my Microsoft then there is a better chance (not complete) that the next version wont entirely kick me out).
        Being a constant activist really wares people down and actually makes them miserable people. Where if you can work within the system you will feel better and probably get more good done.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928557)

Grr Must Mod you down because you are against freedom as in speach (As told to me by the wisom of RMS). You words are dangerious so you must be modded down so the least number of people will read your message. Because we disagree with it. In order to promote Freedom of speach we must bock all people who are opposed to our view.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (4, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928633)

(who may not be RMS's version of Open Source Advocates)

RMS's mob of Free Software Advocates are now burning down your house for that slight. Also, you should say "GNU/Linux".

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (5, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928751)

> "Microsoft, Apple, ... are not the enemies they are competitors."

"Microsoft is an enemy. Apple is a competitor."

There, fixed it for you.

Don't be under any illusions - Microsoft is an avowed enemy of linux and open source in general. Otherwise, why all the BS and FUD over alleged patent violations.

Competitors compete. What Microsoft has done in the past, and continues to do, is not competition. It goes well beyond what's legal (for example, the latest FUD from the ABalmernation on patents would be a Lanham Act violation, except he said it in the UK).

When you can't compete, you cheat. Let us know when Microsoft starts competing ...

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (1, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928861)

But Microsoft is willing to work with friendly Linux Distribution Makers too. Linux is a strong competitive threat to Microsoft. Microsoft came to power by making an OS that can work on a wide verity of hardware and at a price that undercutted most of the competition (Sounds like Linux Now) So Microsoft has be going crazy trying adapt their buisness and their marketing towards competing in areas which they were once the market leader in. During competition things get dirty even in sports competition an extra shove there bad mouth here. Apple tends to avoid this type of competition because they can raise we are a hardware company flag when competing with software to get out of the cross fires, or likly they can rais we are a software company when debating hardware.

"Friendly" == "admit they have MS property" (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929037)

But Microsoft is willing to work with friendly Linux Distribution Makers too.

Microsoft is willing to work with ANY Linux distribution that will sign an agreement to the effect that they are including Microsoft "property" in their release.

You might want to look at Ballmer's latest words about suing Red Hat users.

Re:"Friendly" == "admit they have MS property" (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930065)

"Microsoft is willing to work with ANY Linux distribution that will sign an agreement to the effect that they are including Microsoft "property" in their release.

You might want to look at Ballmer's latest words about suing Red Hat users."

Novell has disagreed publicly about any "Microsoft Property" in linux. Ballmer is a liar and a buffoon, we all know it, and the rest of the world is slowly buying a clue about how crap Microsoft really is (Vista - the new Windows ME - relive the DOS 4 experience today!!!).

Microsoft can no longer compete, and they know it. Why else resort to FUD pudding and outright lies?

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929235)

But Microsoft is willing to work with friendly Linux Distribution Makers too.

Racketeers might also be prepared to 'work with' friendly businesses. Legally, it's a safer bet than admitting to shaking them down. You might also try substituting 'stupid' for 'friendly' considering the friendliness of MS constant unsubstantiated threats.

Windows to chairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930273)

Don't be under any illusions - Microsoft is an avowed enemy of linux and open source in general. Otherwise, why all the BS and FUD over alleged patent violations.

Actually, Ballmer is an friend of Linux. He is throwing chairs into Windows.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (2, Interesting)

Deagol (323173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928929)

I just don't get it, this need for compatibility with propriety standards. Why use Linux and then bitch that you can't use Windows-centric (or non-open) codecs/programs? It really makes no sense to me, nor does the push by companies like Linsipre and those commercial WINE forks. It's like buying a diesel automobile for the gas mileage and then complaining about some of the quirks of using such a vehicle, such as having to use a block heater. Or those people who want the 80% reduction in power usage from CF bulbs but then complain about the negligible flicker and different spectrum as compared to incandescents. You know what you're getting into (or at least, you should) -- you should suck it up and deal with it if you want the benefits.

Running FreeBSD/amd64, I can't run Wine, use the mplayer win32 codecs, or run any flash players. But I get by just fine. Yeah, I miss out on some of the dumb fun stuff (youtube -- well, I can use hacks like "youtube_dl" that d/l and convert), but that's the price I pay for using Free/free software.

Allow me to explain it. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929103)

I just don't get it, this need for compatibility with propriety standards. Why use Linux and then bitch that you can't use Windows-centric (or non-open) codecs/programs?

There are some people out there who do not WANT Linux.

They want free (as in beer) Microsoft Windows. But that takes too many words so they simply (and incorrectly) say "Linux". But what they really mean is "free (as in beer) Microsoft Windows".

Linux is not Microsoft Windows.

Linux is about Freedom (as in speech). But many people (and they are very vocal) do not want Freedom. They want "free" (as in beer) versions of proprietary apps to play proprietary content for "free" (again, as in beer) in proprietary formats.

"Overrated" already? (0, Flamebait)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929251)

Looks like I've offended the proprietary fans here. :)

Or did I speak ill of Linspire and it offended you? :)

Re:Allow me to explain it. (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929389)

Linux is about Freedom (as in speech).
I though Linus just didn't want to bother marketing it, running a buisness, and having to pay royalitees to all the people involved and GPL was a good license for a comunity development. He just wanted to make an OS For himself and other poeple liked it too and expanded on it. The GPL is about Freedom (as in speech...Kinda sorta...Just as long as you don't talk about DRM...Working with Non GPL...etc...). Don't confuse the product and the movement. Linux made the GPL sucessful and showed the model can work for complex applications, but Linus goal wasn't to change the world just to make a free OS that is better then DOS that could run on his 386.

Ask him. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929549)

He just wanted to make an OS For himself and other poeple liked it too and expanded on it.

He changed the license from the original. He specifically chose the GPL. It was a conscious decision on his part.

The GPL is about Freedom (as in speech...Kinda sorta...Just as long as you don't talk about DRM...Working with Non GPL...etc...).

Looks like you just mentioned DRM and the GPL in a conversation about Linux.

So it seems to appear that you can talk about them. You just did.

Don't confuse the product and the movement.

I'm not the one trying to confuse the issue. Linux is NOT "free-as-in-beer Microsoft Windows" nor was it designed to be.

Linux made the GPL sucessful and showed the model can work for complex applications, but Linus goal wasn't to change the world just to make a free OS that is better then DOS that could run on his 386.

Did I say that his goal was "to change the world"? No? I didn't think I did.

Re:Ask him. (2, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930211)

Linux is NOT "free-as-in-beer Microsoft Windows" nor was it designed to be.

Correct, but confusing
People want something that works, is easy, and is not expensive. Linux (the kernel) doesn't really care about whats going on in userland. Linux ( the Gnu/Linux Distros) can be windows like and Lindows/Linspire specifically was designed to be. Most aren't, but you cant really say that Debian is somehow more linux than Suse, Ubuntu, or even And thats cool. No moral or ethical violations need occur.

Re:Ask him. (2, Informative)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930849)

He changed the license from the original. He specifically chose the GPL. It was a conscious decision on his part.

Though not necessarily for the reasons you assume.

Did I say that his goal was "to change the world"? No? I didn't think I did.

Sounds like that was an allusion to 'Linux is about Freedom', which seems an attempt to refute the notion that including closed-source packages with a Linux distro is OK. This was the original point of the thread, correct? There are two problems with this: 1) it puts words in Linus' mouth which his previous statements tends to refute, and 2) it blurs the line between the kernel and the distribution.

From what I can tell, Linus doesn't like including closed-source *drivers* in the kernel because it makes maintenance a nightmare. But that has nothing to do with closed-source *applications*, which I've never heard Linus have a real problem with.

Linus is frequently on record as saying he puts the goal of making top-quality software higher than any political agenda. See any of his many comments against the GPLv3.

Re:Allow me to explain it. (1)

sleepykit (942636) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930287)

Linux is not Microsoft Windows.

Agreed, but in many ways, on the desktop, Linux is an alternative to Windows. People want to be able to use Linux (GNU or otherwise) but still be able to compete with their Windows-using counterparts. That's where Linspire, Mandriva One, PLF (non-free) and other workarounds come in handy, to enable Linux users to create content and enjoy content created on Windows machines by users who are not aware that some of their peers are not legally allowed to enjoy what they've made.

That's the cool thing about Linux, I think. On one hand, it can compete well in the server environment, it can be totally free (as in freedom) but it's still versatile enough to allow almost anyone (see Ubuntu, Linspire, etc) to find "workaround" to see/create/user content they might not have been able to, otherwise.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (3, Insightful)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928931)

Microsoft, Apple, ... are not the enemies they are competitors.

Yep. But please hear me out as a former Linspire customer.

The question with respect to Microsoft (particularly, given their conviction for monopolistic behavior) is, "Will they compete fairly?"

The general consensus based on years of observed behavior is, "No."

The concern is that deals such as Linspire signed imply that Microsoft has some legitimate patent claims against free software included in Linspire's product - a claim Microsoft has made but has refused to verify.

I have no problem with licensing deals for legitimate patents (pretending for the moment that any patent on software can be legitimate), but I dislike licenses for unspecified patents claimed to be in someone else's code. Linspire's agrement with Microsoft is analogous to poisoning the free software developer's well - and the code owners seem to largely have read it as both an insult and an attack. Me, too.

Simply licensing codecs doesn't concern me at all. It's the fuzzy patent licenses taken on other people's code that causes the unpleasant odor around Linspire Corporation and their products.

Hope that's clear and unemotional enough to help you understand the core issue. Well, at least my core issue. :-)

still puzzled how could you be modded insightful (3, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929127)

"Microsoft, Apple, ... are not the enemies they are competitors. There is a difference between the two. Competitors you can work together for a common goal enemies you can't. Microsoft and Apple are willing to work with Linux distribution makers if they realize they can benefit from it. The Linux Zealots who have make Microsoft their enemy have loss out on a chance to expand what they can do."

I would suggest you to read up on the Halloween documents so you'll see how 'friendly' M$ is.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (2, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929237)

Sadly for today's society this seems to be a majority opinion. Who cares what's best for people, industry, and the world? All *I* want is blah blah blah.

And that, my friends is how freedom, democracy, and societies die. Apathy is exactly what allows the corruption of government, industry, freedoms, and society.

WAKE UP, YOU HAVE A CHOICE AND A RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT. IT IS IMPORTANT. YOU HAVE POWER...USE IT.

It may seem to be just software in this discussion, but it far more reaching. Software patents are bad. Free, as in freedom, software is the democratization of information and the conveyance of knowledge. Let people control it, and they control YOU.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929539)

So if I used a purchaded copy of Linspire and somehow used it to say reduce poverity then I am still being a bad guy because I don't care about Priority Formats vs Open Formats. Or there is also the bait and switch option... Have Linux distros that run Closed Formats. Linux Becaomes popular, knowing that enough people are using Linux they will switch to using the Open Formats Linux has available as well.

It is about chooseing the right fight at the right time. But what is happening is we are trying to cure all Ills at the same time. Work on getting Linux as well used Desktop system first then we can worry about switching content developers to Open Formats. Worry about getting good complience with the GPL 2 then work on GPL 3.

Trying to get to Utopia in one step is impossible. It will take decades perhaps generations for Linux and Open Source to have a solid foothold like Microsoft did. Microsoft was able to get where they were because they didn't have to fight with Microsoft to get there.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (2, Insightful)

wulfbyte (722147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929385)

I differ with you on a number of issues. Linux or if you insist, GNU/Linux is an excellent operating system. It does precisely what an operating system should do and does it very well. I think what you are confusing is the support for proprietary file formats and applications that are being bundled or not bundled with particular distributions. Generally, proprietary file formats are not standards at all but rather a method of confining consumers to a particular way of doing things for the benefit of the creators of the proprietary format. By continuing to offer support for the old closed format rather than newer (and just as capable) open standards, distributions do nothing to further consumer choice.

I believe you are wrong when you say that offering support for these closed formats is giving consumers what they want. I think it is fair to say that for the majority, no one cares what format the content arrives in, so long as it works when and how they expect it to.

If support for open formats were to suddenly take off, then more content producers will use them and the whole argument that working with closed format vendors is somehow beneficial evaporates. If there is a way of doing something that is beneficial to many as opposed to a few, is that not a better way?

I am by no means a Linux zealot, but I must take exception to your characterization that Microsoft is somehow considered the enemy by only them. Microsoft should be considered the enemy of all free thinking people regardless of their choice of operating system, simply because Microsoft would remove that choice had they their way. I believe you can find many historical and well documented cases where various judicial systems agree that Microsoft is in every case attempting to reduce consumer choice to but a single and not often beneficial one.

As to being an activist, it is precisely in following what I believe, without regard for the opinions of those who disagree with me that that allows me to continue my existence with sufficient dignity and self respect that my moments of misery are reduced to such a number that they only add needed poignancy to an otherwise happy life. Activism is a simple thing and it has great rewards, much like courtesy.

Ohhh Dear.... (2, Insightful)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929397)

Life is sometimes a lot better when you decide to work with the system other then fighting it all the time.

No! Commercial software is the equivalent of an innovation tar pit. You are pretending there is some kind of peaceful coexistence when no such thing exists in commercial software. They made an old movie with a fairy tale ending that illustrates the reality. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031679/ [imdb.com]

Unless you like paying more for communicating less with others, you will reconsider your position.

Linux is a Good OS not great but good, and technically not worth all the zealotry.
As a sysadmin, Linux is heads and shoulders above windows. Transparent, logical, flexible while remaining secure. The same cannot be said for a Win32 server. Auditing? Very limited and cryptic. Logging? Cryptic and inflexible. Secure? Who knows! Flexible? Certainly not as delivered. Don't get me started on the when the myriad of license limits kick in.

Is Linux the best tool for every job? No. Please take this opportunity to establish a little more objectivity.

Re:Ohhh Dear.... (2, Insightful)

rnswebx (473058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930817)

Unless you like paying more for communicating less with others, you will reconsider your position.


Are you serious? In case you haven't been paying attention to the real world, proprietary formats dominate the majority of the communication markets. I'm certainly no fan of getting locked into what XYZ corporation's version oF ABC either, but that doesn't mean it's not happening...
  • Want to write a document? Microsoft dominates here. (Word) Also Pages (Apple) and Wordperfect (Corel)
  • Want to send an IM to someone? AOL (AIM), Microsoft (MSN), Yahoo (YMSG) are all proprietary, and that's only listing a few.
  • Spreadsheets? Microsoft again dominates (Excel) and I can't even think of another application that's used outside of the very small OpenOffice crowd, other than the brand new Numbers '08 (Apple)
  • Presentations? Keynote (Apple) and Powerpoint (Microsoft)

I purposely didn't go through an exhaustive list of every possible piece of software you can use to do the things outlined here, as there are alternatives for each, including open source. I just listed the most commonly used applications, all of which are proprietary. We could continue, with stuff like diagrams/flow charts (Visio/OmniGraffle) or video formats (too many to list) and a number of others.

I've been a Linux (GNU/Linux, if you must) user since '96. I love it. I've made a career out of utilizing it's strengths. Would I like to see more open standards and less proprietary garbage floating around? I most definitely would. Unfortunately, that's just not how it is... yet? I live in this place called reality, where we have to work with what's here until it's changed.

Some may argue that if we support these formats, then we're contributing to stagnation. Turn it around and ask, if we made it easier for Joe User to use Linux and introduce him to how Linux works, what could that Joe User potentially mean to Linux?

As a sysadmin, Linux is heads and shoulders above windows. Transparent, logical, flexible while remaining secure. The same cannot be said for a Win32 server. Auditing? Very limited and cryptic. Logging? Cryptic and inflexible. Secure? Who knows! Flexible? Certainly not as delivered. Don't get me started on the when the myriad of license limits kick in.


A bit off-topic, as I think this conversation is about Linspire which is obviously aimed at the desktop. As I've tried to outline above, I don't think it's a bad idea to include proprietary format support in a Linux distribution. If an end user wants less headaches when it comes to getting support for the most commonly used applications, what's the problem? If you don't like it then don't buy it. Isn't that easy? :)


It's absolutely no surprise to me that the Linux desktop has not gotten to where it needs to be. If you want to actually communicate with the real world, you're going to have to include support (preferably seamless support) for these proprietary formats that are going to put so many of the zealots up in arms. Just because your operating system supports these formats doesn't mean that you're a proponent of non-open standards, does it? To me it simply means that you want to be able to communicate with the vast majority of the rest of the world who, believe it or not (GASP!), aren't using Linux.

I think if we made Linux more accessible, then it'd likely lead to more people understanding that there are free, alternative ways to do the things we do today. If that happened, then it's my opinion we could slowly start eating away at these proprietary standards. Without a big enough user base, our complaints aren't heard loud enough and are largely ignored... in my opinion.

Re:Wow that is a loaded story. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929643)

Whenever there is a choice, ethics comes to the table.

Please do not confuse what you can or cannot do (metaphysics) with what should or should not be done (ethics).

Let me rephrase your rant using a more obvious ethical issue, that you might see the errors in your statement with respect to ethics:

So the clothing is controversial because they worked with other companies (who may not be America's version of No-Slavery) to create clothing that will fit well on many people and try to give styles that customers want. Life is sometimes a lot better when you decide to work with the system other then fighting it all the time.
                There is a common misconception that everyone needs to change the world, for most people they just want to get by. Without the morality of it all, clothing created without slave labor is good not great but good, and technically not worth all the zealotry. So for the majority of people who need passable clothes that are inexpensive, slavery free is a good option; if they need to use slaves for clothing to get better styles so they can get along with their lives easer then all the better.
                India, China, ... are not the enemies they are competitors. There is a difference between the two. Competitors you can work together for a common goal enemies you can't. India and China are willing to sell slave labor to US clothing manufacturers if they realize they can benefit from it. The US zealots who have made China their enemy have loss out on a chance to expand what they can do.
                So if I can now go to a nightclub and wear the latest fashion then all the better and if it is created by China then there is a better chance (not complete) that I'll be able to buy the same thing next time I gain 15 kg.
                Being a constant activist really wares people down and actually makes them miserable people. Where if you can work within the system you will feel better and probably get more good done.


Software includes choices, and therefore (by definition) includes ethics. You cannot remove ethical considerations from choices any more than you can make a shape that is both a square and a circle at the same time; it doesn't make any logical sense.

Proprietary software that you use takes away essential freedom. Maybe you don't want to exercise that freedom, but by making use of the software you are creating a Network Product that is also proprietary. This proprietary Network Product then takes away essential freedom from *everybody* who uses it, regardless if they chose to use it of their own free will or were coerced/forced to use it (due to school, work, family, country, etc). This loss of freedom is unacceptably unethical.

I'll close this with a quote from Samuel Adams: "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom -- go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." - Speech, State House of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1 August 1776)

Thank you for your kind consideration.

"Linux Zealots" didn't make msft the enemy (2, Informative)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930741)

Msft strives to be antagonistic to everybody, especially msft customers. Maybe you're not away of msft's long criminal history?

Msft claims that linux violates msft patents. Why doesn't msft put up or shut up? Msft has been making these specious claims for years. Logically, if msft had evidence, then msft would present it. Unless it's just another msft fud campaign. Right?

Msft has been caught red-handed in *numerous* outright lies and scams: how about bald face lying to the US-DoJ?
  How about outright stealling stacker technoloy? How about the letters from dead people campaigns? How about fronting with fake think-tanks? How about astro-turfing with a letters-from-dead-people campaign? How about the obvious corruption in the OOXML scam? How about paying another company many millions to have that company file a totally bogus lawsuit against IBM, just to FUD Linux. How about bogus benchmarks, and bogus TCO studies. Please, name another major software company that does all that.

File Formats A Necessary Evil (4, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928457)

I've never used Linspire, but in terms of licensing file formats such as Quicktime and Windows Media, I think they're on the right track. People want an OS that works out of the box, and that includes media tasks. If it doesn't the average user has very little patience to make it work right.

Re:File Formats A Necessary Evil (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928649)

As a non-average user and almost Linux convert (soon as I can get it to play nice with my ATI card) I agree completely. The first distro I looked at was Freespire, simply because I have a lot of WMV files that I don't want to have to go through and convert just so I can run Linux. That's the number one thing that's making me less than excited to swap, the fact that Linux doesn't play nice with proprietary stuff. Yes that is the proprietary stuff's fault, not Linux's, but it doesn't really matter when comparing Windows (which runs everything I want to run out of the box) and Linux (which runs most of what I want to run out of the box, and the rest can possibly be added on with WINE and a few other things).

I wonder if there's a new version of Freespire out as well, it always looked better than Ubuntu and if it plays nice with ATI then I'll be set.

Re:File Formats A Necessary Evil (4, Informative)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929209)

Oddly, I can play more wmv's on my Gentoo Linux box (using Kaffeine/Xine) than I can on my WindowsXP laptop...

Re:File Formats A Necessary Evil (1)

jessiej (1019654) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928683)

Absolutely! I seems like an excellent direction from a business perspective, it will make it much easier for users who are familiar with all those proprietary formats to move in a different direction.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

Re:File Formats A Necessary Evil (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928723)

I have had frustration with audio formats and getting players to work, when trying show a friend the greatness of Linux it was a show stopper that he could not play music right away. That and all the driver problems and having hardware that MS made or made a deal with to only work with their OS. Some one would be a Jedi of the software if they made a driver generator that took the Windows driver and made a Linux driver.

Re:File Formats A Necessary Evil (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928829)

Since when is this a problem for linux? Mplayer and vlc play anything I throw at them. Maybe it's not entirely legal, but since when does the end user care? How is Linspire going to make legit codecs a selling point when the average user doesn't even know what a codec is, and why they need to be licensed?

Re:File Formats A Necessary Evil (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929541)

I use 'nix at work, and OSX at home, so my experience with VLC on Linux is limited to a few presentations I've had to finangle for work. On the Mac, however, VLC is a mess:

- The release (non-debug, non-beta) version of VLC spits out debug messages like a fricking firehose. Jumping to another spot in the video with the timeline consistently (especially when playing WMVs) pops up a debug window right in front of me, showing a bunch of minor errors with the decoder. This does not crash VLC, nor does it affect playback in any visible way, so I wonder why the software does so in a release build.
- Have you tried playing a DVD with VLC? Okay, File -> Open Disc, simple enough right? But wait, instead of quietly playing the DVD in my disc drive, it pops up a config screen that resembles the dashboard of a 747. Including the gem of all: instead of listing available disc drivers, it requires the user to type in the fricking 'nix path to the device they want. How is the average user supposed to figure THAT one out?
- Did I mention it crashes constantly? It's been better over the last couple of versions, but is still a long way from the rock solid stability of WMP and QuickTime, which bloatware as it may be, at least works.

How is Linspire going to make legit codecs a selling point when the average user doesn't even know what a codec is

Well, that's just it. Licensing codecs doesn't give Linspire a competitive advantage, it allows them to avoid a GIGANTIC competitive DIS-advantage. Hell, you can argue that it DOES give them an advantage. DivX and Xvid don't work out of the box on either Mac or Windows, and Windows users particularly have to resort to downloading shady installers (KaZaa Lite Codec Pack anyone?) that can have a slew of malware included. "Play all of your favorite files without downloading shady spyware!" seems like a good selling point to me.

The media options on Linux are still fairly weak compared to their proprietary counterparts. Too much focus on technical details and almost no focus at all on usability. Heck, what's with VLC's name and icon? "VLC" doesn't exactly scream "media player" to me (at least MPlayer got it right), and that traffic cone icon? WTF? Could we not have designed an emblem that at least IMPLIES what the app does?

Re:File Formats A Necessary Evil (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928865)

Quicktime is almost never included in OEM "offerings" of Winodws, at least not up to date version.

Mod Parent UP (1)

GroundBounce (20126) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929401)

Come on folks, how hypocritical can we get. Although free software may win out in the long term, it's going to be a mixed world for quite a while. How many of us Linux users would want a system where you could never:

1. Watch a DVD
2. listen to an MP3 file
3. View any website with Flash content.
4. Use 3D acceleration on your ATI or NVIDIA card
5. Use your wireless card (Unless it happens to be an Intel).
6. Never view any websites with video content
7. Never use any website with Java content (OK, there aren't as many of these, but...)
8. Etc, etc.

I'm sure there are some of us who either don't need these things or force themselves to live without them on philosophical grounds, but I also suspect the majority of us don't. Fedora is pretty purist distro - how many Fedora users don't eventually go over to Livna or FreshRPMS and download codecs and video drivers?

Again, there are surely those who could live with a purist distro like Fedora out of the box, but I bet they are the minority. For everyone else who's ever downloaded an Nvidie driver or codec to criticize a distro who tries to include that stuff legally is pretty hypocritical.

Nigga Stole My Bike!!!!!!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928475)

(o)(o) big titties

If you buy a Linspire, you get "Guardian Aspect" (0, Offtopic)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928523)

As soon as I bought my first Linspire, I found that I had the ability to change others via a "Guardian Aspect"

Anyone else find the new comment thing, er, hard to use?

Jog on Linspire (1)

davro (539320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928563)

"Linspire 6.0 further bridges the gap between open source and commercial software, combining the best from each into a single easy-to-use, familiar and productive operating system."

But what was the bridge built with open source or proprietary software.

Typical axe-grinding (4, Informative)

oddman (204968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928605)

Why no ment6ion of freespire? http://www.freespire.org/ [freespire.org]

Re:Typical axe-grinding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928745)

Because this is a Linspire Slashvertisement?

If Freespire wants one they can buy it like everybody else.

Check Distrowatch and how the numbers have dropped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929217)

Check the standings and you will see that the past 18 months have been horrible.

The smell is desperation is in the air.
Or else it could still be the leftover stench from Darl Carmony.

Just what we need. (5, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928655)

I install Linux over Windows about once every three or four weeks for friends. One of the first things to do is add mp3 support, and also ATI or nVidia support if need be. This used to be a hassle with Fedora, so I switched to installing Kubuntu. Now, this may make our lives even easier. How many Linux installs get MP3, DVD, or other proprietary support installed anyway? Why should we bash a company that is willing to include it from the get-go. I'll look into the non-OSS version of Freespire this evening, RMS be damned.

Re:Just what we need. (2, Funny)

iBod (534920) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928887)

>> I install Linux over Windows about once every three or four weeks for friends

Holy shit! I'll bet you're running out of friends!

Do you ask them first?

Re:Just what we need. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929009)

Do not worry, as a Linux user, he will soon have no friends.

Ubuntu (0, Redundant)

bostons1337 (1025584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928673)

Ubuntu is the way to go for new and advanced users. I agree licensing those technologies is a big plus but I as well as many others are not paying for a linux distro. Thats like one of linux's major advantages FREE open source software. That is really going to hurt them.

GNU/Linux (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928789)

It's all about those new GNU/Linux users.

I know it's an oft-repeated argument, about whether or not to put the GNU/ on that product or platform. But extending the usual meme slightly may shed some new light on that debate. I'm just hoping it won't produce flame instead.

Linspire isn't just Linux. It's not even just GNU/Linux. Some might call it GNU/Apache/Qt/Linux/etc. Now it's GNU/Apache/Qt/Microsoft/Adobe/Real/Linux/etc. Pretty soon, your "free software" is going to have more corporate badges than a brand new laptop.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929183)

It gives some insight into the person who posted the story, and the bias they might be introducing into the article submission :) Some posts above yours were arguing the submission was pretty biased... well to someone who is truly bent on the fact that it is GNU/Linux (RMS? was that you posting?) I can imagine Linspire is an aberration.

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928793)

Does Linspire still force users to run as root? With that level of stupidity and the bundling of non-free software, potential users should take a serious look at this popular OS family called "Microsoft Windows".

I'm after one of those little Acer laptops but it uses Xandros, another distributor Microsoft suckered into their patent trap. Personally, I've no interest in interoperating with MS products or consuming their proprietary file formats and media codecs. I've even less interested in paying protection money to Microsoft, so it's no go unless Acer are prepared to ship without an OS.

Thank goodness GPLv3 will nullify the latest stench out of Redmond.

If it has any closed stuff it's crap (5, Funny)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928807)

As simple as that. 99% of my Linux hassles is with proprietary, closed crap. Open stuff tends to Just Work after reading the friendly manual.

Re:If it has any closed stuff it's crap (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928871)

works for you and works for the idiot who can't use a command prompt are 2 distinct things. Closed crap sucks, but most users suck more.

Re:If it has any closed stuff it's crap (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930383)

Open stuff that works with open formats and open data written by itself or other open source programs, yes. But if you've ever tried to use open source software that's reverse engineered, either it's drivers or proprietary formats or data written in non-compliant ways by closed source software then you know it doesn't "Just work". If you can do without them that's great but there's no doubt that most of the time you'd be better off using the same proprietary tool/player, while you look for viable alternatives. I know one of the most difficult things for me on Linux has been getting embedded web videos of all the various craptastic formats to play properly. No, it really *is* a lot easier on Windows. It's great if you can make your own OSS workflows or with other OSS users, but while we try to take over the world (TM the Brain) users need to work with non-OSS solutions.

What controversy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20928845)

What are we? F'ing communists?

The first thing any self-respecting linuxer does is go download a bunch of half-ass hacked or pirated versions of the same proprietary formats *anyway*. Jeez.

The fact that including support for the *normal* *standard* *formats* that everyone actually *uses* can even be considered to be controversial is why Linux is in the lousy state it is today.

Sad.

Ignore parent, just trolling (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929073)

What kinda drugs can a troll be on to write this diatribe. Downloading Formats? What???

I guess we could do a poll on whether he is an Apple or MS fanboy, but from the IQ level I would bet MS. There is no way this sucker could earn enough to buy the shiney toys Steve Jobs makes.

Re:Ignore parent, just trolling (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929275)

Several other aspects of the GP are debatable, but that particular part is a fairly obvious gloss: "downloading formats" ~= "downloading software/codecs/etc to handle formats".

why people hate linspire (5, Insightful)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20928943)

A big problem with Linspire was its former CEO, Kevin Carmony. They guy is a snake-oil salesman with no technical expertise. The idea of bundling all this closed, proprietary crud and paying to license codecs isn't all that terrible- people who don't want it have plenty of other Linux distributions to choose from. Though Linspire went overboard and ignored perfectly good FOSS alternatives in several cases. But Mr. Carmony's double-talk and criticism of Free and open source software alienated a whole lot of people. He doesn't understand the basic Unix security model, and despite his later denials, Linspire did indeed deliberately create only a root user during installation up through Linspire 5.0, and had zero documentation for educating their precious "new Linux desktop users" on the importance of security fundamentals.

Then a bigger problem was Linspire itself was poo. It had many broken parts, and their much-hyped CNR didn't offer anything that users wanted. But you did get a genuine, time-wasting infuriating Windows-like experience with bales of crapware, nagware, and trialware that just wouldn't shut up and go away.

To make matters worse, Carmony badmouthed FOSS principles and deliberately misstated the meaning of "free" in free software when he released Freespire. I know, the word "free" meaning "libre" is problematic anyway, and Carmony made it worse. He pretty much spit on the very community that made it possible for Linspire to exist.

So. Maybe a new CEO will make it all better. Time will tell.

Linspire? Let's do the math . . . (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929033)

How does Linspire get so much press?

Lemmesee, Linux makes up about one half of one percent of desktop systems. The top 20 Linux distros probably account for about 99% of all Linux desktop installs. Linuxspire is ranked as the 56th most popular Linux distro on distrowatch.

I figure that means there are about four Linspire installations world-wide.

But, I guess it's the PR stunts that really matter.

Speaking of which, there is now a Linux distro called "Vista." Maybe Linux "Vista" will get all kinds of press as well.

Re:Linspire? Let's do the math . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20929167)

I sometimes wonder whether microsoft places adds for linspire. They still give microsoft money when they buy linspire...

Re:Linspire? Let's do the math . . . (1)

jmanforever (603829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930603)

"Speaking of which, there is now a Linux distro called "Vista." Maybe Linux "Vista" will get all kinds of press as well."

I think you must mean MontaVista Linux... http://www.mvista.com/ [mvista.com] ...and it is nothing that new. I have been using MontaVista for several years now on commercial broadcast video servers. They have been around a lot longer than Microsoft Windows Vista... in fact, I believe they have been around longer than Windows 98.

Microsoft Patent Deal = Effective Marketing (1)

thatwouldbeme (1155745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929153)

It will be interesting to see if Linspire, like SUSE, will see a comparable market share rise in this version because of the patent protection. As frustrating as the implicit validation of an obviously groundless threat is, it is worth pointing out that the actual value of the deal has nothing to do with legal protection and everything to do with marketing.

Not, of course, referring to the negative publicity of the deal being made in the first place, which is read only by IT nerds anyways, but the combined value of some kind of flag to differentiate themselves from 'all the other linuxes' in the mind of confused non-technical decision makers and the possibility for a tiny toe-hold in MS-dominated solutions providers via holding Microsoft's endorsement.

Recently when, as is my usual practice, I spent some time berating one of our Microzombie monovendors for their lack of open source options my hapless victim, a low-level sales rep, hurriedly assured me that they were going to be offering some SUSE solutions. "It's the only Linux with legal protection from lawsuits" he excitedly told me. Point number one on his list of selling points. Not to mention the first time that vendor had ever mentioned Linux. Novell and Linspire have definitely sold their souls to the devil, but the devil did give them a decent marketing package in return.

Read *only* by IT nerds !? Effective marketing? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930473)

Care to guess who actually runs Linux systems?

You say the marketing is effective? You may want to read my other post about doing the math. Linspire is essentially a dead distro. And I think Novell/Suse is soon to follow. On the other hand, the real heavyweights in Linux: Redhat, Ubuntu, and Debian; want nothing to do with msft scams, er . . . I mean secretive patent protection deals.

Exclusive rewards of labor. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929155)

I think it boils down to the issue of whether or not you believe software should be patentable. Without patents, the codecs would only have copyright to support exclusive use and that scenario is easily overcome by clean-room reverse engineering and re-implementation. However, once patents enter the picture then it doesn't matter how you re-implement the software, you are still infringing.
I personally believe that algorithms should be patentable. Supporting this I believe that all software fundamentally represents a particular organization of logic gates, so in effect software represents an abstract machine and machines are patentable. However I do not support patent-ability for design patterns or business processes as I believe the difference between algorithms and patterns and processes is that algorithms are hard to create while patterns and processes often have an obvious implementation that anyone in the field could independently come up with.
What do you think?

Re:Exclusive rewards of labor. (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929789)

Depends on your perspective.

If you think that "a particular organization of logic gates" should be patentable then pretty much all the constructive proofs of mathematics might as well be patentable.

Also, if you think about it, algorithms are nothing but properly encoded proofs of theorems (and vice-versa) and I am sure you would agree that patenting mathematics is bound to do more evil than good to the society.

Linspire is a hack! (-1, Troll)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929193)

Whoever buys this product and then pays for FREE open-source software from their catalog is a tool! Now Linspire money hungry monkeys are getting into bed with M$ after losing their original name, "Lindows".

What's different from Ubuntu which is free? (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929227)

Seriously. Flash? one click in Ubuntu. Codecs? Few clicks, even better in Gutsy. OOXML? Not a deal braker here and I think for most of people. Adobe? Get a grip man, new KDE/GNOME PDF apps based on libpopper are much lighter and better. Even Windows users uses Foxit now.

And ohh, you can buy Fluendo Gstreamer codecs about 5 - 15 euros, if you want to be legimite.

Another slashadvert, sights.

And yes, Linspire action to buying protections right was stupid and greedy. It was worth community blackslash.

Re:What's different from Ubuntu which is free? (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929345)

So your agument is that this is different, but not enough to matter to you? Okay, I'll buy that. Now explain to me how your preferences affect their strategic move to appeal to the general populace.

Re:What's different from Ubuntu which is free? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929801)

While his preferences likely do not affect that move at all, Linspire has failed to appeal to much of the populace (general or otherwise) throughout its existence, and I don't see anything in Linspire 6 that is likely to change that.

The biggest problems faced by Linspire are:

-It's hard to get people to pay for Linux distros when most of them are free (lots of people don't even like to pay for proprietary apps or OSes, thus the popularity of warez).
-Most new Linux users don't go out and choose a distro on their own. They ask around, consult friends who use Linux, as a local LUG for help or maybe attend a LUG installfest, etc. When they do those things, Linspire and Freespire are two names they may not hear at all, and if they do, it's unlikely to be in a positive context. Even before the Linspire-MSFT deal, Linspire wasn't all that well regarded; now, Linspire is widely reviled.

Looking at the second one, while his preferences may not affect that strategic move, those preferences also seem to be the preferences of most of the Linux user community, which is likely to affect the *success* of that move. In other words, individual preferences scale well. CF Novell, who signed the same deal. Novell has an entrenched and popular Linux brand in SuSE, which is probably second only to Red Hat in Enterprise deployments, and they have now also completed the move of Netware onto Linux. Those two branches of their customer base are both ones very used to using proprietary software and are thus unlikely to take much (if any) issue with Novell's deal with MSFT. The broader Linux community is no happier with Novell than it is with Linspire, but Novell's entrenched position in the enterprise may allow them to get away with it (or may not; time will tell, but I think they will).

Linspire doesn't have that luxury, because it is an end-user/home user oriented distro with little or no presence in the enterprise. In other words, it's very dependent on word of mouth, and the good will of the community. Having never enjoyed much more than a lukewarm community reception, and having now mostly lost whatever community good will it may have had, Linspire is not in an enviable position. Unlike Novell, Linspire is likely to be substantially harmed by the MSFT deal.

Difference between a "Free" and paid (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929351)

What differences would there be if I took the commercial Linspire and re-released it myself? Would the only difference be non open source software that I wouldn't be able to include? If so are there any major difference between Linspire and Linspire's Freespire (besides the non-OSS not being included of course)? Or is it pretty much the same as Linspire, simply minus the things they can't legally include due to not having the license to?

Micheal Robertson forgot something (1)

John Jamieson (890438) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929375)


Micheal forgot that most Linux users are created by OTHER linux users. They will not usually view the betrayal to MS very well...so will they be installing Linspire on the newbies PC? I think not.

Many Linux users can handle closed drivers/apps in their distro.(mandriva even gives you the choice) But almost NO ONE likes the sell out to MS. ooops, is that a problem Micheal?

As a Longtime follower of Linspire, I noticed Micheal Robertson slipping. He started out well, hoping for a return on the investment. He was not a hardcore RMS follower from the beginning, but a year and a half ago(or so) I felt he seemed to start panicing about whether Lindows/Linspire would ever pay off.
That seemed to culminate in this desperite MS deal.

I'd say if Linspire does not start breaking even, he will pull the plug within two years. (but maybe the MS deal was rich enough that he can hold out much longer. Who know how much MS paid him for the patent deal)

Paying for software? (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929577)

This is great. The first thing I do when I setup a new Windows/Mac/Linux machine is to install all the standard stuff that nobody includes. Ex:

Windows: WinAmp, XVID, FireFox...
Mac: Flip4Mac, VLC, DIVX, ...
Linux: MP3 support for XMMS, Video drivers, ...

I understand why Linux distros can't install this stuff. It requires licenses, and the OS is free.

But I would gladly pay $50 for a distro that had this. Most end-users would too (many of them pay me far more than that for time it takes me to do it manually). The Slashdot editorial ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hheadline makes it sounds like Linspire paid for a Novell-like or SCO-like patent license. That isn't what the press release says. It says they included some codecs.

Every year is supposed to be the year of "Linux on the desktop" yet whenever an article comes out about Linspire trying to make that happen, all the geeks jump on them like they are awful. Linspire is trying to make Linux easy and friendly and a pretty package. Yes, they rebranded RPM/DEB modules as "click-and-run" Yes, they pay licenses for stuff so you don't have to download it. They provide a service to the end-user, and we should be happy for every new Linux user who installs it and says "Hey, this is really great! It has everything I need" instead of complaining and making them look like Microsoft's evil twin brother.

After 10 years, we didn't learn anything (5, Interesting)

stm2 (141831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20929951)

I guess this post will be voted down into ovlidium. Anyway, I have to say this:
I've been using Linspire since their first beta (when they were called Lindows). It was a pretty decent distro, like a "moderm Debian, with KDE as default desktop manager". It had the "problem" with the root issue, but there was anything that prevented root to switch to a standard non privileged user. Lets go to today situation. This version is based in Ubuntu (instead of Debian), so it starts with all feature most Linux users wants (since Ubuntu is without dispute, the #1 Linux distro). Most people I know install over Ubuntu the "automatix" or some script to install Flash, JAVA and all codecs 99% desktop people use (remeber that a base Ubuntu installation don't even play mp3). I also use Ubuntu in another machine (have 2 notebooks and 1 server), but I bought a HP Pavillon dv5000 (Turion 64 model) and Freespire was the only distro that recognized the wifi card out of the box. You can make it work with Ubuntu and the Windows drivers, after following a 3 page step by step guide. I love Linux and love learning, but there is a moment when I want to do samething else than working for my computer.
The main difference now in Ubuntu and Linspire is the Linpire is defaulted to KDE instead of Gnome. CNR (Click and Run) is another important difference, but I guess Ubuntu will have day in the future).
So from a technical perspective, Linspire now is not so bad (in my opinion, it is even better, but this is debatable).
From a legal perspective, Linspire did a deal with MS not to promote MS claims on their patents as most people says, they did it to protect their clients (they are a commercial distro) and they use this fact to sell security (buy our distro, you won't be sued as some non computer companies were sued by SCO). From a commercial view, it was a smart move. I would like to see Canonical and Red Hat what they will do when MS lawyers go for them.
Regarding open source, Linspire did a lot contributions like Gizmo, Nvu, Lphoto and now the CNR (cnr.com), they are all open source (not just free). But the most important contribution is Freespire 2.0 (www.freespire.org) that it has also most of the propietary codecs, but without the Linspire brand (for what is worth).
IMHO, Linspire doesn't deserve to be treated as it were the LinuxOne stock scam (remember 1999?).

Re:After 10 years, we didn't learn anything (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930225)

I think you're right -- if the idea is to get people to try linux, don't you want to make it easy for them, not frustrating? And if choice is good, why is Linspire's choice "bad"?? Or is your devotion to the "GNU religion" so important that you'd rather be martyrs to its political correctness than builders of bridges among OSs??

OT... if ovlidium isn't a real word, it sure should be!!

I have heard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20930385)

...that "distros" are dead and now there are 300+ Operation Systems and those are fighting for popularity and support for different corporations. So why we should anymore use "distro" when we have so many OS (windows, macosx and 300+ different linux OS)? (yes, very stupid question but how about?)

I was a freespire goober (1)

billhedrick (958463) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930535)

until it became obvious that they couldn't find their butt even when using both hands. A lot of loyal *spire users felt the same way, especially when KC and friends decided to dance with the "Devil" to cover the butt they could not find. KC said "If you're so smart why don't you start your own distro?" And Chris Medico, with the help and encouragement of his friends, did. It's a fully realized (even though it's only just about to hit beta) Kubuntu derivative called "Klikit" www.klikit.org He's solved most of the codec problems and it's remarkably stable. I'm a 15 year Mac and Window guy and I run Klikit 95% of the time on my home machines. Linspire is so 2005... Linspire and Xandros lost a lot of good will when they ponied up the protection money.

Damn you all. (1)

thesameguy (1047504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20930769)

I came in here expected a big fight about morality and ethics and free software and evil software, and damnit, you all are being reasonable. Crap. Now what?
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