August 8, 2008

Linspire is going away

Author: Tina Gasperson

Linspire, the distribution originally launched as Lindows, is no more, says Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos.

Xandros purchased Linspire, the company, earlier this summer. This week, the company announced that it was going to revamp community distribution Freespire, basing its next version on Debian instead of Ubuntu, and using it as a precursor for Xandros Desktop Professional, in much the same way Red Hat uses Fedora and SUSE uses openSUSE. But the company didn't need multiple for-pay desktop distributions, so Linspire is getting the boot.

"A principal advantage of Linspire, its codec licensing agreement with Microsoft, no longer applies," Typaldos says. "With the Linspire acquisition we had three desktop brands and two distinct code bases. From joint discussions with our respective engineering teams it made eminent sense to combine our efforts with a single code base and two brands.

"Freespire is returning to Debian because we need to build all of our desktop products upon a single code base," Typaldos says. "Xandros has always worked closely with the Debian community where the emphasis is stability and consistency over the bleeding edge. Besides, it's not that big a switch since Ubuntu is based on Debian as well."

Both Xandros Desktop Professional and Freespire will be built on a Debian "Lenny" code base. Typaldos says that some familiar elements from Linspire, such as the CNR client, will probably show up in Xandros.

Linspire, originally known as Lindows, was the Linux distribution that took on Windows with its "choice is good" motto and too-close-for-comfort moniker, which brought Microsoft attorneys running and prompted the change to Linspire. Founder Michael Robertson also attracted the scrutiny by the Free Software Foundation by playing fast and loose with GPL licensing terms. Lindows' main claim to fame was its status as the first pre-installed Linux to be sold in Wal-Mart, or any other major US retail establishment.


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