Linspire Announces 'Freespire' Version of Their Popular Linux Operating System

Posted by dcparris on Apr 24, 2006 10:24 PM EDT
PR Newswire; By Press release
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Freespire Community Project to Offer Unique Mix of Both Proprietary and Open Source Options in Free Linux Operating System

SAN DIEGO, April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Linspire, developer of the popular commercial desktop Linux operating system of the same name, today announced plans for a no-cost version of their operating system called Freespire. Kevin Carmony, Linspire's President and CEO, unveiled the Freespire project in his keynote address this morning at the 4th Annual Desktop Linux Summit, running today and tomorrow in San Diego. In his remarks, Carmony explained how Freespire is a community driven and developed project, but unique for open source Linux distributions in that it will allow users the choice to download a version that is 100% open-source or one that includes proprietary software.

Freespire is venturing into new territory by offering a free community Linux operating system that includes the option for legally licensed proprietary software pieces in the core distribution. The Freespire community project and Web site are now live at http://www.freespire.org, with the first beta release of the operating system to be made available for download in August. The release will mark the first time Linspire is making such a free version of their Linux operating system available to the public. For more details on the Freespire project or to sign up for the Freespire community mailing list, visit http://www.freespire.org.

Linux has found broad acceptance on servers but has met with some resistance from desktop and laptop computer users, in part from its lack of native support for some hardware, file types and multi media formats. Freespire addresses this hurdle by offering proprietary drivers and software as a choice, and gives desktop Linux users the option of "out-of-the-box" legal support for MP3, DVD, Windows Media, QuickTime, Java, Flash, Real, ATI drivers, nVidia drivers, Adobe Acrobat Reader, third-party fonts, and so on. Other Linux distributions do not include these pieces of proprietary software in their core free distributions.

Once released, a list of all the different proprietary codecs, drivers and software used in Freespire will be available at http://www.freespire.org/home/trademarks, along with the detailed licensing information needed to help assist others in the modifying and redistribution of the core Freespire open source code.

In his remarks at the Desktop Linux Summit, Carmony discussed how the open source Linux community needs to become better educated on how to legally and successfully incorporate proprietary licensing in those instances where there are not yet good open source options available.

"Freespire is about choice," Carmony said. "The user should be free to decide what software they want to install on their systems, be that proprietary or open source. Linspire fully embraces and supports the open source model, but if Linux is to gain mainstream acceptance, it needs to work with iPods and DVD players, and fully support hardware, such as 3D graphic cards, Wi-Fi, sound, and printers. Until there are viable open source replacements, Freespire sets out to at least provide the option of legally and easily using certain proprietary codecs, drivers and software."

According to Carmony, the Freespire project has six major goals for the advancement of Linux and open source software: 1) Provide users freedom of choice by making available a "free marketplace" for all Linux software, including proprietary, open source, free and commercial products, plus provide easy access to this marketplace with open sourced tools such as CNR and apt-get. When necessary for the user experience, include proprietary software as an option in the core distribution, which will always be available for download at no cost; 2) Offer a very easy-to-use, yet powerful, Linux distribution; 3) Provide exceptional "fit and finish" with a professional and polished operating system; 4) Create a Linux that can expand more broadly to the masses; 5) Create an active community of developers and users; and 6) Include worldwide language support. A more detailed discussion on the Freespire mission can be found at http://www.freespire.org/about/vision.

As part of the Freespire project, Linspire's flagship CNR (click and run) technology (a one-click download and install software management system), will be open sourced to facilitate the building of a truly "free marketplace" for all Linux software, including proprietary, open source, free, or commercial. Many proprietary codecs, drivers and software will be offered in Freespire's core distribution, while a few that have a larger per-unit licensing fee, such as DVD, must be purchased and installed via CNR.

The Freespire project will be open to community development, comment and contribution. A community forum is now live on the Freespire Web site, and the community project will be governed by a Leadership Board that includes prominent members of the Linux community. For more about the Freespire Leadership board, visit http://www.freespire.org/community/leadership.

As a company, Linspire will continue to develop and release new commercial versions of its industry leading desktop Linux operating system Linspire OS. While Freespire is more accessible by developers and those in or curious about the Linux community, Linspire will continue to be geared towards the consumer and novice computer user, offering more ease of use and premium support. In addition, the Freespire project will help to improve the commercial version of the Linspire operating system, as many of the improvements to the Freespire operating system will be incorporated into future releases of Linspire.

A detailed FAQ on Freespire is available at http://www.freespire.org/support/faqs.

About Linspire, Inc.

Linspire, Inc. (http://www.linspire.com) was founded in 2001 to bring choice into the operating system market. The company's flagship product, the Linspire operating system, is an affordable, easy-to-use Linux-based operating system for home, school, and business users. Linspire pioneered CNR ("click and run") Technology, which allows Linspire users access to thousands of software programs, each of which can be downloaded and installed with just one mouse click. The more than 2,400 software titles available in the CNR Warehouse (http://www.linspire.com/cnr) include full office and productivity suites, games, multimedia players, photo management software, accounting tools, and more.

For more information, please contact: Heather MacKenzie

Linspire, Inc.858-587-6700 x263

858-587-8095 Fax

pr@linspire.com

Linspire, Freespire, CNR, and CNR Warehouse are trademarks of Linspire, Inc. All other marks herein are property of their respective owners.

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