Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Business Debian Operating Systems Software

Freespire Lives, Goes Back To Debian 104

Posted by timothy
from the olde-school dept.
nerdyH writes "Following Xandros's acquisition of Linspire, some feared for the future of Freespire, the free version of Linspire. However, Xandros today announced a new version of Freespire that will return the popular free Linux distro to its Debian-based roots."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Freespire Lives, Goes Back To Debian

Comments Filter:
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:28PM (#24503881) Homepage Journal

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

    Can someone please explain what these guys have to offer?

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

    • by HeavensBlade23 (946140) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:36PM (#24503951)
      We wouldn't have Ubuntu if people followed that advice a few years ago.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by clang_jangle (975789) *

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

          Oh, come on now. I prefer Debian myself, but I put my non-geek friends and family on Ubuntu. If I put them on Debian I'll have to explain so much crap their eyes will glaze over and they'll ask me to put Windows back on. It may be trivial to you and me when something goes wrong (an apt-get dist-upgrade breaks the menu system, or optical discs suddenly stop mounting automagically, or the wireless network card no longer shows up in the Gnetwork box),

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Some people like typing "sudo" before everything they do. What other distro could they use?
        • by BlackCreek (1004083) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:45PM (#24504607)

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

          Except that

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

            On the topic of working out of the box:

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

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

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

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

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

          • by Earered (856958)

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by EvilNTUser (573674)

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

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

            On the other hand, this argument also justifies its existence. The people who don't agree with me get to use what they pr

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

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

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

        The other point is that while a few people make major

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

        • by jlarocco (851450) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @08:19PM (#24505251) Homepage

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

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

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

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

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

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Enderandrew (866215)

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

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

            • by jlarocco (851450) on Thursday August 07, 2008 @12:18AM (#24506701) Homepage

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

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

        • yeah, just TRY to get new features into Debian. Debian grows at a snail's pace and it's not because of a lack of devs.
        • by tinkertim (918832) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @10:43PM (#24506255) Homepage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • by Earered (856958)

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

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

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

            • He didn't mean dash was made by the Ubuntu team, he said that some shell scripts used non-POSIX compliant bash extensions, and that some Ubuntu devs did rewrite bash specific parts into POSIX counterparts to have those scripts work with POSIX shells, including dash, which benefits to everyone but that no one wanted to.
              • by Earered (856958)

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

                some debian devs did rewrite some of those too

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          "My point still stands. The Ubuntu devs could have focused their efforts on Debian. Their distro today still is binary compatible with Debian. If they added their new features to the stock Debian, all Debian users benefit."
          They did and they called it Ubuntu. Shuttleworth has plans to make money with support and probably some other things and I doubt that would have worked just contributing to Debian.
          Also Shuttle worth would have no control over release dates, features, and then you have the entire what is f

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by fwarren (579763)

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

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

            There are plenty of reasons why someone would want something almost De

    • by teh moges (875080) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:51PM (#24504115) Homepage
      I think the problem is not 'too many distros', rather that not everything that runs on distroX runs on distroY. If a standard base could be setup that still allows for distros to be unique, but also allows for them to work together a lot better, then we will see an increase in applications made for linux, both open and closed source.

      As it stands, if you want to make something non-trivial that runs on a linux distro, you either need to pick your distro (at least decide between RHEL, Debian or another base), and just hope that it runs on the others.
      • by Drantin (569921) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:02PM (#24504217)

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

        • by sxeraverx (962068)
          Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with LSB. One of the worst problems is that of Fortran. Fortran libraries aren't in LSB, and most distros don't distribute them by default. (Ones I've tested: Fedora, RHEL, Debian, and Ubuntu). Sure, everyone knows and loves C, but especially a lot of scientific computing applications that are still actively being used and developed today, were written in Fortran, and it would be more effort than the developers are willing to put in to port them to C. But L
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I started thinking about this a lot since the announcement of LSB (Linux Standard Base) 4.*. The idea that a distro could have core components in common to target sounds great. But tackle it from a different angle. Lets say I am using distro Y to develop an application targeted to work on LSB. The problem is now, I have to be VERY CONSCIOUS of what libs/bins I am using, and how. Just because it runs on distro Y that is LSB compliant doesn't mean that it will work on any LSB distro. Now everything I touch, a
        • That is the same mindset that led to a gazillion web pages that were IE only. People wrote for IE rather than writing for the spec.

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

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

        • by Joe Snipe (224958)
          It's called a developers environment, and it isn't hard to set up
      • by Hatta (162192)

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

        • by Tacvek (948259)

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

        • by Optic7 (688717)
          I frequent some 3d animation forums (cgtalk.com) and the topic of running Softimage XSI, one of the major 3d animation software packages, on linux came up a few weeks ago. Their target distro is Fedora, but people apparently can finagle other RPM based distros to work, but someone mentioned there that it will just not work with Debian based distros. Who knows if it's something that a Linux hacker could figure out though...
      • by Walles (99143)

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

        Here you go. [debian.org]

    • by Kjella (173770)

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

      I keep hearing that, but the answer is that it already does. Most of the application development happens upstream, the distros usually compete on doing what a distro should which is to deliver it all to you in a nice package. Distros come and go as the need arises, many fork off more or less as specialist distros and gets absorbed back in the distro they came from. Take for example MythTV. It was a long time it more or less had its own distro, now "mythbuntu" is basicly MythTV which you can install alongsid

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bill_kress (99356)

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

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

      As I've been told when trying to update

      • Sounds like portage.

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

        • Commercial free (like flash player, for example) is different from paid software. CNR allows you to buy software.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Enderandrew (866215)

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

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

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

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

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by squiggleslash (241428)

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

            There are no distros of any visibility in the US that bundle libdvdcss that haven't been licensed in some way. It is probably that the DVD CCA would take a pragmatic view and not sue at this point, largely because it's easy for an end user to circumvent the ban anyway and because while its damaging

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

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

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

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

      What Linspire gave them was the comfort level of Download.com. Screen shots. Product reviews - from outside the geek comm

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:28PM (#24504465) Journal

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

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

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

      There were some issues getting wine to run office on Ubuntu. Then after office was working (office was a deal breaker open office not an option for them) a few days later then complained because the

  • Popular? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zaurus (674150) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:43PM (#24504015)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dedazo (737510)

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

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

      • Re:Popular? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by H0p313ss (811249) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:57PM (#24504177)

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

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

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

        • by dedazo (737510)

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

          • by H0p313ss (811249)

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

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

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

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

        • Chile (Score:3, Informative)

          by westlake (615356)
          This must be some strange new meaning of the word "popular" that I was not previously aware of.
          .

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

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

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

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by dedazo (737510)

            One of the things to remember about countries like Chile (and Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, etc) is that there's a HUGE divide between the upper and lower middle class, in the sense that there's no true middle class like there is in the US, Canada or Germany. They also tend to suffer from unregulated state-owned monopolies that have subtle effects on the spread of technology. For example, in the 90s getting on the Internet in Mexico was extremely expensive because of a stupid charge-per-call rule the state

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

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

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

    • I bought their retail version, coz of the codecs it had with it, which was fine but the click-and-install system didn't work, the command line didn't work - no matter how often I have reinstalled it onto different boxes. Not a good use of £25 I feel...
  • by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:44PM (#24504027)

    WHO CARES!

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

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

  • The Mothership - Debian!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:15PM (#24504333)

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

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

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:20PM (#24504383) Homepage Journal
    It was going to the grave, but changed direction. Now they are going to their roots.
  • by ricegf (1059658) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @07:26PM (#24504885) Journal

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

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

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

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

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

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

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

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

      Considering using such a servi

    • by Smenj (648240)

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

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

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

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

      Example: I recently succumbed to temptation and got an iPhone. I love it despite it's shortcomings. One thing I don't love, however, is the slippery slope that is the App Store. I am only interested in the free (as in beer) apps (and would prefer if they were libre as well, of course). But Apple intentionally presents free apps the same way it does those that cost money. Each time I downloa

    • by mocoloco (1136259)

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

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

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

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

    Kris

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

Working...