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Linspire in EU (No lawsuits this time)

I spent this week traveling across Europe announcing three new versions of Linspire 5 (not Linspire Five-0 as we call it in the US - not sure they'd get the subtle American TV show reference). These are the first translations made possible by the army of volunteer translators with the IRMA project. Last time I was in Europe, Microsoft operatives showed up at many events - sometimes providing names, sometimes not - but we welcomed them either way. They spent their time quietly taking notes - except in Sweden where they used our pre-announced visit to serve me with yet another lawsuit in the Lindows trademark battle. This time there were no lawsuits. Instead there were friendly wagers with skeptical Linux users that Linspire would recognize their devices -from video to WiFi - when other Linux products had not. I promised beers to many reporters on my return trip if Linspire did not auto-recognize every component on their system.


Press event in London

On this trip, my first stop was the UK, where we introduced a localized, or rather a "localised" UK edition of Linspire 5 at several well attended press events. In spite of a terrorist scare on a major train line, we had a full house in London. I talked about why I invested $5 million of my own money to start Linspire and what we have accomplished over the last four years. I was able to show a live demo of Linspire 5. Today users can buy the UK version from Linspire.com/uk, and thanks to our partnership with Phoenix Global Systems, they can also expect Linspire to be on the shelves of the largest British computer retailer PC World within a month.

Then it was on to the Netherlands - a hotbed for Linux adoption as you can tell by the Lraiser map. Our partner Dupaco, an influential reseller, had an impressive booth at the TINE convention, the largest ICT and Networking event in the Netherlands, where they showed Linspire laptops and desktops. I was given a chance to do a live Q & A with an editor from Computable, a leading Dutch publication, which was standing room only. Afterward I had a chance to speak with IRMA translators, Insiders and even the father of an MP3.com artist with 250,000 downloads. I did speak with a KDE.org representative about KDE using IRMA to get multilingual support for all KDE programs.

An evening event I was scheduled to speak at, was planned by an open source/open standards coalition with about 30 attendees, including 10 members of the Dutch parliament. Attendees had confirmed the dinner meeting two days earlier, yet all 10 of the government officials did not show up. It could be a remarkable coincidence of poor etiquette - or that some external pressure was applied. A knowledgeable local whispered in my ear that something was amiss. With the Dutch version now available for sale and pre-installed laptops and desktops now available at Linspire.com/nl I hope we can help create an unstoppable wave of Linux adoption.


A press event in Europe

Next I flew to Germany to show off our first German version. Linspire is not big in Germany yet, but they are Linux knowledgeable since SuSE has roots there. I gave them a Linspire 5 demo and told them that the German version is now available at Linspire.com/de. Also Media Markt, the largest computer electronics company in Germany will have the product on the store shelves in less than a month thanks to the efforts of Top Systems who are part of publicly traded Net AG and who helped make Winzip and PaintShop Pro a success in Germany. I talked to many passionate Linux people including the Managing Director of LinuxLand. He approached me and said that the very first time he heard about Linux was when he read about the Lindows trademark battle with Microsoft and now he has a thriving Linux reseller business. I guess some good came from that lawsuit.

It was a hectic but significant week. We not only introduced three new versions of Linspire, but more importantly we kicked off our relationship with strategic partners who will work to put Linux on the store shelves in those countries where Linux desperately needs to go mainstream. We also got IRMA working from end to end producing localized version. This means that in the coming weeks and months there will be trips to many new places to help kickstart Linux adoption. And as for the beer bets, so far I'm winning! See the e-mail below from one tester.

--------------------
Dear Michael,

We met yesterday (wednesday april 20th) in the RAI in Amsterdam. I told you I wanted to be the first LCSE remember? I just installed Linspire Five-0 on my IBM R40 laptop and it works right away, even the wireless network! So you don't owe me a beer, alas.

Now I'm up for the difficult task to convince my managers here at xxxxx that they can do without Windows XP!!! I wish you all the best for the future and will let you know when we're ready to purchase Linspire for the whole building here.

Cheers,
Peter
-----------------

-- Michael

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