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Freespire 2.0 - Finally Multimedia Friendly Linux

Introducing Freespire 2.0
I recently flew to New York and the gentleman in the seat next to me wrestled with his laptop trying to get it to boot XP for 1.5 hours before retreating to the airline magazine crossword puzzle. Meanwhile, I was watching videos and playing music on my IBM laptop running Freespire - a new free version of Linux designed for desktops and laptops. Linux is really gaining polish and maturity and warrants a new look if you're in the market for a low cost operating system that comes without the security hassles and constant maintenance of XP or Vista. I gave a copy to my 10 year old with instructions to load it on his laptop last week. I came home from work to find him on AddictingGames and YouTube. Freespire and its commercial cousin Linspire install in a remarkable 10 minutes and offer out-of-the-box support of a wide range of multimedia without the tinkering that is commonplace in Linux. Plus, they come with CNR which lets you install software and updates with a single mouse click. With the exception of playing digitally restricted (DRM) music and movies (that I believe are a misguided strategy that has hurt the media companies it was intended to help) there's just about nothing I can't do with my Freespire computer.

Desktop Linux has been more of a labor of love than profit for me over the last 6 years. I believed then as I do now that desktop software is too expensive and healthy competition can help to correct the pricing irregularities. The only possible way to compete with Microsoft's 20 year head start is to approach the business from a vastly different strategy and that strategy is open source.

Freespire 2.0 in action
Energizing the desktop Linux movement recently is a new comer - Ubuntu. Backed by net mogul Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu has galvanized global support. The latest versions of Freespire and Linspire are built on top of Ubuntu meaning the engine is in fact Ubuntu. What makes Freespire and Linspire different is that they have an easy to use interface that XP users will find comfortable and adds non-open source software that most consumers expect (MP3, Flash, Windows Media) with support from popular hardware such as Nvidia and ATI graphic cards. Linux has historically been dominated by radicals opposed to proprietary software. While I'd admire their zeal I care more about making software practical for the average user. This means making things work using whatever type of software is required.

Working with Ubuntu will help Freespire/Linspire focus more time on CNR. When I started Linspire (then called Lindows) the idea was to make software one-click installable but Linux was so hard to use we first had to create an operating system. It's taken longer than I predicted but Freespire and Linspire are terrific products that are full featured and easy to use (Read Freespire Reviews). We will continue to spend energy and money creating our *spire operating systems but leveraging Ubuntu will help us do it faster. We will take those time savings and work on offering CNR for all Linux users. It is not just the operating system that is too expensive but productivity software like office suite, drawing, flow charts, etc. will make it easy to find and install low cost or free alternatives making Linux even cheaper. Alpha Released
CNR is more than just a catalog of software programs. With a single click any listed software program is downloaded, installed and ready to use on your computer. Plus we're making CNR wiki-based so you can see what others are saying about each software title. If you're so inclined, you can add comments about your own experience. If you want to experience full multimedia support on Linux then download your free copy of Freespire and install it on your computer. Then visit which is now in alpha to experience one click software installs of the best Linux software.

-- MR

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