Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Consumer Linux

Linspire is configured solely for use on desktop and laptop computers, particularly for consumers. True they don’t offer server or enterprise products, they believe there are already plenty of great Linux products out there for those areas that need it. Linspire supports MP3, DVD, Windows Media, QuickTime, Flash, Java, ATI and nVidia drivers, Bitstream fonts,and so on. It is ideally suited for the non-technical computer user who would like to use Linux on their desktop or laptop, and have everything just work from the moment they turn on their computer.
Now I know that it's stylish for many in the Linux circles to always down Linspire. However many in the traditional Linux community don’t know much about Linspire, or what they do know is very inaccurate.

Myth #1 Linspire Runs as Root

This is no more true than saying that PcLinuxOs.92 or SuSE run as root. In both of these distributions, you are required to add (or not add) users at some point during the first install. True in Linspire, you do initially log in as root, but if you follow the wizard, you are encouraged just as much as in the PcLinuxOs.92 at install to add a user.

Myth #2 Their greedy over at Linspire. They don't give back

Linspire funds a lot of initiatives and helps to advocate Linux in markets where it has had trouble. Linspire has invested over $35M to date into GNU/Linux and free software.
Open source is about contributing where you can, and doesn't “always” mean contributing code. Pretty much everything they do over there is open source and contributed back. Now sometimes those other projects are slow to include or adopt Linspire Inc. changes. On Linspire Five-O, they have the Mozilla browser that corrects your spelling on the fly, in-line, and offers suggestions. Again those changes were put in the upstream, but I don't believe that the Mozilla project ever has accepted their changes for in-line spell checking. But hopefully we’ll see that in the Firefox core soon.

Im not saying every one should love Linspire or use Linspire, but the traditional Linux community has to under stand that most people, I mean “most-people” want everything to just work from the moment they turn on their computer. “The average user is not going to want to go to the forums and search for an answer on how to get their media player to work with what format file they are trying to view or listen to.”
The Linux community should promote distros like Linspire Five-O, as a means to showing people there is another way other than Windows® or OSX®. For this to happend, the buying public must see Linux based computers,, Firefox and other applications side by side with the other guys (Windows® or OSX®) in mainstream retail establishments. That gives any product market acceptance.That means more OEMs are going to be willing to provide hardware, software and technologies for “all” Linux users. Linspire definitely has aided overall Linux adoption. To succeed at competing with Microsoft the Linux community needs a Linspire as much as they need the Linux community. They need to make money, they must make profits to get a sales force along with advertising, hardware support, Linux pre-installed computers, Linux support from Independent software vendors, developers, certification, etc.....

IDC estimates that 9 million Linux PCs will be shipped in 2006, with that number growing to 17 million in 2008. So less than 4% of PCs expected to be sold in North and South America in 2008 will come with Linux.

"If developers are paid for their work, they can do it full time, rather than as a hobby they do on evenings and weekends because they need to have another full-time career to put food on the table. and Firefox are wonderful open source software programs, but they wouldn't be nearly as good if many of the engineers who worked on these products hadn't been able to work full time on these projects because they were being paid by AOL, Sun, and others. Nvu, Lsongs and Lphoto are as good as they are because Linspire pays engineers to work on these projects full time, and we can afford to pay them because we charge a fair price for our products and services.
If Microsoft ends up fighting only those engineers who can donate evenings and weekends, they'll win. If there is a way to inject a FAIR commerce model into the open source equation, then you'll find open source programs to rival Microsoft, as we've seen with Firefox, and Nvu."

Kevin Carmony

Now that there is a Freespire, maybe, just maybe they (Linspire Inc.) will get some respect.

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