back to article Linspire CEO defends Xandros buy-out

The CEO of Linux distributor Linspire has confirmed that rival desktop Linux maker Xandros Inc has acquired the firm. Michael Robertson said in a blog post on his website yesterday that he was “excited to see the Linspire, Freespire and CNR [Click 'n' Run] technology go to a worthy competitor.” He added: “Linux is going …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Xandros reached out and touched me in a bad place.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux desktop

    It is the preinstall for the masses, it is that simple.

    MS made sure the market for OS selection was made by the OEM or Retailer not the consumer.

    That may change, but not before MS is knocked off the preinstall pedestal.

    MS should be selling like other software houses, ie a product on the side, that the consumer decides to put on their machine.

    That would then allow consumers the choice in operating system, and for companies such as Xandros, Linspire, Progency, Redhat, Suse, Mandrake, to sell their operating system as well.

    Ubuntu has had to go down the support line, but I imagine they would be happy to offer an OS at the checkout.

    But, that has been tried and it will continue to fail until the preinstall OS market is varied enough, to allow the consumer the ability to make a choice.

  3. Ralph B
    Paris Hilton

    Shot in Foot by Metaphor

    > Carmony laid into the takeover by accusing Robertson of being a sell-out and

    > abandoning a “sinking ship”.

    Isn't that the right thing to do with a "sinking ship"? The other option, presumably, is to go down with the ship. Which benefits who exactly?

    Paris, because she's used to going down with all hands.

  4. Chris Thomas
    Thumb Up

    Lets hope they are touched by another distro

    not xandros, anything, even debian would be better

  5. captain kangaroo
    Paris Hilton

    Linux on the desktop is still the domain of software engineers and technical people.

    I've been using various CLI Linux servers for years and tried Ubuntu Desktop 6.06 when it came out. I now realize the very good reason why Linux is a geeks platform. Dispite things like Compiz and it's revolving cube desktop, the structure of the applications, aesthetically is fairly clunky and reminded me of a Fischer Price "my first pc". That was my only real criticism though. Functionally I found it very easy to use, and a lot easier to network than windows... Wasted screen real estate is a real issue. Compare iTunes/Windows Media Player and RhythmBox...

    iTunes - aesthetically efficient and clear and simple to use.

    WMP - Aesthetically exciting and slick, although not that intuative, with weird options under buttons with symbols on them.

    RhythmBox - large swathes of blank space, chunky buttons. Easy enough to use, (although i have not found a way to actually change the rip settings)... a bit basic, but fundamentally ugly.

    It's the desktop.

    Gnome - technically brilliant - aesthetically clunky. Nice on a 32" screen though i'd imagine.

    KDE - technically brilliant - aesthetically archaic

    Xfce - technically brilliant - a lot more efficient on screen space and quick...

    I think it's the desktops that are letting the side down. I reckon when and Gnome, KDE pull their finger out and refine their appearance, and Xfce simply go further with what they seem to be aiming for, we'll see a lot more people adopting *nux systems...

    As for the merger... who cares? Seriously, it's a company, companies merge!!! I've got no comment to make on that...

    Paris, because she's "like school in July", a bit like Gnome and KDE...

  6. Steve Anderson

    MS Patents

    So, what has happened is that one also-ran Linux provider that signed an MS patent deal has been bought out by another also-ran Linux provider that signed an MS patent deal.

    Sounds good to me. One less "leading supplier of Linux software" for MS to harp on about in its protection racket pamphlets.

  7. Dr. Mouse


    As far as I can remember the OLPC project is installing Linux. So at least it will reach out and touch a lot of children....

    Mines the long dirty mack that I am still wearing, I don't want to take it off just yet :P

  8. Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase Mr Burns :

    Excellent ....

    We need more buyouts and consolidation in all this linux claptrap, until there is only one is left. Then the last one can be bought by Microsoft , at which point Evil Steve will come in and sweep them all under the rug with his big reality distortion field.


    Distant thunder , a lighning bolt strikes the castle tower, I put on the welding goggles , tin foil hat , asbestos underwear and lead overcoat and ask igor to fetch the 8 inch floppy containing CP/M ... it will live !

    Mine's the one with the bolt in the collar.

  9. kain preacher


    High percentage of users cant install the OS. Most dont want to. The ones that will load their own OS are most likely to build the PC them self.

    How many people even know there is other OS's out there. Sure people that red the Reg would know, but the majority does not . They just want some thing they can take home from the shop and use right away.

  10. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo

    Linux on the Desktop. you might as well fill your computer with a cow pat

    Linux is as usful as a computer full of cow Manure.

    If consumers had a choice at the time they purchase a computer they would go with Windows. They could go and buy a nice BSD box from apple if they wanted. But lets face it not many do.

    Why? Becuase the software on these platforms is crap.

    The OEM deals and the channel add value to the consumer. It prevents people taking home crap

  11. Richard L

    @Damien Jorgensen

    "The OEM deals and the channel add value to the consumer. It prevents people taking home crap"


  12. Shadow Systems

    @Damien Jorgensen

    Sorry, but I'll have to say "Bullocks".

    If I buy a Linux-installed system, there is very little extra programs installed ("cruft"), and anything I need/want to install is, literally, a single mouse-click away.

    In the case of Ubuntu, it's called "Synaptic". Click the icon, it launches the package manager, & from there you can browse hundreds of thousands of titles to install, each as easy as a mouse click or two.

    Install Open Office? Type "Open Office" into the search field, hit [ENTER], and give it five seconds to find the program. Click "Apply" and wait for it to install. Once it's done, that's it. No reboot, no need to restart, just close Synaptic & go.

    And it's that way with nearly EVERYTHING you can install.

    Games, WiFi, Browsers, Word Processors, Accounting, HAM Radio, CAD, you name it.

    If I buy a computer from Dell, HP, Compaq, or Apple, it's FILLED with all sorts of cruft.

    Browser bars, "search buddies", trials for stuff you probably don't want (and in some cases, Norton, you can't UN-install without a second tool downloaded especially designed to clean out all the hooks it leaves behind), applications you may never use (hello "Net Meeting"), ap's you can't use ("hello "Windows Movie Maker"), & things you have to un-install before you can get down to business.

    Because there is NO single repository for all the supported/compatible Windows software out there.

    If I want to install anything new, I have to Google for it, download it, possibly register to enable the download link, run it, agree to the EULA(s), tell it where to install, and wait with fingers crossed & baited breath hoping it installs properly.

    What's that, I've installed a new browser & you need me to reboot?

    Do it & have Windows BSOD because some random file's been replaced causing incompatibilities with subsystems you can't pronounce, much less find, or have a chance in hell of resolving the conflicts? This is not hyperbole, this isn't "pulling things out of my arse", this is real world experiences of MILLIONS of Windows users over the years.

    If we had a REAL choice over what OS to have installed on our systems at time of purchase, you would see a REAL plummet of MS.

    Because if you give us the choice of an OS that's secure, friendly, and lets us do what we want, out of the box, cheaper than what MS tries to force-feed you, why would ANYONE want MS?

    We have WINE, Cross-Over, & Cedega to run thousands of Windows programs, and if they can't handle it, there's a Virtual Machine environment only a few mouse clicks away that can.

    We have Open Office, Adobe, Flash, DVD, & MP3 capabilities.

    We have no fears from virii, trojans, or any of the Windows-based malware.

    We have money left over from the purchase because we weren't paying the "Microsoft tax".

    So, please, tell me again why we would willingly choose the bug-ridden, over-priced, security-holed-like-a-sieve OS over one we can download for free?

  13. dave hands


    Linux is as usful as a computer full of cow Manure.

    You sure put the "I am a twat" hat on with that statement.

    And of course, Windows which comes with boatloads of holes, needs further money spending on it to offset the appalling security model it uses and has a shit web browser, a shit email client and notepad is SO superior to an OS which needs no money spending on it to make it safe, comes with several safe browsers, several good email clients, a serious office suite and the option of a further 10-20,000 applications.

    Might as well disconnect from the internet then as Linux runs a fair proportion of that too.

    Xandros and Linspire are awful distros. A hopeless attempt to make Linux into something like Windows - somewhat like taking a Rolls Royce and painting it up to look like a milk float. And they're going the way they deserve as a consequence.

    Ubuntu is OK, doing well, spreading the word.

    You want an out of the box good experience you could do worse than to try one of the Mandriva 2008 Live disks. Comes with most of what you need and installs in about 10 minutes.

    As to the desktop thing - Gnome is over simplified and annoying (though very graceful and beautiful) and KDE is more or less instantly intuitive but overly cluttered in places.

    And both require a brain.

    The software on Linux is crap - you really are ladling it out today huh?

    And firefox - an open source project that started out in Linux? Apache? MySQL?

    I'll grant you that a lot of Open Source applications seem to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit most of the branches on the way down. Huge buttons, acres of white space, etc.

    On the other hand, take Evolution (the email client) - has a far far better interface than Outlook. Take Konqueror - far superior to Windows Explorer.

    Try taking a Win XP disk and installing your computer with it - you're not allowed to use driver cd's or 3rd party software installs - how functional would your pc be?

    Now do the same with a single Linux disk. You'd find 99.9% of drivers were present and you'd have enough software to get going without further installs.

    I know we like to be funny on the Reg comments, but there's funny and there's ignorant. Do try to learn the difference.

  14. Svantevid

    @Damien Jorgensen

    "Linux is as usful as a computer full of cow Manure."

    I beg to differ... my wife still uses XP Pro (force of habit), but as your average user I've found Ubuntu much easier to install and upgrade. Usual tasks (surfing, e-mailing, Word/Excel...) are as easy as using Windows... after coming to grips with the fact that it doesn't keep your docs in C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents and that OpenOffice doesn't use MS Office shortcuts.

    And no, I still don't know what "compiling the kernel" means. :-)

  15. John Sanders

    Linux adoption

    Linux problems...

    1) Most people try to use it to replace windows, guess what? It's not windows, most linux software is excelent, but those programs that replace Windows apps are not so excelent sometimes, and many are half baked or just years behind lacking features/polishness.

    2) Linux almost always gives you extra headaches, if it gives you IT pro problems, imagine how it will be for end users.

    3) Many basic framework-like things (X comes to mind) are still lagging, many require you to compile kernel modules or to compile your own kernel (big no-no when there is no time)

    Note, I'm not saying compiling your own kernel is bad, it is indeed a good thing, but many of us simply do not have something people call "time" to tinker arround, many of us are on tight squedules and need to get the job done on a predictable way, as a contractor I can not spend as much time as I like on getting that debian box to behave (at home it is a different matter)

    There are tasks that involve things like Apache, Squid, MySQL, PHP, that hardly give you any trouble, but other tasks like building a linux exchange replacement are to put it in simple terms craftmanship's work, so Win+Exchange gets installed instead. (Does anyone know of a GPL exchange replacement that doesn't require weeks to get deployed/installed?)

    Anyway Linux has been making huge improvements during the last 5 years, and the next 5 promise to be even better, so there is hope...

  16. Scott K

    Linux it's clunky and too awkward for the man in the street

    Until they get a release that will work just as easily as Windows for the average man in the street, they have no chance of preinstall overlord status. It's still all clunky and awkward to use. Why should you even need the CLI this isn't 1981 guys :)

  17. Dr. Mouse
    Paris Hilton


    OK, I find this comment thread very funny.

    Let's look at some examples:

    "Linux is as usful as a computer full of cow Manure"

    Firstly, the vast majority of serious servers out there use Linux, or some other *nix OS. I think what you meant was "Linux ON A DESKTOP MACHINE is as usful as a computer full of cow Manure". This is also wrong, but not as wrong as your comment. For the basics, from surfing the internet to office apps, email, listening to music, watching DVDs, Linux is on average as good as Windows. Some parts are better, some are worse.

    When you want to run the latest games, Windows is normaly the only option. I say normally, because WINE and Cedega do an incredible job with some, especialy older games. I know for a fact that the EVE Online client ran about 50% quicker under Cedega than on Windows about 3 years ago when I was playing it. But the only reason Windows is necessary for this is that games are written for Windows. It's catch-22. There are not enough users of Linux to make it worthwhile for games to be developed for Linux (as with a lot of commercial software). But people don't move over because they can't run the software they want. This is NOT a deficiency of the OS, just a numbers problem.

    "The OEM deals and the channel add value to the consumer. It prevents people taking home crap."

    Vista anyone?

    Seriously though, OEM deals are what help MS monopolise the desktop OS market. They REMOVE value from the customer, because the customer doesn't have a choice. If they could get the same machine for £100 less with linux, and all they did was surf the net, email, watch DVDs etc. they would do it. Which would mean more people would be using Linux. Which would mean more companies would develope for Linux. Which would mean more people would use Linux....

    "Many basic framework-like things (X comes to mind) are still lagging"

    Xorg is actualy more advanced than the display components of Windows. Check your facts.

    "many require you to compile kernel modules or to compile your own kernel "

    I would beg to differ. Using Ubuntu on my desktop, with all up-to-date brand new hardware (normaly the sticking point because Linux drivers historically have lagged Windows drivers), everything worked except for one. My network card didn't work. This actualy turned out to be more of a problem with dual-booting to windows, as the windows driver was disabling the network card when it shut down. Apart from that, everything worked straight from installation. For a windows install on that box, I had to install windows, then install all the drivers, then install my applications.... A full day's work with myself having to be there constantly, as opposed to a half a day where I could leave it working after the first half hour.

    A lot of the comments here are obviously based on preconceptions, which are based on how Linux was 5+ years ago, I suggest you all try it. Or keep your uninformed, ignorant comments to yourself.

    Oh, one last thing. I can't believe how few people have made jokes about the 'touch more people' quote. I am very disappointed with you all.

    Paris because she always want's to touch more people.

  18. Schroeder

    It's Friday. Its a linux story and the pubs not open yet

    so here come all the usual Microsoft shills and troll boys, once again spouting out uninformed FUD ...

    Compiling kernel modules? Nope, haven't needed too do that in a good while, in fact the only time I can remember ever needing to have it done was linking the NVIDIA driver in SuSe years ago. And the installer started doing the required step for me automatically, as its should do, a long time ago. As far as I'm aware the only real hardware issue left is wifi, and, once again, it's down to proprietary manufacturers refusing to either write drivers or share specifications. But hey, we'll get there, we managed to get all the main graphics chip manufacturers to play ball eventually. It might have happened quicker if the US government hadn't been bought by a certain monopoly.

    Fear of the CLI, yet again. Once again, I assembled this comment using a mixture of cut and paste and a virtual keyboard, 'cos after all everyone knows typing is soooo last century. Of course Microsoft feel the CLI is so useless, so they wouldn't work on such products as the Windows Scripting Engine would they?

    A release that works as easy as windows - sorry for years now any linux install I've done has been far less painless and time consuming than any windows install.

    If you purposely pick one of the 'build it yourself from the ground up' distros, you will end up doing kernel building and the like, but no Linux user I know would recommend such a distro as a starting point for any windows user wanting to switch. The more friendly distros like Unbuntu, Mandriva, openSuse are quick and easy installs with live disks available to check hardware compatibility before committing.

    I hope you get paid well to look so stupid on a tech site...

  19. Eric Worrall

    ASUS won where Linspire Failed

    Anyone who wants to see a Linux desktop for the masses could do worse than buy an ASUS EEE PC. But be prepared for a wait - they are selling so fast, PC World and other big retailers regularly run short of stock.

    Who is buying them? Not the strange, non existent target market ASUS tried to reach. They are being bought wholesale by internet cafes, large hotel chains, and businesses in the third world.

  20. Cavehomme
    Paris Hilton

    Eye Candy

    I use both XP and Ubuntu but I think that Freespire / Linspire is actually a great interface for those Windows users who like their "eye candy" with girly pastel shades etc.

    Good look to them with their merger. Xandros have some good business in the corporate sector, they might do pretty OK by incorporating Linspire's girly Windows interface.

    As for other distributions, well geeks will always be geeks. Linux is frequently like buying a kit car or going some serious DIY in your house. Maybe Ubuntu is easier to use for sure, but it is like getting a cheap and ugly Asian car instead of having a BMW...albeit a BMW that frequently breaksdown, frequently gets nicked because of crap security, and costs an awful lot to run and service when things go wrong. Actually seems more like British Leyland than BMW.

    Paris because she would appreciate the girly pastels of Linspire.

  21. David
    Gates Horns

    Google to distribute Linux

    Google will distribute Linux (Android) to the masses on mobiles and laptops. This is exactly what needs to happen to top Microsoft.

  22. Keith Smith

    Loading Ubuntu vs Loading Windows

    When XP finally arrived . . .

    I loaded OEM on several different machines, it was painless, the drivers were pretty much there, fairly easy. At the time the various linux distro's were painful, required much hand tweaking to get things working, and missing basic office functionality.

    Fast forward to the present. In the last two months I have had occasion to load three windows and 1/2 dozen ubuntu boxen.


    Ubuntu 7.10,8.04

    I can honestly say the Ubuntu loads were way,way,way,way less hassle than the windows ones. Not even close. Of the windows boxen, the windows 2000 machine was fewer overall mouse clicks and reboots. MCE was outrageous. Reloading an HP MCE box from the original disks, was a two day affair, to get it 100% current. Two days because it constantly needs rebooting and re-running "Windows Update" over and over, and over, Finally the virus install, and setup. Whew!

    Ubuntu (8.04) took a while, but was WAY more hands off. Once past the disk setup (Because I *am* a geek and wanted e2/boot xfs/root) it was 100% hands off until it was ready to reboot on it's own. After that reboot, pulling the CD, it came up and informed me of needed updates. I clicked 100% hands off until one small license prompt or something, then it finished, and a small icon told me to reboot whenever . . . Rebooted and I was DONE. Several hours, but only two reboots and a small handful of mouse clicks, no pulling up Windows update, waiting 10 minutes for it to do it's thing, only to tell me that some package needs to be installed independently followed by a reboot.

    Even if you get an OEM machine, pre-installed you generally have to spend 1/2 day getting the darn thing up to date. Best Buy offers this as a $ervice at purchase, along with installing the pretty much mandatory 3rd party virus application.

    The latest gnome is pretty spiffy, and offers some tweaks to nautalis via gconf, that finally make it tolerable. The only hand tweaks I've made to any of the ubuntu boxes, was for my EeePC for some hotkey patches, I replaced the installed wifi with an intel, and had to adjust a few things from a downloaded .deb and Some screen size adjustments (Don't get me started on right-sizing a windows desktop for my dad with a very large hi-res screen). 7.10 required a unichrome driver upgrade, way back on another box. I also prefer the gnome "Wireless Connection Manager" which is a python hand-install. Trivial to actually install: download, extract, python, right click on the task bar, and add the thing, but it was CLI. It needs to become part of the default, Network manager is lacking in the Wifi department.

    Look, I really LIKED XP, and it's installation & setup, but MS really dropped the ball with Windows Update. When I install fresh Ubuntu, it simply downloads the latest packages at that time, at puts them in place. I fail to see why current MS cannot do the same damn thing. You install one thing, and that triggers a whole new series of security fixes for it, and more things that need installing.

    Ubuntu is user friendly and runs fairly well on the Eee's 720x480 screen, fits on about 75% of the 4G SSD, with a pretty good bit of snivel (some bluetooth addons for the plantronics && Ekiga, revelation, xine, mplayer, mhwave edit, mp3 stuff, sound converters, bitpim, 5250 tools, ODBC, PgAdmin III, ...) All click and pick installed. After rolling my own slack, and dealing with RH, and Suse, I found it rather suprising to say the least.

    Ubuntu is pretty much right on it for the desktop, it's down to applications and driver support for new hardware. The latter has become increasingly less of a problem. The former, pretty much is likely to continue to be an issue for quite a while longer.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Don't forget the BSDs

    I'm far from being an IT expert. I started reading the articles on this site to see what people in the IT industry thought about, well the IT industry. I've found the articles, in the majority, to be interesting and the comments helpful and often hilarious.

    back to my point

    I use DesktopBSD on several computers. It installs easily, provides the software I need, or want and is comparitively safe to use.

    Paris, 'cause I'll bet she'd be fun on the desk top too

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