Freespire 2.0 with Proprietary Components

Aug 08, 2007

US distributor Linspire has finally released version 2.0 of its free Linux variant Freespire, three months behind schedule.

Freespire is designed for use on desktops and laptops and claims to be newbie-friendly. The new version is the first to be based on Ubuntu Linux (7.04). Besides updated program packages the distribution's unique selling point, according to Linspire, is the integration of proprietary software. Freespire supports MP3, Windows media, Quicktime, Java, Flash and Realplayer files. Proprietary add-ons include drivers for ATI and Nividia graphics cards. Users can visit Linspire's CNR ("Click and Run") software warehouse to purchase and install more proprietary programs including DVD players, Sun's Staroffice or Wine-based helpers for running Windows programs, such as Cedega or Crossover.

"Freespire 2.0 picks up where Ubuntu leaves off", says the new President and Linspire CEO, Larry Kettler, "by adding proprietary software, drivers and codecs, to make for a more complete turn-key solution for mainstream desktop computing". This is very much in key with former Linspire boss Kevin Carmony who recently left the company. Carmony had criticized GPL v3 in a Linspire saying that the free software license was too restrictive with respect to the use of proprietary software.

Linspire's close integration of Ubuntu is the result of a technological cooperation agreement that Canonical and Linspire signed in early February. According to the original roadmap the commercial Linspire 2.0 was due for release four weeks after the free variant. Freespire 2.0 can be downloaded from the company.

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