Name: Freespire 1.0
Made by Linspire
Versions: 1. With proprietary software support 2. OSS edition
Best for: Newbies
Freespire 1.0, by the Linspire group (earlier known as Lindows), officially became my new OS today, after about four months of being on Fedora Core 5 (by the Redhat group). I simply can’t praise it enough. I’d written a whole review on it, but a stupid bug in Google Toolbar made me lose all of it. So I’m just typing a condensed version now. Never shall I ever trust Google Toolbar again. BOOOOOOOO.
The installation took a breezy eight minutes, and didn’t ask for much technical info. What ROCKS though is the interface, which is really cool. I like the Freespire of philosophy of bundling proprietary codecs, drivers etc too, which gives it out-of-the-box capability to handle various media formats and hardware, unlike other Linux distros.
Another much touted thing is its software updater, called CNR (Click n’ Run). Unlike others, it uses a web interface – you even have to sign in. Definitely more choices than Fedora, and almost matches up with Ubuntu‘s Synaptic. Newbies though, may find the reviews and ratings feature helpful for them.
Freespire has also customized versions of many software like Firefox and Thunderbird, and come with new features. Its music management software, Lsongs, too is better than many offerings dished out by others.
What anyone would seriously enjoy about Freespire is its graphics. It’s a KDE-based system, but it has been subtly tweaked by the Freespire designers to mimic Windows more. If they keep going at the same rate, one day they may seriously challenge Mac for its design crown. Makes you forget all about Vista Aero Glass, really.
In all, Freespire is the perfect Linux distro for the new user, while at the same time it comes with the versatility that experienced users demand (its Debian-based), stability (never really had a software hang in Linux; in fact Ctrl+Alt+Del really doesn’t exist in Linux, speaking in MS terms) and security (ever heard on viruses on Linux?). I’d say this is really worth a try, even if you have to buy the CD. Do check out the Freespire website. It performs exceedingly well as the first version of any OS. It remains to be seen though if it ever reaches the cult status of Ubuntu or Fedora.
Experienced users may find it too easy to use though, after years of other distros, but that doesn’t mean Freespire lacks anything.