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Back to Debian: Freespire returns to Debian Roots


When Linspire was bought by Xandros, everyone expected changes. No one expected Xandros to decide to switch Freespire back to Debian from Ubuntu but that’s exactly what’s happened.

Xandros, the Linux desktop company that supplies Asus with its UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) Linux,, announced that the next generation of Xandros community-driven Linux Freespire 5 will be based on the Debian Linux 5 “Lenny” release. Lenny is due to arrive in September. Freespire will follow sometime in the fourth quarter of 2008.

After the release of Freespire 5, Xandros will release its commercial Linux distribution, Xandros Desktop Professional 5. This will be built on the Freespire 5 code base with additional commercial software. These commercial programs will be be primarily for enterprise customers.

Both operating systems will use CNR (Click ‘N Run). CNR, which was created by Linspire is an easy-to-use software installation system, Its designed to make it easy for Linspire, Freespire, Ubuntu and Mint desktop users to find and install software.

Earlier, Andreas Typaldos, Xandros’ CEO, had said “Products like the ASUS Eee PC have demonstrated the huge potential market for Linux-based OEM netbook solutions and other emerging mobile Linux platforms. The Linspire CNR technologies provide the fourth “E” as in ‘easy to maintain.’ including on-demand delivery of a growing number of Linux utilities and games.” This , “along with the development of the related netbook market segment have created both the opportunity, as well as need, to facilitate third party development of richer and more digital applications and for one-click delivery of their content,” said Typaldos.

“This is really some of the most exciting news since the announcement of Freespire 1.0,” said Tom House, Freespire community organizer in a statement. “This is what we were hoping to see…both the continued development of Freespire and a return to a Debian base.”

“A combined Xandros/Linspire development effort will return Freespire to its Debian GNU/Linux roots and put it in sync with Xandros Desktop Pro,” added Typaldos in a statement. “We will have a leading edge code base while preserving our commitment to Debian, stability, Windows interoperability, and ease of use. This commitment allows us to meet the needs of a wide range of users, from open-source enthusiasts to demanding enterprise clients. In addition, we are intensifying our commitment to the Freespire open source community, which will now help to drive both the Freespire and Xandros products.“

Typaldos did not mention what these changes would mean for the future version of Linspire, the commercial version of Freespire. Sources close to the company indicated though that the Linspire distribution and brand will be replaced by the Xandros.


  1. As a Linux Noob (cap “N”) I’m not sure exactly why this is good news. But I have suspicions. I stumbled across a blog post by a French IT person yesterday that catalogued a long list of bugs in Ubuntu Hardy Heron. Having invested endless hours switching to Mint because of ambiguous statements on the Mint website indicating that it was “based on Debian” (and not Ubuntu), I was upset to find that (a) Mint 5 Is Not based on Debian, but on Ubuntu 8.04/HH. My experiences with Ubuntu have not been happy – I’ve used computers since 1982, and my thoughts about Ubuntu revolve around “here we go again.” Namely, Canonical is doing exactly what Microsoft has done all along: court market share by hyping features and new releases. Worse, Ubuntu actually meets its release deadlines. Doesn’t Mr. Shutttleworth get it? Ubuntu is like a brand-new car that looks wonderful but when driven off the lot leaves a stream of parts on the road. What I want from Linux is conservative development and rock-steady performance, not flash-and-crash. (If only PC-BSD had a larger user base…) Can someone please assemble a list of Linux distros ranked by grayness of the beards of the developers, please? Where are the old Unix pros working on a Linux distro? I want to find a Linux distro that’s built by The Car Guy, not attention whores or feuding twenty-somethings whose prefrontal cortices have not yet fully developed.

  2. I think Debian would be the perfect choice for you. Don’t you think so?

  3. Try Mandriva Linux One 2008 Spring. It’s a lot better than the 2007 mess released last year and it worked on a laptop I have that Ubuntu Hardy and Fedora 9 both had major problems with.

  4. Pingback: Boycott Novell » Expire, Linspire

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