My Workstation OS: Linspire 4.5

There is little question that Linspire has a lot to offer the newer Linux user. While in many ways I find it a ‘little’ too restrictive, I will admit that the ability to make breaking the install a difficult thing to do is a really nice change from the norm. Today we look at one Lispire user’s feelings on this OS and why it the choice for his Linux desktop.

Built on a Debian Linux core, Linspire is designed for simplicity of use, and it delivers this in spades. Linspire eliminates the need for me to be technically proficient in the nuances of Linux to successfully operate and enjoy the OS. This includes loading software, staying updated, and never seeing a command-line interface. It makes it very easy to just get on with what I have to do and not worry about the technicalities of using a Linux-based system.

Installing Linspire is a often a pleasant surprise for seasoned Linux users, as the operating system’s hardware detection routines are really top-notch. Many of the common trouble spots for Linux, such as printers, USB keychain drives, and DVD writers, are recognized and installed automatically; no need to hunt for obscure libraries and drivers. Linspire is also one of the very few distributions to offer a legal DVD software license to its users. Support for laptops is equally good, with touchpad and hibernation support for most models offered right out of the box.

Linspire’s KDE desktop offers a familiar and comfortable launching point for Windows users, complete with a My Documents folder and dozens of polished Flash tutorials to help get you up and running. A host of Linspire-ized Linux applications load with the OS. Highlights include the Linspire Internet Suite: a unified Mozilla-based Web browser and email client extended with in-line search, spell checking, and pop-up blocking capabilities; a version of the Gaim instant messenger software enhanced with Sipphone technology for free Internet-based calling; and a broad assortment of utilities and tools. Linspire bundles the suite to help bridge the Linux / Microsoft document gap. I routinely use for my word processing and spreadsheet work, and have had no problems sharing and collaborating with colleagues using Microsoft Office.

The distribution includes the Linspire-sponsored Web site creation toolset Nvu. Frontpage and Dreamweaver users will feel right at home in this open source alternative. The bundled Palm OS tools had my data sync set up within minutes, and the excellent networking tools made connecting to my peers at work quick and simple.

In a nutshell, the 10-minute Linspire installation provides you with everything you need to accomplish virtually all of the common PC tasks, and without requiring you to do anything except occasionally click a mouse.