Freespire: Great idea? Awful idea?

Eh, I believe that it is a total miss as it addresses nothing specific. Linspire addresses the needs of those who prefer a paid distro over that of a free one. So why do we need a Freespire again?

It’s a simple idea. Take the Linspire Debian-based Linux distribution and bundle it with every proprietary driver and program that’s available for Linux. Ta-da, an instant Linux that’s compatible with far more hardware and applications.

The problem, of course, is that by combining proprietary software with Linux, you’re also legitimatizing the use of proprietary programs with open-source. To paraphrase Pamela Jones, editor of Groklaw, Linspire’s mangling of the language of Free Software can only pervert and confuse the open-source community and audience.

This could, according to some open-source developers, lead to a situation where the proprietary developers would call the shots. Eventually, this could cause Linux to recede into being just another minor, fragmented operating system.

In short, welcoming proprietary software into Linux is like being a little-bit pregnant. You either are, or you’re not.

Others don’t see it that way, though. Gordon Haff, senior analyst for research house Illuminata Inc., said, “Sometimes the folks over at Groklaw just need to take a deep breath and pop open a cold one. You’d have thought Linspire was making fur coats out of little kittens or something.”

“Frankly this isn’t even a particularly new idea. I suppose that we could argue about the details but, for example, SUSE has included CrossOver Office as part of its distro in the past.” CrossOver, “although WINE-based, is proprietary,” Haff noted…. Source: Desktop Linux

[tags]suse,proprietary software,freespire,groklaw[/tags]