Monday, September 05, 2005
Linspire 5.0: Linux Evolution or Windows on Steroids?
Yazan Malakha takes Linspire FIVE-O for a spin If you've missed it, the people at Linspire (Previously Lindows) are giving away free digital download version of their latest operating system, a $49 USD value, for a limited time. After countless attempts to register on their website; I finally managed to download and install the much-hyped-about Linspire 5.0 (For some reason or another their Linux based servers has difficulties coping with 250 concurrent users, what a bummer). Downloading frustration aside, I was actually impressed by how lucid and unbelievably simple their installation is. The CD offers 2 options, a live feature which allows you to run the operating system directly off your CD Drive. And an installer option similar to the one you’d find on Windows XP CD, it took approximately 10 minutes to install the software on VMWare, and less than 2 minutes to configure it, although booting was unusually slow for a Linux system. Hardware support was trouble-free: all my peripherals (except for the webcam and satellite card) were detected and worked without a hitch, in both VMWare and Native mode. Now before I go on, I should point out that I’m all about Gnome; I’ve used KDE in its early stages, but never long enough to form an opinion. What struck me upon booting the system was the resemblance this system bears to Windows XP! Aside from using Windows XP naming conventions like (“My Computer”, “My Documents”, “My Music” and so on); everything has been copied or mimicked. The login screen almost looks identical, the green start menu button, bookmarks in the file explorer, some of the icons are a complete knock-off. It also starts off with an audio tutorial demonstrating all of the OS features. On the other hand the system does have a close resemblance to Mac OS. The curvy look of windows, the circular shaped minimize/maximize buttons, the inclusion of multimedia programs such as Lphoto and Lmusic (iPhoto and iTunes anyone?), not to mention the Load Screen, which reminded me of OS 8/9 days. I should mention that it comes with instant messaging software and open office, making the system ready for an average user. One of the most impressive features was CNR, which stands for Click-N-Run; it takes exactly one click to install an application, again quite similar to Mac (a click and a drag). They offer a CNR library that spans hundreds of Linux programs that provide alternatives to just about any Windows application you’ll ever need. So what impact can Linspire cause in a world full of Linux Distros? Can Linspire live up to it’s goal of delivering a system that won’t make Linux users wish they had paid their Windows tax? I think so, although I think there’s still room for improvement. The clean interface, simple installation, and resemblance to windows, makes switching to linux a breeze, even for the novice user. No more will Linux be reserved for the technically-advantaged. At a fraction of the cost of Windows XP; you get an operating system that includes all the tools you need to perform any type of computer work. In a simple and user-friendly interface. Perfect for a newbie or a bargain-hunter. Some Screen Shots Tags: [Linux] [Linspire] [Freespire] [Windows] [MacOS] [OSx86] [Lindows]