August 30, 2006 11:39 AM PDT

Linspire makes download service free

Linux seller Linspire has removed the $20 to $50 annual fees it charged for access to its "Click 'N' Run" library of software downloads, a bid to enhance the popularity of its product.

"CNR really makes using desktop Linux easy, and we want everyone to have access to this quality service," Chief Executive Kevin Carmony said in a statement. The move was financially feasible for the company because it's making enough revenue from premium products such as software to play DVDs, CodeWeavers' CrossoverOffice software to run Microsoft Windows and Sun Microsystems' StarOffice, a commercial variant of, the company said.

The library is a key feature of the company's $60 Linspire and free Freespire Linux products. The company argues that its approach makes it easy to install new software.

Linux is chiefly used on servers, where administrators have more technical acumen, the related Unix operating system is well established, and Microsoft faces strong competition. That's where Linux leader Red Hat has made its mark and No. 2 Novell is trying to make gains. But Linspire, along with Xandros, Mandriva, Canonical, Novell and others, is trying to make a business out of Linux on desktop computers as well.

So far Linspire hasn't made a profit, but the company is "very close," said Larry Kettler, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "We lost around $10 million per year in previous years, and now we're just about at break-even."

The San Diego-based company hit a maximum of about 85 employees, but has leveled off hiring until becoming profitable, he said.

According to the download site--which was responding slowly Wednesday due to heavy traffic--the most popular downloads are Adobe Reader, the Firefox Web browser, Lassist e-mail reminder software and the Frozen Bubble game.

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Freespire might actually be worth trying now
I suspect the release of Freespire - which I downloaded when it came out, but never bothered installing because of the cost of Click'n'Run - was the reason for this announcement (strange offering a free Linux distro and then charging for updates or apps that are free on other free Linux distros).

I might dig out the ISO image and install Freespire because of this - this announcement has moved Freespire up a notch in the free Linux distro list, IMHO, though I personally prefer Fedora Core myself...
Posted by rklrkl (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You'd better stick with Fedora, if CNR being free or pay is what you envision as making Freespire worth trying you obviously haven't the skilz to use Linux. FYI...the Freespire you downloaded but didn't bother to try out already had free access to their CNR repo''s called apt-get.
Posted by tux_warrior (55 comments )
Link Flag
CNR Linux Global App Software Repository/Installer
Linspire/Freespire should strive to make CNR the Linux defacto application repository/installation technology across all distros by actively reaching out to other Linux vendors/distros.

Imagine this initial combo: Ubuntu/Freespire + CNR I know Mark Shuttleworth has been impressed with CNR, so will a partnership/merger be imminent?

This should be a big boost to the Linux desktop initiative if is followed through with sincere motives and they allow the technology to be community driven.
Posted by fxjamusa (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
As a Ubuntu User
With the large collection of software already available already for free, why would we need CMR?
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
Link Flag
Might try Linspire/Lindows again
I ran Lindows with the CNR and liked it, but keeping up the subscription to so I could then pay for commercial software didn't make sense. However if its free to use CNR and just pay for the commercial programs that's another story. Back when I was running it the problem was how long it took to get applications up on CNR before you could download them. Seemed like they were a version or more behind. I hope that has changed too. Humm where did I put those disks?
Posted by guynamedalex (17 comments )
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Do not waste your time, there are much better distros
Linspire has worked hard, but there are much better choices, now we are talking about Freespire, and is way behind the front runners, it feels cluncky. If some one uses the partioner as automatic, the partioner will fail to create a swap partition, and even life versions of Linux need some times the extra memory to work correctly, even when it is not mandatory if you have a decent amount of physical memory, the swap makes a big difference. I was one of Windows big problems when virtual memory was exausted it crashed.

The default wallpaper is a wanna be Windows, boring, I like the KDE, but I've seen more interesting designs, tool bar and menu are average.

Looks like the CNR function is always active, like Windows automatic update. And it's always flashing next to the clock, it makes me paranoid like an evil eye is watching me, really gives me the creeps.

It's Debian based distro, but if you install Debian you'll notice how much quickly Debian works.

There are other fellows that came with distros based on Slackware, Mandriva, Fedora, and Knoppix
that are just excellent. They trim the fat and optimize the OS in a way that things open and close quicly and this doesn't happen with Freespire

But in the Debian world the Oscar goes to Xandros, and Ubuntu wins the popularity award, but even if it is for free Linspire-Freespire is just another one that could had been, but it wasn't.
Posted by gerardogerardo80 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Frozen bubble game
Yes, the frozen bubble game is high on the popularity list. It's not what you would get with a game written today, but I've always been a sucker for cheesy games. My favorite game was written in '92.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
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why it's now free
They must have realized that no one will install freespire and then pay $20-$60 to access to a library of software that they can access for free somewhere else with a different distro.

C'mon, Frozen Bubble? It's a cute game and it comes preinstalled on most linux distros, but not freespire or linspire, you have to download this from their "click-n-run" library.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why bother?
I use Suse 10 and it seems to have plenty of this stuff already on
the distro. And so far its the only linux distro that works out of the
box with my Audigy LS sound card.
Posted by Tiger1964 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why bother?
I use Suse 10 and it seems to have plenty of this stuff already on
the distro. And so far its the only linux distro that works out of the
box with my Audigy LS sound card.
Posted by Tiger1964 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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