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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Review of Linspire 6.0.15

The strengths and weakness of Linspire 6

Linspire 6 release comes two years after Linspire Five-O, and yes a lot has
changed. It is no longer a Debian based architecture, Linspire has
changed over to the Ubuntu code base which is kept more up to date
than Debian and has adopted more features. What has not changed is
that it continues to offer users without limitations or restrictions, available proprietary software where there are no viable open-source alternatives. Linspire 6 comes with KDE 3.5.6 asits default desktop, so if you are a Gnome fan, sorry..there is noway to change it. The interface is very clean for the start menu and
the desktop. You get a standard set of office and Internet programs,
including the office suite, Pidgin for instant messaging, K3b for CD/DVD burning, RealPlayer for playing music, KTorrent for downloading torrents, and other KDE apps, including KMPlayer and KDE games. Also included is Firestarter for setting upfirewalls and GParted for managing partitions. Like many distros, Linspire has custom apps as well, Lsongs and Lphoto. The distro also uses
a modified version of Firefox for Web browsing which includes Linspire's popular Hot Words extension and a modified version of ThunderBird.

The Strengths...

Unlike other distributions Linspire comes with AMD (ATI) and Nvidia graphics
drivers by default. As we know setting up the drivers is not always
an easy task whether it is configuring it to use the manufacturer's
driver in Linux or finally getting 3D acceleration to work, these
headaches have been removed. What has also been included is enhanced
compatibility with Microsoft Office formats with Open Office. Also
Linspire has obtained licenses to many CODECS that are not “legally”
available to be used upon distribution. Many CODECS have been
included like the latest Windows Media 10 audio and video codecs,
MP3, DVD, flash Wi-Fi, Win-modems and Linspire 6.0.15 has the
Microsoft’s RT Audio Codec to promote voice-enabled
interoperability between Linspire’s Pidgin instant messaging client
and Microsoft’s instant messaging clients for business, Microsoft
Office Communicator, and, for consumers, Windows Live™ Messenger.

Installation of software is still done through web based Click-N-Run (CNR) or,
since Linspire 6 is based on Ubuntu, also uses apt-get to download
Synaptic. CNR is quite easy to use as you have to sign up for a free
account at the website and then you can search for software
from a multitude of categories. CNR means what it says -- I used it
to install several apps, including Beryl and kpackage a super tux
game, few issues. It is the best solution so far for the
novice user of Linux.

The weakness

For me Linspire 5.0, was a showstopper distro. It impressed windows
users with its user interface eye candy and ease of use. Linspire 6
disappoints in both of those areas.

One of the best user-oriented feature of Linspire 5.0 was the guided
video tour and help. This does not appear in Linspire 6.0. The CNR
Warehouse, which is still in alpha, its hit and miss.
On some days, I've found that the service simply isn't available.

It failed to mount all FAT32 and NTFS Windows partitions on my

Linspire includes no package management utility . You can
grab the KDE package manager from CNR

After working with the distribution for a while I had mixed feelings about
Linspire 6.0.15. It has a pretty good thing. The installer is a bit
confusing and a little less user-friendly than Linspire 5.0. Hardware
support was outstanding. In an ideal world, there would no MP3, WMV,
QT and the such, only OGG Vorbis and OGG Theora, and only be ODF,
over OXML. There would be no graphic card manufacturer wanting to
have his driver closed. I think that open source an proprietary
programs can work together in order to make better and accessible the

It's close to being wonderful, but too many flaws prevent me from recommending
it. Linspire 5.0 has spoiled me.


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