- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2006

… At least that’s the hope of a new, free Linux distro (as the techies call it) that promoters say can run easily on your PC:

Freespire is venturing into new territory by offering a free community Linux operating system that includes the option for legally licensed proprietary software pieces in the core distribution. The Freespire community project and Web site are now live at www.freespire.org, with the first beta release of the operating system to be made available for download in August. The release will mark the first time Linspire is making such a free version of their Linux operating system available to the public. For more details on the Freespire project or to sign up for the Freespire community mailing list, visit www.freespire.org.

Linux has found broad acceptance on servers but has met with some resistance from desktop and laptop computer users, in part from its lack of native support for some hardware, file types and multimedia formats. Freespire addresses this hurdle by offering proprietary drivers and software as a choice, and gives desktop Linux users the option of “out-of-the-box” legal support for MP3, DVD, Windows Media, QuickTime, Java, Flash, Real, ATI drivers, nVidia drivers, Adobe Acrobat Reader, third-party fonts, and so on. Other Linux distributions do not include these pieces of proprietary software in their core free distributions.

Interesting, to say the least. Will it work? We’ll have to wait and see. But it’s one of those things that should make the gang in Redmond just a tad anxious.

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