Linspire-Based Freespire Announces "Entirely New Direction" With Cloud Apps...
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 30 July 2021 at 08:50 PM EDT. 14 Comments
OPERATING SYSTEMS --
What started off as Lindows twenty years ago as an easy-to-use Linux-based operating system with great Wine integration and easy application support but then changed to Linspire following a Microsoft lawsuit has had quite a journey. PC/OpenSystems LLC revived Linspire after a multi-year gap following the closure of Xandros and since then it's been a rather peculiar platform. Today they are now shifting focus once again.

Linspire was resurrected in 2018 by its current owners. Since then their flagship Linspire and the free software focused Freespire has been pushing out as an Ubuntu-based distribution. They have also made bold claims along the way such as claiming to be the #1 Linux distribution for new/intermediate/power users and and being the "most meticulously designed and engineered FOSS desktop on the market today".


Linspire back in 2005, around the first time I tried it post-Lindows.


What's next for the Linspire/Freespire story? Today they announced "an entirely new direction for our distribution products, Freespire, Linspire and Xandros." What is this "entirely new direction"? They are now embracing cloud apps. Seemingly endorsing the likes of Google and Microsoft cloud products for use on their distribution... It doesn't appear the distribution is working on any cloud apps of their own but just so far some vague communication around this new direction of cloud apps, which are certainly accessible from any Linux distribution with a modern web browser. There is no mention of any new desktop-level innovations or changes to enhance the integration of cloud apps, just basically that they endorse the idea of cloud apps that have already been happening now for numerous years.

This blog post by PC/OpenSystems' Roberto Dohnert confirms their focus to "now offer cloud apps for the tasks of office suites, calendar, e-mail, and online storage" such as those from Google and Microsoft. The reasons expressed are less resources and smaller ISOs, cloud apps running better on dated hardware, a "smaller attack surface", and similar reasons.


The first Freespire beta back in 2006.


While Freespire is part of this "new direction", the distribution isn't including any cloud apps. Besides those apps being in the "cloud", their announcement notes "since this is Freespire, our community-support build, we did not incorporate anyone’s (read: Google, Microsoft) specific web apps into the distribution." Not that cloud apps are included on any Linux distribution ISOs since - after all - they are in the "cloud" and usually just a browser shortcut.

Meanwhile in the aforelinked blog post it notes that with the next Linspire release under this new cloud focus there will be "all of Googles services. Docs, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Keep, YouTube, Google Maps and Weather.com. Local apps will include Chrome, IceSSB, Video Player, Rhythmbox, Games, Shotwell and Krita. It will include all proprietary multimedia codecs and DVD/Blu-Ray support."

While going for this "entirely new direction", Linspire/Freespire does remain a "full featured desktop OS" with various software applications and all of the software available through the Ubuntu archive.


Freespire 7.7 in 2021.


The new Freespire 7.7 release remains based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS while now pulling in the latest Chrome 92 web browser, setting DuckDuckGo to be the default search engine, Caja as the default file manager, and other application level changes/defaults.

Should you be curious and wanting to learn more or download the distribution, visit Freespire.net for today's 7.7 announcement.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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