Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Linspire LIVES!!!! Q&A

A few months ago we informed the community that we had acquired the Linspire and Freespire marks.  Over this period of time we were discussing and contemplating what to do with these marks and if we could successfully bring to market these products and shed the controversy and bad decisions of the past from Linspire Inc. and Xandros without abandoning our current customer base.  For these answers we turned to Roberto and we had the final answers to these questions:

Q) Why did we acquire those marks?

A) At first we looked at them as preservation.  Sort of what we did with DreamLinux.  But the more we looked at the situation the more we realized there was an opportunity.  Not to market off of the name but to differentiate our product line.

Q)  Linspire Inc. and Freespire were very controversial products.  With Richard Stallman calling Linspire and people who use Linspire as "subjecting themselves to new masters" How do you plan to differentiate from Linspire's legacy and can you make it a trusted name?

A) Linspire was a commercial distro and it will remain so.  We are an enterprise company with installations around the world and a customer base that trusts us.  They trust us to make the right decisions, they trust us to make good products and to deliver quality.  We will continue to do that.  So RMS and other GNU purists as I call them will like the new Linspire as much as they liked the old one.  The mistake Linspire Inc. made with Freespire was they tried to appease the Open Source community.  We have always wanted to a have a free-as-in-beer distribution.  Now I want to have a free as in freedom distribution.  OUR Freespire will come as close to the FSF defined distribution as we can and it wont harass you to upgrade to any commercial release.  If you like Freespire and want to use that full time unabated on your desktop, bless you.  We have removed Flash and other multimedia codec's from the initial install.  We have not removed the binary blobs from the kernel YET.  Some people need these drivers to make their hardware work and even though we have removed the binary codec's they are still available via the repositories.  Now some people will say "Well since they are available via the repositories thats disingenuous"  we dont think so.  I feel that the purists know what they want, they know whats in the repositories and so they know what to install and what not to.  On the other side you have those people that want convenience and want to have this software available.  Now RMS and others may argue "Well thats bad and that we are enablers" and in some cases they are right.  We think its YOUR computer and you should be able to do with it what you want.  IF you want to run just OSS software, go right ahead.  If you need some proprietary software, go right ahead.  Look, I want the binary blobs and binary only software gone from the Linux ecosystem as much as possible.  But until users can go to Wal-Mart or Best Buy and buy ANY system and install a FSF sponsored distro and have everything work out-of-box then we need to do everything possible to make sure it does work.  We want to bring other people into the Linux ecosystem.  We want more users.  If we deliver software that we know wont work by design then users will get frustrated and move on.  Linspire 7.0 is an enterprise desktop distribution.  For many people it will replace Black Lab Enterprise Linux on their desktops and it will allow Xandros customers and other desktop Linux enterprise users to upgrade to a fully supported distribution.  Linspire 7.0 does contain the binary codecs and binary software like Skype, Chrome etc.

Q) How many enterprise users were there of Xandros Desktops?  Wouldn't they have upgraded by now?

A) Actually quite a few and no.  A lot of Enterprise users dont upgrade but every 10 years.  So its coming up.

Q) With Ubuntu, SUSE, Red Hat, and Linux Mint do we really need another desktop distribution for the enterprise?

A) Yes.  Linux Mint is not an enterprise desktop.  Im sure there are some Linux Mint installs out there and thats fine.  I have seen it in very few bids.  Ubuntu, SUSE, Red Hat all produce generic desktop flavors catered to developers and common productivity workers.  We produce a desktop Linux distribution that caters to EVERYONE and people dont have to touch the command line unless they really want to.  Thats been our secret sauce and what has made us successful in the enterprise desktop scene.

Q) Will Linspire and Freespire be available pre-installed on systems?

A) Yes.  On ours and we plan to open an OEM licensing program with Linspire as well.

Q) Finally, what is going to happen to Black Lab Enterprise Linux?

A) BLL will continue to be developed and will migrate into a true community enterprise OS.  BLL will cater to Enterprise users who want a freely available high performance and high available FREE distribution for users.  The Black Lab team will need donations and other means of funding for themselves but they will have their own hardware and software licensing.  Black Lab is governed by a board and PC/OpenSystems LLC as a company and myself believe it or not have very little influence on those decisions anymore.

Q) Will Linspire 7.0 and Freespire 3.0 retain state, corporate and other certifications that Black Lab Enterprise did?

A) Linspire 7.0 will be tested against these test suites and WILL retain ALL certifications that Black Lab Enterprise Linux has from DAY 1.  We have already submitted, tested and recieved certification already.  So if you use BLL now your transition to Linspire 7.0 will be just as seamless.

Q) How will this reflect on current subscribers?

A) All current subscribers will not see any changes to their support options at all.

Q) What is the general availability date of Linspire and Freespire?

A) January 2nd 2018

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