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Ubuntu & Linspire – So Who Else is Keeping Tabs? February 10, 2007

Posted by Carthik in commentary, ubuntu.
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So Ubuntu and Linspire have declared their intention to work together toward their common goal of making Linux Universal. You can read the press release here.

Now that you are done reading with that, read the story at desktop linux.

I read them yesterday, and allowed myself a day to think about it. Here are some thoughts, in no specific order, and with no specific intention:

  1. I don’t think Linspire’s primary motivation is to make Desktop Linux popular. I think it is to make a profit. So the “popularize Linux” common goal stops with Freespire, Linspire’s step-brother
  2. Ubuntu is now “upstream” for a whole bunch of distros – each with a different kind of users. “Upstreaming” bugs from Ubuntu to Debian and to the individual packages’ bugtrackers is a really painful process and has been so. The upstreaming problem might get worse with Ubuntu having to deal with bugs from downstream too, about which little can be done except to upstream them to Debain, since that’s how Ubuntu tries to minimize the delta with Debian
  3. Linspire jsut seems to come out the winner in this deal. Ubuntu benefits only by having access to a not-yet-built CNR.com
  4. Mark says in the press release that the CNR system is open – well it is not entirely open source – only the client software is open source. I suppose he meant open as in open for access and use.
  5. Even without the agreement cnr.com would have been usable by Ubuntu users, if I am not missing anything big
  6. The fundamental assumption is that restricted decoders, plugins and apps will now be available “legally” after you pay some money. I’d like to see if this actually turns out that way – that is, to see if w32codecs, libdvdcss2 etc are made available. A cursory search of the current cnr website did not yield these packages – maybe they are just called something else
  7. Ubuntu will now have to face the problems that the software people installed using CNR will create – since the tie-up is official, one can’t say, “well, we don’t support packages from external repositories in the Ubuntu bug tracker

Yes, I am a pessimist, but in thinking about the worst case we find comfort in things that work out well. I hope this was the right decision to make. I can’t forget, however, that there is no way one can stop anyone from using the repositories that Ubuntu’s developers and users garden. It’s probably too early to say it, but I’ll say it anyway — Ubuntu is the New Debian.

Comments»

1. Christer Edwards - February 10, 2007

I think I share some of the same feelings that you do. I don’t really see anything lacking in our current system and the CNR opens things up to a lot of issues I’m not comfortable with.

1) currently all the packages we have access to are known to be secure. Opening things up for universal download and installation (like windows) opens things up for insecure, possibly dangerous code.

2) currently all the packages we have access to are known to work with my system, on my distro and version. universal packaging is again just going to open the door to all kinds of compatibility and dependency problems.

3) I just don’t really trust Linspire. I’m not against making a profit on free software (way to be red hat!), but what linspire charges for leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Last time I read their website you were charged for access to the repositories to install applications. That just seems a little much for me.

As you say, I think we’ll see how things go but initially I’m not a big fan of the idea.

2. Brian - February 10, 2007

1. Why can’t their goal be both? They sell a Linux distro … of course they want to make money. However, by setting up CNR for many distros, they’re making Linux a little more supportable to outside commercial vendors by making the underlying package details irrelevant. This could be a really big deal for Linux adoption.

2. I can’t argue with this though I do believe that every time a distro bases itself off Ubuntu, it is Ubuntu that wins.

3. How do you figure? It’s the users who win. I want a legal DVD player. I want a legal way to play codecs. I prefer GNOME to KDE. I don’t want to use Linspire / Freespire to get these features. Now I can use Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, or Fedora if I want. It’s mutually beneficial to both Canonical and Linspire.

4. True.

5. True. It just means that in “all distros are equal but some are more equal than others” that Ubuntu will be one of the ‘more equal’ ones.

6. True. There will be legal, for-pay codecs. Doubtful it will be w32codecs, etc. as these are not ‘legally licensed from the patent holder’ solutions.

7. Take a look at how the repo syncing works. Linspire believes it won’t be a problem; that is, if the software a user wants is in the Ubuntu repos, the user will get that package. Non-Ubuntu packages will likely only be DVD players, codecs, and other commercial software.

3. Peter Gasston - February 10, 2007

I think Ubuntu gains two ways:

1. It gains a broader userbase, and can attract more developers to it.

2. They can earn a percentage of sales from CNR:

“In the future, Canonical plans to integrate aspects of the CNR technology so the purchase of commercial software is straightforward for desktop users.”

4. MC-RPG - February 10, 2007

I really don’t like the taste that the ubuntu-linspire deal left in my mouth but… what can you do? Linspire could make their distro base on ubuntu without a deal/permission of any kind, is open source remember? The best thing to do was this, a deal for interoperability.

“Ubuntu is the New Debian.”

False. Canonical couldn’t deal with a distro of the size of Debian as far as i’m concerned. Debian is Debian and ubuntu is based on it.

5. tenshu - February 10, 2007

you pointed out all i think about this deal

i hope Mark will explain this in the future

6. Roy Schestowitz - February 10, 2007

See:

http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2007-02-09-020-26-OP-BZ-DB

I’m not sure how I feel about Ubuntu if they start charging for things like CNR membership levels and CrossOver Office. Moreover, the discussion about binary drivers and fancy graphics using blobs out of the box is a case of “world domination 201″, but once you go there, it’s hard to go back. Too much is being compromised, but hey… that’s just a personal opinion.

7. Ubuntu Tutorials : Breezy - Dapper - Edgy - Feisty - February 10, 2007

A DNR for Linspire’s CNR

The Ubuntu Blog inspired me to write some of my thoughts on the recent announcement between Canonical and Linspire on the Click-N-Run (CNR) technology. After reading the press release and the commentary at Desktop Linux a few things stand out to …

8. jamonation - February 10, 2007

Umm, Canonical aims to make money off Ubuntu too… Just not in the short term like Linspire.

9. Martin L - February 10, 2007

From outside the goldfish bowl – it appears that all Ubuntu users are geeks of the Linux system. ( Before anyone jumps to shoot me – read on)
Remember the days before Windows? Remember typing all those commands to copy data to floppies? I do, the world has moved on, particularly with the coming of Windows along with all the software applications that have been written for it. And to his credit, Mr Gates has not done a bad job – the world may well be a different place had he not. So some credit where credit is due.
Many of us have spent the last decade or more using and dealing with the inevitable problems that Windows throws at us from time to time. We feel comfortable with it. It works right out of the box, as does your software that arrived in the post this morning.
Now Vista has arrived on the scene. I for one, and I suspect many more, will not be going down this road. DRM and Bill snooping into my box when he so wishes – no thanks.
So – Ubuntu! I came across it many many months ago. Only during the course of the last month have I installed it – desktop and laptop. It’s great, works right out of the box, no installation problems and very short install time.
Now – it’s a great alternative and replacement for Windows! Hang on a minute, it has configured my hardware correctly but no I can’t play my mp3’s, my videos. Yes, I know you have to go and find the Gstreamer this and that.
A while later I read occasionally of comments of Beryl, installing from Root, who?. Hmmmmmm – yes it’s good (Ubuntu) but I really don’t have the time to start messing with the command line all over again.
What the world wants is probably one of three choices, Windows, Mac or Ubuntu. If forced to make a choice now – I’d go for Mac, does exactly what it says on the tin, no additional user tweaking required.
What I would like to support and run – Ubuntu. Why? Because the way it appears to be going, it’s set to become a great piece of OS.
For the meantime, I’ll just have to stick with Windows and occasionally find the time to explore Ubuntu a little deeper.
As for the Ubuntu “geeks”, no disrespect intended – you’re doing a great job on an OS that seems to going from strength to strength. It’s just that the rest of us do not have the time, and in some cases, the energy or time to “fiddle”.
One day, Ubuntu will grow up, regardless of who it maybe aspiring to jump into bed with. And maybe the time has come to consider that some day, a price will become attached to it. One day we will all be able to sit back, click install, and watch yet another piece of software install itself. When that day arrives, and Ubuntu sells for £99.99, thousands and millions will start the the great migration to Linux.
Until that day arrives, I’ll stick with XP that bit longer, play with Ubuntu and say to Mr Gates – If you think that we across the pond are willing to pay US$750.00 for a copy of Vista Ultimate, you must think we have just arrived from Uranus (not Mars). The best to put Vista is Uranus – the rest of us are going to Planet Ubuntu. See you there Bill

10. David Russell - February 10, 2007

Well I think this will kill Ubuntu. What attracted so many people to Ubuntu was that it was user-friendly without losing the ideals that Linux is supposed to be about (which Linspire did a long time ago).

11. golfeninherdecke - February 10, 2007

why must there be ONE winner? maybe it’s an win:win situation?

canonicial could use the channel for commercial software you have to pay for. canonicial could use that to gain some money.

ubuntu gets some new code, and maybe some serverpower, money etc. for the repositories.

linspire will get a lot of attention now.

mark is a nice guy but he is a businessman, and he need to get some money out of it. this may be dissapointing some of you guys outhere but it will not kill ubuntu. it will make ubuntu a bit more commercial maybe or maybe not. maybe linspire will become a commercial ubuntu? who knows.

but it will be great for linux because with a channel like this its more attractive for many companies to port thier product to linux.

12. Robert Devi - February 10, 2007

@Martin L

Recognize that the comment “When that day arrives, and Ubuntu sells for £99.99″ totally misses the point of Ubuntu, Linux, and open source in general. Ubuntu is built by a collaborative network of programmers that collaborate precisely because the totality of their work is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Licenses like the GPL and LGPL guarantee that you can’t charge for software the distro, and this is a good thing since it ensures that the contributors don’t feel “ripped off”. If you want to charge for Ubuntu support, go right ahead, but recognize that you aren’t the only one who can do it. Beside corporate competitors, you also face user supported forum as competitor, which are surprisingly good for the simple reason that everything is transparent in the open source world. So if you want to be able to distinguish yourself, you’ll have to be the biggest contributor to a specific project (e.g. Canonical to Ubuntu) so you can claim to be the expert and lead driver of a project.

Also recognize that Ubuntu makes installation dead simple (just click “Add/Remove programs” or Synaptic) — even easier than on Windows, so your “Some day when installation is easy” is today. Stuff like Beryl isn’t 100% joe-six-pack ready, but it’s still beta and will be joe-six-pack ready by the time feisty comes around (even if it’s not installed by default).

CNR only brings one thing to the table — a way for proprietary software makers to *sell* software in a way that’s as easy as “Add/Remove programs” does. For instance, at the moment, if you wanted to install an application or game that ran on WINE or Codeweavers, you’d have to go through a few hoops to install it and hope that you didn’t miss a step. With CNR, Linspire and/or Codeweavers could make deals with the game or app companies to resell their apps as WINE stand-alone apps over CNR. These “Windows only” companies wouldn’t lose anything (Linspire/Codeweavers would do all the work) and would gain an untapped market. If support were strong, they might even do a direct Linux port.

13. Martin L - February 10, 2007

Reading the comments of Robert Devi makes me want to look forward to the next release of Ubuntu even more.
I wasn’t suggesting that users should pay for Ubuntu and I recognise the fact that Linux is open source. I was trying to make the point that if users could migrate to Ubuntu and find it as easy as falling off a log, I’m sure they would be more than willing to pay. And they would probably do it a lot sooner.
I wrote to Nikon earlier this week and was told in a very short and sharp way that if chose to use Linux as my OS, it has nothing to do with the support I receive from Nikon.
How long will it take for software companies to recognise that people are starting to want to change their OS. I’m out of my depth here but do I assume that we still buy Windows software and run it via Wine or Codeweavers.
I wonder how far Windows would have grown had it been open source? It’s certainly made two men very, very wealthy and has given us all the tools to work and entertain with. Tools that millions have grown so familiar with – “Old dog – new tricks”
Linux is perhaps the exception to the old saying that “nothing in life is free”. Perhaps more of us need to be made aware as to just how many people contribute towards it on a global basis and even more so, the path to migrate away from Windows as painlessly as possible.
I for one will be hanging around for the quite forseeable future in order to enlighten my ignorance of Linux in general. The future looks bright for Ubuntu – lets hope it doesn’t take too long before joe-six-pack see’s the light at the end of the tunnel.

14. sodoC - February 10, 2007

CNR for Ubuntu? Then I will choose another distrubution.

15. Scott Carpenter - February 10, 2007

Licenses like the GPL and LGPL guarantee that you can’t charge for software the distro, and this is a good thing since it ensures that the contributors don’t feel “ripped off”.

Robert, I don’t think this is true. The license says that you must make the source available for binaries you distribute, and you can’t impose further restrictions on the software you distribute. (The GPL is guaranteeing your freedom as a recipient of the software.)

So Canonical could start charging for the software, but it wouldn’t be feasible to charge much because someone else could (and would) turn around and give it away for free.

16. Mich - February 10, 2007

Hmm, all this sounds very familiar.

Ahh, I remember, sounds very much like a debain blog talking about the arrival of ubuntu.

the earth is certainly round :-)

17. v1ncent - February 11, 2007

Linux only needs an universal installer, so why waste time with that **** of CNR?

As simple as that.

18. Brian - February 11, 2007

The CNR deal is completely brilliant for reasons that are being missed in this discussion. CNR is not really intended to be used, for example, which everyone seems to be misapprehending. It is actually a clever COVER for the free (libre + $) spread of hostage “intellectual property” with fewer restrictions than currently exist. If you go into a cafe and see someone booting into OS X from a Toshiba laptop, you can be sure some “intellectual property” has been violated. Sadly the same is the case for Linux user in the United States watching a DVD on anything other than Linspire.

Now Canonical announces a deal whereby a legal channel will be open – and here is the masterstroke – IT WILL TOTALLY NOT MATTER IF ANYONE USES IT, THE GOAL WILL HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED. Whatever ridiculous trade group “owns” the algorithms for A/V decompression will be left with cap in hand, because now Canonical can put free decompression software on non-US servers, and point the US lawyers who harass them to the Linspire deal, which is a historical fluke we should be grateful for and exploit the hell out of. And there will be no physical, forensic difference between the “legal” and “illegal” versions, so the mere existence of a legal version will effectively legalize all the Banditti in America. Of course, Shuttleworth cannot say this openly, but he is bright enough to know what he is doing, his career has been one jiujitsu on US IP insanity after another.

“Ease of use” is a canard, and so is “Canonical really wants Americans to pay for these software patents.” It is fair to be mystified if that’s what you think Canonical is after, but that isnt what Canonical is after.

19. Ubuntu | Christer Edwards: A DNR for Linspire’s CNR - February 11, 2007

[...] Ubuntu Blog inspired me to write some of my thoughts on the recent announcement between Canonical and Linspire [...]

20. Abhishek - February 11, 2007

Linspire is a blot on the Linux world. I hate it when the commercial interests come in the open source. I view this deal with trepidation and would rather wait and see as to how this unfolds.

21. Laika - February 12, 2007

“The fundamental assumption is that restricted decoders, plugins and apps will now be available “legally” after you pay some money. I’d like to see if this actually turns out that way – that is, to see if w32codecs, libdvdcss2 etc are made available. A cursory search of the current cnr website did not yield these packages – maybe they are just called something else”

ESR wrote at slashdot that the proprietary codecs package will be called “LinCodex” in CNR.

IMO, the Free Software movement has already lost the battle if we start from the assumption that newbies absolutely *need* to have access to these codecs in order to make their Linux desktop usable. Linux distributions will always play catch-up with restricted codecs because we can’t control their development or even access to their future versions. Educating users to support open standards and Free media formats is a much better way to fight proprietary platforms.

MP3 decoders should become a non-problem in the near future — the patent expires in 2010. Still, I personally prefer Ogg Vorbis for its better quality.

22. MarkC - February 12, 2007

No need to switch distros. If Ubuntu goes bad, the spirit of Ubuntu will live on, in a new distro with a new name.

If there’s one thing Linux lends itself too, it’s creating new distros.

Roll on FreeBuntu.

23. Linspire and Ubuntu ? Its time to return to Debian. « Tuxicity’s source - February 12, 2007

[...] is a marketing product, its owner is incredibly rich and after reading this I suddenly woke [...]

24. Sionide - February 12, 2007

I might have read it wrong but I was under the impression CNR is going to be optional in Ubuntu, so you don’t have to use it… And if you don’t like it, then don’t use it right? Same as restricted codecs are at the moment… If you don’t like them, don’t install them.

25. chroniker - February 12, 2007

I don’t know how much, if any, things have changed at Lindows but back when WalMart first started selling PC’s with it installed on them my dad bought one. When He went to update some of his programs he found out that he had to pay a monthly subscription fee to access their repositories and then he found out that he had to pay for any updates. Some of the downloads were curropted and he went back to re-download but Lindows wanted him to pay for them again. After a few rounds with their CSR’s and the (non)tech support guys he decided to put MS windows on it but it never worked right and he ended up with a $600 paperweight.

Sadly I see the blight that is (was?) Lindows infecting Unbutu.

26. John Ruschmeyer - February 12, 2007

I’m not sure that it’s totally fair to point out that w32codecs is not in CNR. At this point, CNR is still Freespire/Linspire specific and the codecs are already included in the base OS.

As for libdvdcss2, I believe that the CNR answer is to offer (at a fee) a DVD player which includes CSS support (DVD Magic?).

27. James Stansell - February 13, 2007

To me it sounds like this will mainly mean 2 things to ubuntu users.

1. CNR will be “a more complete” version of ubuntu-commercial repository (I never liked that name anyway)

2. An influx of additional downstream users. The code of conduct will become become even more important than it already has been.

I wonder what the impact will be on the LoCo teams? Can it help the US team meet it’s goal of “every state by 2008?”

-james.

28. reyfer - February 13, 2007

I’m sorry, Brian, but I like Debian, I use Kubuntu only because it’s KDE and Debian based, and I don’t live in the USA, so your legal concerns mean nothing to me. I can install all those codecs with Automatix, and everything else I need with Synaptic, so why would I need a shopping mall on my machine? Because that’s what CNR is, a shopping mall. So if you feel so upset about me saying I would go to Debian, please save your political arguments for someone that needs to be told what to do with his/her PC. Me? I choose to do with it what I want.

29. Carthik Sharma: Ubuntu & Linspire - So Who Else is Keeping Tabs? - Spellbook - IT mage’s best friend - February 13, 2007

[...] post by jdub Tagged: Linux, Ubuntu Trackback [...]

30. Brian - February 13, 2007

I’m sorry if I misspoke, I wasn’t trying to corner you. You’re missing my point. No one is supposed to use the service, that is what I’m saying. The CNR thing is legal window dressing specifically for the American market, the software is located at cnr.com, not in anything you’ll get from Canonical. We can use Automatix too, and almost everyone does, and will continue to.

I’m trying to encourage you not to let CNR come between you and Ubuntu, or between anyone else and Ubuntu. The philosophical objections are misplaced, because the CNR deal is a legal crutch, it’s like a stamp on a passport. It changes nothing. And, BTW, CNR will support Debian too.

31. reyfer - February 13, 2007

Oh, CNR is not coming between me and Ubuntu, it’s the Linspire/Ubuntu deal that’s coming between me and Ubuntu. But that’s another story.

32. Ubuntu & Linspire - So Who Else is Keeping Tabs? « Tons of Fresh News - February 23, 2007

[...] 23, 2007 at 10:46 pm · Filed under Uncategorized Ubuntu & Linspire – So Who Else is Keeping Tabs? So Ubuntu and Linspire have declared their intention to work together toward their common goal of [...]

33. Chxta - March 13, 2007

I’ve been following events on Distrowatch since this article was published, and I have to say that you are right, Ubuntu is the new Debian. The sheer number of new distros popping up that take Ubuntu as their base as opposed to Debian itself…

34. RaymondB - April 2, 2007

I don’t get why people are so Linspire-phobic. You act like they’re the only distro out to make money (novell, red hat, mandriva, and xandros are just nice people who hand out free CDs in the park…mhhmm, ask that to someone paying for a mandriva club membership which is about twice as much as year of Linspire CNR Gold membership).

Linspire has recently cleaned up their image by making CNR basic free of charge, and soon…open source as well as starting up Freespire. If anything, this deal might help advance Ubuntu because the CNR client will pull software from Ubuntu’s already existing repositories (with the exception of commercial software like Crossover office).

While I agree synaptic is already easy enough to use, the CNR system will make it even easier for people to try Linux and not be worried about the legal liabilities of illegally installing codecs.

35. David Seachrist - May 27, 2007

The strategy is clear. Get Linux as an Alternative OS on a major Computer manufacturer (Dell). The sucking sound you hear is the millions of users who hate paying $200 -400 for an operating system, migrating to Linux. As long as it keeps Micosoft from killing the last vestige of competition to drive product development, can it be any worse than the trend towards “What brand of Vista are you running on your computer?”

36. Duarte Molha - July 3, 2007

Hello
I have given up my dual boot and now only have ubuntu.

I think that linux has been for geeks for so much time, that now that it is getting to a larger audience, the geeks are scared of loosing their status!!!!

One of the major hurdles on the adoption of linux is the very difficult process of installing applications. Debian packages are great, but sometimes the software only has rpm packages or even worse you have to compile it yourself.

Yes you have a very strait forward and easy method to install using synaptic but what about software not available on the repositores?

Here is the geek way of answering this:
Ho… that is soooooo simple:
1) open console
2 type “sudo gedit /etc/atp/sources.list”
3) paste on the end of the file:
#new repository
deb ……. (assuming you already took hours looking for the link on the web)
4) Close and return to the console
5) write: “sudo apt-get update”
================
now here comes the only part that most non-geeks can do:
“””””””””””””””””””””””””
6) click on menu > system >synaptic
7) click on the software you want on the list
8) click install

now was that not ssoooooooo easy!!!!

You have to understand if linux is going to become widely adopted it has to provide people with a really simple way of finding the applications they want and installing them!!!

Second point!

Yes I would want everything to be free and open source software but the world is not perfect. Yes people will want to pay and install proprietary software and they should be free to do that as well! – NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO DO IT!!!!!!!

This new deal is great for the adoption of linux as a viable alternative to windows domination and I am really glad that my OS of choice is becoming the most user friendly and most adopted linux distribuition

For all of the geeks that do not like that, there are many other distributions out there where you can regain you status. As for me I also consider myselt a bit of a geek but this time I am actualy glad I am joining the mainstream!

Best regards
Duarte Molha

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38. antalya ilaçlama - September 27, 2010

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40. sex sikiş - September 28, 2010

wasn’t suggesting that users should pay for Ubuntu and I recognise the fact that Linux is open source. I was trying to make the point that if users could migrate to Ubuntu and find it as easy as falling off a log, I’m sure they would be more than willing to pay. And they would probably do it a lot sooner.

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