Linuxman's Ratings Guide
Required User Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Installation: fully graphical and pretty much automatic. Option to run as a live CD from boot
Support:Excellent - forums & online documentation.
No. of CD's or DVD's: 1
Third stable release based on Ubuntu. Introducing Freespire 2.0.8
Freespire comes with many advantages over standard linux version, the main selling points being support for proprietary codecs and the famous CNR (Click'N'Run) software warehouse. Freespire is based on Ubuntu and is the community developed starting block for the commercial product Linspire Six-O. As with Linspire Six-O you can expect the same excellent level of hardware detection and easy installation. Just like it's commercial brother Freespire can run in Live mode which enables you to try before installing. This is a great feature and is the way all good linux distro's seem to be going. Rather than listen to me babble on about this great OS, I've taken some text from Freespires website which explains things much more clearly.
Building on the best of open source software using Ubuntu as its baseline, Freespire 2.0.x adds legally licensed proprietary drivers, codecs, and applications in its core distribution, to provide a better user experience. Freespire 2.0.x also continues to offer users the ability to choose what software they want installed on their computer, without limitations or restrictions, as a result, making available proprietary software where there are no viable open source alternatives.
Freespire is able to provide improved out-of-the-box hardware, file type, and multimedia support, such as MP3, Windows Media, Real Networks, Java, Flash, ATI, nVidia, WiFi, and many more. Freespire is also the first desktop Linux operating system that will include a CNR plugin for the soon to be released new CNR Service (http://www.cnr.com), providing free one-click access to thousands of open source applications, as well as options for legally licensed DVD playback software, Sun's StarOffice, Parallels Workstation, Win4Lin, CodeWeaver's Crossover Office, TransGaming's Cedega, commercial games and many other commercial Linux products. Freespire was created specifically for use on desktop and notebook computers and designed to offer a new level of polish, attention to detail, and ease-of-use in a free Linux distribution.
What can I expect to see in Freespire:
- Freedom of choice, with a mix of FOSS (free open source software) and 3rd-part, legally licensed, proprietary software.
- Multimedia support of MP3, Windows Media, QuickTime, Real, Java, Flash, etc. You should be able to use all of these files, right out of the box, without doing anything: http://linspire.com/filetypes
- Plug-N-Play hardware support from nVidia, ATI, Intel, and many others, right out of the box, without installing anything.
- Proprietary drivers are added to expand hardware compatibility and provide optimum 3D graphic card support, better WiFi support, and more.
- KDE is added for an easier-to-use and more comfortable interface, with a more familiar look and feel for Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows users.
- A top-priority emphasis on ease of use
- Emphasis on fit n finish and polish
- Free access to the entire Freespire open source application pool using CNR or apt-get.
- Offers optional use of the Linspire CNR (click and run) Service, along with Aisles, Update Notification, etc. The CNR Client is open source.
- CNR Warehouse with tons of FOSS as well as dozens of commercial, proprietary applications, all found in the same place, most for free, and some available for purchase, all with one click.
- Freespire Live CD is included. Just like as is the case with Linspire, you can either run live from the CD or install Freespire from your hard drive. This can be a great way to test your computer's compatibility with Freespire before actually installing it.
- New and different applications that you may have never seen before, such as Lsongs, Lphoto, Gizmo, etc.
- Different versions of applications you have seen before. For example, we make hundreds of changes, enhancements and improvements to Firefox and Thunderbird, so many they can't call it "Firefox" anymore. (Trademark law, and as mandated by Mozilla, prohibits Freespire from calling it "Firefox" because it's been changed so much. Please don't yell at us and say we're trying to re-brand or take all the credit from Firefox. We're just playing by trademark law.)
- Security in how Freespire deals with logging in and its built-in firewall.
- Enhanced Microsoft Word document interoperability by including Open XML translators that allow OpenOffice to open and edit Microsoft Word .docx formatted documents.
Some of the above information has been reprinted courtesy of Freespires website, All trademarks/copyrights are the property of their respective owners