I am not a Linux guru, I just use stuff, 34 years in the computer industry has tired me out. The fun decades were the 70’s and 80’s, those decades were the Wild West of the industry. These days the industry has lost its luster. There are new inventions and innovations everyday, but somehow they don’t have the sparkle of a great Fortran program, or getting that 2 meg memory upgrade to your IBM/370 mainframe.

One of the more exciting aspects of our rather dull industry is Linux. The big problem with Linux has always been the fact that you seem to need a PHD in astro physics to make it do anything useful. I have a variety of Linux boxes at home, I think my Web Server runs some kind of ‘Hat’ linux, I have a couple of Laptops that run Debian, and there is an Apple G4 that runs Ubuntu, or something like it. Oh and of course I have a schwack of boxes that run Stinking Windows.

My breaking point with Windows came on the billionth reload, I had had enough. I happened to read a press release about a company offering the ‘easiest Linux’, it was called Linspire 6.0. They were kind enough to send me a review copy, oh, and if anyone asks I am still reviewing it. I think that a review should last at least 9 months!

I really like Linspire, it bolted right up on my custom computer. How many computers have you seen built out of Plastic Canvas? Or Beer Cases?


Anyway, I really like Linspire, I know nothing about grep, chron, gunzip, or any of the other gazillion *nix things that *nix people talk about. I just need a computer that I can write stories on. Linspire fits the bill for me. I also like the CNR feature, I can find new software and CNR takes care of the fiddly business of installing it.

However it may well be that the halcyon summer days are over. In what many are calling a surprise move Linspire has been bought out by Xandros, a Canadian distributor of *nix corporate solutions.

Not everyone is enamored with this sale, the minority shareholders of Linspire are seething, ex Linspire CEO and shareholder Kevin Carmony is particularly vocal. He views the move as a clear case of asset stripping which leaves people like himself with worthless paper. It is also rumored that Linspire has has now dwindled from a vibrant company with 100 employees down to an entire staff of just 8.

This does not bode well for the lifespan of the product.

The question becomes, what assets are Xandros actually buying? It obviously is not the people, and it is unlikely it is the Linspire product. About the only asset that seems to have value is CNR.

I have been in touch with Kevin Carmony, and hope to have an interview with him in the next couple of days. Stay tuned, this is going to get interesting.

Simon Barrett


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