Inspired by Linux
October 18, 2004
If it isn't right to judge a book by its cover, then perhaps it isn't right to judge a Linux distro by its name. Ever since I first heard of LindowsOS, I was extremely skeptical about the direction of this distribution. I even snubbed the idea of trying it out, thinking that it would be too dumbed-down and tainted to even consider it Linux. I stand before you a man of significantly changed opinion. After spending a week with Linspire 4.5 on my new Northgate Athlon from Staples, I now strongly believe that Linspire 4.5 is likely the best Linux distribution on the market. Of course, every Linux distribution focuses on a particular audience, and by no means is Linspire right for every Linux user, but it fills many voids that I have expressed in my four years of using Linux.
I have always said that the biggest shortcoming of Linux as an environment for non-geeks is the package management system. Despite some solid efforts to ease the pain of adding and removing packages by programs like apt and urpmi, two key elements still remain absent, the bookends. The user needs to be first presented with a catalog of programs, as if part of an online shopping mall, and then be able to track them as the programs are installed on the system. Hats of to Michael Robertson and his team for finally figuring this one out with the Click-n-Run Warehouse! While I might have the expertise to drop down to the shell and pound out some apt commands, my wife, for example, is not likely ever going to assume this role. It just isn't in the cards for her, as is probably true for a lot of next generation Linux users. I have even thoroughly enjoyed spending a lazy afternoon surfing through the Click-n-Run warehouse just to see what programs I could try out without having to incur any headaches. Linux doesn't always have to be a test of technical aptitude. Sometimes people just want to play. Linspire gives users that choice with CNR, and I love it. My wife loves it.