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Linspire to move to Ubuntu

Canonical Ltd, the lead sponsor of the popular Ubuntu operating system, and Linspire, Inc. the developer of the commercial desktop Linux operating system of the same name, today announced plans for a technology partnership that integrates core competencies from each company into the other's open source Linux offerings.

Linspire will transition from Debian to Ubuntu as the base for their Linspire and Freespire desktop operating systems. This will mean that Linspire users will benefit from Ubuntu's fast moving development cycles and focus on usability. The Freespire community will start seeing early releases of Freespire 2.0 based on Ubuntu in the first quarter of 2007, with the final release expected in the 2nd quarter of 2007, following the official release of Ubuntu 7.04 in April.

"Ubuntu is the most successful community-based Linux project to date," said Kevin Carmony, CEO of Linspire. "They have done a fantastic job with the development community and creating tools for utilizing their technology. It made a tremendous amount of sense to partner with Canonical and begin basing our desktop Linux offerings on Ubuntu."

Linspire will continue combining proprietary drivers, codecs and applications with open source software by default in their operating systems. This approach, unique among Linux distributions, offers out-of-the-box support for a broader range of software, hardware and multimedia file types than the Debian or Ubuntu baseline alone. Linspire will continue adding other unique features that are important to its users and that make the Linspire desktop Linux easy to use and a turn-key solution for OEMs.

"This technology partnership goes a long way in advancing and unifying the Linux desktop," said Carmony. "Linux faces many challenges as it competes in a world historically dominated by Microsoft Windows, so there is plenty of work to go around and we're pleased to be able to offer differentiation and choice, while reducing fragmentation."

"The very nature of Free Software development is based on sharing and collaboration," commented Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. "The less time, energy and resources Canonical and Linspire spend duplicating efforts, the more time we'll all have for unique improvements and innovation. We're pleased to see another key Linux distribution incorporating our work with Ubuntu."

In addition, Ubuntu users will gain access to the Linspire CNR e-commerce and software delivery technology. Linspire recently announced plans to make their CNR technology available for other Linux distributions in addition to their own Linspire and Freespire offerings. Today's announcement confirms that Ubuntu will be the first distribution to be supported.

Beginning with Ubuntu's 7.04 release in April of this year, Ubuntu users will be able to use the CNR client to download and install commercial programs and proprietary media drivers with one click of the mouse. In the future, Canonical plans to integrate aspects of the CNR technology so the purchase of commercial software is straightforward for desktop users.

"Over the past few years, Linspire has refined their e-commerce and software delivery technology with their CNR service," continued Shuttleworth. "For some time, we've been planning enhancements to Ubuntu's commercial software management, and it was only natural to take advantage of Linspire's new, open CNR technology rather than duplicating that work."

Ubuntu users will continue to have the same repository and installation options as before, but will enjoy expanded capabilities with the incorporation of the new CNR technology features such as access to a range of commercial consumer applications, multimedia support and games.

"This partnership will enable us to provide commercial software products and services such as legally licensed DVD and media players to users who want them," noted Steve George, Director of Support and Services for Canonical.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.