Author: Matt Hartley
http://www.osweekly.com/index.php?optio ... Itemid=449
Date: Wednesday, 08 August 2007
Topic: Featured Story
(Column) - A while back, I wrote about CNR coming out for other distributions of Linux, such as Ubuntu. And while so many people pointed to the fact that we already have apt-get, YaST, among other application installation solutions, no one seems to have an answer to the legality of using restricted codecs and fonts here in the States. This is where Linspire will come in.
It's Coming, Sooner Than You Might Think. We have been hearing about it for sometime now. But finally, after what feels like forever, a spark of life is being shown from within Linspire headquarters and even though there has been no official announcement just yet, word is that we will be seeing signs of life from the new CNR version here fairly soon. How soon? For Linspire and Freespire, in a matter of a few days to a week, I suspect.
Why Do We Care? I did find myself using Linspire quite often at one time, as it was fascinating to me. This was with versions 4.5 and 5.0. I have even tried Freespire 1.0 for a test drive and found them to be good for their target market. Yet in the grand scheme of things, it will be Linspire's CNR plugin concept that will be the bigger news, trust me on this. Despite the fact that Linspire's OEM business remains bread-and-butter income for their growing business, the wow-factor will not come from anything short of the release of CNR on other distributions.
Many of you could not careless as Microsoft has yet to make its case publicly. Others still have concerns, since it remains difficult to provide OEM solutions when an OS cannot be promised as not violating IP rights, most specially with regard to restricted media formats. While most distros do not come with them enabled, they most certainly do make it pretty easy to get them running in the first place. So for those living in countries like the US, where we can find ourselves in trouble with the IP protected content that we know is violated, such as codecs and fonts, there is a certain wish for more legitimacy here when showing off Linux to schools and local governments considering the switch.
Forget Restricted Formats, Just Go OGG! As cool as open formats are for creating content, it's not very pragmatic considering that almost everything these days is encoded in protected formats. I believe this will become the biggest draw for CNR, despite the fact it can do things that apt-get does not offer, like allowing me to install an entire suite of my software I had on another machine with a single click of the mouse.
The success of proprietary software will largely be based on its quality and whether current open source solutions are simply not enough. Should someone come out with an application, such as the now discontinued MainActor for Linux, they would definitely be driving some cash in a new direction. MainActor felt a lot like KDENLive, but a lot less buggy. I'd happily consider donating either $5 per month or a flat $199 if KDENLive was able to finally get some new features added. I realize it's a matter of development resources, but MainActor blew the doors off of anything else available for Linux, and you guessed it, it was not open source.
Can Linspire Make CNR a Success on Other Platforms? I think that Linspire can stand a fair chance here, once the bad press regarding their dealing with Microsoft blows over. At the end of the day, I think it's important to understand something - they do not need to concern themselves with public perception from the Linux community. So long as they manage to (and I have no idea how this will work with the GPL3) follow the licensing rules for the new GPL as they look at updating existing GPL2 applications, think they will do well with Windows users looking to ditch Windows. Linspire is not interested in appeasing me or others who may disagree with their position on the Microsoft deal. Bear in mind that I say this without anger or animosity. The fact is that I'm not their target market.
As for their success, I think if they end up with Microsoft working out similar deals to what we have seen with Novell, they could do very well for themselves. And yes, I will be using CNR when it is released for Ubuntu, regardless of my feelings over their business choices, since an OS is not a movement or an artistic expression. It's the code that allows me to get through my day on my computer without having to explain myself to those who disagree with my choice of how I install software.