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January 25, 2007

Linspire CEO on opening up CNR: share the bread

Filed under: linux — tuxicity @ 5:27 pm

Linspire CEO on opening up CNR: share the bread

Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony says his company is opening up its CNR (“Click ‘N Run”) software download and management service to other Linux distributions because “Linux really needs an easier way to find and install software, regardless of which flavor of Linux you’re using.”
The company said earlier this week that it will extend CNR to support multiple desktop Linux distributions beyond Linspire and Freespire, initially adding Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu.

According to Carmony, Linspire has been working on this project more more than a year. To find out more about how this bold new program is going to work — and how it benefits everyone involved — Desktoplinux.com conducted the following short Q&A with Carmony via email…

Q1: How will Linspire benefit financially from this new arrangement?

A1: CNR is a free service, but users have the option of purchasing commercial products and services. We share that revenue with the vendors of these products. This is the main source of revenue for Linspire, so expanding the number of users should increase our sales revenue.

Also, as desktop Linux expands and succeeds, so does Linspire. Linux really needs an easier way to find and install software, regardless of which flavor of Linux you’re using. We hope CNR.com can turn a weakness of Linux into one of its strengths.

Q2: Will you put a cap on eligible distros?

A2: No, but we’ll only support distributions that we feel have enough users who would use and want something like CNR to make the investment. The six we announced today clearly have that volume (Debian, Fedora, Freespire, Linspire, openSUSE, and Ubuntu).

Q3: How will other distros share in the profits? Or will they at all?

A3: If we write and distribute the plugin on our own, then they don’t share in the revenue. Most of these distributions, however, are working with us on the development of the plugin and will be distributing it, either by default or in their main repositories, in which case we happily share the revenue with them.

It’s sort of like the hen who baked the bread…if you help, you get to eat some of the bread.

Q4: Do you consider this one of the the most significant “unification” efforts in Linux annals?

A4: Yes, I think history will show this to be an important milestone in really creating a dynamic source for all Linux software. Even if someone doesn’t use the one-click install plugin for their distro, they’ll enjoy the wealth of information they will find at CNR.com when looking for Linux software. Descriptions, categories, charts, user reviews, support pages, etc.

Software developers and ISVs need to feel there is a real market for Linux software, or why bother creating applications for Linux? We hope bringing so much demand to one focal point will help developers find this.

Q5: Would Linspire ever consider “retiring” Linspire and going fully ahead with Freespire?

A5: No, no such plans for this at all. From Day One, we’ve been all about our OEM strategy, for which Linspire works (not so well for Freespire). To abandon Linspire would be to abandon our OEM program, which we’d never do.

Q6: How “open” is this expanded CNR? What about naming it “Open CNR”?

A6: The plugins are all open source and the server uses published APIs, so we make it as open as possible. We can’t have it 100 percent open on the server side, because of the commercial application sales, credit card transactions, etc., but the delivery of FOSS side is quite open and public.

Q7: Anything else you’d like to add?

A7: Just that we’re happy to let our actions do the talking. Linspire and Freespire users have known for some time the value of CNR, but it’s sort of like using Tivo or a DVR, you don’t know you need it until you have it, and once you have it, you wonder how you ever lived without it.

We think in time when Ubuntu, Red Hat, openSUSE, and Debian users actually try CNR, the light bulb will come on for them as to the value of this service.

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