Business Model 2.0: Linspire Befriends Ubuntu >>
Could this be the moment of singularity that the Linux world has been waiting for? I’m doubtful, but still, it could prove to be good news for Linspire. For those of you who have not heard about this yet, Linspire has announced that they will use Ubuntu as a “base” for their future releases.
Why is this news? Because it appears to be the beginning of what one day may become a trend. We have already seen this happen with other beginner friendly distributions, such as Simply Mepis, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this happen with distributions as well in the coming years.
What Does This Mean for Ubuntu and Linspire? Basically, both distributions will share their strengths and help each other with weaknesses simultaneously. For example, Ubuntu has a faster release cycle than the existing Debian-based structure for Linspire. Yes, Ubuntu is based on Debian as well, but the key reason Ubuntu has become so popular is their ability to better meet self-proposed deadlines.
As for Ubuntu’s benefit, Linspire’s CNR technology will allow Ubuntu to offer proprietary software installation without the headache of deciding whether it is a .run file or a .sh file and so on. This will essentially help to give more proprietary applications a home to the fastest growing desktop Linux base in existence today.
Ubuntu’s Battle Against Open Source Purists. Even though I usually disagree with most Linux purists, I respect their concern. Each of them has a slightly different take on this situation, but overall it seems that there is concern that the choice of using open source software could one day be overrun should the proprietary options continue to find their way onto various distributions.
Here is my answer to that – stop using the distribution that offends you and quit whining. Look, Ubuntu is based on Debian, and we already know that Debian has a tough stance on proprietary software. Therefore, as long as Debian remains true to its core, other Debian-based distributions will always provide those with concerns a usable choice.
I believe that most Linux purists are really decent people who simply want what‘s best for Linux and the open source community as a whole. With that said, there are still those among them who swing from the trees and work to push their belief that if it’s not open, it shouldn’t be included with a Linux distribution. In their defense, however, I do feel some of their pain, as this could be the backdoor that Microsoft has been waiting for. Unlikely? Perhaps. Possible? Without a question. Still, this doesn’t mean limiting the amount of choices in the name of “freedom.”
A Reasonable Compromise. Regardless of what I believe, the fact remains that should key developers become angry with Ubuntu’s direction, it could spell trouble. To help curb this, I wonder if it might make sense to merely provide a link to install CNR on the Ubuntu desktop?
It’s simpler than trying to offer two versions of the same distribution, and at its core, it offers true choice. Those who seriously dislike having proprietary applications mixed with open source software will greatly appreciate the lack of tools that are designed to install proprietary software. Even though CNR is converting to open source, we need to address the needs of Ubuntu users from all sides, not just the sides that are most convenient at that moment.