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Linspire is arguably the most Windows-like of the Linux distributions I've looked at. In fact, Microsoft made sure they changed the original name from Lindows to the current Linspire. Linspire is available as a download for $49.95 and in boxed form for $59.95. It's loaded on low-cost desktop and laptop PCs sold in Wal-Mart stores and big box retailers like Best Buy and CompUSA. Unlike many other distros, Linspire uses the Mozilla software suite for e-mail and web browsing. Linspire also supports many open source projects including the Nvu HTML editor, and has founded the music and photo management software projects Lsongs and Lphoto. The operating system is based on Debian Linux and is very easy to use. Unlike most other distros, Linspire offers only KDE desktop instead of providing an option to use GNOME.

Figure 10

Figure 10 Linspire Five-0

Linspire uses a subscription-based model for software installation and updates via their Click 'N' Run Warehouse (CNR). They've attempted to make it easy on users by providing one-click access to their more than 2,200 software packages. However, this ease-of-use comes at a price of $29.95 per year for a Basic subscription or $49.95 per year for a Gold subscription. On top of this, many products come at an additional cost, like their VirusSafe and SurfSafe software, both $29.95 (although if you purchase a Gold subscription you're entitled to additional discounts). One benefit of this pricing structure is the fact that Linspire offers some of the only commercial and therefore "legal" DVD player software under Linux. The cost for CNR members is a mere $9.95. Perhaps best of all—or in the opinions of "serious" Linux users, worst of all—is the fact that Linspire users don't need to work in a terminal at the command-line level. The command line is where many Linux users are most at home, typing in commands and bits of code to achieve things not always possible or easy to do from within the GUI. Command line operations are often daunting to new Linux users, and if you feel uneasy about it, Linspire or the next distribution, Xandros, may be for you. Support is available through Linspire, user support forums, and Linspire Knowledgebase.

Figure 11

Figure 11 Click'N'Run Warehouse


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