Xandros, Inc. announced July 3 that they have acquired the Linspire and Freespire desktop operating systems. This will further enhance their desktop operating system offerings and their "one stop shop" status for all things Linux. The Click'N'Run (CNR) software distribution facility was also acquired by Xandros. CNR technology allows users to install software with a single mouse click.
Xandros is best known for its mixed-environment BridgeWays management tools and intuitive Linux solutions including SMB and enterprise servers, consumer and business desktops, OEM products, and mission-critical applications. It also provides a broad licensing and indemnity for its cross-platform and interoperability products through a deal it struck with Microsoft.
Linspire, Inc began its desktop operating system crusade in 2001 as Lindows, Inc. Microsoft filed a trademark infringement suit against Lindows alleging that the name Lindows is too close to its own Windows and would cause confusion. The courts rejected the suit but Microsoft pushed the issue into retrial but later settled and Lindows transferred the Lindows name to Microsoft and changed its name to Linspire.
Linspire originally marketed its operating system as an inexpensive, easy-to-use alternative to Windows and able to run Windows programs. For a time, Wal-Mart carried Linspire loaded computers at a very low price point.
Not everyone was happy about the distribution from its earliest incarnations. Richard Stallman, GNU founder, was quoted as saying "No other GNU/Linux distribution has backslided so far away from freedom. Switching from MS Windows to Linspire does not bring you to freedom, it just gets you a different master."
And not everyone was happy about the marriage of the two companies. Former Linspire CEO, Kevin Carmony, called the buyout a "secret backroom deal" on his blog. Carmony states that the deal was a "midnight, back-room sell-off without a shareholders meeting." He adds in his speculation on the outcome of the deal on the blog entry as well.
While I have never been particularly impressed with Linspire, Xandros may morph it into something quite competitive in the desktop market although I won't hold my breath. Any company that is too cozy with Microsoft, like Novell and Xandros, is going to stifle itself with limitations imposed on it by Microsoft. I look for community support of Freespire to plummet after this announcement.