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#1 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:47 AM

As I've mentioned here before, my first experiences with Linux came with a distro called Linpsire,  pre-installed on a notebook that I picked up from Walmart. Linspire was Debian-based, but in no way was it free. I don't think I knew about Debian at that time -- didn't know anything about downloading isos, etc. I played around with Linspire for several months, then did my first Linux installation with Mepis, which soon became my main distro.

(According to my notes, when I joined these forums back in 2006 I had moved on from Linspire and was multi-booting Windows XP, Mepis 3.4-3, PCLinuxOS (probably 0.92), and Kubuntu 5.10 on my PC; I had Kubuntu 5.10 running on the notebook that originally came with Linspire. I had just moved up here to Albuquerque. I was still using dial-up.)

Anyway, just saw this release announcement about the long-dormant Linspire and its community branch, Freespire: https://www.distrowa...m/?newsid=10078

DistroWatch notes that "Freespire was once a community-run Linux distribution sponsored by Linspire. Freespire was discontinued in 2008. Starting in 2017 Freespire became a free operating system based on Ubuntu and run by PC/OpenSystems LLC. Freespire features the Xfce desktop environment."

PC/OpenSystems LLC is also the company behind Black Lab Linux (https://www.distrowa...bution=blacklab).

I have no interest in this company's commercial offerings, but for nostalgic reasons I'd like to take a look at Freespire. I'll download it and see if I can run it live from a flash drive -- hopefully within the next few days, if time permits. I'll report back in this thread.

Does anyone here have any experiences with (or thoughts about) PC/OpenSystems LLC and Black Lab Linux?

Black Lab Enterprise Linux: http://www.blacklablinux.org/
PC/OpenSystems LLC: http://www.pc-opensystems.com/

#2 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:20 AM

I came here to post the same thing!  I've heard of Linspire before, in both glowing terms of pioneering graphical UX on early linux; and in terms of disappointment...as in "replaced it with something else."  Linspire's time was before I even knew what Linux was.  But I'm curious, so I'll be checking it out, if only to know more!

#3 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 10:57 PM

I downloaded Freespire 3 and played around with the live session for a little while. It's basically Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ("Xenial"), with Xfce 4.12 instead of GNOME. The /etc/apt/sources.list file lists the  Xenial repos.

Freespire 3 ships with a nice collection of apps. To name just a few: Firefox 57.0.1, Abiword, Gnumeric, Parole Media Player, Audacious, GParted, Synaptic, a few games, Galculator, Ristretto Image Viewer, and Unetbootin. The Xfce apps that you'd expect (Mousepad, Thunar, xfce4-terminal, xfce4-screenshooter). Midnight Commander is included. Also Nautilus (aka "Files); thought that was interesting. For those who don't want to use Synaptic, I saw menu entries for "Software," "Software & Updates," and "Software Updater."

From the live session, I was able to access partitions, directories, and files on my hard drive (I have Debian installed on that machine). I opened up my music directory and played some .wma files that I've got stored on the hard drive, with Parole. Plugged in a flash drive and copied some files to it. Freespire automounted the partitions I double-clicked on. Took a look at Firefox 57 for a minute. I didn't do a whole lot; the live session worked fine, no show-stoppers, and (I guess) nothing super special, either.

There's an icon on the desktop labeled "Install Freespire 16.04" -- seemed kinda interesting that they would label it that way, but perhaps appropriate considering that Freespire 3 appears to be Ubuntu 16.04 underneath. I didn't attempt an installation.

Seemed like a nice, simple setup that users would be comfortable with, though. Other than the name of the distro, I saw nothing from the old Linspire. Looks like they simply created their own Xubuntu. I liked that they kept things simple. Pretty good out-of-the-box experience, good live session. I'll be curious to see real reviews by users who have actually installed the system.

#4 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 09:38 AM

Sounds like an OK distro but I think I'll stick with MX-Linux if I want Xfce. That or my own selection of Arch programs.
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#5 OFFLINE   Hedon James

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 10:24 AM

I was reading their website and it appears that Black Lab Linux is involved somehow...either taking over development of abandoned distro, or hosting.  Not sure what I think of Black Lab yet...aren't they the folks who forked the abandoned Remastersys code/scripts when the Dev (Fragedelic) stepped away, then started charging $50 for it?  Memory is a little foggy, but I seem to remember them being involved in that in some way.  And now they're taking over 2 long-ago abandoned distros, albeit with name-brand recognition and apparent staying power of that recognization...and looks like they're charging for support licenses.  Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but pricing structure doesn't seem very well thought out.  Why would I purchase 2 licenses for $30 when I can purchase individual licenses for $10 each?

If all is as it appears to be, Black Labs seem to be modeling the Red Hat structure, but for the Debian/Ubuntu family.  They have their Enterprise offering (Black Labs), their desktop distro/test bed in Linspire, and their open/free version of Freespire (Linspire without the proprietary bits & blobs).  I wish them well, as their success is good for Linux.

Unfortunately, it's interesting to me, but not tempting...

#6 OFFLINE   saturnian

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 10:29 AM

View Postraymac46, on 04 January 2018 - 09:38 AM, said:

Sounds like an OK distro but I think I'll stick with MX-Linux if I want Xfce. That or my own selection of Arch programs.

Yeah -- I'm not replacing my Stretch (w/ Xfce) installation with it. And I'll stick with BunsenLabs on my "test" machine.

I have to say, though, that it looks okay. I'm running it live this morning on a different computer, just playing music from the collection on another flash drive, with Audacious. Seems like an easy distro, boots to the desktop a bit on the slow side, but then it's good to go, nothing gets in the way.

There's a "Help" menu item; I clicked on it and it opened the Xubuntu 16.04 documentation page in Firefox. Alrighty, then. :)

Going with the Ubuntu LTS base, with backports opened up, and with Xfce, it actually seems like a good way to go.

For folks who don't want/need all the cool tools that MX offers, Freespire seems like a decent alternative. Granted, I don't know how it looks once installed. Anyway, better than what I was expecting.




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