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Desktop Linux Summit 2005: Interest Continues to Grow - page 3

Third Time is Definitely a Charm

  • February 11, 2005
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Of course, Linspire is a major presence. At one booth, a beta preview of Linspire 5.0 is available. The final release is expected by the end of the second quarter of 2005, if not by the end of the first quarter. According to Robertson, "We're working really hard on the polish, because that's what we think Linux needs to be able to go into Best Buy, and say, 'Best Buy, it's time for you guys to start selling a desktop'... It really requires a real attention to detail that Linux hasn't been known for."

New features include a wireless control panel that lets you jump access points and automatically join your home network or your office network, software that was not previous bundled in--the Nvu HTML editor, PhoneGAIM for VOIP and instant messaging, and a VPN client for those who need to be able to connect to their office networks--along with the ability to share folders by right clicking and other features requested by users.

Lphoto and Lsongs have both been updated with new features, and Linspire has also launched a new product called MP3tunes (www.mp3tunes.com)-- which is not surprising since he was the CEO of MP3.com. This music download site serves up music without DRM (Digital Rights Management) annoyances. It's stocked with independent musicians and the site has been slammed by interested onlookers since its launch announcement. You can purchase individual songs, or have custom CDs burned and shipped.

In conjunction with MP3tunes is the MP3 Beamer. This music server comes as software along with Linspire 5.0, so you can install it yourself, or you can purchase it as an appliance. The appliance will immediately rip CDs when you put them into the drive, and also allows you to upload the songs you have already. It understands more than MP3 (ogg, for example) and can re-encode music on the fly if it needs to for a particular device. The MP3 Beamer runs Linspire, and can be used to serve music to any device with an Internet connection, so you can use it to listen to your music on your desktop your laptop, your PDA, your phone, or anything else that can access your server and play the music. While the unit has an 80GB hard drive, which is "only" big enough to contain 1500 CDs, it has two PCI slots and so can be expanded.

Robertson also refers to the MP3 Beamer as a "non-traditional approach to get inside someone's house." Selling desktop Linux in North America is, as Robertson puts it, much like "hand-to hand-combat with Microsoft... it's slow and it's messy."

Another project associated with Linsire is IRMA (International Resource Management Application), which is a fancy way of saying that the efforts happening at www.linspire.com/irma and www.irmateam.com revolve around trying to translate every little tiny part of Linux and its associated open source applications for localization purposes. Both managers and translators are needed to fulfill both the translation "grunt work" and help with verification and quality control, and according to the IRMA FAQ, "Linspire believes strongly in open source software and has committed significant financial support for various open source projects. All translations made through IRMA will be made available back to the open source community." The plan is to complete translations of seventy-eight different languages by 2006.

Finally, for the curious, check out www.lraiser.com. There, you can find out where Linspire computers have been installed and connected to the Internet all the way around the world. Linspire users don't worry, the application that reports this runs once just for an anonymous location, and then doesn't run again (and it only tracks down to a particular city).

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