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Loving the Linspire Desktop

Linspiration

  • August 30, 2004
  • By Drew Robb

Linux has earned a mostly deserved reputation for being overly technical. While the IT guys may think Linux is all easy to install, it's not unusual for the average SMB owner to go blank after reading the first few lines of the set-up-and-install instructions.

In order to gain broad support in the consumer and small business markets, Linux must be plug and play. Fortunately, it's becoming more accessible to non-technical people, especially in the area of desktop operating systems.

If you want to try a Linux-based operating system, you'll find over two hundred versions listed at DistroWatch. Which one should you choose for your business desktop?

Linspire, one of the easiest version to use, comes in both desktop and laptop versions. You can download it from the Linspire Web site for $49.95 or order a disk for $59.95.

Formerly known as Lindows, the company was forced to change its name due to legal pressure from hyper-vigilant Microsoft over its "Windows" trademark. Designed for the masses, the Linspire software loads itself.

It automatically deals with almost all the configuration details that can be so frustrating for small business owners. It also comes pre-loaded with a series of commonly used applications so you can just perform one install and then get to work.

One of the great things about Linspire is that it doesn't just simplify the technology; it avoids confusing jargon, too.

A person fluent in geek-speak would describe Linspire thusly: an implementation of Debian Linux with the KDE desktop (Debian is just a common version of Linux; KDE is short for "K Desktop Environment," a user interface often used with Linux).

Linspire totally avoids such jargon. The basic desktop icons come with descriptive, functional names rather than techie terms. Instead of "Mozilla 1.7," the desktop icon reads "e-mail." (Mozilla is an open-source Web browser and e-mail program).

The developers have also gone all-out to make folder and application organization a snap. In the bottom left corner of the screen is a big "L," the equivalent to Microsoft's "Start" button on the Windows desktop.

Click on the L to bring up all your software applications listed in folders labeled � Audio & MP3, Business & Finance, Games, Home & Education, Internet, Multimedia & Design and Utilities. It's an easier way easier way to find a program than compared to Microsoft's by-vendor listing.

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