So will the OS be staying around? Or will it go the way of so many discontinued distros? I have watched Lindows/Linspire go through many changes. I have been a member of their Insiders group since December of 2001. I am pretty sure I was one of their earliest members. I was taken in by this story.
I was a little put off when just 3 months later they decided to announce that they were giving up on the Windows compatibility thing in favor of going for native Linux software, as I felt there were plenty of distros out there already doing that. Then later in 2002 they announced CNR. I was still not happy, but CNR was pretty slick. It made installing software a snap for anyone. And they finally made it so anyone could pick it up and go. You did not need a 300 page book to do it, you did not have to find just the right program in a long list of programs in a menu. CNR started up on the Taskbar on startup and asked you to sign in. Made it very obvious where to go to install new stuff. They also had a little CNR icon in every menu in case you might be confused. Great for newbies!
Finally, there was a Linux I could tell anybody to try using! Did not matter what you did, or did not know. Anyone should be able to use this Linux and install the software they needed. It was good, and more and more people started using it. I think Lindows helped a lot of people get started on Linux, who otherwise would never have used Linux. Then Lindows did some pretty cool software styled after the Apples Itunes and Iphoto. They were Lsongs and Lphoto. They then made a cool little thing called Mp3beamer, and many thought Lindows, who was soon to become Linspire were figuring things out and making a real contribution. They were putting in work on many projects, Mozilla, Gaim and many others I am sure. About this time is when Lindows actually flew me and another guy from the Insiders group out to see the operation, and to see some of what they had going and give our opinions. We then got to share some of that with the community. We had a lot of fun out there, and regardless of what people may say of Linspire, I will always have fond memories of meeting everyone.
Then, Lindows did something that crushed many true Linux peoples high hopes for them. They sold out to Microsoft. Any hope of ever really being excepted by the large majority of the Linux Community was crushed. Many of us had gotten behind Lindows in the whole underdog role. They squashed that, and renamed themselves to Linspire. Never been my favorite name, but what the heck, they were bringing a lot of innovation to the Linux OS world at that time, so I stayed with them.
Then Linspire put out a few decent releases. They worked on making CNR more stable, and other distros slowly started getting interested in the product. So Linspire created Freespire, and decided they were making that the “Community” version of Linspire. Where people could pitch in and help with Linspire. I still feel they made a lot of the wrong moves when doing that, and still are. They are trying to keep control of the Community, well at the same time, saying that it is a Community run effort. Linspire then sold out to MS again. At this point, it becomes more and more obvious that Linspire is making slow steady moves toward eliminating their OS all together. I still do not know if it is intentional, or just through really bad planning, but it is sad to see. Having been there from the beginning, and actually having been a mod in their Community since about 2004 or so, I hate to see it dying.
That being said, they did put in place some structure for Freespire to keep going after Linspire dies. However, they have not really put in the effort I feel they need to on helping get the Community solid and working. So I am guessing it will be gone, and they will not be around for Linspire 7. With a standard 18 month or more release cycle at Linspire, I become a bigger and bigger fan of Simply Mepis. I highly encourage everyone to take a look at it, and when you are downloading it, take a minute to hope for the best for all those lost souls like me. who either once worked for Lindows/Linspire/Freespire, or who once believed in them enough to give them their money.