Linspire 5.0 UK-launch breaking news
Speaking at this morning's UK launch of the Linspire 5.0 "one-click-easy" Linux-based operating system, Michael Robertson, CEO of Linspire, said that piracy of his company's OS was not an issue – "far from it".
Indeed, said Robertson, he hoped that buyers of legitimate copies of Linspire would share them with "all their friends".
Public awareness of Linspire, he clearly believes, will increase with the number of copies in use – the sort of thinking that lay behind Windows (and MS Office) being activation-free in all the years before XP versions arrived, and why, before the recent introduction of Adobe's CS-series programs, most of the company's paid-for software was unprotected.
When asked how long it would be before a version of Linspire would require activation, Robertson said that it would never happen while he was in charge - though he rather relished the idea of being in a position where such a decision had to be made.
And Robertson looks set to be in charge for the foreseeable future having made clear at the event that there are "no plans currently" to take the company public after it pulled back from a flotation in 2004 because of the depressed state of the Nasdaq securities market, and received a cash injection.
What Robertson didn't make clear, though, was whether the cash injection came from an investor or as part of a legal settlement.
Microsoft was scheduled to pay Robertson's firm US$15million no later than August 15, 2004 and a further US$5million by February 1, 2005.
The Redmond-based giant had been chasing the company through courts in the USA and around the world in what was widely seen as an attempt to put it out of business.
The payments are part of an agreed settlement with Lindows - the name under which the company used to trade, and the former name of the Linspire OS.
Dropping the use of the Lindows name and giving over Lindows domain names to Microsoft was another part of the compromise - one that saw an end to all outstanding court cases, and a pledge from Microsoft not to sue for any patent infringement that may have occurred prior to the date of the settlement agreement.
The terms of the settlement are confidential but we managed to track down a summary in section 13 of Linspire's SEC Listings of July 19, 2004 here.
Robertson claims that the OS is the first Linux bundle aimed solely at users of desktop and laptop PCs. He also says it's on a par with Windows XP in terms of ease of use and features, yet massively cheaper.
Retail prices is £50 for a package that includes an installer CD that can also run the OS standalone without installing, plus a whole lot of free software. The free-list takes in:
* An office suite (OpenOffice) that's said to be file-compatible with MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint
* Digital-management/playback programs for photos and music (Lphoto and Lsongs)
* An internet suite with a tabbed browser (FireFox), a WYSIWYG HTML editor (NVU), email, instant messaging, spam filtering and more
In addition, there over 2000 other programs available for instant download from within the OS, many of which are free, too.
Keep an eye on HEXUS's front page for further reports from the launch event.
Watch out, too, for our hands-on take on Linspire 5.0 - including its potential for video editors and DVD authors.