Editor's Note: Linspire Shootout Kit Sounds Good On Paper...
Jun 11, 2004, 23:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
By Brian Proffitt
I am not, by anyone's standards, the world's biggest
fan. While Michael Robertson is an ultra-savvy communicator and
corporate player, he tends to play things a little fast and loose
when it comes to overpromising and underdelivering.
Note, I said "a little." Having used the Lindows software, I
found it to be adequate in the past, but like so many other things,
not quite up to the hype. I realize this might be upsetting to any
Linspire fans out there, but I fear no wrath, for it all pales
before the scathing comments I got last Friday evening... when I
was the only one in my family disappointed with the new Harry
Potter movie. Boy, did my girls let me have it.
Lindows may have not delivered quite up to their hype, but I
have to admit I was very intriqued by their decision this week to
bundle the Mandrake and Fedora distributions with Linspire in their
Desktop Linux Comparison Kit.
From a marketing standpoint, this looks like a very nice
gesture, something akin to the move made by Edmund Gwenn's Kris
Kringle character in Miracle on 34th Street when he, as the Macy's
Santa Claus, started pointing out great deals on toys at other
department stores in Manhattan. Other companies in recent times
have used this tactic, usually to positive public response.
Practically, though, I wonder who is going to have time to
actually sit down and compare three separate Linux distributions. I
used to change flavors all of the time when I was actively
reviewing distros, but it was still a time-consuming process at
best and if something went wrong, a big pain in the butt at
I will be interested to read the documentation that should come
with this Kit to see how Lindows recommends this "desktop shootout"
should take place. Clearly, this is a project someone will have to
spend a lot of time doing. Which leads me to believe that Lindows
may be shifting its product focus of its Linspire distro to more
than just the average consumer.
The average consumer, even one who is technically savvy, is
little likely to have the time/patience/inclination to run through
three full Linux installs, even if they partitioned the heck out of
their hard drive(s). Instead, its the professional IT person, who
is paid to check this kind of stuff out, who might have
the ability and the time to run the gamut of this shootout.
I have to put that qualifier in there, because I am still
skeptical that this shootout idea is really practical for any user.
But I will allow that Lindows may have shot at getting some IT
staffers to try this out.
You might think I am a little late for the clue train here,
since Lindows stated in the very press release about this Kit that
this would be ideal for "businesses, educational institutions, and
computer enthusiasts." Again, just the sort of folks that might
actually try out all of these distros. But it is one thing to say
your distro is good for business use and it's another to actually
do something about it.
Lindows has said for quite some time that its main product is
suitable for business, but really hadn't done much about actually
making that so. Earlier this year, though, Lindows started
announcing that they would be making more of a push to the
enterprise. We have just seen another step in that direction.
I would also be interested in seeing the Kit's documentation to
see how Linspire will be stacked up against Fedora and Mandrake. I
would be hard-pressed to say that Linspire actually approached the
full functionality of these two veteran distros--at least with a
straight face. But Linspire's documentation will not have such
limitations. Certain key aspects of Lindows, such as its intergated
WINE functionality and its much-touted software warehouse, will
very likely be highlighted more than any other feature, since these
are features Fedora and Mandrakelinux don't have, at least, out of
This is all speculation until I actually see the Kit's
documentation. Putting up Linspire against Mandrakelinux and Fedora
Core is definitely a gutsy move, and perhaps a little foolhardy, at
least to hard-core Linux users. To average users who aren't seeking
the superior features of a veteran distro, Linspire could have a
If those users have the patience to complete the shootout.
PR: Lindows To Offer Fedora, Mandrake With Its Own(Jun 09,