Linspire, who try to bridge the gap between Windows and Linux, has been lauded by some and chided by others. Their heavily customized Ubuntu distro sets itself apart by trying to have a Windows-feel, along with a healthy dose of support. It comes at a price, though they have also offered Freespire as a free release of the same suite with certain functionality removed.
Today, Linspire announced that version 2.0 of Freespire is now available, and this time it has something to make it a bit more appealing. Many distros, for legal reasons or licensing reasons, do not include certain third-party drivers or codecs, letting the user decide if and when they need those. Freespire will be changing that, and will include some proprietary packages:
"Version 2.0 is the first Freespire based off of the popular Ubuntu distribution," explained President and CEO of Linspire, Inc. Larry Kettler. "Freespire 2.0 picks up where Ubuntu leaves off by adding proprietary software, drivers and codecs, to make for a more complete turn-key solution for mainstream desktop computing."
Some of the included software are codecs for mp3, WMA and rm playback, along with Java and Flash support. They also are including Nvidia and ATI drivers. Most importantly to those who actually have used the distro in the past, however, is that it will include CNR support, which Linspire is seeing as the next step above existing package management like you find in Ubuntu.
As always, Freespire is free. You can read more about version 2.0 or download it from their site.