Since I needed a system to last until the Ubuntu 8.04 release, my search has landed me back at Freespire 2.0. I know, I know… I said that I would never use Freespire again, all because of their patent deal with Microsoft. Now, I’ve had a year to cool off, and seeing as Linspire, the company that sponsors Freespire, is not doing so well these days, that I would give Freespire a chance.
Installation of Freespire was easy, just as I remembered from the last time I tried it back in 2006. The 2.0 version of Freespire is based on Ubuntu, which really was another reason that I wanted to try it. It has support for my wireless and graphics cards out of the box, which makes installation all the easier.
My first impressions of Freespire are simple: It’s not a bad system.
Everything works as it should, and the best part, you can clearly see the underlying Ubuntu system. The applications can be seen as built for Ubuntu, such as OpenOffice, which has the OpenOffice splash from Ubuntu 7.04. CNR updates itself, and there are proprietary media drivers preinstalled. Alright, so I could have installed the drivers from Fluendo, but it is far more convenient to have them preinstalled.
Firefox, which is called LBrowser in Freespire, gave me a bit of a scare at first boot:
That’s right, this was the first evidence of the Microsoft deal that I had found. Most distributions have Google as their default search, but this is the first I had come across with Live search. Thankfully, this could be changed to Google, my search engine of choice.
Another result of the Microsoft patent deal was a converter for the Microsoft’s OOXML document format. Really, the format in Office 2007, “.docx” is a partial integration of OOXML, but it is nice to have the format just in case someone sends me a file with the .docx extension, although the chance that I will receive a .docx file is minimal at best. Most people still send .doc files for the purpose of compatibility.
Freespire 2.0 is a nice system, and with Ubuntu 7.04 as it’s base, it is both reliable and relatively updated. With the added CNR feature, it makes application installation a breeze. Let me be clear, I do not support the patent deals with Microsoft, or the usage of an unfinished format such as OOXML (math doesn’t work well in Excel…), but I am glad that the other features are there, and legally, mind you.