Freespire 2.0 Reviews

Freespire 2.0 – Reviewed – 19.August.2007 06:05
When Freespire 2.0 was first released I was unable to get a clean download via BitTorrent. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Freespire 2.0 was finally available via mirror sites. I chose a ftp site from Indiana University and the download speed was very good averaging over 300KB all the way. I burned the .iso file and proceeded with the install. Everything worked very well during the installation including finding all of my hardware. I have read some reviews that claim that Freespire install is slow. I didn’t personally find this to be the case at all. Having tried the beta versions before the final release, I found that Freespire 2.0 final was pretty much what I had seen previously. Nothing more, nor nothing less. Which is not to say that this is a bad thing. Freespire just works.

Though I am sure he is slightly prejudiced in his view, still Freespire is worth taking a look at.

2.0: First look and impressions rjdohnert – 14 August 2007
I got my hands finally on Freespire 2.0 which is the foundation of Linspire 6.0. I have been test driving this release just to see how good it can be when stacked against other Linux destop distros such as Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS and Fedora. Freespire has some to be desired but looks to be on the right path.

Overall a good release if you are looking for a good desktop distribution that can handle Ubuntu packages and if you want the convenience of CNR, eventually, and a better Ubuntu then Ubuntu. Freespire and even Linspire 6.0 are good choices

Freespire 2.0 Review Mike L – Monday, 13 August 2007
Freespire is the free version of Linspire’s own namesake product in Linspire. After coming off of a somewhat successful launch of Freepsire, this latest version adds an extra punch and better offerings.

Freespire is a great distribution that is being offered to new users of Linux who might want to convert form Windows. It is simply designed and not too complex and keeps user-friendliness in mind.

As stated above, CNR, is still not complete as the current version that currently is being offered, is for commercial versions and the free one should be out shortly.

Freespire 1.0 Reviews

Condensed Freespire Review – Anonymous – October 2006

  • I thought Freespire was going to be a piece of crap! Well, to tell you the truth, I was wrong.
  • …a very easy-to-use interface…very welcoming to those switching to Linux from any OS, including Mac,Unix(duh),Windows,other distros of Linux…
  • …worst part of Freespire is its outdated software…
  • …Freespire has over 70 different apt repositories…
  • My rating for Freespire 1.0 – 3 1/2 stars out of 5 (70% good)

What’s the best Linux for beginners? by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – Oct. 2006

  • Most people just want a computer that works, not a computer that makes them work. Freespire excels at this.
  • …if being able to play as much Windows-specific media as legally possible on a Linux system is what you want, Freespire is your distribution of choice. If a device or a file format is technically and legally possible to support on Linux, Freespire supports it. For example, it supports proprietary hardware, such as many WiFi cards, and proprietary media formats, such as Windows Media Format. That may sound like no big deal to some of you. But, for a user who doesn’t know — and doesn’t want to know — about the details of installing ipw2100 firmware so that a Centrino-based laptop can work with the local WiFi, or how to find a Windows Media codec, it’s an enormous deal.
  • …the best Linuxes for someone who just wants to get out of the Windows horror-show and use their PC without security worries.
  • So, if you’re new to Linux, give them a try. You won’t be sorry.

Freespire 1.0 Review by Erik Williams – Aug. 2006

  • The Freespire installer is by far the easiest quickest Linux install I have ever performed.
  • Usually my next task after getting online is the installation of the ATI drivers for 3d acceleration. Guess what! I do not have to! Its already done for me. I fired up Konsole and ran glxgears…ATI drivers working! Thus far i have saved myself at least 30 to 40 minutes in configuration (and for some that is even 2 or 3 hours).
  • The best part about all this is that the use of the codecs while using them in Freespire is completely legal. Not to mention they are ready to go out of the box. This makes Freespire and excellent candidate for new users. Heck, with that! , it saves us veterans a load of configuration and grabbing software!
  • It was nice to see a user friendly browsing environment in linux without the headache of doing it yourself. Again this is a major plus for new users.
  • Overall Freespire is a nicely done Distro. It is wonderful for new users and seasoned veterans alike. For an initial release I’m very pleased with the progress and look forward to the future. I think that some out there could take some usability pointers from the Freespire team. Freespire has a polished Feel to it that not a lot of Linux distros share.
  • Freespire has the better hardware support out of the box than any other Linux Distro I have installed on this machine.
  • I feel more productive in Freespire and feel like i can actually get work done instead of spending time tweaking my system to make it work properly.

Freespire 1.0 Review – Open Church – Aug. 2006

  • As a desktop OS, Freespire definitely deserves 5 stars. I think Linspire Inc has a real winner here with the marriage of open source and propriety code.
  • The OS is very appealing and easy to use.
  • After using Freespire I was really impressed with the amount of polish in the OS. When installing it, it displayed on the screen that it will take 10 minutes to install. I took that with a grain of salt because I thought I knew better. But it really did install in 10 minutes! And only one reboot required at the end of the install. Windows eat your heart out!
  • Another stand out feature, when compared to other Linux operating systems, is its use of propriety hardware drivers. While some in the open source community don’t like this mixing of free and propriety code, it makes Freespire incredibly easy to use on a large amount of hardware. This makes Freespire the perfect distribution for those who have never tried Linux before and want to trash Windows.
  • Freespire is a desktop oriented Linux OS which is meant to be easy to use in every aspect. What really sets Freespire apart from other operating systems is it’s Click and Run Warehouse. Imagine if all the applications you ever wanted were located in one place and all you had to do to install them was click on a web page to install them. This is what CNR is.

Freespire 1.0 Review – Linux Forums – Aug. 2006

  • I was very pleased and impressed by the quality of this distribution. I really liked the fact that the distribution released an OSS version which didn’t include the proprietary and restricted pieces of software. Freespire is a nice distribution with a lot of handy tools and great ideas. It is comfortable and easy to use. In its non-OSS version it comes pre-installed with Java and flash plugins, multimedia support and even spell checkers within its web and email applications.
  • Freespire is very polished with good attention to details. The look and feel is consistent in the boot menu, the bootsplash screens, the default desktop and the KDM theme. The icons are nice two, and the menus were made semi-transparent. Overall, the look and feel is pleasant and gives a nice impression.
  • The installer itself is very pleasant. It looks really good and polished, it’s fast (the whole installation took me about 10 to 15 minutes) and it doesn’t ask too many questions …
  • The desktop is full of nice surprises…handy for the user. For instance, the Freespire desktop features “My Documents” and “My Computer” within the home folder of the user. In “My Computer” the user can access other partitions and devices. When I tested Freespire, I was happy to see that Freespire automatically mounted my ext3 and fat32 partitions in there, and I was able to access their content without any configuration.
  • The file manager is also very useful and well designed. Access to files and devices is easy and fast.
  • If you choose the default version of Freespire, chances are that your hardware will work fine with it. Freespire comes with a lot of drivers for ATI and NVidia cards, but also winmodems and wifi cards (Madwifi and Ralink drivers).
  • Freespire 1.0 includes customized versions of Firefox, Thunderbird and Gaim 1.5.0. They come pre-installed with spell checking and translators. OpenOffice 2.0.3 is also included. The customizations made to these software applications are quite nice and they make the use of email and web browsing very pleasant. Freespire also comes with software developed by Linspire, such as NVU, LSongs and LPhoto.
  • The Network Connection Manager allows you to define these profiles and it can even switch automatically between profiles for you. It’s a very handy tool. Another great tool is the Network Share Manager. It scans the samba/windows shares on the network and allows you to connect to them. If a share becomes unavailable, the tool remembers it but simply changes its status to offline. With this Network Share Manager you can define shares to be connected at startup and they automatically appear in the “Network Shares” within “My Computer”.
  • The default way to install and update software in Freespire is called CNR (Click and Run). It’s a great invention by Linspire which allows the user to browse catalogs of software and install them by simply clicking on them. I had a look at CNR and it looked very good and easy to use. I am a firm believer in the fact that APT is the greatest package manager of all. And since Freespire is based on Debian, it came with APT. Of course, tools such as synaptic, adept or aptitude are not installed by default, by they are easily added through the use of apt-get.

KnoLinux K M Kleinsmith- Freespire 1.0 – Free is in the name for a reason – Aug. 16, 2006

  • …In their efforts to truly support proprietary drivers, they really hit the nail on the head in that most video cards and wireless adapters work out of the box.
  • …but the one thing that always shines on Freespire/Linspire is the awesome user community
  • …CNR is what clearly sets Freespire/Linspire apart from the field and will for some time to come.
  • So everything really works out of the box, minus the DVD, but that can easily be obtained from CNR
  • …It truly is a desktop that fullfills The World’s Easiest desktop Linux! branding that comes over from Linspire, along with the FREEdom and FREEprice that many Linux lovers expect in their distribution

Linux Format – Freespire 1.0 Review – Aug. 10, 2006

  • …it certainly offers the best out-the-box experience of any free-as-in-beer distro we’ve seen, and could genuinely open up Linux to a wider audience.
  • …hardware detection was spot on…
  • It appears the Freespire team is striving for stability over bleeding-edge code at present — a Good Thing…
  • …slick and polished, with fade-ins and drop-shadows galore.
  • …DVD playback isn’t a problem either.
  • Without doubt the codec support is the most notable feature, but the clean K menu and single app-per-task selection also contribute to a very approachable desktop.

eWeek – Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – Aug. 2, 2006

  • What comes with Freespire? A lot.
  • Linspire has worked long and hard on making CNR as easy as possible to use. The fit and polish shows. I found installing software with CNR from Freespire to be easier than installing most Windows applications from Windows. Of course, you don’t need to use CNR. Freespire is a Debian-based distribution. That means any DEB-compliant installer program, such as apt-get or Synaptic, will work.
  • The Freespire’s game, though, is to be easy-to-use to the point of being completely non-threatening. While Xandros 4 goes out of its way to be Windows-user friendly, Freespire bends over backwards in pursuit of that goal.
  • If you look under some of the menus, you’ll also find links to Internet companies such as AOL, NetZero, and EarthLink. Linspire has made a point of trying to get its operating systems on computer vendor’s systems. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see Freespire running in store windows with a set of ISP icons shining on its ready-to-buy systems’ displays.
  • Would Freespire find and install the proper drivers for both? The answer was yes in both cases. The installation program said it would take about ten minutes, and that’s what it took. Everything on a PC should be so easy!
  • After installing Freespire on both of my test systems, the operating system and its applications worked well. It gave very solid performance. In particular, as you’d expect from its codec support, it’s easy to watch DVDs, QuickTime, and Windows media audio and video.
  • CNR does cost money, although it’s well worth the expense for users who just want to run applications and don’t want to know anything else about a computer. Linux users who just want proprietary software already installed and know their way around apt-get, however, will be able to use Freespire without CNR and its associated annual fee.
  • In short, I found it to be a fine Windows replacement desktop for home users. …if you feel you need to use such programs, Freespire makes it much easier than any other Linux distribution. And, when is all said and done, that’s really what Freespire is all about — making Linux as easy as possible for users. – Nathan Willis – July 28, 2006

  • the Freespire distro offers a better value than its commercial counterpart. No cost up front, CNR for those interested in paying monthly for the convenience, and traditional package management for those who don’t. The company sponsoring its development has taken flak over the years from free software advocates, but in Freespire it has put together a solid distribution. – Freespire Review – July 2006

  • So, what’s the conclusion? Freespire is a very well put together distro…over all I am quite impressed, and am comfortable recommending it to most anyone who is interesting in trying Linux out. Freespire is solid, reliable and easy to use, period.

User Comments

Here are some of the comments that have been made about Freespire:

  • Hey! I thought this was supposed to be a beta! Looks more like the real thing! Okay, so there are couple of little issues, but so far looks very good. My early observations:
    • Beautiful interface!
    • DVD Player works great!
    • Seems to load fast, system is very responsive.
    • Installation was very fast. Good detection of nVidia GF6600 card (glxgears = 3880) and Linksys Wireless G.
    • CNR working well.
    • LSongs working great.
    • I will keep experimenting with other applications. So far, I love it!
  • I download & installed Freespire Beta 1 and was completely wow-ed by it. This has to be, by far, the single, best Beta of any I’ve ever tried. Freespire is a fantastic OS and I’m loving it. While we all know this is a, “Beta,” release, I can envision many people using Freespire B1 as a production platform immediately. It’s that good. My hat tips to all of the folks that put some serious work into this. Great Job!
  • I can’t believe this is “beta,” it’s very good.
  • Very good distro guys. I have already decided to make it my main Linux OS once out of beta, but I’m finding very few bugs. This is a Great distro, and I do mean that. I expect this distro, ubuntu, and suse to really duke it out for the top spot.
  • I am pretty impressed with Freespire. I find it actually much better just from using it for 30 minutes then Linspire 5. Freespire is much faster then I thought it would be, boots faster, loads apps faster by default then I expected (Pleasant surprise!) It installs faster. They changed the colors and icons which to me now look better. All in all I like it. I find it pretty tight, and as I said quick. Faster then Ubuntu, Xandros and Suse Enterprise 10 desktop, out the box on the same machine.
  • I have to agree that the BETA itself is more than what i expected! Great work! Especially the Interface…ITS REALLY SUPERB !!!!!
  • I was expecting something far buggier with a ton more failed installs and bugs. The current beta is quite stable. The interface guys did a great job.
  • Well I just like to add that it isn’t only a great “BETA” but also launched ahead from planned which makes it better than any other…GREAT JOB!
  • What a great distro and future Freespire has, Good work.
  • Running from Cd on the Thinkpad it looks great too. It did play some Divx video files and some DVD Vob files I have on a USB hard drive and very well.
  • I’m happy! The beta works great on my computer. First time in several years that I am considering using “Lindows.” Great job!
  • If the beta is this good, I can’t wait until the general release  🙂
  • The more I see of Freespire, the more I like it. The install screens explain the philosophy of freedom of choice that I think is important to users. Freespire users, I would say, have COMPLETE control over what is on their hard drive. What a difference an operating system can make! There is room in Freespire for everyone, from the Windows-weary to the savvy geek. Such a deal!(& no, I didn’t get paid to say all that.)
  • The power went out here this morning and I had not yet set up my laptop for dialup Internet access. There were some things I just had to do online, so I connected the modem to the wall jack and fired up kppp. I was online in about a minute. Good work, Freespire folks. When I do something like this on a Debian system, it usually involves fiddling with ppp configs to get things working, things like the chatscript, defaultroute, DNS, and adding myself to the “dip” or “dialup” group, but I didn’t have to fiddle around, it just worked.