Xandros buys Linspire

July 3, 2008 // 12:08 p.m.

Tags: #linspire #linux #merger #xandros

Bolstered by its success on the popular Eee PC from Asus, Xandros – the little-distro-that-could – has announced that it is to purchase beleaguered Windows-alike Linspire.

Xandros Linux – a minority distribution of the popular open source GNU/Linux operating system – hit the mainstream when a heavily-customised version was shipped with the original Asus Eee PC. Featuring a re-tooled GUI designed for the low-resolution portable, the lightweight Linux distribution proved a hit amongst gadget aficionados. Linspire, on the other hand, has had a somewhat more troubled history.

Originally developed to be a drop-in alternative to Windows, Lindows – as it was then called – was designed to mimic the look and feel of Redmond's finest as closely as possible. Using the Windows compatibility program Wine – allowing select Windows application to run within Linux – along with an intuitive package management system – which also doubled as a software shop – called Click 'N Run, the environment was tailored to a Windows user looking to make the shift to Linux. Microsoft, being the friendly multinational corporation that it is, took umbrage at this: threatening to sue unless the company changed its name, the software giant forced a re-think which saw the company hastily re-brand to Linspire.

While the acquisition will probably prove beneficial to Xandros – who now have a whole raft of user-friendly technologies to adapt for their own use – not everyone is particularly happy. Ex-Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony is quoted by Betanews as saying that the purchase was driven by a desire to “drain [Linspire] of its cash and resources” on the part of current CEO Michael Robertson and a way for him to avoid “living with the public humiliation that Linspire failed under his leadership.” Not that he's bitter, or anything.

The deal, which was officially signed back in June but not publicised by either company, will see Xandros continuing to support and sell the Linspire and Freespire operating systems under their current names.

Any Linux fans sad to see another company vanish from the radar, or is the creation of a bigger Xandros better for everyone? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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