Vista Alternative: Freespire

Vista Alternative: Freespire by David Whelan It’s not so much that I think Microsoft Windows Vista isn’t a good upgrade path for some businesses and individuals. But at some point you have to start asking yourself why you would go to a new operating system requiring so much more hardware than your current system, which is probably working fine . . . except for the Microsoft Windows operating system on it that is susceptible to viruses, malware, freezes, experiences Blue Screens of Death, etc. That’s why alternatives like Freespire are exciting. Vista Alternative:  Freespire

Linspire 5.0 (product photo from Linspire.com)

Not that I have a spare PC to put Freespire on!  The variety of Windows Vista versions coming out is unnecessarily complex – Basic, Premium, Business, Ultimate.  It’s really just like buying a fancy ice cream:  but if your refigerator can’t keep it cold enough, they’ve got versions without sugar, without milk, and a liquid version.

I’ve been interested in the developments of the operating system formerly known as Lindows, now known as Linspire.  Like other Linux distributions, it is a package of open source or public domain applications and you pay for the package and support.  I had not realized that a “community-driven” free version had been released (version 1 in August 2006) and version 2 is in alpha.

I don’t have any firsthand experience with it but this should be a reasonable option for many users, based on relative ease of use of the Debian system I am running.  For those unwilling to take the community-supported version, Linspire 5.0’s price ($59.95 if you want a disc or $49.95 for a Web download) is a lot more attractive than the Windows Vista pricing (which ranges from $99.95 for a Basic upgrade to $399.99 for a full copy of Ultimate).  Isn’t there a point at which most users can get what they need to done with a simple GUI operating system and a Web browser?  Reviews like SearchEngineWatch’s look at Google Docs make the future seem less reliant on a bloated operating system with expensive apps, especially with developments like the Open Document Format, which enables some interaction with Microsoft Office formats.

But you can take me off any upgrade list to Vista.  When my machine is next in need of an OS upgrade, I’m far more likely to go to an open source OS for my desktop than ever before, and look forward to seeing continued success for Freespire!

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