Sunday, March 20, 2022

Xandros is Retired; Whats next

 In the product update post I put out a few days ago some people noticed a change, and that change was the addition of PC/OS Desktop and PC/OS Server.  So what happened to Xandros?  We decided the best time to retire the Xandros branding was coming.  Xandros was one of the properties we acquired back in 2017.  We decided to revive Xandros for our commercial line because we wanted to differentiate our enterprise offerings from our consumer offerings.  Now, let me answer the #1 question people will ask.  What about Linspire and Freespire?  Linspire is by far our most successful product.  Putting a bullet in it would be like Ford putting a bullet in the F-150, its not going to happen and Freespire, the OSS counterpart of Linspire, will stay as is.  No changes there.  But for our Enterprise offerings we decided it was time for a reboot.   We had a few people on the enterprise team we had to let go.  There were a few more that asked to leave to pursue opportunities with larger companies.  It has nothing to do with the pandemic or the health of the company.  We are very healthy and can still make payroll and bills.  The problem was the Enterprise team got to large.  We had a meeting where we all agreed it was time to slim down and reboot Enterprise.  Now, this is NOT a reflection on the people who left.  All were professional, all are very capable and if I got a reference request from any of them most of them would get glowing references.  I do want to thank Mark, Lee, Andrew, Kelli, John, Ryan and Timothy the best of luck in their next pursuits.  PC/OpenSystems would not be where it is today without their contributions.

So the Enterprise team is a lot slimmer than it was and we all agreed we needed to have a hard reset.  We needed to focus on what was important.  One of the things we agreed was that it was time to toss out the baggage of the past.  Xandros went out on a high note in 2009, and it went out on an even higher note in 2022.  Sales were FANTASTIC but I always felt that it was someone elses identity and what we were missing was an identity of our own.  So we start from the beginning.  PC/OS was our product that we introduced that was first based on Gentoo and then changed to Ubuntu LTS then changed to our BSD distribution as we thought we had a clear use for the name OS/4, we will talk about that later, but PC/OS never died it was just based on BSD and we will continue to use the name, just tweaked, to PC/OS BSD.  PC/OS Desktop and PC/OS Server are based on Linux, bit for bit the same as the Xandros base just rebranded.  Since PC/OS BSD is only available for our UNIX customers and not marketed for general distribution there will be no confusion in the market.  PC/OS Desktop and PC/OS Server will also follow the Ubuntu bases versioning, so PC/OS Desktop and Server 20.04.4 are based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS codebase , PC/OS Desktop and Server 22.04 will be based on the Ubuntu 22.04 codebase once again, going back to the beginning, we will support ours a LOT longer than Ubuntu supports theirs.  But, the consumer teams for Linspire and Freespire are focused on their products and the PC/OS team is focused on theirs.

For Xandros customers whats changed?  Nothing.  We will continue to support Xandros in the wild, all customers will continue to get updates to EOL and those who use the ISO refreshes will just have new branding.  No support contracts will be altered, all will be honored and the only difference in the free download are some enterprise specific features and while the free download has some of the basic multimedia codec support the subscriber version has them all and as I have always said since 2002 every Linux distribution that we have will ALWAYS have a free version available.  

We introduced the change just hours ago and the reception has been AWESOME.  For me it feels like a breath of fresh air and for the first time in a long time.  Im excited.  You can get more information below.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Product Development progress report for March 2022

 I have decided going forward I'm going to go ahead and give monthly progress reports on our progress on product development.  This helps communicate whats going on and doesnt leave our customers and users in the dark.

Our work with Ubuntu 22.04

This has progressed quite a bit and Im pleased to announce that the new build of Freespire using the 22.04 codebase may drop earlier than expected.  We are aiming for the first of the year 2023.  We will still be Kubuntu based.  Freespire when it comes to the new LTS code base will ALWAYS drop first.  The reason for this is because Linspire is still used by a lot of our enterprise and education customers and they need time to test and make changes to any in-house apps they may have and really putting it through the paces.  So yes, our 22.04 builds will be dropping earlier than whats on the roadmap.

Older builds

The Xandros 11 series starting in September 2022 will be moving to critical support only.  Being as it is based on 16.04 LTS we have updated as much as we can and to save the company time, money and resources we have decided to move it to critical support meaning there will be no monthly ISO refreshes and we will patch only critical issues and paid for patches going forward.  EOL is still October of 2024 so yes we will be ending support at that time.  


Linspire 11.5 will still be released March 14, 2022.  There have been MANY changes to this system.  This includes not only KDE, but several kernel improvements and security fixes.  We just built the final ISO today and it has been uploaded.  We have included the minimal install feature that mainstream Ubuntu offers for people who want to deploy specialized desktop systems.  Linspire does remain our number 1 best seller even for Enterprise customers and Education customers.   Sales have been down since the start of the pandemic but we are starting to see a creep upwards and a pick up although nowhere near our sales numbers that we had in 2019 and early 2020.  


PC/OS Desktop 20.04.4 and  Server 20.04.4 have just been updated and to say sales have picked up recently and I think the introduction of free downloads has helped quite a bit.  All the PC/OS builds have moved over to KDE and Server contains KDE and DWM.

Server is one that we are continuing to improve on and customer adoption has seriously grown.  Some of the changes coming in the new release are DWM is now the default desktop.  We do still include KDE for a more friendlier desktop but customers have relayed to us that for server work they like DWM more, so after you install the system on first boot DWM is the default desktop environment.   Some customers have also asked us to put back in Live testing.  The more recent releases we had removed live testing and put in install only.   But they told us they run this on older systems and desktops and the #1 complaint was that they were going through the install and on first boot it would fail.  By allowing you to test through the live environment for those use cases many of these issues will be worked out.  Ubiquity matches the desktop installer and is not the custom Ubiquity that we used for Server although that will be changing.  Other changes include updated server kernel, clonezilla, timeshift and better headless support. 

PC/OS EOL will be December 2027


Freespire 8.2 was released a couple of weeks ago and downloads have been extraordinary.  We are approaching 7 digit downloads for Freespire and feedback from the community has been AWESOME.  Freespire 8.5 will drop in June and 9 will drop on Halloween day.  Freesire 10 as I said will be earlier than we anticipated but wont drop in 2022.  Today we have updated Freespire 8.2 with all the security updates up to March 11, 2022 and thats available today at

So there you go guys, and as I stated I will have the progress report for April about the same time. 

Thanks all

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Turmoil at Elementary OS


This morning one of my developers shot me a message on Facebook and asked me if I heard whats happening at Elementary OS.  He gave me a brief rundown and I went and saw what Bryan had to say about it.  As everyone knows, if you want a full rundown of anything, go to Lunduke.  I will say this is sad.  It is sad because I went through the same thing in 2009.

I started PC/OpenSystems LLC with a friend.  Someone whom I trusted and someone who I knew would always have my back or so I thought.  Warren was an intricate part of the process.  I saw the change halfway through 2008 and we finally came to a head in 2009 and it was an ugly "breakup" to the point he was trying to lure our developers, at the time we only had 3 other people, and was trying to lure them away to work with him on his new project he was starting which was making a Darwin distribution.  They ended up being more loyal to me than they were to him so instead of leaving they told me what was going on.  So I started working on separating him from PC/OpenSystems.  For me it wasnt hard.  Everything was in my name because I have the better credit.  Loans, properties and other business related stuff.  We sat down and talked and decided the best thing to do for him was walk away.  He said to me "This thing is a failure, you are wasting your time.  Im not going down on this sinking ship with you."  BUT he wanted to maintain ownership and royalty rights.  I said no.  I felt like he was trying to bank on the future of what he considered a "failing company" So I told him, "Go fuck yourself.  NO!!"  He told me "Go fuck yourself and die" But overall through mediation from other people we agreed to part on a gentleman's handshake and a large sum of cash, my mistake, and never spoke to him after that until 2015.  In 2013 we turned a profit.  In 2015 profits went up and he turns around and sues me for royalty rights.  We go to court and he lost.  In 2021 he died from COVID.  When I heard about the death, because his wife was still friends with my wife, I felt sad.   Because I always thought we would have time to make up and mend that friendship.  

I know where Danielle is coming from.  I had the same feelings when I perceived someone as a friend was trying to screw me over.  That's a natural response when you have love and passion for something and someone tries to take it or try to enter you into an agreement that seems lopsided.  From my experiences with Warren I can see where Cassidy is coming from, believe it or not, and Cassidy reminds me a lot of Warren.  Cassidy, it seems, is looking at this through a practical lens and fear.  Fear that what he spent a good amount of time on, is in jeopardy and that boulder is coming down the hill and everything may be going away.  BUT he wants to remain a presence just in case Danielle manages to avoid the boulder or minimizes the fallout somehow.  Danielle is looking at this as I did through the lens of passion and love.  It is what she does, it is what she is good at and she is willing to call the house bet.  When fear and passion collide; a middle ground is extremely HARD to come by.  I may be wrong.  It may just be greed but Im calling it from my knowledge and what I know.

COVID was extremely hard on everyone.  We almost lost the company.  PC/OpenSystems is nowhere near 100% of what we were before the pandemic.  We are still struggling.  So I get where Danielle is coming from.  Sales are down EVERYWHERE.  It does suck big time.

I do hope they work it out.  elementaryOS is a great distro and the world is a better place with it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Should we stop recommending Ubuntu

 Linux Experiment, Nick, put up a video today on why he no longer recommends Ubuntu to users.

Now, that video makes the same mistake that many other Linux YouTubers make.  They emphasize the wrong shit.

First thing he talked about was the desktop.  How Ubuntu stays a version or two behind the current release of GNOME.  Thats OK to bitch about but in reality.  No one cares.  I have converted DOZEN's of people to the Linux desktop.  Whether Ubuntu 20.04 with GNOME or Linspire 11 with KDE and not a SINGLE person came to me and said thats GNOME or thats KDE. It's either I dont like it or I like it.  They dont even KNOW what GNOME or KDE is. They dont know they are using it.  For Windows users KDE seems to produce the better result and with Mac users GNOME hits the sweet spot.  But I never had someone say to me, "Oh I dont like that because its not GNOME 41 or 42" or "I sure do hate thats not KDE 5.24" it just never happens.

Second thing, he talks about Snap vs Flatpak.  Snaps are slow, Snaps take up a lot of disk space and Snaps dont follow system theming. Blah Blah Blah Blah.  Once again, users who have NEVER used Linux before DO NOT CARE  I dont like Snap because of the security issues so I tend to lean more towards Flatpak.  Most people want to run web apps anyway more than anything these days so for the browser I tend to install either Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge which produce web properties with a more desktop integrated look and feel.  Overall though I do agree Ubuntu should get rid of Snap and move to Flatpak but I dont see that happening anytime soon.

He also goes on to name quite a few fine community distributions which is great but lets get to the bread and butter about this post.  Linux does not have a distribution problem.  Linux has a community problem.

The problem is this.  They LOVE to preach to the choir.  Now all his criticisms are valid criticisms.  The only problem is they are ONLY valid to the hobbyists and enthusiasts that already use Linux.  The normal consumer user doesnt care about that stuff.  As long as it is stable, doesnt crash and doesnt eat 80% of their ram thats what they care about.  They want to hit the button and the computer cuts on.  They want to click on the browser icon and their internet browser launches.  Thats it.  They dont care about mismatched libraries, they dont care that the application has a dark menu and the rest of the chrome is light (although that does need to be fixed) the consumer user cares about the experience and that it JUST WORKS.  If it doesnt work they are going to find someone to reinstall Windows or macOS and if you refuse they are just going to take it to the geek squad or someone else and pay them to do it.

Linux has a real problem when it comes to desktop adoption and everything he talks about is not it (thats a post for another day) the community and developers better wake up otherwise every year will be the year of the Linux desktop with no progress.

But, if someone really wants to get into Linux I will always offer Ubuntu as a choice.  Alot of those other distributions are just white noise.  I personally would never suggest Linux Mint, Manjaro, Fedora, or Zorin. They are community driven targeting people who already use Linux and who are proficient with Linux.  Ubuntu has been and will always be the closest to the Linux desktop that we will ever get.  Its that 500 lb gorilla in the Linux world and if we have learned anything from Microsoft; that gorilla is hard to take down.  For current users of Linux its a good video and shows Ubuntu's shortcomings and lists alternatives that you can use if you rather have new and shiny instead of stability.  For beginners, or rather if you should offer Ubuntu to new users it really has no context.  It comes off as sounding like sour grapes.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Why we wont stop using Ubuntu and chat about Internet privacy

With the issues with SNAP recently, some people have asked?  Is it time for distros based on Ubuntu to die?  The answer to that is a firm NO.  Its time for SNAP to die but from Ubuntu's snap developers it doesnt look like it is going anywhere.  We have disabled SNAP by default in our ISO refreshes.  You cant even install it and we decided to just stick with DEB's and Flatpak.  With Ubuntu moving entirely over to SNAP's will that make it difficult?  Not really.   Someone will build the debs or we will do it ourselves.  But should we change or do the Linux Mint route and look at Debian?  First, Linux Mint has always had a Debian edition, so I dont think SNAP had anything to do with it.  B, Im the person who doesnt like to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Ubuntu does a lot of things right, they do a couple of things wrong. The things they do right far outweigh what I dont like about it.  So while we did look at switching to Debian, Arch and Red Hat and while all great distributions we like Ubuntu.  If we were to look at making a change it would either be Chromium OS or Gentoo.  But to change the base because of ONE thing, SNAP, is ridiculous, asinine, and fucking stupid. 

Some other reasons people have put out there is because they work with Microsoft or business practices or Canonical's use of proprietary software.  I dont care that they use proprietary software, I dont care if they have agreements with Microsoft.  Those things are not important to me.  Besides, if you seriously want to look at it Microsoft is right now the biggest distributor of Linux.  WSL combined with Windows Azure.  Besides, most commercial Linux and Open Source companies have an agreement with Microsoft or some other group.  Red Hat, Oracle, IBM, SUSE, pick one.  Microsoft is a member of the Linux foundation and you have Microsoft employee's on the kernel team.  I dont think many users really care about Microsoft anymore.  Why?  If you look at the top Windows app Linux users have wanted for DECADE's the ONE top app.  Guess which one... Microsoft Office.  Its never been done fully but now with Edge on Linux the online suite is great for basic needs which is what most people use it for.  VS Code and Edge have been extremely popular on the Linux platform and there have been some people who use Edge and VS Code full time that I never thought I would see them ever use it to be frank.  Seriously, this argument has gotten old.  Everyone's screaming privacy, all web browsers do data collection; ALL OF THEM.  Unless you make your own browser those bits and bobs are going somewhere you cant control.  Its seriously a question of whether you want to shoot yourself in the right foot or the left foot.  If the US Government wants to get your browsing data and everything you do online, you will not stop them no matter how many computers you have with Tor, VPN's etc. etc. etc.  You want privacy on the internet?  Dont use the internet.  Its that simple.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Linspire 11 SE


Some of our education customers have asked us if we can expect a new release specifically aimed at the education market.  Linspire 8 EDU has gotten a little long in the tooth and was released 4 years ago.  With the next release of Linspire in March we are introducing Linspire 11 SE.  Which is aimed specifically at the education market.

Some of the improvements include.

Fully up to date stack based on the latest LTS.

It has two modes; Full install which most schools will use for IT staff, administration and public library systems which includes Web Browser, e-mail application, Office Suite multimedia players etc.  Then we have the minimal install which schools can use on the student PC's which includes only 2 applications.  The web browser and Zoom.  The minimal install is great for school systems who use PWA's and Internal web apps.  It also fully supports all Intel based Chromebooks.  This also keeps us from having to support two different ISO's for our customers.

Security is paramount and we have made some changes to the way the OS works.  Under the full install school staff has access to every application and can install apps through the software center.  The minimal install allows students to only access the web browser and Zoom.  They cannot install apps and command line access is restricted.  On the minimal install apps can be installed through the Admin Console by a system administrator.

Application lineup highlights include; KDE 5.18.8, Microsoft Edge 98, Thunderbird 91, OnlyOffice 7, Timeshift, Deja-dup backup, Zoom, Juk, DragonPlayer and DISCOVER software center.

Current subscribers will get the new release for free through us or their current IT consulting firm.  We will have a dedicated page for people who want to purchase the new release. 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Chrome OS Flex and what it means for desktop Linux distributions

I got tons of e-mail and messages about this and people asked me my opinion. As you guys know Google is making Chrome OS available for older PC's and Macs through a new OS they call Chrome OS Flex and thats good for them. Its based on CloudReady made by a company called Neverware that they purchased a couple of years ago. CloudReady is going away and my thoughts on that is that this opens up the market. What do I mean by that?  Chrome OS Flex has one of two ways it can go and we will talk about that in a second.  In the meantime I have downloaded Flex and it is nice. Its really a good attempt. If you want to browse the web and watch YouTube its a perfect solution. If you are a developer or tinkerer you are shit out of luck. You cant access the command line at all, Shell Access has been removed. Android app support is not there yet IF ever and if your PC is older than 2 years you cant run Crostini and without shell access ChromeBrew is gone so once again this has one of two ways this can go. If they bring Android apps to Flex, if they enable some kind of developer mode yeah it has the potential to be a bullet in the head of desktop Linux distributions. If they dont, and I dont think they will because Google cant do basic math,  and they stay on the current path they are on.  Well, Flex will fail and will wind up in the Google Graveyard of what could have been within a year or two because Google is a company that likes to shoot itself in the foot, repeatedly until it cries for mommy. Google has had opportunity after opportunity to get ahead in everything but its core markets and hasn't and that is because they like to blow off their own toes which is why almost NONE of their past projects ever got past ad revenue, browsers and search.  My bet is Google graveyard in 12 months.  Google is its own worst enemy and its going to torture itself and then come to the realization it failed. Google has basically delivered to us Chrome OS 2009.  Sorry guys the industry and users decided that that was NOT ENOUGH.  Thats why Neverware never really caught hold with developers and why even its users didnt standardize on it.  We run parallel with Neverware in many of our school systems.  They used Neverware on a lot of their throw away old laptops so if a kid didnt return it at the end of the year or the systems got stolen it was not a huge loss.  Now for those of you who are tech savvy you can get into the command line environment by configuring GRUB and if you dont know what that is Im not going to tell you because you can fuck things up BIG TIME. 

Google has missed the general rule of software and product development. Listen to your users. Google gives its customers what Google wants and then gives their customers the middle finger and that is why they fail in everything BUT search. But, I think you will see a ton of downloads by people who are curious and people will want to use this thing for grandma and Stacy's mom who do nothing but check e-mail, do banking, general web browsing and watch YouTube and Netflix but for your broader tech consumer they are going to see very quickly how totally fucking useless this thing is in its current incarnation and reinstall Windows just like they did with CloudReady.  Bring Android and developer mode, watch this thing become the brightest star in the tech industry.  Make it CloudReady 2.0 and watch it crash and burn in a spectacular fashion.  Some of us will have fun with that everyone loves a trainwreck.  But based on Googles past performance in moving beyond its core market, Im not optimistic.

Those are my thoughts everyone have a nice day!!!

Xandros is Retired; Whats next

 In the product update post I put out a few days ago some people noticed a change, and that change was the addition of PC/OS Desktop and PC/...