Saturday, August 5, 2023

Why do we honor the Lindows lifetime agreement from Linspire Inc.

 One of the questions people have asked me; Why do you continue to honor Lindows lifetime members even though Linspire Inc is no longer around?  I dont do it because I am some self righteous prick who wants to be seen as a good guy.  The reason I do it is because those people who spent that money years ago got fucked over.  There is no better way to put it.

Its not a drama thing for me to cause any kind of uproar but Linspire Inc in its final days screwed people over.  They were selling the lifetime membership thing THE SAME DAY they made the announcement that they were selling to Bridgeways.  So what we do is I said look, if you were a Lindows lifetime member and I dont have the record if you give me the actual receipt I will honor it.  In the 7 years we have been making and marketing Linspire we have continued honoring the Lindows lifetime agreements.  Some have been screaming at me "Thats not fair!!!!"  The way I see it it is fair.  Whats not fair is for me to say "Ok you have to have bought lifetime between this year and that year.  The weather had to be sunny and 75 or cloudy and 68."  You do it for one you do it for EVERYONE or dont do it at all.  I will continue to do it.  If you contact us if we cant find it in the database and you have the actual receipt we will honor it for as long as we make Linspire.

This year we will also continue to offer Linspire for free on December 25.  Christmas day the download is made available free of charge for 24 hours.  We have done that every year since we started making Linspire.  We will continue to do so for as long as we make it.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Ubuntu: The good, The Bad and The Ugly


So word has gotten around that Canonical is making a move to make everything a SNAP package for Ubuntu 24.04.  With the new "SNAP store" it places SNAP's first and .deb packages as second class.  So why are they doing it?  and what happens to classic Ubuntu?

To understand SNAPS we have to look at Ubuntu and think about what Ubuntu has done right.  Canonical basically made a stable version of Debian testing.  They made Debian user friendly for the novices.  Easy to use and FREE.  Ubuntu reigned supreme as the Linux desktop of choice for millions of people.  Ubuntu has long pushed the limit of the Linux desktop for DECADES.  Unity Desktop, despite the small number of people who hated it, was well received.  We loved it our customers not so much.  Every downstream Ubuntu spin that we have produced always had a Unity spin.  Mostly for me but for those that liked Unity as well.  But Ubuntu, for as much good as they do, have started to place themselves outside of the open source community.  Canonical in its push to be different have alienated many, not all, but many in the OSS community.  Why is that?  Because Canonical has abandoned their core user base.  What their user base wants is a stable Debian testing.  There were many cheers when Ubuntu abandoned Unity and Mir.  Personally, I think dumping Unity was a mistake.  They should have just replaced Mir with Wayland IMO.  But the user base and the industry was hoping they would abandon SNAPS later for Flatpack or AppImage which are arguably community standards.  But Canonical has stayed the course.  Ask yourselves, why does every downstream distribution of Ubuntu does not ship with SNAP's as the default?

SNAPS are proprietary.  While SNAPD is open source the backend to SNAP's are not.  Its centralized so there is that question of trust.  SNAP's do have a broader range of support for non-desktop apps where Flatpak only focuses on desktop apps.  Before this turns into a SNAP vs Flatpak argument.  Why is Ubuntu doing this?  To make money of course.  Ubuntu is not a vanity project for Mark Shuttleworth.  Its a business.  Now, while I catch a lot of flack for that he doesnt.  But thats OK mad respect for Mark because he makes no bones that he is doing this for profit.  Thats why you get ad-bombed when you do a "sudo apt update" on a vanilla Ubuntu system about ESM packages and  Ubuntu Advantage.  But thats also where the problem comes in.  I could see Ubuntu having two versions, classic Ubuntu: Stable Debian testing that Ubuntu users know and love.  Ubuntu Pro/XL/Enterprise Linux WHATEVER that you attach ESM and Ubuntu Advantage to.  Oracle does this.  You download Oracle Linux for free then you add your support contract and you dont get ad-bombed every time you go to update the system.  We know what Ubuntu Advantage is.  We dont need to be reminded constantly.

So another variable is Ubuntu Core.  The immutable OS that one of Canonicals employee's blogged about.  They dont write blog posts like that to relay thoughts or to play out different scenarios.  Its to gauge how many people are paying attention and how much shit is going to hit the fan when they do it.  So its coming.  It'll start with SNAP only, then it will evolve into an immutable core and then Ubuntu is done.  Immutable OS's are good in the cases of phones, tablets, and systems where the user does very little modifications to the hardware they are running.  With an open platform like Ubuntu (and others) its stupid unless of course you want to maintain thousands of images that cover all possible hardware configurations.  Google does immutable because they control the hardware.  Apple can do immutable because they control the hardware.  Ubuntu doesnt.  Unless of course Canonical enters into agreements with hardware vendors and decide on a specific presets of configurations.  The only problem with that is the open market and you run into the same problem that Google has with ChromeOS Flex where the experience is great on some systems and not so great on others.  Then users get frustrated, call you names online and on Youtube videos and then go buy a Windows PC or a Chromebook because they are going to say "Fuck Linux" and call it "garbage"  At that point if you are going to run a ChromeOS like system just buy a Chromebook.

Canonical needs to work with the open source community more closely and use the community developed standards rather then try to pave their own way.  While it may be rewarding to their balance sheets it comes at a sacrifice of their reputation within the Linux and open source communities.  To Canonical; you gave it a go.  You did a great job but SNAP is DEAD.  If you cant get mainstream adoption on SNAP in the YEARS you have been developing this tech its dead.  Work with the community on Flatpak and AppImage and stop fragmenting an already fragmented community and operating system.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

When is it time to quit

 Some people have asked me when/if I will ever stop developing Linspire/Freespire/Xandros.  My answer has always been, when there is no need for me to do it.  As I approach 50 the curtain call is inevitable.  Time is that inevitable thing that we have no control over.  So is that time now?  No.  Of course not.

There are very few companies aside from us and Canonical who focus on the commercial desktop space.   Most enterprise Linux companies focus on servers.  As much as people hate when I say this, ChromeOS and Android are NOT Linux distributions.  They use the Linux kernel.  That is it.  The rest of it is proprietary to Google.  We compete with them for customers and yes Google has been very successful.  We do sell a TON of Chromebooks, Chromeboxes and Chromebases to our Education and some enterprise customers but the installed base for Linspire is nothing to cackle at.

But, back to when it is time for Linspire to hang up its hat.  That time will come when something comes along that makes us irrelevant in the commercial desktop space.  From the demand for our products and from our customers we are nowhere near that point.  The closest would be ChromeOS/ChromeOS Flex.  We had 20 of our customers pilot ChromeOS Flex.  We helped them with setup and testing.  How many dropped Linspire and adopted ChromeOS Flex? 3 of them.  We still help them.  We provide them with support and we test new and old systems they want to deploy to make sure Flex runs well and there are no issues.  

Three customers, is nowhere near the threshold that would make me fold up shop and become a Google house.  Nowhere close.  Now as time goes on and Flex gets better.  The Linux support gets better and if/when Android apps come to it THEN we will reevaluate our position.  The approach of PWA's with offline capabilities is becoming very attractive to businesses and to our industry.  Even Microsoft's apps are becoming PWA's and I think the ChromeOS model is one that will succeed in the near future.  The security model, the method of digesting apps, and the infrastructure is far more powerful to users and consumers than what most people give them credit for.  Hell, there have been some murmurs that Windows 12 will ship in S mode by default.  You will only be able to install apps that have been vetted by Microsoft from their app store and with those being "sandboxed" and not being able to touch the core system will take Windows to the next level in terms of security.  Of course they will have to find some way to make a "developer mode"  available but that is on them to figure that out IF they go that route.

As for Linspire.  Businesses and consumers want that traditional desktop experience.  Businesses want to control their data whether that is local storage or creating a private cloud.  Not a lot of businesses and especially Government agencies want to trust their data to public clouds.  So as long as there is a need for the traditional desktop experience for businesses, education, government agencies and consumers.  Linspire will continue to exist.  So when the need for a traditional commercial desktop system ceases to exist that is when it's time to quit.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Olympus Has Fallen: Turmoil at IBM and Red Hat

 So with the news that Red Hat Linux will stop releasing the source code for RHEL publicly and now customers will have to purchase that access and well; they cant publicly share that code.  IBM is one of those companies who dont mind profiting off of open source technologies.  They just dont understand it.  They dont get community (TeamOS/2).  Look at their business partnerships that always seem to fall apart.  Ask Commodore (Well get a Ouija Board and ask Commodore) ask Microsoft and ask Apple.  Failure, after failure after failure.

Well first lets dispose with the doom and gloom that everyone seems to be pissed off and spreading.  You can still share the Fedora source code and since most of RHEL is based on Fedora community distributions such as AlmaLinux, Oracle Linux and Rocky Linux will not be going away.  So while this is not a problem as it is more of an annoyance.

Can IBM do this legally?  Yes.  The GPL and subsequent licenses state you have to make the source code available.  It does not say you have to provide it for free.  The only thing I see that may be an issue is that IBM dba Red Hat says you cannot make that source code available public.  That is the one condition where I personally feel they will run into some problems.  But yes, it is legal but I think challenges could successfully be made in court about some of the stipulations but thats a wait and see what happens.

Red Hat themselves responded to much of this criticism in a blog post by Mike McGrath.  Now, I dont know Mike and Im not criticizing Mike.  Im sure his blog post was vetted and changed 50 times before it went public.  But those statements were a bunch of BULLSHIT.  So lets dissect these one at at time shall we.

We will always send our code upstream and abide by the open source licenses our products use, which includes the GPL..

This is true.  No complaints here

I feel that much of the anger from our recent decision around the downstream sources comes from either those who do not want to pay for the time, effort and resources going into RHEL or those who want to repackage it for their own profit. This demand for RHEL code is disingenuous. 

This is one I disagree with.  No, these complaints are not just from rebuilders who want to rip you off or "take your hard work and profit from it"  I actually didnt hear about this situation from the community or news.  I heard about this from a CUSTOMER. who uses your SRPM's to add a driver that you guys dont include for a specific piece of hardware they use.  WAKE UP CALL thats the WHOLE POINT OF OPEN SOURCE.  Further in the statement he focuses on the rebuilders which shows me this is more about making money than it is about community.  This companese translates to "This is the easiest and most efficient way to profit off of rebuilders."  If you dont want to share your source or would much prefer to protect your product from the mean rebuilders who refuse to pay you, go use FreeBSD.  FreeBSD is just as usable on the desktop, server and mainframe as Linux is these days and their license says you can refuse to share source code that you dont want to share.  50,000 distributions based on Debian and you dont see them complaining.  The anger you see is that you are taking away something people are used to and USE and putting it behind a paywall.  The only people who will be happy about this decision are Oracle and SUSE.

Simply rebuilding code, without adding value or changing it in any way, represents a real threat to open source companies everywhere. This is a real threat to open source, and one that has the potential to revert open source back into a hobbyist- and hackers-only activity.

That statement reminds me of Bill Gates open letter to hobbyists from the 70's.  It was bullshit then, its bullshit now.   In EVERYTHING you have the basic building blocks.  People dont want to change the core system.  Most rebuilders out there, myself included, we do add rebuilds.  We offer service and support at a much cheaper cost than you do.  With our releases we control the update cycle and we take liability off of YOU guys.  If something goes wrong.  We take the blame.  You dont see people who have issues with Linspire or Xandros go to Red Hat or Canonical.  I fall on the sword for that.  When people have issues with ChromeOS/ChromeOS Flex they dont go to Gentoo or Debian for that.  They go to Google.  Once again, companese that says "We dont want to share unless you pay us."  BTW the statement he made here "We don’t want that and I know our community members, customers and partners don’t want that. Innovation happens in the upstream. Building on the shoulders of others is what open source is about. Let’s continue to drive innovation, support one another and keep moving forward." contradicts Red Hats stance on this situation .

Now, there are some in the community who say we cant trust company led distributions and we need to just focus on community distributions.  We cant do that unfortunately.  Community distributions dont have the infrastructure, man-power or finances to run on site service calls.  They dont make the money to employ anyone.  Nor do they have the liability insurance to do that.  So like it or not company led distributions are a necessity and unless you are IBM, we LOVE our jobs and we love Linux.  Driving community led distribution ONLY will just make the unemployment lines longer.

As for Red Hats future; I think this is the beginning of the end.  While you have people at Red Hat themselves who get community and who get the benefits of open source IBM just DOESNT and they dont want to.  Their mindset is from the 80's they see software as a product and something they can make money off of.  They see it as ITS OURS.  So if you are a company that relies on Red Hat technology my recommendation would be to start side-by-side deploying Oracle Linux as a backup plan.  I have been in this industry since 1994.  I have seen this movie.  There will be no happy ending.  Now, can Red Hat turn this around?  They could but I dont think IBM will let them.  I would be very surprised.

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.

Why do we honor the Lindows lifetime agreement from Linspire Inc.

 One of the questions people have asked me; Why do you continue to honor Lindows lifetime members even though Linspire Inc is no longer arou...