Happy Halloween. Today the PC/OpenSystems development team is pleased to announce the release of Linspire 8.5 (Swordfish 2) to the general public as well as our faithful user base. This is a major release of Linspire from PC/OpenSystems which furthers our commitment to desktop Linux.
Linspire 8.5 is packed with enhancements and features showcasing its ease of use and polish as one of the industry's leading Linux distributions.
As with Freespire our goal was to “trim the fat” on our flagship distro. Many of our users and customers have told us that Linspire / Freespire as a whole were bloated; what we did in response was pick “best of breed” applications that added to the overall simplicity of the system. The software center is loaded with thousands of applications which make YOUR computer work YOUR way.
Linspire 8.5 was designed with an intuitive user interface, making it extremely easy to use; easy enough for any Window or macOS convert to make the switch to desktop Linux seamlessly. Aside from the GUI, there has been a lot of work done under the hood to make the system more stable and secure than previous releases. Multimedia codecs, including some under license, are included so that users can enjoy any audio format and video playback of all types.
Linspire 8.5 contains the following enhancements:
Google Chrome 77
OnlyOffice Desktop Editors
VLC Media Player
You can purchase a copy of Linspire 8.5 right now; either self-support or full service.
Below is a Q&A with the Linspire lead system designer and conceptualist.
Q) : What changes are we seeing from Linspire 8 to 8.5 to justify this as a major release?
Linspire 8.5 contains a lot of changes which justify it being labeled major rather than incremental. First, major kernel changes; we moved from the 4.x to the 5.x series. Second, installed applications; we removed many that customers have told us weren’t necessary or that required configuration to make the system operate the way they wanted. Fine tuning was performed per customer requests.
Q) There was a story written a few months ago that Linspire broadcasts information to Microsoft servers. To what level do Linspire and PC/OpenSystems developers communicate with Microsoft? Should customers be concerned that their information is being transmitted without consent to a third party?
Microsoft collects NO customer information, system information or data from PC/OpenSystems LLC and Linspire. Linspire CE Office does use Microsoft Office Online, Outlook, and OneDrive but users have the option to disclose information to Microsoft when they choose to use the release. Linspire comes preinstalled with the Microsoft repositories for Powershell, Skype, .NET Core and VS Code to make it easier for users who wish to use those offerings (NOTE : Skype and Powershell are the ONLY Microsoft applications pre-installed). The ONLY communication Linspire as an OS product has with Microsoft servers is when those applications are updated. Once again, no customer information is transmitted to Microsoft or ANY third-party whatsoever; any claims to the contrary are false.
Q) Who are our customers for Linspire? Who uses Linspire?
Linspire is used in many different environments and by a diverse group of individuals. Home and home office and all kinds of enterprise-level customers. Its also used by educational facilities, law enforcement agencies, military, scientists and by creative professionals. Linspire and Linspire Enterprise continues to grow and thrive from our expertise in enterprise computing.
Q) Does removing applications make the system less attractive to end users? How does that add value for customers?
No, it makes it more attractive. If you look at the current market OS alternatives, Windows, macOS, and ChromeOS, they don’t feature tons of software out-of-the-box. Applications are added as necessary to improve the overall experience. Linspire includes an office suite, web browser, audio / video player, and a basic graphics program. Anything else the user may need can be found it in the Software Center and install as needed. For corporate customers who need a custom ISO with specific additional packages, those will be provided when they purchase their license(s). The value added for our customers is ease-of-mind, secure in the knowledge that everything proprietary from Java to BluRay is completely licensed.
Q) How did you choose what software is included in the system and why did you include OnlyOffice vs LibreOffice?
We parsed the available options, looking and opting for simplicity, the least complicated / most immediately intuitive apps we could find. We looked at other OS’ featured in their core lineup. Multimedia, image manipulation, web browsing and a couple of simple games seemed to be the norm; we went one step further and added an office suite. Why did we choose OnlyOffice? What are the common usage scenarios for office suites? Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations are the straightforward options shown on the left when the program is launched. The interface resembles MS Office - most of our users and customers are migrating from that environment and we wanted to make the transition seamless.
Q) Is the main distribution the only one being updated?
No, All of our CE releases are being updated as is our custom education release. Linspre CE, Linspire CE Office 365 and Linspire CE EDU.
Q) Are the Enterprise releases also being updated as well?
No, that update is coming sometime around January 2020.