Remember Lindows? A controversially named company that worked to bring a simpler Linux experience to the consumer. They ended up renaming as Linspire after Microsoft went after them and went on to create CNR which is a cross-distribution (works for Ubuntu and Novell distro’s apparently) marketplace for easy-install Linux programs. Badly needed!
Last week, Michael Robertson, the man that started Linspire, announced that it’s being sold to Xandros. Xandros, as many of you know, create and manage the Linux distribution that you find on the Eee PC’s. I feel sure that this is the focus of attention right now. The opportunity for Linux is obvious.
My only worry is that as many of the Linux distributions move to the Moblin core model (rpmapt-based, Intel-optimised) that they will push CNR as the software repository for all netbooks. That could shortcut any attempt by Intel to provide a channel that goes down to not only netbooks but also down to MIDs running their Moblin core. On the other hand, I don’t see Intel putting many procedures in place for 3rd party developers yet. Maybe Intel/Moblin would do well to adopt the CNR model for Moblin software distribution and to invest in enhancing it and promoting it as the main distribution channel for all Linux distro’s on all hardware. It would fit well with the user base (it’s designed to be easy) and could be expanded to a pay model where the smaller 3rd-party development companies would be encouraged to contribute.
With Linux netbooks outselling XP netbooks (ASUS) there’s a multi-million end-user market out there for the sort of apps that make day-to-day computing fun and fruitful. Fixing the software distribution issues will help Linux a lot.