What is Freespire?
Freespire is the free version of Linspire which has been aquired recently and brought back from the dead by PC/OpenSystems LLC . Linspire was very popular in the early 2000’s. Now the distro has a new life. Both Freespire and Linspire are based on Ubuntu Xenial. Linspire comes with proprietary applications and support. This comes at a $79 package deal. However, Linspire does not and does not come with support. I’m all in favor of disto makers making a living supporting Linux. If you can pay to get professional support, why not.
Onto the review.
Above is the screen when you first boot up the disk. We have the normal Grub options. I went straight to the live option. Which booted up with no issues.
After the live bootup screen we get a nice and simple desktop. The window manager that came with Freespire is XFCE4. It’s clean and not too flashy.
Freespire uses the Ubuntu installer, which we’re all familiar with. But after creating the user and clicking install I was greeted with this screen. I was unable to resize the window to see what it said. But it did it’s thing and installed the OS onto my VM disk. This could use a bit more polish and refining. Average Joe isn’t going to know what’s going on here. I feel that the user needs more information and have it present in a readable way. None the less, I trusted that it would do it’s thing.
Just like that, our system was installed. In virtual box the ISO was automatically ejected no other issues were found from here.
Here is your login screen. My user was Aldorasi which was made clear as you can see. The login screen is simple enough for your average user. No issues found here.
After I logged in I was presented with this screen, which was very strange. I never encountered this with any other installation of Ubuntu. But I went ahead and installed the language support. However I feel that everything should be included for the user. Just give me the desktop.
These are some of the applications included with this distro. I was very intrigued by Nitroshare, I had never heard of it or used it. Once opened it asks you for what files you wanted to share and with what device. Unfortunately, no devices were found. I’m not sure if the other devices needed to have Nitroshare installed, I’ll have to do some more research on my part. I liked the fact that this distro isn’t bloated with a ton of applications. I believe in giving the user the choice to pick what applications they want. Just show them the door which shows them how to get there. Very nice solid effort here.
This is the software store that’s included. It’s nicely laid out and functional. All system updates can be handled here as well. Installing applications is as easy as selecting your application and clicking install. Which prompts you for your user password. Boom done.
What’s interesting is this distro includes the repo for Skype. Which is nice for users who need it. However, when I searched the application store. Skype was no where to be found. I guess average Joe will have to drop into apt-get. This could use some improvement. But it’s nice to know it’s included.
Freespire also comes with beautiful wallpapers. Just click one and click close. Its the small details that count and wallpapers is one of them.
Using htop, which surprisingly was installed by default you can see that Freespire uses very little ram. Note, I had nothing opened but right out of the box this bad boy was using 363MB of ram. That’s minuscule in todays ram hungry world. My 2GB VM was chugging along like a champ. Kudos to them for focusing on minimal ram usage.
Overall Freespire has a lot of potential. These guys are focused on the end user and providing a clean and easy to use experience. Everything is laid out in a functional way, it’s not bloated and if you wanted to you could pay for support. Which would be perfect for someone who is not technically inclined or people who just want to get work done. What I was surprised at was this distro does not come with any office like applications. Sure Abiword is included but if I’m crunching away at spreadsheets or I need a presentation done, I will need something like Libreoffice. Sure you can install it, but keep in mind this is supposed to be a complete package. This distro has been doormat for a number of years and these guys are hard at work making the experience better. I’d also like to add that they included the patches for Meltdown and Spectre in the 4.0.1 release. Not many Linux distributions can say this at this time. This is a solid effort and I will be keeping an eye out on what these guys are doing with this project.
If you’d like to get your hands on Freespire click here.