Open Source Guru Eric S. Raymond Joins Freespire Leadership Team

Urgency Stressed as Motive in Joining Freespire's Work to Spread Desktop

Linux to a Broader Audience

Sep 27, 2006, 01:00 ET from Linspire, Inc.

    SAN DIEGO, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the co-founders of the open
 source movement has become the newest member of the Freespire Leadership
 Board ( Freespire ( is a
 community-driven, Linux-based operating system that gives users the option
 of combining free open source software with certain proprietary codecs,
 drivers and applications. Raymond, well-known as both a theorist and an
 advocate for the open source movement, joins twelve other Freespire
 Leadership Board members, composed of thinkers, business people,
 evangelists, and key members of the Linux community.
     In recent weeks, Raymond has surprised many by speaking publicly about
 the "necessary compromise" that open source advocates must be willing to
 make, by providing for an easy way for open source software to work with
 key proprietary technologies for which there are not yet adequate open
 source alternatives. Freespire is the most prominent desktop Linux
 distribution to embrace this concept.
     Mr. Raymond believes desktop Linux is entering into a critical period,
 noting that historically, users have shifted operating systems during
 periods of fundamental changes in hardware platforms. He believes the
 movement to a 64-bit world will provide desktop Linux a unique window of
 opportunity, which if missed, may not come along again for many years.
     "Desktop Linux must advance now," said Raymond. "If desktop Linux is to
 advance to a broader audience, it must work with iPods and other MP3
 players, play DVD movies, view Windows Media and Quick Time content on the
 web, and so on. I wish users didn't require these proprietary formats, but
 it's naive and unrealistic to expect the masses to forgo these requirements
 in the near future. Linux must make some compromises to attract mainstream
     Raymond believes the only way to influence ISVs and others to support
 open standards and open software, is to attract enough end users to make
 Linux too large to ignore. "There simply aren't enough Linux users today to
 put much pressure on hardware and software manufacturers," added Raymond.
 "To attract more users, Linux must support the popular drivers and file
 types in use today. Freespire is the one distribution I see willing to make
 this unfortunate but necessary compromise, so I'm happy to contribute to
 their effort."
     "We are extremely pleased to have someone with Eric's background,
 experience and reputation involved in the Freespire project," said Kevin
 Carmony, President and CEO for Linspire, Inc., the leading sponsor for
 Freespire. "Eric has a keen interest in seeing desktop Linux become more
 workable with the necessary codecs and drivers, and he sees Freespire as a
 good launching off place for an ideal he and the Freespire community both
 share; getting desktop Linux to just work, even if that means providing the
 option of proprietary codecs in those cases where there are not yet viable
 open source alternatives."
     As a Freespire Board Leader, Raymond will help shape the direction of
 the Freespire project, along with the other leadership board members, and
 those from the Freespire community and technology boards. Raymond's
 participation has already begun, including meetings in San Diego.
     "Eric has already had a significant impact on our work," said Carmony.
 "Look for some very exciting advancements, as a direct result of his active
     About Eric S. Raymond
     Co-founded and served as president of the Open Source Initiative, a
 501(c)3 educational organization that builds bridges between the hacker
 community and business with the aim of spreading the open source
 development method. A member of the Board of Directors of VA Linux Systems,
 the leading Linux hardware and systems company. One of five Directors, who
 helped steer VA through its record-breaking IPO in December 1999.
     A principal researcher and author, Raymond, often referred to as ESR,
 is the author of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and the present maintainer
 of the "Jargon File" (the printed version also known as "The New Hacker's
 Dictionary"). Though the "Jargon File" established his original reputation
 within hacker culture, after 1997 he became a figure in the open source
 movement, and is today one of its most recognized and controversial
     About Freespire
     Freespire ( is a community-driven, Linux-based
 operating system that combines the best that free, open source software has
 to offer (community driven, freely distributed, open source code, etc.),
 but also provides users the choice of including proprietary codecs, drivers
 and applications as they see fit. With Freespire, the choice is the user's
 as to what software is installed on their computer, with no limitations or
 restrictions placed on that choice. How users choose to maximize the
 performance of their computers is entirely up to them.
     About Linspire, Inc.
     Linspire, Inc. ( was founded in 2001 to bring choice
 into the operating system market. The company's flagship product, the
 Linspire operating system, is an affordable, easy-to-use Linux-based
 operating system for home, school, and business users. Linspire pioneered
 CNR ("click and run") Technology, which allows Linspire users access to
 thousands of software programs, each of which can be downloaded and
 installed with just one mouse click. The thousands of software titles
 available in the CNR Warehouse ( include full office
 and productivity suites, games, multimedia players, photo management
 software, accounting tools, and more.
     For more information and interview requests:
     Linspire, Inc.
     858-587-8095 Fax
 Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click
 appropriate link.
 Kevin Carmony

SOURCE Linspire, Inc.