Desktop Linux software vendor Linspire released a new version of its operating system this week, the first commercial release in two years from the company trying to position Linux as a mass-market alternative to Microsoft's Windows. Founded in 2001 as Lindows (a named changed as part of a settlement deal with Microsoft, following a trademark-infringement lawsuit), Linspire has carved out a niche in the Linux desktop field but hasn't achieved the mass-market breakthrough its founders envisioned. Resellers say demand remains light.
"There's just not a lot of customer interest. We're selling a few a week," said TigerDirect CEO Carl Fiorentino. TigerDirect, a unit of white box system builder Systemax in Port Washington, N.Y., has been Linspire reseller for years, but the desktop Linux field just hasn't taken off, Fiorentino said. His sense is that users who want Linux on their PCs generally download their preferred distribution and install it themselves, rather than shopping for a preinstalled system. "We still sell the product, but people just aren't breaking our doors down to get it," he said.