Freespire’s roots lead back to Lindows, an easy-to-use Linux distro with Wine integration and easy Windows-like application installation. However, the distro was renamed Linspire after a Microsoft lawsuit.
Then, Freespire derived from Linspire as a desktop-oriented Linux distro composed mostly of free and open-source software. Nowadays, the project is sponsored by Linspire, a commercial Linux distro owned by PC OpenSystems LLC.
The brand-new major Freespire 10 release brings (again) some interesting changes, so let’s look at them.
Key Features of Freespire 10
Based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and powered by Linux kernel 6.2, Freespire 10 emerges with new surprises for its users, once again shifting its view on the desktop environment. Here’s what I’m talking about.
The Freespire 8. x series strongly preferred the KDE Plasma desktop environment. However, this approach took a turn with version 9, which shifted towards Xfce. Finally, we see another transition from Freespire 9.5 to Freespire 10, this time to GNOME.
The point I’m trying to make is that such frequent changes in the primary desktop environment could impede building a loyal user base, as it forces users to adapt their workflow and habits with each new release constantly. Now, back on topic.
Mirroring Ubuntu 22.04, Freespire 10 also includes GNOME 42.9 but significantly changes the desktop environment. The developers have opted for a more conventional desktop layout featuring a horizontal panel at the bottom of the screen.
This is complemented by an application menu that, disappointingly, offers little beyond basic functionality, lacking the additional features some users might expect.
However, the next thing we will focus on is more on the positive side, meeting the mass expectations of the Linux community. Specifically, support for Snap has been entirely eliminated in Freespire 10, which now offers built-in support for Flatpak instead.
Finally, we’ll look at the main client applications that may surprise some. For example, the default browser is Brave v1.60.110, a choice we appreciate. Instead of the commonly used LibreOffice suite found in most Linux distributions, Freespire 10 opts for OnlyOffice 7.4. Additionally, Geary is provided as an alternative to the more traditional Thunderbird.
Our conclusion: Freespire 10 provides a different take on Ubuntu 22.04. While it has its charms, things aren’t as polished as Canonical’s distro. So, would we recommend Freespire for your next desktop? Well, we’re leaning towards a ‘not really.’ Our go-to recommendation for Ubuntu derivatives remains Linux Mint as the best alternative.
But don’t let this stop you from trying it out! Freespire 10 could be a delightful surprise if you’re a distro hopper. Who knows? You might just find that it’s the perfect fit for your daily computing needs. So give it a go and see how it feels.
Links to download the installation ISO images are at the bottom of the release announcement.