View Full Version : I thought all Linux OS's were supposed to be free...

08-03-2004, 09:18 PM
I want Xandros... How come I have to buy it!?!?!


Xandros Desktop OS is not currently available as a free download; however, you can purchase and download an ISO of the software by clicking the button below.


Isn't Xandros Linux. Aren't all linux distros free? What if I don't want support and ****?

08-03-2004, 09:41 PM
i don't know much on linux but as far as i understand it the core of linux is free. however that is fairly useless to most household users. companies make distros which have the apps, installers, check for compatablitys etc. they can charge whatever they like for their distro. some are free but you pay for the service and updates, others you pay for the whole thing.

nothing stopping you makeing your own distro if you wish.

08-03-2004, 09:46 PM
The real question is: What is linux?

It could be argued that the defining part of linux is the kernel, and that any other software included in a distribution either GPL, or commercial is not really Linux.

The kernel is free, but companies charge you for the use of commercial software that is included in their distribution.

08-03-2004, 09:52 PM
For a good outline of the issues here see:

08-03-2004, 10:41 PM
IIRC, Xandros is bundled with Crossover Office. Crossover Office is a Paid-for product. If they didnt charge, they'd be making a loss on CrossoverOffice. They could always take it out I suppose, but thats one of the reasons why they're charging.

08-03-2004, 11:06 PM
oh... I thought they had to provide a free version because the GPL says that the code can be modified as long as it is resubmitted to the community for modification and use.

But I guess that Xandros have coded their own GUI and stuff, and not modded any linux code, just dumped it on top and coupled up all the loose ends... so to speak...

Because as I take it, when you are buying something like redhat or mandrake you are paying for support, or downloading and cd costs (in the case of Liam Farr's linux selling).

Damn... that looked like a nice OS. I would like to try it but don't have the cash to fork out to use something that I don't know how to use.

09-03-2004, 12:01 AM
If they distribute GPL licensed programs in binary form the requirement is they make a copy of the source available, which can be via their web site. A free binary version is not important because it can be recreated from the source.

Jen C
09-03-2004, 12:20 AM
>Damn... that looked like a nice OS. I would like to try it but don't have the cash to fork out to use something that I don't know how to use

There are other free distro's that are newbie friendly that you may like to take a look at:

Lycoris Desktop (http://www.lycoris.com/products/desktoplx/)
Nearest download mirror: here (http://public.planetmirror.com/pub/lycoris/iso/)

Ark Linux (http://www.arklinux.org/) - this is still alpha, but according to Chill, it is the next best thing to sliced bread even at this stage.

Or, you can take a look at Fedora - which doesn't resemble windows graphically at all (and why would it want to?), but has a lot of support available and uses readily available RPM's. Fedora Core 1 can be downloaded off the Jetstreamgames server here (ftp://ftp.jetstreamgames.co.nz/pub/linux/fedora/linux/1/i386/iso/). Homepage for Fedora (http://fedora.redhat.com/)

You can also buy various Linux distro's from Trademe quite cheapy if you rather not download huge files.

You can see the huge range of Linux distro's available at Distro Watch (http://distrowatch.hostcentral.net.au/).

09-03-2004, 12:04 PM
I have been using Xandros 2 since the beginning of the year. Have also installed it @ work on a WinXP LAN. Best thing since sliced bread. If you want the stability of Linux with the ease of use of Windows, go for Xandros.

No, it is not free - any company can package Linux, add their own bits and sell it for whatever price they see fit. RedHat is no longer free (although you can go for Fedora). I have used RH extensively in the past, but still had to manually install things like Java, fiddle with settings, and had some apps being broken. In Xandros, everything we've tried just WORKS.

I belive their is a "Standard" version due soon - i.e. without the CrossOver product, which will sel for US$40. I bougt the "Deluxe" version, but even at NZ$150 I reckon it's a bargain - have saved that amount already just in time.

Xandros also has a very generous license: you can install it on as many home PC's as you want. Now THAT is a bargain! ;-)

I have installed Xandros (orginals, not copies) on a number of my friends' PC's. All are happy.

I will not recommend RedHat / Fedora or Mandrake for the home user - too many things to fiddle with. Lycoris not secure enough; Lindows a bit too commercial (adverts all over the place) The Xandros fila manager alone is worth the price - drag 'n drop CD burning, auto detect of USB devices etc.

I use XP at work, and, because Xandros is so "windows-like", I don't have to switch between "windows thinking mode" and "linux thinking mode" every day - which means I can just get on with the job - and THAT is what a PC is supposed to be.

I love it.

Graham L
09-03-2004, 01:03 PM
When you buy a commercial distribution, you are not paying for the Linux. You are paying for support, and any commercial (non GPL) software in the package. To comply with the GPL licence, I'm sure Xandros will provide source of all the GPL software. But if you don't buy their product, you don't get support from them.

But they are under noobligation to make downloadable ISO images available. I believe SuSe, a "volunteer" distribution don't supply ISO images either --- they sell CDs to pay for the computers and networking costs they incur in doing the job. All the files are available, but if you want to make a bootable CD set, you have to do it yourself. :D

09-03-2004, 03:42 PM
You catch on quick dont you ;-)
If I was content with just using the OS, then Ark Linux would be my choice.

I wouldnt recommend Mandrake or Fedora either, not after using Ark.
Personally I wanted something more advanced so I chose Gentoo, but with Ark, Everything (Except Rosegarden and Kaffeine which segfault due to it still being Alpha 10) just works too!
Java etc all work too :-)

Im pretty sure that Drag-and-drop CD Burning is part of KDE-3.2, so that's nothing overly special. Packet writing may be....
Hotplug auto-detects USB Devices and that's included in almost every distro I can think of.

The great thing is support is free, the OS is free... And its a valid windows replacement for the Home User :-)

Im not knocking Xandros in any way. Apparently the Networking support in it is enviable, but Im just mentioning the free'er alternatives :-)