Tuesday, 1 January 2008


Earlier today I decided to do something I've been putting off for a while and get myself set up on CNR. For the uninitiated, CNR is an online store for downloading software for Linux (kind of like a software version of iTunes, but a hell of a lot of the stuff is free). It's always been part of the Linspire distribution and its free cousin Freespire, but last year they announced they would begin offering it to other distributions.
Ubuntu was first to be supported (they plan to add support for Debian, Fedora and openSUSE), and a few weeks ago that was announced. So I've got it set up on my system now.
Wow. It really is a good way to make Linux more accessible. The Debian package management system used in Ubuntu is really easy to use if you want anything from the repositories, but for anything that isn't available from there, it's a bit harder. By offering loads of software in a familiar fashion, and making it easy to install, it's a really useful service. But it is quite a lengthy process to install - perhaps the Ubuntu community needs to either include the CNR client in Ubuntu or make it easy to install from the Ubuntu repositories. But for making installation easier it's a much better choice than Automatix, which was gave me no end of grief.
The website gives the number of CNR client installations as well - at the moment I'm writing this, 8,469,349. Considering Linspire and Freespire aren't terribly popular distros, I'm guessing a fair number of those are Ubuntu installations. That's quite a respectable number, isn't it? And that's just three distros. Now try telling me no-one uses Linux.

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