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Freespire 2.0 released with proprietary mix-in

Linspire releases Freespire 2.0, its free version of the desktop Linux OS. Proprietary software, however, has been thrown into the mix.

Who says nothing in life is free?

Linspire announced Wednesday it has released Freespire 2.0, its latest, free version of the Linux operating system for desktops.

But there's one twist. This version of the open-source software throws the possibility of adding proprietary software, drivers and codecs from other vendors in the mix.

Think of it like adding sugar-free Splenda to your morning coffee, only to find there's actually a dash of sugar in the powdery substance to make it taste better.

Linspire is using Ubuntu 7.04 as its baseline and offering software from six categories, some of which will include proprietary software.

"Freespire 2.0 picks up where Ubuntu leaves off by adding proprietary software, drivers and codecs, to make for a more complete turn-key solution for mainstream desktop computing," Larry Kettler, Linspire's chief executive, said a statement.

In addition, Freespire 2.0 includes a Click-n-Run (CNR) plug-in for the upcoming CNR Service. The CNR Service is designed to give people access thousands of open-source applications with one click.

The CNR Service will also let people access legally licensed DVD playback software, Sun Microsystems' StarOffice, Parallels Workstation, Win4Lin, CodeWeaver's Crossover Office, TransGaming's Cedega, commercial games and others.

Other software inside Freespire 2.0 include KDE, which is designed to improve the interface for both Mac and Windows users. The proprietary software that can be added includes Java, Flash and Acrobat.

Maybe Linspire will next find a way to cook up a real sugar-substitute.