We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Operating systems software Reviews
15,518 Reviews

Linspire Five-0 Beta

£50 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Linspire

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

You might not have heard of Linspire Linux before; that's because this is the first version that has gone under this name. After a legal wrangle with Microsoft, Lindows had to change its name to Linspire - which serves to underline both the imbalance of power and Microsoft's strong-arm tactics in the operating system market these days.

You might not have heard of Linspire Linux before; that's because this is the first version that has gone under this name. After a legal wrangle with Microsoft, Lindows had to change its name to Linspire - which serves to underline both the imbalance of power and Microsoft's strong-arm tactics in the operating system market these days.

So Linspire Five-0 is the latest edition of the Linux distribution once known as LindowsOS. Geared toward Windows refugees, it is available as a standalone package for £50 inc VAT. We tested a beta version of the OS and soon decided we're glad competition exists in the Linux realm - if Linspire were the only option, we'd definitely stick with Windows.

Things started off well: the installation took less than a dozen clicks and only 20 minutes. However, unlike most installers, Linspire's cannot shrink existing Windows partitions to make room on the drive for Linux. We had to turn to a third-party partitioning tool to do the job. The installer asked no questions about the hardware it was going on - a nice change of pace from most Linux installers.

Familiar desktop

When you log in, Linspire presents an attractive desktop with icons, a start menu, a system tray and a taskbar, all in the places a Windows user would expect to find them. However, there's more than a hint of Mac OS X as well.

Linspire includes the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, plus Mozilla for web browsing and email. The hyped Gaim provides instant messaging on all the popular networks, but this customised version nags you to sign up for a free VoIP (voice over IP) account at SIPphone.com, another firm started by Linspire founder Michael Robertson. The note appears repeatedly until you finally give in.

Linspire throws in a few other applications as well. Lphoto is a picture manager similar to Apple's iPhoto. Lsongs is a music library program that plays MP3s and internet radio stations and integrates with the MP3tunes.com music store - another Robertson creation. But an OS has to do a lot to compete with Windows XP.

Linspire does a decent job of being compatible with a lot of hardware and software, but it just doesn't give the options that XP does. And even if you're staunchly anti-Microsoft, Five-0 might still not be the OS for you.

Linspire Five-0 Beta Expert Verdict »
800MHz Pentium III or equivalent
128MB RAM
4GB hard disk space
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 6 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 5 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 5 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

With version Five-0, Linspire has crafted a Linux OS that just about anyone can use - but these days, that isn't unique. Linspire Five-0 distinguishes itself only with its custom applications and its penchant for clawing at your wallet. There are better alternatives out there.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Xandros Desktop 4 Professional review

    Xandros Desktop 4 Professional

    Xandros 4 Professional tries to set itself apart from the majority of popular Linux distributions in two ways. First, by making the installation and administration procedure as simple as - or simpler than - the best free distributions. Second, by integrating commercial software offerings into its package management system.

  • Xandros Presto Linux review

    Xandros Presto Linux

    Xandros Presto Linux is a lightweight version of Xandros Linux, boasting very quick boot times.

  • Linux Live USB Creator review

    Linux Live USB Creator

    Linux Live USB Creator makes it easier to install Linux. Read our full review to find out more.

  • TurboDemo 6.0 Professional

    At first glance, it's easy to mistake TurboDemo for a slightly advanced version of screen- grabbing software such as SnagIt or the venerable Lotus ScreenCam. Five minutes' use, however, quickly demonstrates that TurboDemo is much, much more than this.

  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: first review

    Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: first

    Apple's latest operating system for the Apple Mac, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard represents evolution rather than revolution.


IDG UK Sites

Android One vs Android Silver vs Google Nexus: What is the difference?

IDG UK Sites

2014 Mac mini release date, specs, rumours: When's the new Mac mini coming out?

IDG UK Sites

Long live the internet fridge: the Internet of Things is coming

IDG UK Sites

How Prometheus' colourist Juan Ignacio Cabrera gave a tense, edgy feel to Chosen