Entry-level Linux: Linspire OS 4.5

Version 4.5 of the Linux-based Linspire operating system (pre-viously known as LindowsOS) tries hard to be as friendly and simple to use as possible - a feat it accomplishes with gusto.

Click here to view a screen shot.

After booting from the Linspire CD, two choices of installation are available: one will take over the entire hard drive, destroying all information on it in the process; or, alternatively, if you have at least 2GB of available space, you can install Linspire alongside an existing Windows installation. In this instance, we let the OS take over the entire drive.

Within 10 minutes of the initial boot the Linspire OS 4.5 desktop was ready to go, complete with all drivers installed for the network card, sound card and graphics card. Note: check the compatibility section of the Linspire Web site to see which, if any, conflicts may arise if your system has new or slightly exotic hardware.

The Linspire interface contains many familiar conventions that Windows users will find comforting, although Linspire (perhaps ironically, considering the lawsuits brought against it by Microsoft) doesn't seem to try as hard as some distributions to mimic the Microsoft operating system. After starting for the first time after installation, a slick multimedia tutorial starts up. As far as these types of tutorials go, it's quite a good one and well worth a watch if you can't be bothered reading the slim, full-colour manual.

Basic networking was handled auto-matically. We connected to the Internet via the office LAN without a problem and were also able to print to a number of printers on the same network.

The Click-N-Run Warehouse is an online repository for hundreds of software titles, critical updates and drivers - it is designed to take the pain out of installing software under Linux. Many titles are free, but premium ones must be paid for. Either way, you'll still need to subscribe to the Click-N-Run Warehouse ($US49.95) to gain access to the free stuff. It works well, although it is slightly counterintuitive in its implementation. It is aimed at the Linux novice, so be aware that much of the CNR content is available free elsewhere on the internet.

The excellent OpenOffice by OpenOffice.org is installed by default, as are basic Web browsing and e-mail utilities, a firewall, plus a number of audio and video playback tools. Commercial DVD playback, however, will (like Windows) require purchasing the appropriate software in order to watch your favourite movies when running Linspire.

It's also worth mentioning that at the time of writing, Linspire OS 4.5 was available as a free download from www.linspire.com/p2p-mm using BitTorrent peer-to-peer distribution (see the Web page for instructions).

In brief: Linspire OS 4.5

Linspire 4.5 is yet another example of a feature-rich, novice-friendly Linux distribution that should be seriously considered when choosing an operating system.

Price: from $US49.95

Vendor: Lindows

URL: www.linspire.com

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Bartley

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?