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Linspire announced Jan. 23 that it plans to expand its CNR (“Click ‘N Run”) digital download and software management service to support multiple desktop Linux distributions beyond Linspire and Freespire, initially adding Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu, using both .deb and .rpm packages. And, the standard CNR service will remain free.

CNR was developed by Linspire in 2002 to allow desktop Linux users to find, install, uninstall, manage, and update thousands of software programs on their Linspire-based Linux computers.

Previously available only for Linspire and Freespire desktop Linux users, the CNR Service will begin providing users of other desktop Linux distributions a free and easy way to access more than 20,000 desktop Linux products, packages and libraries, a Linspire spokesperson said.

Support for different Linux distributions will begin in the second quarter of 2007 via a new website, Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu will be the first supported, with others planned to follow.

Even as the Linux desktop has made strong advances in usability and capabilities, the difficulties of finding, installing, and updating software–with each distribution requiring its own installation process–has remained one of the most commonly cited complaints among desktop Linux users.

With more than five years of development behind it, Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony hopes that CNR will now normalize these tasks for the most popular Debian- and RPM package-based distributions.

Read the full story on DesktopLinux: Linspire’s CNR to go multi-Linux, remain free

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