When I was CEO for Linspire, I started work on CNR.com. The goal for CNR.com was to become the central repository for all desktop Linux software for all of the most popular Linux distributions. I wanted to move heavily in this direction, because CNR was the one area where Linspire had a technological and branding advantage, and was also the one area where Linspire could actually make money. I knew most users were going to be running one of the other more popular desktop distributions (Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, etc.), so I set about shifting resources away from the Linspire and Freespire distros, and into CNR.com.
A key part of this strategy was our alliance with Canonical (Ubuntu). This was important for both our distribution and OEM businesses (shifting away from Linspire/Freespire to Ubuntu) as well as for our upcoming CNR.com business. I knew we'd need a close associations with Ubuntu for CNR.com to be successful.
Unfortunately, since leaving Linspire, it appears the Ubuntu relationship is on the rocks. As a Ubuntu user myself, I'm not surprised. I think the smart thing for Ubuntu would be to simply utilize their own systems, rather than point users to CNR.com, which is what it appears their plan is. I know since I switched to Ubuntu, I haven't even bothered trying CNR.com. The built-in software management system Ubuntu has is a better experience, and all they need to do is add a commercial piece (easy enough for them to do), and they'd have little use for CNR.com. (Ubuntu has hired a couple of ex Linspire employees who could certainly help in this regard as well.)
As you can see from Alexa, Ubuntu has completely dwarfed Linspire in the Linux business.
It would appear Linspire has figured this out as well and sees the writing on the wall, and that without Ubuntu, CNR.com will fail.
I say this because, I noticed when you now visit Linspire's CNR.com site while running Windows, instead of finding thousands of Linux software programs, you will now find a bunch of AJAX applications. This is a typical Michael Robertson move. He's figured out he's lost the Linux game, and my guess is he'll try to salvage what Linspire has built by turning CNR.com into a directory for AJAX applications, perhaps in an attempt to prop up his AJAX business. I predict by year end, the Linux applications are gone all together.
So much for CNR.com being "The easiest place to get Linux software." It's a shame Linspire was unable to keep a good relationship with Ubuntu. It clearly made the difference between success and failure for CNR.com.