Linspire is giving away free copies of its Linux desktop operating system, called Linspire Five-0, until 6 September, the company announced on Thursday.
Linspire Five-0 normally costs $49.95 (£27.31), but Linspire says it has decided to give away copies of its operating system because confusion caused by a package called Freespire being made available to download by unknown parties, Linspire said in a statement.
Both Andrew Betts, who developed Freespire, and Linspire insist that Freespire, while incorporating Linspire source code, was not a free copy of Linspire Five-0.
"The very things that were taken out of Linspire for Andrew's project are in fact some of the very things that make Linspire, well... Linspire," Linspire said in a statement. These include third-party licences for MP3, Java, Flash, Quick Time, Windows Media, Bitstream fonts, and Real media.
To avoid further confusion Betts has decided to change the name of "Freespire", he said in a statement. It has been assigned the temporary code name "squiggle".
Linspire decided to give away free copies of Linspire Five-0 because they "thought it would be fun" to emulate Freespire's free availability, the company said in a statement.
This isn't the first time that Linspire has run up against potential confusion over its identity. The company formally changed its name on 31 August, 2004, from "Lindows" to "Linspire" after a $20m (£11m) legal settlement with Microsoft, which claimed the original name infringed on its "Windows" trademark.
Linspire's developers have urged people to be patient in obtaining their free copy of Linspire Five-0. "Due to the popularity of this offer, our servers are being slammed," they said. Users can obtain a free coupon for Linspire Five-0 immediately, but are being asked to "wait a few days" to download the operating system itself.
Free copies can be downloaded until 6 September.