Xandros, which acquired Linspire and its Freespire Linux distribution in July, has said it will return the operating system to its roots by basing the next version on Debian.
The move is the latest shift in the tumultuous history of Freespire, which began as the Debian-based LindowsOS in August 2001. Lindows went through several business plans and name changes and, in February 2007, under the name of Linspire, formed an agreement with Canonical to begin basing its software on Canonical's Ubuntu Linux distribution.
Xandros said Xandros Freespire 5 is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, and will be based on the Debian 'lenny' release. Xandros will follow the Freespire release with Xandros Desktop Professional 5, which will be built on the Freespire code base with additional commercial elements aimed at enterprise customers.
Xandros is best known for customised operating system software aimed at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Asus, which runs a version of Xandros on its popular Eee PC. Linspire most recently focused on its CNR system for software distribution and installation.
Both companies had reached interoperability agreements with Microsoft that focused on document-format compatibility, instant messaging, digital media, web search, and patent covenants for customers.
Xandros chief executive Andreas Typaldos said the move back to Debian would allow Xandros to use a sophisticated code base while maintaining its commitments to Windows interoperability and ease of use. "This commitment allows us to meet the needs of a wide range of users, from open-source enthusiasts to demanding enterprise clients," Typaldos said in a statement.
Separately, Xandros said it expects to see revenue of about $30m (£16m) over the next three years from its deal with information-management software maker Viyya Technologies to jointly target portable devices such as laptops and mobile internet devices (MID).
In May, Xandros and Viyya said they would jointly market an integrated, Linux-based software system designed for mini-laptops, such as the Eee, as well as mobile internet devices (MIDs), such as those based on Intel's MID specification.
Viyya already has experience with MIDs. The company makes enterprise-oriented software aimed at organising information from the internet, intranets, email and other sources on multiple devices, including laptops and mobile devices.