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Questar courts bloody-nosed Linux wannabes

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If you live in Europe are looking to get your grubby hands on a copy of the Linspire operating system, then Questar is at your service.

The small company based in Milan has been operating as a type of virtual subsidiary for US software makers since 1993. Of late, Questar has focused on creating different versions of Linspire localized for several countries. The company's CEO David Orban is hoping that Linspire will appeal to a group of European wannabe geeks.

"There are what I call bloody-nosed geeks," Orban said, during a recent interview at the Desktop Summit in San Diego. "They are people who have tried and failed to install more hardcore Linux distros. With some guilt or maybe no guilt, they will jump onto Linspire, which is damn easy to use."

Key to putting Linspire in front of these bloody-nosed geeks will be Questar and Linspire's ability to attract OEMs. The companies need nice hardware/software bundles that make life easy on the consumer. With solid OEMs on its side, Questar could tap into the consumer, small business and government markets throughout Europe, according to Orban. WIthout naming names, he promised some OEMs are already lined up to support Linspire in the coming year. Stay tuned, we're told.

In the meantime, Questar has produced English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch versions of Linspire. If you live in the Czech Republic and can promise 500 users or so, Questar is willing to translate as needed.

"The threshold for that being doable is fabulously low," Orban said. "If you are in Lithuania and can sell a couple hundred boxes, we can do it, assuming OpenOffice is available in your language."

The localization work includes tweaking all of the menus in the OS, having native speakers for any audio and redoing all the Linspire training material.

Questar has similar software reselling relationships with the likes of Business Objects and VMware. Its Linspire software can be found here. ®

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