Linspire has released Freespire 1.0, an open-source Debian version of the Linux OS, one month early, the company said today.

Linspire's flagship product of the same name is sold by retailers such as Amazon as a low-cost alternative to Microsoft's Windows. Linspire, intended for novice Linux users, is also based on the free version of GNU/Linux operating system developed by the open-source Debian project.

The company promised in April to create an open-source version of Linspire to encourage a community of Linux developers.

Freespire includes goodies from Linspire's pay product, including its "click and run" (CNR) software management tool, through which users can download drivers, codecs and software with one mouse click.

CNR helps users locate Linux software, which has been an obstacle for the OS's growth. The version in Freespire will be open source, Linspire said.

CNR is also a tool for adding and removing software programs. However, Freespire still accommodates apt-get or Synaptic, both programs used for obtaining and managing software for Debian Linux.

The CNR program's online 'warehouse' provides both open-source and legally licensed commercial applications that can handle a wide variety of media and formats, such as MP3, DVDs, Windows Media, QuickTime, Java and Flash, among others, Linspire said.

Linspire offers two versions of Freespire. Freespire 1.0 is described as 99 percent open source, but it does contain some proprietary components where open-source alternatives are not available. A second version, called the Freespire 1.0 OSS Edition, does not have any proprietary components.