CNR (Click’N'Run) is Linspire‘s website and client software that provides an easy way to discover and install free and commercial Linux software. Linspire just released the beta with support for their own distributions as well as Ubuntu. Does it make installing software in Ubuntu easier?

CNR.com is a free one-click software delivery service designed to standardize the process and eliminate the complexity of finding, installing and managing Linux software for the most popular desktop Linux distributions, both Debian and RPM based.

I installed the required CNR client software for Ubuntu 7.10 by downloading the available DEB package. After installing it, a CNR launcher was added to my Application menu under System Tools. Clicking it opened CNR.com in Firefox and asked me if it could update my software. Was CNR trying to overwrite Ubuntu’s packages with its own? I clicked no to the dialog.

On the CNR website I navigated to the game Supertux and clicked the Install Now button. Firefox asked me if I wanted to open SuperTux.cnr with CNR.

CNR file download

After clicking OK, the install began immediately. CNR downloaded and installed SuperTux

CNR installing

CNR finished install

SuperTux was added to the Applications menu and worked fine.

I noticed that CNR was running in the notification area. Right-clicking on the icon gave me access to the preferences. The manage software tab showed all the software installed by CNR, and that the version of SuperTux it installed was actually packaged by Ubuntu. All CNR had done was the equivalent of sudo apt-get install supertux.

CNR configuration

I removed CNR by uninstalling SuperTux in the CNR Client software and removing the package cnr-client in Synaptic.

As for making software installation easy, CNR is trying to solve a problem that Ubuntu doesn’t have. Ubuntu’s repositories are excellent, and installing software is easy with Synaptic, Add/Remove, and the AptURL protocol handler.

Installing software not in the repository is easy with DEB packages being common. Downloaded packages are opened with the installer by default, which makes installation just as easy as CNR. GetDeb.net is an excellent source for recent software that is not in the repositories.

CNR’s web catalog does offer interactive features such as screenshots, reviews, and ratings. This is much nicer than Add/Remove’s simple popularity ratings and descriptions.

While CNR’s user interaction features are promising, it doesn’t have enough of an advantage over Ubuntu’s tools to make me use it.


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