Please forgive the simple play on words. I couldn’t resist. It is well known that Mark Shuttleworth’s goal for his Ubuntu distribution was to make it the distribution off which all other distributions are based. The parent company, Canonical Ltd., is working to supply all the pieces you need to build and maintain your own distribution; from a build system to enterprise-wide software management. Canonical has an uphill battle that has only been exacerbated by the announcements over the last few months by Oracle, Novell and Microsoft supporting rpm-based distributions. However, if you look at many of the upstart Linux distributions you notice an important theme: They are all based on Debian. This means with Canonicals positioning they could move to subsume all these various Debian-based distributions, and together with the already substantial (though not commercial) base of Debian, garner a significant user base. This user base will be more and more attractive to ISVs and IHVs. I know, I know. It is a stretch, but Canonical today announced what I see as a step in that direction.
Today Canonical announced a strategic partnership with Linspire, Inc. whereby future versions of the commercial Linspire, and the open source Freespire project will be based on Ubuntu. In addition, Ubuntu users will be he first distribution outside Linspire and Freespire that have access to the CNR e-commerce and software delivery technology. The Click N Run technology is actually pretty cool, and when Linspire (then called Lindows) was first released I marveled at how simple it made software management, not just] compared to the base Debian distribution but to any distribution. There may have been ugliness inside, but to the user it all “just worked.” The biggest win here for Canonical is the fact that their user base will now have access to a legal DVD player on Linux, and possibly access to proprietary multimedia codecs like Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV).
Who will be next? Xandros? Progeny? GNU Hurd? Oh wait, I think that is already on the way…
 It is questionable whether CNR will offer the WMA and WMV codecs to distributions outside Linspire and Freespire. My understanding is that Linspire obtained the right to distribute these codecs as part of their settlement in 2004 with Microsoft, and therefore it may not be in accordance with the terms of that settlement to distribute the codecs for any distribution not owned by Linspire, Inc.