|Company / developer||Libra Computer Systems Ltd|
|Source model||Free and open source software|
|Latest release||3.0 / April 25, 2005|
|Default user interface||IceWM|
The last version (as of April 25, 2005) released is Libranet 3.0, which cost about $90 in US dollars for new users, or $65 for existing Libranet users. The previous version, Libranet 2.8.1, became free to download.
Development of Libranet has been discontinued.
The name comes from "Libra Computer Systems" (a company owned by the founder) and the fact that "libra.com" was taken.
The first release of Libranet was in 1999. Most Linux distributions of this time were very difficult to install, and were either considered for programmers, or those who wanted a low cost server. Libranet attempted to put out and sell a distribution that was easy to install, and meant for desktop use. Corel likewise attempted this with the release of Corel Linux, but abandoned this pursuit, and refocused on software for Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Libranet, however, continued, and developed some recognition for having a Linux distribution that was good for desktop users.  Corel sold the rights of their Linux operating system to Xandros, which later released their own offering of a Linux desktop.
From 1999 to 2003, most Linux distributions with comparable desktop usability to Libranet, were also priced similarly. This began to change, however, in 2004. Linux as whole had advanced, and many distributions were now reasonably easy to install, with a relatively user-friendly desktop. Some distributions, such as MEPIS, were competitive, and far less expensive. Others, such as Knoppix, were offered at no cost.
Libranet attempted to carve a niche in the Linux distro market as the user-friendly distro, with extensive support (termed "up and running support"), that, of all the desktop distros, was the most compatible with the actual Debian release (at this time, Woody). The support offered was truly extensive, where Jon Danzig, the founder of Libranet, would often personally answer people's inquiries. This helped make people who had chosen Libranet be even more loyal to this distribution.
However, with the release of Debian Sarge in 2005, along with the emergence of Ubuntu (a Debian based distro offered at no cost, with the option to purchase support), Libranet received less attention from the market. Debian itself revamped their installer making it easier to use (before this, a good reason to use a Debian-based distribution was that Debian's own installer was not user friendly).
Libranet released version 3.0, which received good reviews, but the market had changed for desktop distributions. Various other commercial vendors had released free versions of their distributions, such as SUSE, which released OpenSUSE, and Red Hat, which released Fedora. Whereas Libranet sold their distribution, and then gave free extensive support, many distributors chose to give away their distribution and sell support, and/or sell proprietary software enhancements to the distribution.
Jon Danzig, the founder of Libranet, died on June 1, 2005. His son, Tal, had taken over the leadership of the development team, but then stated that he would stop maintaining Libranet. Daniel de Kok , the other remaining employee, went on to become a developer for the CentOS project.
Continuation of the Libranet ideals
On November 28, it was announced that Libranet would be continued under the name of Libranext. As of September 8 of 2012, the Libranext operating system continued development under two developers with the handles Techningeer and Jesusfreak316/Roguebantha (the handle for this developer varied between websites.)
- Libranet's last goodbye Newsforge, June 9, 2006
- A Review of Libranet 3.0
- Interview with Libranet Founder
- Libranet Basics
- LinuxPlanet Review of release 1.2.2