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Linspire/Microsoft Agreement Useless to Users

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the par-for-the-course dept.

Microsoft 155

Stephen Samuel writes "Groklaw host PJ has dissected the 'patent peace' agreement between Linspire and Microsoft, and has determined that what Linspire agreed to is next to useless for many users. Essentially, under the agreement Linspire software is almost unusable: 'You can't share the software with others, pass it on with the patent promise, modify your own copy, or even use it for an "unauthorized" purpose, whatever that means in a software context. You must pay Linspire for the software, but then the "covenant" says to use Linux, you must also pay Microsoft. That payment doesn't cover upgrades. Linspire said it was absorbing the initial fees, but I don't know about upgrades. New functionality means you lose your coverage or presumably must pay again.'"

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155 comments

All I can say is... (5, Funny)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953113)

Linspire should just expire.

Re:All I can say is... (2, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953403)

To be honest I don't think they have a choice now.

In the eyes of the 'nix community they are tainted by this agreement and they will probably avoid on principal, so they must be banking that the new features (ttf, WMP10, DRM) are enough to tempt in people who do not know better.

I'd wish them luck but surely this had to be them shooting themselves in the foot and waving goodbye to their future business.

Much as I truly despise them, you have to admire MS for the effectiveness of this particular FUD campaign.

Re:All I can say is... (2, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953459)

they must be banking that the new features (ttf, WMP10, DRM) are enough to tempt in people who do not know better.

DRM as a feature?

You're right though - it will be interesting how the buying public reacts to this. The market will decide between truly free software like Ubuntu, which requires users to jump some admittedly easy hoops before playing restricted media, or Linspire, which makes media playing immediate, at the expense of giving up freedoms.

May the best distro win...

Re:All I can say is... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953563)

Burbage dies, pg. 12
Hedwig dies, pg. 56
Mad-Eye dies, pg. 78
Scrimgeour dies, pg. 159
Wormtail dies, pg. 471
Dobby dies, pg. 476
Fread Weasley dies, pg. 637
Voldemort kills Snape, pg. 658
Voldemort kills Harry, pg. 704
Harry comes back to life, pg. 724
Neville kills Nagini, pg. 733
Tonks, Lupin and Colin Creevy's deaths confirmed, pg. 743
Hagrid, Malfoy and Neville survive.
Nineteen years after the events in the book:
Ron marries Hermoine
Harry marries Ginny
Their children attend Hogwartz together
Ron's children are named Rose and Hugo
Harry's children are named Lily, James and Albus Severus
Draco Malfoy has a son named Scorpius
The final two sentences are:
"The scar had not pained Harry for eighteen years. All was well."

Re:All I can say is... (2, Informative)

bigdavesmith (928732) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954647)

I agree with you, but it's not quite that simple. I'm not a hardcore linux user, but I have yet to be able to play DVD's on my Kubuntu7.04 setup. Give that same system to a Joe Schmoe off the street, and there's no way they're going to be able to do what they want. Real Linux is getting closer to user-friendlyness, but it's still got a little ways to go before it can enter the average household.

Now if Dell is already installing the needed packages and doing the setup, or making it easier, that's one thing, but I was unaware if they are.

Re:All I can say is... (2, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#19955995)

I think the million-dollar issue with the included media codecs is legality. When you pick up Linspire, you have the benefit of knowing it'll work and that it's legit. On Ubuntu, in the US, most of the solutions violate patents (which may or may not be valid). Personally, I think patents on things like VC-1 or MPEG standards are stupid, but they're there.

Then there's the DRM. Currently, WMP DRM only works on Windows. If MS releases something for Linspire/Novell that allows DRM'd content playback, those distros have a leg up in accessing things that are protected by that DRM. However, this would be obviated if MS does as promised and creates a Silverlight-based DRM-supporting player for WMA/WMV.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956385)

DRM as a feature?

The feature is DRM. It is a feature to the people selling the content, not the user. But the feature to the user is "able to play DRM-protected content". Which IS a feature, but also a completely shady and deceptive marketing tactic on the part of the entire fucking entertainment industry. At least, that portion of it which supports DRM. And due to the structure of our corporate masters, that's most of it.

DRM formats are a "feature" to users (2, Interesting)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956387)

My wife is a good example. She has an older Dell laptop but long admired my PowerBook, and wanted a new laptop for her birthday. So we bought her a MacBook Pro.

So I set it up for her (which mostly involved adding the MAC address to the wireless access list and installing a couple of apps) and turned her lose with it. Almost the first comment she made to me was that her favorite site (some home design TV show thing) wasn't showing the videos. Sure enough, HGTV's Design Star (I think it's called) site uses a codec that's not supported in Safari. Flip4Mac solved this, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect a less-technical user like my wife to figure out that a video codec is unsupported, discern that an application is needed to enable playback, then find, download, and install that app. Especially on "less-friendly" distros of Linux.

I agree with your assertion that the market will decide, but I wouldn't rule out the average user finding it annoying when something on the Internet that "always worked before" doesn't work on first boot. Whether that "first boot" experience is a factor in purchasing is something else.

Re:DRM formats are a "feature" to users (2, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956635)

I don't think it's reasonable to expect a less-technical user like my wife to figure out that a video codec is unsupported

Lots of videos don't work out of the box on Windows either. People either chase down the codecs themselves or get their resident geeks to get them. Many also end up with trojans or viruses like Zlob as a result.

Clicking the Automatix link in Ubuntu doesn't seem that difficult to me, and it's certainly much safer than playing codec roulette on Windows.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

ttnb (1121411) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953801)

In the eyes of the 'nix community they are tainted by this agreement and they will probably avoid on principal, so they must be banking that the new features (ttf, WMP10, DRM) are enough to tempt in people who do not know better.

In the eyes of people with strict free software principles they were tainted well before making this deal.

They've now offenended a somewhat larger segment of the community, but they're counting on the community's inability to effectively communicate just how far they have lowered themselves to whatever target group they've chosed for their commercial products.

Re:All I can say is... (3, Interesting)

suckmysav (763172) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953827)

Linspire have always targetted Windows switchers. They know full well that hardcore geeks would never use Linspire. The Linux community means nothing to them.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

Fishead (658061) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956239)

Exactly. Linspire is valuable to the Linux community as a "gateway drug" leading into harder substances... I think. If Linspire somehow achieved a significant percentage of home computer users, it would no longer be acceptable for something to work ONLY on a Microsoft product. Suddenly hardware makers would not be able to release windows only products, and maybe, just maybe, media companies would need to address the difference.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953549)

From the summary:

. . . . Linspire agreed to is next to useless for many users
Linspire is next to useless for many users There! Fixed it!

Essentially, under the agreement Linspire software is almost unusable
Anyone want to take a swing at this one? It's reeeeealy easy. =)

Re:All I can say is... (1, Flamebait)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954295)

First of all, despite the rhyming, your comment is unnecessarily hostile. Linspire adoption is a good thing for Linux, and Linspire itself is a good thing for Linux-- right now Linspire is the easiest way to get a legal MP3 or DVD player for your Linux computer and that's unlikely to change in the near future.

Secondly, the market that Linspire is aiming towards doesn't give a flying crap about:
1) software licenses
2) patents
3) irrational hatred of Microsoft

Leave those three particular concerns to every other Linux distro.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954389)

Actually, the easiest way to get a legal DVD or MP3 player for your Linux computer is just not to live in the USA. DeCSS is legal in at least Norway, and probably the EU and the UK.

Re:All I can say is... (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954687)

Also, if you do live in the US, and you do want DVD on your Linux box, you could just buy Mandriva [mandriva.com] which comes with LinDVD to watch your DVDs legally. Sure it's not open source software, but it seems to me that if you're really that worried about the legal issues, and actually want to watch DVDs on your computer (as opposed to your home theatre), then there are options available to you.

Not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19956233)

DeCSS is legal in Norway, but only because Norway requires the DRM to be "strong," which the courts have decided that CSS is not. DeCSS is still illegal in the EU and the UK however, thanks to the EUCD. The only perceivable difference with regards to circumvention, becides the "strong" DRM argument that can be made in Norway, is that the EUCD must be adopted and enforced by the EU member states, whereas the DMCA, as a federal law, has its own enforcement within the US.

Re:Not quite (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956665)

In the EU and UK, it is not illegal to use DeCSS to watch a DVD that you rightfully own. The content is encrypted, for sure, but the owner of the disc is the rightful recipient of the encrypted message and therefore is entitled to perform any necessary act in order to view it. Anyone attempting to stop them is almost certainly violating consumer protection law.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954651)

Legal DVD and MP3 is not a problem outside the US where software patents dont apply. Also you can get plugins legal in the US and other countries stupid enough to allow software patents at https://shop.fluendo.com/ [fluendo.com]

As for the market, what was Linspires market share again? Its not because they have a bad distribution people avoid them. Linspire is really pretty darn good, just run by greedy bastards with no interest in the community that do all their work for free.

Re:All I can say is... (0, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954665)

>irrational hatred of Microsoft

Hatred of ms is not irrational. If the average joe doesn't hate ms then we haven't educated enough obviously. No sane and rational person can look at the history of this company and stay neutral. Ms is a destructive force in the IT industry.

Re:All I can say is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19956397)

Unless the average Joe just doesn't care what Microsoft does. Lots of people don't care what Wal-Mart does either, despite being fully aware of the business practices of either conglomerate.

I don't know where you live, but from what I've observed most people in my area couldn't care less about the evils that exist even in their own backyards, even when they are staring them in the face. The urge to reform that existed in the 1960's and 1970's is gone, left now only to lobbyists and select interest groups.

Re:All I can say is... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956689)

I reserve the word "hate" for things like, say, genocides or dictators who cause genocides. The activity of a software company just doesn't even come close to "hate." Maybe "mild annoyance."

Re:All I can say is... (2, Informative)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#19955041)

Linspire adoption is a good thing for linux
After this stupid covenant, it isn't.

right now Linspire is the easiest way to get a legal MP3 or DVD player for your Linux computer and that's unlikely to change in the near future.
The fact you live in a country with authorities dumb enough to approve stupid laws doesn't make something bad a good thing, either way I found that the same people you later mention as don't giving a flying crap about software licenses don't care about dubious laws either. Getting ubuntu and then downloading the codec the next time you double click on an mp3 seems easy enough to me.

Secondly, the market that Linspire is aiming towards doesn't give a flying crap about: 1) software licenses 2) patents 3) irrational hatred of Microsoft

It is not irrational, and it is not hatred either, it is founded fear of a company that obviously dislikes any competition and that from what we have seen is now buying distros in an indirect way to circumvent the GPL and then get FUD-tale whores or slaves or whatever that guys like novell and linspire have become, it is still useless for linspire users if there is such a thing like them.

I guess that according to your comment Linspire's target market is a bunch of people that at the same time don't want windows, yet they don't have any 'irrational hatred of Microsoft' but still, they would love to buy an OS that (because of previous linspire cost+the patent covenant) is more expensive than windows, yet it is very good at locking them in? So I am guessing the target market for Linspire are a bunch of stupid people?

Re:All I can say is... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956647)

irrational hatred of Microsoft

Every time someone says something like this I feel like the guy in a conspiracy movie that knows the truth and can't get anyone to believe him.

How many times do you have to be lied to and/or fucked over by Microsoft before you too will develop this completely healthy and rational hatred of their bullshit antics and tactics?

How many illegal acts by Microsoft that are used to crush competition, which in many cases (probably even most) has had superior technology, will it take before you treat them like the criminals they are?

If any individual had taken the actions Microsoft has taken, we would have already convicted them for fraud, taken away their shit, and thrown them in prison (maybe cushy rich white guy prison, but still locking them up.) But because it's a corporation, you seem to be willing to forgive them everything. Your corporate masters can do no wrong, eh?

If you don't hate microsoft (maybe hate is too strong a word) then one of the following things is true: 1 - you don't actually give a shit about the situation at all; 2 - you're totally ignorant of what the situation is; 3 - you're benefiting from the current situation and are enough of a morally bankrupt turd that you would pretend like it's all positive. I make no claims as to which of these is actually the case for you; I don't know you. But there is more than enough reason to at least dislike Microsoft and think that doing business with them is exclusively for the stupid, if not to be planning firebombings.

Ah well (3, Funny)

DutchMasterKiller (1003736) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953119)

Luckily there are 300 other distros to choose from :)

Re:Ah well (3, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953273)

You can still get Linspire and do everything you always wanted.
It's just money you pay to Microsoft to keep them from trashing your store^W^W^Wsueing for patent infringement.

ESR (2, Interesting)

kraemate (1065878) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953177)

I'd like to know Eric Raymond's take on this. Isnt he on the linspire board or something?

Re:ESR (4, Informative)

ttnb (1121411) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953767)

I'd like to know Eric Raymond's take on this.

As a matter of fact it's not necessary to wait for a public comment from ESR to know his views. If anything, these events can only reinforce his views that he wants "to see Microsoft broken on the wheel not by government fiat but by enlightened consumer choice". (Source: Halloween Documents FAQ [catb.org]

Isn't he on the linspire board or something?

According to this post [zdnet.com] apparantly by Linspire's CEO Eric is (or at least still was on Feb 23, 2007) "one of many un-paid volunteers of the Freespire [freespire.org] Leadership Board". I wouldn't be surprised if Eric reconsiders his involvement in that project in reaction to Linspire's agreement with Microsoft, but it's his choice of course.

Want in one hand.... (0)

Tony (765) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954489)

If anything, these events can only reinforce his views that he wants "to see Microsoft broken on the wheel not by government fiat but by enlightened consumer choice".

Uhm... I'd like everyone in the world to realize that getting along together is the only hope of making it out alive. How likely is *that*?

"Enlightened consumer choice" is an oxymoron. There tain't no such thing.

Re:Want in one hand.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956705)

Uhm... I'd like everyone in the world to realize that getting along together is the only hope of making it out alive. How likely is *that*?

Nobody gets out of life alive.

If you mean the survival of the corporate entity Microsoft, that is not desirable.

"Enlightened consumer choice" is an oxymoron. There tain't no such thing.

Sure there is. Tons of people try to do the right thing, which is the first step. For example people who don't seem to care about polluting their bodies do purchase organically-labeled foods in an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. The problem is that the term 'organic' has been co-opted by the 'powers that be' (though the FDA and USDA) and it really means basically nothing - by government edict. The system is set up to defeat altruism, that's why it's so successful. When you try to do the right thing, odds are you're actually working against yourself. It's possible to be sufficiently educated or even just informed to avoid it, but it's very difficult and takes up a lot of time.

Agreement useless to users? (5, Insightful)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953189)

Isn't it much more like Linspire/Microsoft Agreement makes Linspire useless? Additionally, that is an understatement also since the general idea of useless is that you won't get anything good from it. In this scenario, it should be Linspire/MS Agreement Toxic to Users.

Re:Agreement useless to users? (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953233)

Isn't it much more like Linspire/Microsoft Agreement makes Linspire useless?

Darn! Bet MS never saw that coming!

Sidenote: Do any of these companies signing these agreements actually read them? Because so far most of the agreements seem to be designed to stop the Linux distributor from distributing Linux. Either that or there's some massive get-out clause in all of them which everybody else has missed.

Re:Agreement useless to users? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954179)

I'd try the following trick:

1. get a technology adopted by most of the linux community, no matter if it's FOSS
2. Suddenly, Microsoft recalls it has a patent covering that technology.
3. Now everyone who wants to keep using the technology in those unfortunate countries where software is patentable must get a deal with linspire or microsoft.
4. Profit!

I guess that's what will happen with a bigger fish like Novell.

Re:Agreement useless to users? (1)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953245)

As far as I can tell, you're still free to treat the GPLed software (whether GPL2 or GPL3) like GPL software and ignore the Linspire/Microsoft agreement. It's just that, if you do that (or are so stupid as to do something like use your system to share your printer ('using it as a server), play quake, balance your books, share your internet connection or do thousands of other things that many people expect computers to do, you won't be protected by it.

(either that, or Linspire is in violation of the GPL, and the agreement is toxic to their continued existence).

Microsoft's adversarial behavior costs $$$, again. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953447)

Yes, Linspire has become useless. What company wants that legal baggage? Once again, Microsoft is adversarial.

The Groklaw analysis needs further translation. In my opinion, the contract says, effectively:

1) Microsoft can do anything it likes.

2) You have no rights.

Microsoft operating systems need constant attention that costs 10x as much as the original sale price, in my experience. According to Microsoft, you have no right to a good product.

Re:Agreement useless to users? (3, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954159)

I don't think this agreement is relevant to users at all.

Basically, Microsoft says "we won't sue Linspire users as long as they only do X, Y and Z".

That doesn't mean in any way that anyone is preventing Linspire users from doing whatever they want. They can do A, B and C, just like Redhat users can. Microsoft just doesn't promise anymore not to sue them, just as it never promised not to sue Redhat customers. Which doesn't matter much, because Microsoft is just full of wind anyway.

Re:Agreement useless to users? (2, Funny)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 6 years ago | (#19955439)

Basically, Microsoft says "we won't sue Linspire users as long as they only do X, Y and Z".

Where X, Y and Z include paying Microsoft.

Great business-plan (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953191)

I think they have a great business-plan

1. Start a Linux distribution
2. Get Microsoft's attention
3. Get millions from Microsoft (more then they will ever earn selling it), agreeing to everything Microsoft ask.
4. Go out of business

I think more distributions should do it... (as long the really serious ones don't)

Re:Great business-plan (1)

allthingscode (642676) | more than 6 years ago | (#19955419)

Why don't we all start our own distributions. At a million per distribution, Microsoft could afford to pay off about 2,000 of us before they even began to break a sweat. And they still wouldn't have slowed down anything. This just shows how they are still trying to apply old business models to Linux.

SCO Deja Vu (4, Interesting)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953193)

Microsoft's tactics in providing "patent agreements" remind me of the SCO days when they made an assumption that Linux "belongs" to them because of some vague "infringements". Based on this assumption, they start doing wonky things like charging $699 per seat for the right to use Linux, and other such nonsense.

MS is operating along the same lines. The assumption is that you owe Microsoft something for using Linux, hence the need for such agreements between MS and Linux vendors.

It's classic FUD, but I don't know if MS would actually sue anyone. Unlike SCO Microsoft has a bottomless pit of money, and yet MS may not be large enough to successfully try and destroy Linux via patent infringement lawsuits.

We'll see how it all plays out. Will Microsoft embarass themselves the same way SCO did? One thing's for sure, if Microsoft decides to play the patent game, they too are at risk of getting countersued for whatever patents they infringe (and based on how many software patents are out there, there's sure to be some).

Re:SCO Deja Vu (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953335)

I don't think your looking at this in the correct terms. Linspire will be releasing some Microsoft tech like audio and video codecs along with some document formating stuff and a few other things in their releases. When a third party distributes microsoft's products, they/you would be owing Microsoft indirectly for the use of those products when you buy that third party software.

Something that gets me is that this is just another choice for people. I don't understand what all the fus is over. I mean the people who would use Linspire aren't the same who would be using any other distro, it is a targeted distro that has a specific function aimed at specific users. If they wish to use it and are fine with the terms then why not? Linux isn't about you having to distribute or change something, it is about you having that option. With the Linspire deal, you still have that option you just don't get the extras.

Of course the GPL wouldn't cover the MS tech they are working into linspire so you wouldn't be able to distribute that stuff anyways. It seems overly pedantic to spend this much effort on discrediting something that is just another choice available to people. Is that what the linux community has become? Something where choice is good as long as it is only the choices we say you can have? The MS deal ads to those choices, it doesn't take away from them. You have specific obligations if you want the benefits of those choices and if you don't want to manage or fulfill those obligations then you don't take those choices. Isn't that a simpler way to look at it? It is like buying a candy bar, if the price is right, the availability is convenient, and you want it, then you buy it. If you don't want the candy bar or the price is too steep, or it isn't available then you don't buy it. But it was a choice you could have made, you could have ignored that choice all together and not lost out on anything in the process.

From the begining, even with the Novell deal, the arangments were always claimed to be about new tech they developed or are developing with the intent of working with windows better. Balmer made a statement about existing patents that Novell profusely denied. But none of the companies entering the agreements have ever stated that is was to gain protection from Microsoft IP that linux violates or infringes on. That has always been Microsoft's and a few FOSS zealot's claims. It isn't a surprise to find out that the deals don't cover where those infringements are likely to be, if there are any. It is like looking at a car that only goes 55 and was advertised at only going 55. Then complaining or making fun at the fact that the bill of sale makes reference to the manufacturer's claims of it only going 55 and disclaiming any association of it going faster. It doesn't make much sense.

Re:SCO Deja Vu (4, Insightful)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953583)

Linspire will be releasing some Microsoft tech like audio and video codecs along with some document formating stuff and a few other things in their releases.
Linspire says that for now they won't charge users for these things. They may charge for upgrades and maintenance releases of their Microsoft proprietized "click-and-run" (CNR) distributed packages. If a Linspire user doesn't pay any charges set by Linspire, or Linspire doesn't pay Microsoft even if the user pays Linspire, the user is not covered by the Microsoft pledge not to sue (and the agreement actually doesn't protect users anyway). When a Linspire user downloads a CNR package, Microsoft now will be able to track the users identity. If the user gets a Microsoft tainted CNR component, Microsoft can then demand the user allows Microsoft or their agent (BSA, perhaps?) to audit all their software. If the user refuses, Microsoft can sue them for infringement, aided by the CNR server records.

This deal is nowhere near as benign as you try and describe. Remember, this is a deal with Microsoft. If they can't find IP violations in a linux distribution, they'll put it there and then cry "victim".

Re:SCO Deja Vu (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956799)

But none of the companies entering the agreements have ever stated that is was to gain protection from Microsoft IP that linux violates or infringes on.

No?

They have tried to stress the interoperability (and in the Novell case, virtualization) aspects of the deal, but didn't hide that an additional benefit would be protection from patent infringement lawsuits from Microsoft. Now that it has turned out that this protection excludes just about everything, this "benefit" has simply vanished.

Besides, playing up the patent protection aspect would have been certain to cause even more enmity in the F/OSS community. And biting the hand that feeds you has never been a good idea.

Re:SCO Deja Vu (2, Insightful)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956835)

Something that gets me is that this is just another choice for people. I don't understand what all the fus is over.

What's all the fuss about? Well lets see what the CEO of Microsoft has to say about the deal:
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archi ves/108806.asp [nwsource.com]
"our job has got to be to help our customers get interoperability"
Sounds reasonable

"We've had an issue, a problem that we've had to confront, which is because of the way the GPL (General Public License) works"
There should be no problem as long as Microsoft keeps their hands out of the GPL cookie jar. If they believe their "ip" has been stolen and placed in the GPL cookie jar then they should specify their claim.

"the fact that that product uses our patented intellectual property is a problem for our shareholders"
Hmm, that doesn't sound like interoperability, it sounds like Microsoft is asking for compensation for unspecified infringement

"Suse Linux is appropriately covered. There will be no patent issues. They've appropriately compensated Microsoft for our intellectual property"
More unspecified claims of infringement and Suse is safe because they now pay Microsoft for the unspecified infringement.

"anybody who has got Linux in their data center today sort of has an undisclosed balance sheet liability, because it's not just Microsoft patents"
Still no specifics, just a simple "everyone owes us", where have we heard that before.

"Novell said to us, 'Hey, look, if you're serious about this stuff, you better help us promote Suse Linux.' To which we said, 'You know we're trying to sell Windows, that's what we do for a living! Windows, Windows, Windows, baby! We don't do Linux that way here.'"
Well duh, and here we were all thinking it was about interoperability, think again.

"there's so many customers who say, 'Hey look, we don't want problems. We don't want any intellectual property problem or anything else. There's just a variety of workloads where we, today, feel like we want to run Linux. Please help us Microsoft and please work with the distributors to solve this problem, don't come try to license this individually.' So customer push drove us to where we got."
Ah, now it makes sense. Microsoft has been roughing up customers for their use of linux and some of them told Microsoft to piss off, so now they are going after linux distributors. Fortunately the most significant linux players have already told Microsoft to piss off.

Obviously the fuss isn't about a bunch of "FOSS zealots" improperly portraying these agreements, all the fuss is in response to a shake down.

Honestly I'm not concerned, this latest Microsoft FUD foray will likely be as fruitless as their paid for effort from The SCO Group and all their unfounded claims of linux infringement. The SuSE deal was a significant issue but the latest agreements are meaningless because the distributors they are working with are in no way significant contributors to linux.

Re:SCO Deja Vu (2, Funny)

electr01nik (598106) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953337)

MS is operating along the same lines. The assumption is that you owe Microsoft something for using Linux, ...

Using MS Windows for so many years is *why* I switched to Linux.

I guess I owe them for that. But now they want to charge you for it?

Re:SCO Deja Vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19956137)

That reminds me of what the British government did recently. A guy spent several years in prison despite being innocent and when he was released he received compensation but was docked money what I think was food and lodgings! Absolutely disgusting.

Re:SCO Deja Vu (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953619)

My guess is that they don't intend to sue anyone, they are just using FUD to try to limit the damage Linux is doing to Windows sales to the least profitable area of business - the home desktop. Developers, business users and server usage are all excluded from their patent promises, as is Free distribution via the GPL, something that threatens their business model at its core.

Re:SCO Deja Vu (3, Insightful)

beheaderaswp (549877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954105)

"It's classic FUD, but I don't know if MS would actually sue anyone. Unlike SCO Microsoft has a bottomless pit of money, and yet MS may not be large enough to successfully try and destroy Linux via patent infringement lawsuits."

I agree completely with you, except:

Linux datacenters (I run one), admins, and developers should be thanking their lucky stars for IBM. They and they alone have enough legal strength and money to scare Microsoft. But it gets better!

Wait and watch for the interesting times as the SCO/EVERYBODY lawsuits wind down.

Prediction: IBM sues Microsoft into the crapper once the SCO thing is resolved. At the end of the ten year lawsuit, Microsoft is irrelevant- but IBM have open sourced it's patent portfolio.

Then again... I am probably wrong and we'll be running Windows "Orbital View" and paying a penny a keystroke.

But one can hope.

SCO conspiracy theory (3, Insightful)

Tony (765) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954459)

Who do you think started the SCO lawsuits?

SCO was a trial balloon for Microsoft. Though Microsoft's pipe fairy, SCO got a hot cash injection. They started making wild claims, which drove their stock up quite nicely, thank you.

Then they started suing, and everything went downhill. SCO discovered they actually had to *prove* something. So, we've been fortunate enough to witness a corporation spinning faster and faster until rotational velocity rips it apart. It's kinda cool.

Here's what Microsoft learned from SCO: *accusations work.* They work very, very well. Make vague, unsubstantiated claims. Oh, don't go as far as Darl McBride. He's an ass. Instead, insinuate. Make a few direct claims, let those claims disappear, then play on the doubt those claims left behind.

It's working surprisingly well. The one thing that's backfiring, though, is that Microsoft has associated their name with Linux, in a strange approving sort of way. This is PR that Linux couldn't buy. I have non-geek people asking me about Linux these days, people who'd never heard of it before.

Anyway, Microsoft will never take this to court. They would be complete fools to disregard the SCO effect.

Groklaw?? How about objective analysis instead? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953199)

Stopped reading here:
"Groklaw ... "

Re:Groklaw?? How about objective analysis instead? (5, Insightful)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953227)

How about objective analysis instead?

How about reading the article and point out some actual errors in it?
I did, and most points she makes seem valid to me...

What facts did you use for your objective analysis of groklaw?

Re:Groklaw?? How about objective analysis instead? (1, Flamebait)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954659)

I'm not the anonymous user you're replying to, but PJ has little credibility with me.

PJ started losing credibility when she started calling things like an OO.o plugin made by Novell a fork of OO.o. Her exact reasoning is "It may not be what it says, but to me it's what it means." [groklaw.net] and "To me, it's a fork because of the patent deal." [groklaw.net]

Then stories that are blatant Microsoft bashing, like A Brave New Modular World - Another MS Patent Application [groklaw.net] , started popping up.

Then the GPLv3 posts started popping up.

One of the moments I remember the most is when PJ accused Linus of "enabling the Microsoft patent strategy" [groklaw.net] by remaining with the GPLv2, at which point I lost all respect for her.

So no, Pamela is not an unbiased source, particularly not when it comes to the GPLv3... and it's not surprising, since she was on one of the committees that created it.

We hates it (1)

Tony (765) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954395)

Yeah. Because we *hate* when people back up their opinions with facts.

really? (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953207)

linspire isn't any good? I am no expert on that particular distro but I have always kinda assumed it was worthless. at the moment I am very happy with arch and intend to keep using it for quite a while. hopefully it is small enough to be under M$ radar. it also helps that it appears to not have a real for profit group at its head to sell our of our souls off for us.

Re:really? (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953325)

hopefully it is small enough to be under M$ radar.

Who cares? I'd wager that the whole operation is undertaken for the benefit of businesses, who potentially hate risk. However, Microsoft is banking on the fact that IT Management and CIOs are complete dimbulbs who are shaking in their boots because they may get sued by mighty Microsoft. It didn't work with SCO and it won't work now with the MS version of patent trolling.

In addition I want to see them pull that stunt off in Europe, where software patents are not only not recognized, but where the EU commission may take a very dim view and regard that as an extortion scheme (which it essentially is).

Re:really? (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953369)

I care because I don't want to be forced to decide to ignore it or switch distros if they were to be next to sign an agreement with MS. I don't think I could in good conscious use their distro anymore, nevermind edit the wiki or report bugs. its a fundamentally wrong thing to do and I don't want to support it in any way.

Read the contract! (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953413)

I care because I don't want to be forced to decide to ignore it or switch distros if they were to be next to sign an agreement with MS.
Gee, maybe when you are considering a distribution, you should consider what kind of contract [debian.org] you are entering into when you weigh the pros and cons of the distro.

Windux - the clean OS (1)

L505 (884811) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953215)

I think they should have called Lindows a better name.. Windux. On second thought, the judge probably would have ruled that they have to wash all the windows at microsoft campus for infringing on trademarks twice.

Re:Windux - the clean OS (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953315)

Actually, once upon a time, Linspire had Microsoft up against the ropes with regards to the Windows trademark, for various reasons. Suddenly Microsoft left Linspire alone and settled with them instead of trying to force them to change their name a second time. The rumor was that Linspire had Microsoft dead with use of the generic term "windows" citing prior use in computers before Windows 1.0. Don't hold me to it, but that's what I seemed to have gathered from following the case peripherally.

Kevin Carmony (President and COO since 2005, after the litigation) seems to have never "got it" with regards to Linux in general anyway. He's a PHB and not nearly as smart as Robertson. So this is not really unexpected.

--
BMO

Re:Windux - the clean OS (Lindows the Surname) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954485)

Can't see why they went and buckled over the name, after all Lindows is a Surname which goes back some to the 1300's in the UK.
www.familysearch.org has 3 people with the surname of 'Lindows'.

1. DANIELL LINDOWS - International Genealogical Index / GE
Gender: Male Christening: 29 JAN 1607 Konigsberg In Neumark, Brandenburg, Preussen
2. GERTRUD LINDOWS - International Genealogical Index / GE
Gender: Female Christening: SEP 1620 Konigsberg In Neumark, Brandenburg, Preussen
bothe the children of JUERG LINDOWS and VRSULA MEKELBORGE.

Also the Surname of 'Lindow' has loads of people from all over the world, including the USA, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Australia and China with various spellings of the name.

Re:Windux - the clean OS (1)

ttnb (1121411) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953649)

I think they should have called Lindows a better name.. Windux.

What makes you think that this would be a better name?

In support of my view that Windux is not a particularly attractive name, I point to the website at www.Windux.com which looks like the domain would be for sale if someone made an attractive offer to the current holder. Nowadays just about all domain names which are really good because they combione a reference to a well-known industry term with shortness, memorability and a pleasant overall impression are being put to some kind of commercial use already.

Re:Windux - the clean OS (1)

L505 (884811) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953697)

what does 'bay' and 'e' have to do with 'auctions'. I guess it is a 'bay' where people come 'electronically'. Sounds pretty vague to me. Windux, on the other hand, is a perfect way of saying we've cleaned up the bugs on the Windows with Windex, and if you want, sue us and we'll clean your real glass windows on the Microsoft campus for you instead of going to jail for infringement.

Re:Windux - the clean OS (1)

ttnb (1121411) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953997)

what does 'bay' and 'e' have to do with 'auctions'

Well, 'e' is about doing something electronically that was previously done differently, and 'bay' is similar enough to 'buy' to make an unconscious connection in the mind, but different enough to avoid the conclusion of 'ebay' being (from the perspective of the general public) only about buying. And all that in only four letters. A really great name choice. And on top of that, if you have the kind of business plan and funding that you can hope to gain market dominance for some category of product or service, you don't need a name that becomes memorable through similarity to a well-known word. Whatever strategy you have for gaining the kind of market share that you're aiming for, will be enough to also make your name memorable.

Things are different for the countless little gnats of the information technology ecosystem, of course. Wouldn't one of them have grabbed Windux.com by now if that really was such a great, customer-confidence inspiring name?

I think that "Lindows" was a much better choice than "Windux" would have been, precisely because "Lindows" is not only memorable but also confidence-inspiring.

Windux, on the other hand, is a perfect way of saying we've cleaned up the bugs on the Windows with Windex, and if you want, sue us and we'll clean your real glass windows on the Microsoft campus for you instead of going to jail for infringement.

I'm not aware of any successful examples where putting this kind of humor [wikipedia.org] (which is based onto a perspective twist) into a product name or company name has really helped brand development. Branding is about burning a name and a corresponding association indelibly into the minds of your current and potential customers. This is totally at odds with humor which derives its funniness from a perspective twist (physical windows that need to be cleaned vs computers that need to be cleaned from malware), which can only hinder your efforts of burning some idea forcefully into someone's mind.

And this is news, how? (1)

DJ_Maiko (1044980) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953229)

Having tried out a TON of distros over the years, I fail to see how Linspire even registers a blip on the news radar. Never was it even in the top 20 most popular (either w/unix-heads or non). Sad to say, this just makes them even more worthless. Thank goodness for the TONS of great distros out there still to help spread the great word about Linux.

Looks like he forgot to mention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953277)

How is this news? OMG. A Microsoft contract limits what you can do with what they perceive to be their property. Everyone already knew that would be the case. Its a contract with Microsoft. If some company or individual wants to purchase Linspire in order to limit their liability, they can knock themselves out. If you don't feel like paying the Microsoft tax, use some other distro. What I do find to be interesting about this article is the fact that even though it appears to be written by someone that has a decent understanding of the law, the author fails to mention that this contract, even if you do choose to modify the software, does limit the liability of the purchasing party. This is due to the clause about bug fixes. The language here is purposefully vague. This means that even if Microsoft chose to sue someone they would have trouble proving that there was patent infringement. If they managed that they would have further trouble proving that the patent infringement was purposeful. For those that do not know, the penalty for intentionally misusing a patented technology is significantly higher than doing so unknowingly. Anyway, I am sure that everyone here will hate this post, because they will assume that it is pro-Microsoft, but I have trouble keeping my mouth shut when I see deliberate misinformation being passed around as fact.

Ah! I think I see your problem. (2, Interesting)

Tony (765) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954375)

A Microsoft contract limits what you can do with what they perceive to be their property.

This is the crux of the matter.

They do *not* "perceive [it] to be their property." They *claim* it is their property, but refuse to prove in any way, shape, or form that it *is* their property.

So.

The rest of your post is essentially mumbling about contract law, of which you come close to admitting you know almost nothing. You are saying your opinion is worth more than someone who actually knows something about contract law?

There was no misinformation about the Groklaw post. PJ stated that the Linspire/Microsoft deal, which was touted as something good for the customer, is in fact *bad* for the customer. The customer is actually purchasing a product that is hobbled, and actually *using* the product pretty much voids the whole Linspire/Microsoft "value-add."

It was actually a very good dissection of the agreement, as it affects the customer. It shows that Microsoft most definitely got the better of the deal, and Linspire and their customers kinda got shafted.

But, anyone who deals with Microsoft ends up getting shafted.

Linspire's Claim to Fame? (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953299)

Isn't Linspire's only claim to fame the fact that it was briefly bundled on ultra cheap PCs as a Windows substitute because of a look-a-like GUI? Did it have any technical merits over other Linux distributions that would make it worth mourning over?

Re:Linspire's Claim to Fame? (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953355)

you may be right but I thought it was the trademark suit with MS because they originally called it lindows.

Re:Linspire's Claim to Fame? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953389)

Your about right. However, it did have the click and run software installation service that solves dependency issues and all sort of like madrake's URMPI. It at one time was attempting to get win4lin to the point that you could run MS executables like you were in windows but that didn't last long after the hurdles proved to be too high.

The thing about linspire is that it wasn't ever intended for the geek who wants to change everything, compile kernels, write code, modify code and all that sort of stuff. It has from day one attempted to be one of the easiest systems to get running and keep running for novice users who couldn't tell you what an emacs or 6 (VI) was let alone which is better. Their kicker was as you said, preinstalled on cheap computers with the CNR service for a yearly fee that installed whatever program they needed for a certain task with a simple click and an internet connection. It is more or less designed for people who have trouble running windows.

Re:Linspire's Claim to Fame? (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953415)

If they ever get CNR 7 up and running, that might be another claim to fame.
Support for
  Debian
  Fedora
  Freespire
  Linspire
  OpenSUSE
  Ubuntu
Original timetable was Q2 2007. Current timetable is "in a few weeks" and "soon".

Re:Linspire's Claim to Fame? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953501)

Interesting. They are going to sell err provide the CNR service for all those distro's too? Nice.

Re:Linspire's Claim to Fame? (2, Informative)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953629)

Their original claim to fame was that you would be able to seamlessly run Windows apps on what was then called Lindows.

Somewhere between that promise and the actual release of Lindows 1.0, they had a falling out with Codeweavers, and Codeweavers terminated their business relationship with Lindows:

http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=02/04/05/0 335256 [newsforge.com]

Neither Codeweavers nor Lindows had much to say in public that I am aware of, but there have been rumors that the main issue was that Lindows wasn't too keen on the idea of releasing their Wine modifications, and that while Codeweavers persuaded them to release a lot of code, the relationship kind of soured from there. Again, this is conjecture and rumor that I remember hearing at the time, not (AFAIK) documented fact, but based on how secretive Lindows was during their first beta cycle (beta testers paid $99 bucks and got the title Lindows Insider and access to betas), not releasing source code and saying "The source will be there when we release 1.0" (IIRC the source was released at the time), I find the conjecture plausible.

At the end of the day you gotta ask: (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953461)

Who owns *MY* computer? Me, or Microsoft?

Re:At the end of the day you gotta ask: (1, Troll)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953525)

You do. Have fun with your OS and software vacant electronics.

Ya gotta ask? (2, Funny)

Tony (765) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954289)

Okay, when you install MS-Windows, what icon do you get on your desktop?

That's right. "My Computer." (Among others. Stop yer quibbling.)

Who owns that icon?

That's right. Microsoft.

The other foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953475)

It's about time someone with a large patent portfolio started shaking down Microsoft customers. This party could do a deal with an OEM and threaten to sue end-users who purchased from anywhere else.

Hey Microsoft, don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

Hit and Run. (1)

delire (809063) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953517)

Unlike most other Linux distributions, Linspire was conceived primarily as a business enterprise. Consider this a buyout, albeit one that harms affirms FUD affecting all other distributions. Also consider how the beating that Linspire has taken from MS in the past may affect their willingness to stand strong in the face of MS threats now - however vacuous.

While I won't miss Linspire I am interested to know the future of Robertson's only real valued contribution to the GNU/Linux family of operating systems - CNR [linspire.com] . Perhaps Shuttleworth should click-and-run with it while he still can (though Klikit [atekon.de] looks like a pretty good fallback).

Missing the point... (4, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953523)

So I'm no Kreskin... but M$ has never been subtle about it's desire to pretty much play Mongul Horde all over the face of modern computing. I think this is clearly M$ pulling an old tried and true lan out of their own gamebook and simply reverting to business as usual. I'm guessing the plan will look something like;

  • Swallow a few tiny Linux distros whole, and at least assimilate them sufficiently to make certain that they can sing and dance like another Borg Drone.
  • Claim that they're just like all the other Linux players, except they have that fresh new minted by M$ smell, ummmmm can't you just smell it.
  • Play to the businesses that have migrated to Linux, and say "Y'all can come back home now, we're ready to give you want you're craving."
  • All the while embedding their own crap throughout these bastard Linux babies, copywriting and patenting new code and software functionality, and DRM, and spyware, and embedded bits of their toxic dreck throughout the distros.
  • They'll try to lay claim to things that don't belong to them, but they'll plead they were just trying to cover their proprietary code, muddy up the copywrite water and try desperately to tie real innovation up in a rats nest of layers, so in 5 to 7 years when they release their next real OS, Linux will be sufficiently hamstrung so they have a chance to compete. Or I'm guessing that's at least their hope.
  • In the meantime, they'll vascilate between pretending to play nice, making vague, obscure, or veiled threats, making strategic partnerships with folks who want to coexist peacably (with absolutely no intention of playing nice), and all the while looking for ways to slip a sharp instrument between the 5th and 6th rib of this upstart OS that has caused them so much grief.

Have I missed anything? Probably. Y'know, if they put aside this whole Genghis Kahn, I gotta own the whole freakin world mentality, and just started committing themselves to doing good things for humanity... the rest would take care of itself. Oh well. This is going to be an interesting show! Who's got the popcorn!

Re:Missing the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954595)

It's copyRight, not copyWrite.

Sorry, pet peeve.

Re:Missing the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19955471)

This is the only thing you could find? There are more! I assume the poster was in a hurry or English is NOT his first langauge

Re:Missing the point... (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 6 years ago | (#19955431)

I've never read the book mind you, but your post sounds like it could come straight from Sun Tzu's Art of War. I wouldn't be surprised if Bill or Steve have read those.

Linspire/Microsoft Agreement Useless to Users (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953725)

Do we really need a slashdot story about this? I thought it was common knowledge that it was useless.

Does Linspire have any market share? (2, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954035)

A week ago, there was this article which said Microsoft excludes GPL3 from the Linspire deal, and I wondered whether Linspire had any significant userbase in the US [slashdot.org]

That post got modded Interesting, but didn't get any replies, so I'm really not sure whether Linspire is alive in the corporate segment, which should be the segment that worries about patent suits... like SCO sued Daimler-Chryssler (?) and lost face.

I can't imagine a company like Linspire would inspire any confidence in knowledgable markets like in Asia... The manner in which they caved in during the Lindows trademark dispute with Microsoft was suspicious and intriguing as well.

At a guess, just how many customers does Linspire have, if any? A few hundreds? In which case, I think /. must simply ignore this deal and related news - it doesn't matter much.

Re:Does Linspire have any market share? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19956305)

The Wal-mart website sells PCs with Linspire as the OS on them, the last I checked.

lets make Linspire retire... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954181)

The agreement is contradictory to the GPL license.

The Agreement is null and void because of the contradiction with the license.

It should also be noted that Microsoft ... bill gates got his start by porting BASIC and then yelling piracy because he wasn't delivering in a reasonable amount of time.

Second was the sale of MSDOS to IBM but Microsoft did not, at the time of selling it to IBM, own it nor had they even contacted the creator if it.

Is this another example of MS profiting off of what they do not own or have a right to?

Of course it is and it shows what scum Microsoft really are.

Trying to use and agreement that invalidates a license while using libel against the software developer with claims of piracy - patent infrigment on what is by nature not patentable but itself "software patents" an act of fraud supported by the US government. And MS does not present any proof of what is supposedly infringed.

Really people, this is the essence of Microsoft. What they are doing should be pursued legally as it certainly is an intentional consumer deception at various levels.

MS is still attacking Open source software. Make no mistake between what they say and what they do.

Re:lets make Linspire retire... (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956257)

Is this another example of MS profiting off of what they do not own or have a right to?
Why sell what you don't own when you can make more by licensing it out?

So what? (2, Interesting)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954319)

Hopefully this will just put people off using Linspire, which is no big deal in the long term. Last I checked, Linspire was full of all manner of nasty closed-source shite which the world would be better off without. If the Debian developers aren't pissed off to the back teeth at the way some people (and not just Linspire) have bastardised their "100% i-tal forever" distro, they deserve sainthood in at least as many religions as there are platforms on which Debian runs.

Never forget, it was Linspire who provided a lot of the funding for Pidgin [pidgin.im] when it was called Gaim (which was so staunchly GPL that they didn't even make the usual OpenSSL exception; it was GNUTLS or no MSN), then -- as soon as they realised that the terms of the GPL meant they could never get the code all to themselves, cage it up and take away the Source Code -- left the developers right in the lurch with the AOL lawsuit.

Fortunately, the GPL prevailed; the developers were able to fork their own code and give it a new name, but it just goes to show how some people will double-cross you at the last minute.

Unusable? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954335)

Essentially, under the agreement Linspire software is almost unusable: 'You can't share the software with others, pass it on with the patent promise, modify your own copy, or even use it for an "unauthorized" purpose,

Wow, it's unusable. The only thing you can do is... use it. WTF?

New functionality means you lose your coverage or presumably must pay again.

New functionality presumably must pay again? How does a software upgrade pay a bill?

Re:Unusable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19955755)

If you can't learn to read properly, don't post claiming it makes no sense.

Microsoft is a dead company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954723)

Microsoft is a dead company. the stink of the cadaver is still strong. today they're nothing more than a giant law firm that owns some terrible expensive software and does government surveillance on users. They are so far from innovation and relevant productive computing, it is GAStly. Repeat repeat Microsoft is a dead company. Seriously, at this point isn't the objective of their government enabled, and funded through use of the (shit), monopoly, isn't the point now to have consumer desktop that can be spied upon?

As far as Linspire, c'mon it was a joke to begin with: linux with paid subscription software and ungrades. I just wonder how in the hell they got this far??? Utterly perverse. And now they got their check from the man so they can go away. Using Linux to extort money from the public through Microsoft. Beats working for a living, right? Everyone wants in on the new deal. Hurry hurry think of a tech-age scam. Sell pixels, invent a social networking site or even a popular blog with ad revenue. Get yours, I got mine. Is that it?

Who is Linspire? (1)

BanjoBob (686644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19956123)

No really. Who is Linspire to those of us that use Linux?

The people I know that Linux don't use Linspire. They use Suse, Red Hat & Fedora, Ubuntu, and a host of other distros. Most of us get downloads from Linux archives, release company's sites or distro sites. I've never seen Linspire on any of those.

I remember some rumblings about them being sold at Walmart but I have never seen a Linspire box at any of our Walmarts. I didn't even realize Linspire was still around.

So, do they even have any market share today? Anybody really use it? Hardly anybody uses it now and if this deal causes more people to shun them, will anybody even notice? Who is Linspire anyway?
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