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Linspire Signs Patent Pact With MS 386

Posted by kdawson
from the devil's-sleeping-around dept.
RLiegh sends us to an AP article reporting that Linspire has signed a patent deal with Microsoft. The company, which started out life as "Lindows," joins a growing list of patent agreements reached between Microsoft and vendors. Linspire will be granted a license to use True Type Fonts and "various code" that would allow for Linspire users to use voice on Windows Live Messenger as well as the usual patent protection for Linspire's customers. In return, among other things, Linspire will make Microsoft's search engine the default search on PCs shipped with their OS. Kevin Carmony, the CEO for Linspire, approached Microsoft a year and a half ago, according to the article.
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Linspire Signs Patent Pact With MS

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  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @09:12AM (#19504025)
    It could be worse...

    MS seems to be giving an ok to pretty much any commercial Linux vendor that would have customers needing solid support without any fear from MS or other companies trying to nail them for patents. (Note they are getting MS protection on things not even related to MS, that is pretty big and a broad acceptance.)

    However, it could be worse, MS could just have ignored all these companies and pushed MS Linux or even a Linux Subsystem for NT as an alternative for business and left every Linux distributor to fend for themselves in the commericial market. This would be worse...

    MS is not the devil anymore, we can't continue to just hate them for the sake of hating them. IBM and DRDOS got screwed by MS, not Linux. Wordperfect and Lotus screwed themselves with horrible products. Novell screwed themselves with horrible client software and high prices.

    So yes MS feked up, but not as bad as they could have.

    MS helped Apple several times along the way, when they could have went in for the kill. If MS was truly predatory or evil, there would be no Apple, especially when Apple was very dependent on IE and Office.

    If this was MS playing the role of borg, they wouldn't even deal with these companies and like I said, would be pushing MS Linux or Linux on NT as the only solution for non-Windows *nix.

    Instead MS has a BSD subsystem for NT that is not hardly even marketed other than for integration with the *nix community, and MS is looking for ways to partner with *nix OS vendors they could easily shun and effectively kill off in the corporate/business sectors. But they aren't.

    So things could be a lot worse...

    (If I'm wrong and MS starts shutting down these companies, I will freely admit it and join everyone here with pitch forks outside Redmond. Until then, MS giving credibility to Linux companies is a good thing.)
  • Thanks ESR! (Score:4, Informative)

    by illuminatedwax (537131) <stdrange AT alumni DOT uchicago DOT edu> on Thursday June 14, 2007 @09:15AM (#19504063) Journal
    And guess who just recently joined the board of Linspire who thinks that Linux market share percentage is the only goal worth following? Thanks for another useful contribution to the community, ESR!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2007 @09:40AM (#19504405)
    is available here: Linspire, Microsoft in Linux-related deal [desktoplinux.com]. For example... In an email to DesktopLinux, however, Carmony clarified this apparent contradiction in how the Microsoft IP (and "protection" from alleged patent infringement) would be licensed. "We just bundle everything together," he wrote. "Meaning, you can't say 'I want the fonts, but not Windows Media 10,' or 'I want Windows Media 10, but not the IP coverage,' etc. If you want any or all of these new offerings, they ALL will come with Linspire 6.0. If users don't wish these, they can easily uninstall what they don't want from Linspire, or simply use Freespire, which will not include these features. When the press release was written we hadn't fully decided if we wanted to just include it in Linspire or offer a separate SKU. The agreement gives Linspire the freedom to do it either way. We're going to start by just including it with ALL copies of Linspire sold, so they don't really 'purchase a patent SKU,' but just buy Linspire which will include everything."
  • by Stocktonian (844758) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @10:09AM (#19504823) Homepage
    Not to mention that Canonical is based in Europe where Microsoft's patents are currently worthless.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2007 @10:32AM (#19505175)
    "Vista isn't selling"

    Why are you trying to convince yourself? What is so deeply wrong with you? It's the fastest-selling OS of all time:

    http://stuff.techwhack.com/archives/2007/05/16/vis ta-40-million-licenses/ [techwhack.com]

    The way that Linux users just shove their fingers in their ears, say "blah bla blah" over the top of facts and refuse to believe anything makes me ashamed to be part of this community.
  • by efence (927813) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @10:42AM (#19505305)
    Microsoft: "If You Can't Beat 'em....Charge 'em." [linspire.com]

    Our experience has been that Microsoft gives a lot of lip service to wanting to work with open source Linux, but then proceeds to drag their feet and delay in actually delivering anything meaningful. (Does anyone following ODF believe Microsoft's proposed "open standards" are really open, or just self-serving?) Given their history, I'm understandably very skeptical that Microsoft sincerely wants to do much here.
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @10:51AM (#19505443)
    I believe Ubuntu's founder made it clear that Ubuntu would not sell out to msft in this interview [fmtech.co.za].
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday June 14, 2007 @10:57AM (#19505533)

    Why? Because these agreements don't protect the developers. In the long run, it won't do Linspire or whoever any good if they're legally allowed to sell Linux, but the community is dead.

    This is how Microsoft "cuts off the air supply" of Free Software.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @11:02AM (#19505589)
    Quoting a poster on another board:

    "Xandros are about to go BK (and this deal guarantees it), desperation
    creates mistakes. EV1 was headed by a business incompetent. Novell had just had
    Hovsepian parachute in with a desperate need to impose his authority despite a
    shaky understanding of the business.

    Seeing a pattern yet... only screwed up companies went for the deals. Knowing
    that its real hard to take SCOX or MSFTs few success's totally seriously."

    Come to think of it, scox was heading towards certain bankruptcy before msft got
    involved. And let's face it folks, Linspire was never much of a distro.

    The real Linux heavyweights: Redhat, Debian, Ubuntu, etc. Have flatly stated that they have no interest in msft's patent deals.

    Mark Shuttle gives excellent commentary on the scam . . er, I mean deal, in this interview [mybroadband.co.za].
  • by halovaa (774219) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @11:27AM (#19506005)
    Did anyone here actually read the AP summary? Linspire went out and licensed actual code from MS for Windows Live Voice stuff, Windows Media files, and Truetype Fonts (it doesn't say anything at all about patents for fonts, they probably just mean providing the fonts). They're also working on translating between OpenXML and ODF. These are all pretty important to people who want commercial Linuxes to "just work" in a Windows-centric world, and can't settle for partially working reverse-engineered implementations. And oh yeah, they also agreed to protect Linspire users against legal action by Microsoft in regards to any patents. It sounds more like Linspire went out to license these technologies from MS, then MS wanted to add in the patent protection stuff to make it sound like another Linux vendor is paying protection money to them (even though MS seems to be paying most of the money so far). Yes, I hate MS, and yes I think the patent deals spread a lot of FUD, but I think Linspire has managed to get some good things out of this deal, depending on how much they paid. Or maybe MS paid them again?
  • by crush (19364) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @12:33PM (#19507115)

    Even funnier is the fact that Red Hat released replacements to the common TT fonts [redhat.com] under a GPL license. The full-hinted versions will be released circa September 2007.

    Where the fuck are all the other companies in sponsoring stuff like this?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 14, 2007 @12:39PM (#19507205) Homepage Journal

    Personally I detest the proprietary shit its peddling, but Ubuntu's already proven there's a demand for that.

    Ubuntu went so far as to create a "restricted driver manager" that tells you when you're using binary drivers, why you shouldn't, and what you can do about it.

    If you call this "peddling proprietary shit", then I don't think you understand more than one of those words.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @12:43PM (#19507259) Journal
    Don't look at this as an attack on a vendor. If anything this is an attack on the GPLv3.

    But more importantly look at the details of the deal. So far as I can tell, this stuff only covers the use of proprietary stuff with GPLed/third party offerings. Outside the idea of a GPLed program potentially using them, it won't effect the GPLv3 status at all _IF_ the agreement is specific in what code or IP the patent protection covers and that code isn't inside a GPLed program.

    I think this might be another case of jumping the gun on too little details. The reaction to Novell's deal was way overblown and once the details were released, it appeared to no cover anything that would competing with microsoft blah blah blah. People said Novell got screwed. Well they did, by the GPL leaders who reacted over a bunch of misplaced hype. None of this was about the potentials of contaminating OSS. it is all about dealing with Microsoft. You don't even know the specfics of the deal and are accusing "Microsoft attacks" already.

    At best, this just shows MS's effort to fracture the GPLv3. When enough companies need to stick around that projects will be forked or uninformed people implode over using the GPLv3 while having deals like this and become angry enough to make an ass of themselves it will be their doing. MS is likely attempting to do a divide and cause conflict within as their strategy of dealing with OSS and it is going to be highly successful.
  • by metamatic (202216) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @01:30PM (#19508013) Homepage Journal
    TrueType was developed as a joint effort between Apple and Microsoft, because of Adobe's refusal to open their font format to third parties. For a while, it offered better font rendering than Type 1, at least on the Mac.

    However, Adobe subsequently opened up their formats, and Apple pretty much lost interest in improving TrueType further. They shipped QuickDraw GX (based on TrueType), but pretty much killed it immediately by refusing to license any of it back to Microsoft. It has been replaced with Apple Advanced Typography (AAT, the system on OS X), which supports PostScript as well as TrueType, just as OpenType does.

    http://mac.wikia.com/wiki/Apple_typography#QuickDr aw_GX_and_Apple_Advanced_Typography [wikia.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2007 @02:59PM (#19509525)
    Grammar Nazi time: the correct phrase [worldwidewords.org] is "bated breath," not "baited breath." It's from Shakespeare [straightdope.com].

    Slightly more on-topic: If one of Linspire's claims to fame is hardware compatibility (and a painless install that goes along with that), how come Linspire 5.0 has such poor compatibility with most of your hardware? Is your stuff just that bleeding edge? Or is Linspire's reputation not in fact well earned?
  • We really should do more about letting people know about non-US repositories like packman.de that include multimedia codecs.

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