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Microsoft Linux Business

Linspire/Microsoft Agreement Useless to Users 155

Posted by Zonk
from the par-for-the-course dept.
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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Linspire/Microsoft Agreement Useless to Users

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  • by pallmall1 (882819) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:32AM (#19953113)
    Linspire should just expire.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by apodyopsis (1048476)
      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 c
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ozmanjusri (601766)
        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: (Score:2, Informative)

          by bigdavesmith (928732)
          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 th
          • it's not quite that simple.

            It is if you use Automatix [getautomatix.com].

            • It is if you use Automatix [getautomatix.com].

              Ah but you still have to install Automatix and how many people new to Linux will be able to install it without giving up?

              Falcon
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          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, thos
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          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.

        • 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
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ozmanjusri (601766)
            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.

    • 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: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      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
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        irrational hatred of Microsoft
        I can assure you, sir - it's not irrational.
      • by ajs318 (655362)
        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CastrTroy (595695)
          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.
      • by miffo.swe (547642)
        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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Vexorian (959249)

        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 ubu

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        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 th

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)
          you too will develop this completely healthy and rational hatred of their bullshit antics and tactics?

          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.

          Oh yes, how did I forget that it's entirely healthy and rational to plot firebombing Microsoft. Wow, you've convinced me that you're entirely healthy and rational and not at all some kind of crazy loon who thinks it's ok to literally des
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            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.

            Oh yes, how did I forget that it's entirely healthy and rational to plot firebombing Microsoft.

            I was using a conversational device common in colloquial English - such and such is reasonable, even if such and such other thing isn't.

            Your lack of comprehension of the English language is at fault in your assumption that I believed that firebombing Microsoft is rational, and not anything that I said - because I certainly did not say it.

            HTH, HAND.

        • by nuzak (959558)
          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?

          There are plenty of rational detractors of Microsoft. However, they're virtually extinct on Groklaw. You could power a city with the power of the knee-jerk responses there.
      • by Braino420 (896819)

        irrational hatred of Microsoft
        Windows Millennium Edition
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Flamebait? Really? Good job, moderators.
    • I bought a PC with Linspire preinstalled less than a year ago, now I'm thinking it was a bad idea. The company that built the PC no longer installs any Linux distro on PCs. Now Linspire is screwing around too. I'm glad I decided to get a Macbook Pro for a laptop.

      Falcon
  • Ah well (Score:3, Funny)

    by DutchMasterKiller (1003736) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:33AM (#19953119)
    Luckily there are 300 other distros to choose from :)
  • ESR (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kraemate (1065878)
    I'd like to know Eric Raymond's take on this. Isnt he on the linspire board or something?
    • Re:ESR (Score:4, Informative)

      by ttnb (1121411) on Monday July 23, 2007 @06:18AM (#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.

  • by RuBLed (995686) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:51AM (#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.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Monday July 23, 2007 @04:01AM (#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.
      • 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.
      • Do any of these companies signing these agreements actually read them?

        It seems to me that they are struggling businesses who get a one-time payday from Microsoft if they sign up.

        • by jimicus (737525)
          It seems to me that they are struggling businesses who get a one-time payday from Microsoft if they sign up.

          On the understanding that they sign an agreement which essentially destroys their current business model?

          Still seems a bit odd to me.
          • On the understanding that they sign an agreement which essentially destroys their current business model?

            On the understanding that those in control of the business would be cashing out soon.?

            • On the understanding that they sign an agreement which essentially destroys their current business model?

              On the understanding that those in control of the business would be cashing out soon.?

              It won't work in this case, Linspire unlike SCO is a privately held business so the only way to cashout is to sale the business to somebody else. However if said person, or business, doesn't exercise due diligence they deserve what they get.

              Falcon
    • 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,

    • 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.
    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday July 23, 2007 @07:45AM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Scarblac (122480)

        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.

    • 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.

      This agreement doesn't make Linspire useless. People who use Linspire gets some legal use out of it. Last year I bought a new PCs with Linspire preinstalled. After booting up it almost seems like Windows, it looks like it and acts like i

  • Great business-plan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:52AM (#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)
  • SCO Deja Vu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurhussein (864532) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:52AM (#19953193) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423)
      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 peo
      • Re:SCO Deja Vu (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pallmall1 (882819) on Monday July 23, 2007 @05:38AM (#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".
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          If you don't like the deal then don't take it or be part of it. But for using MS software, the license is really no different then using MS software; Something that people do every day. That distro is aimed at those people.
      • by init100 (915886)

        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 neve

        • by sumdumass (711423)
          I don't ever remember Novell or linispire or any other company who made this deal with MS make any claims that it would protect users from the infringements in linux. Now how to you hide something that isn't there?

          More importantly, Novell has from day one been telling members of the Free software community that it isn't what they are thinking or saying and yet they continued going off about it and even wrote a specific article in the new GPL license over it. Now lets get something straight, why would it be
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by burnin1965 (535071)

        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

        • by sumdumass (711423)
          Lets take a look at the context in where and how they were saying that and the meanings or value that you assessed loses a little there.

          From the same article when asked about the Novell deal and responding about having both microsoft and linux servers in the data rooms.

          How many of the people who have both sometimes ask themselves questions about the interoperability between those two environments, anybody? (A good number raise their hands.)

          Therefore, our job has got to be to help our customers get inter

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by electr01nik (598106)

      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?

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

        Same here, with one change: "is *why* I am switching to Linux and Macs."

        Falcon
    • by jrumney (197329)

      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by beheaderaswp (549877) * on Monday July 23, 2007 @07:32AM (#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.
    • by Tony (765) on Monday July 23, 2007 @08:29AM (#19954459) Journal
      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.
      • by init100 (915886)

        I don't think Microsoft was involved in the beginning of the SCO campaign. They just quickly saw this as a perfect opportunity to help slowing down Linux adoption in the marketplace, and thus started sponsoring SCO in various ways. First the initial "IP license" money, and then the BayStar investment money.

  • 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
  • by Genda (560240) <mariet@nOSpAM.got.net> on Monday July 23, 2007 @05:20AM (#19953523) Journal

    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!

  • Do we really need a slashdot story about this? I thought it was common knowledge that it was useless.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday July 23, 2007 @07:18AM (#19954035) Journal
    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.
  • 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
  • So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajs318 (655362)
    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
  • 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?
  • 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 marke
    • 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?

      I think there is a problem with this thinking. MS will want to own Linux if it can to deny it market share. If it can't own it, it will kill it. They make good headway on plan B by eliminating fringe distributions one by one by tainting them to the point that users abandon them.

      It's especially dangerous in the

Serving coffee on aircraft causes turbulence.

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