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Lindows Allowed to Use Company Name in Holland 228

Supp0rtLinux writes "It appears that Lindows/Linspire has finally made some headway against Microsoft in the Netherlands. According this article, the Judge ruled that Linspire's continued, but minimal use of 'Lindows' for legal and trademark purposes doesn't violate Microsoft's trademark. With the US court date on this issue coming up soon, one can only wonder if Microsoft will have effectively cut off its nose to spite its face. And following immediately on the heels of today's Netherlands news, the latest Michael's Minutes from Linspire pegs all the blame for virus problems on Microsoft and basically says that Linux (well, Lindows anyway) is the cure."
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Lindows Allowed to Use Company Name in Holland

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  • by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:08AM (#9276012) Homepage
    But unfortunately, a wise man said about us:

    'You think you're a superpower, and everyone else thinks your capital is copenhagen'.
  • to michael credit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xlyz ( 695304 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:09AM (#9276028) Journal
    even if there are things he does that I don't like, I must concede he is really relentless and aggressive in pushing lindows
    • So is a used car salesman. He's also probably trying to sell you something broken, just like Robertson does with Lindows.

      In other news - did anyone else notice over 30 comments NOT about this story FIRST? Does anyone even CARE if they call themselves Lindows? They give their OS away so they can charge for apt-get. Get real. Get Debian.
  • by myom ( 642275 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:12AM (#9276049)
    There are some differences between USA and Europe that will give some varying and odd court decisions. Big business has a strong hold of the US courts. The only way they can lose is if anyone even stronger is the counterpart, or if a state or country invests heavily in the suit to gain even larger monetary gains from winning in the court. In Europe, this is rarely the case, but on the other hand many European legislators and courts are weak, have little resources and time. In Sweden, for example, the Social Democarat party tends to legislate and vote in the EU parlament often following the US court results and organisation bullying (MPAA, RIAA) Some countries invest time and resources to actually learn what the cases are about, and court cases involving Microsoft etc, can in fact be lost by the larger companies, liek in this case.
    • I'm missing the word "yet". As the recent software patents in Europe painfully demonstrates, the European union is sold to big corporations. Ask Bolkestein [], he'll confirm
    • Money makes the world go round. -- Decisions of European courts tend to save the trademarks of the big players, too. See for example the way German courts are handling the cases were the TeleKom (the number one German communication provider) claims to have a trademark on almost any word beginning with a "T". BTW: You may get an international survey of trademark cases related to Linux and Open Source projects at TuxMobil [].
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:20AM (#9276084)
    a jury [...] would be instructed to consider whether "windows" was a generic term before Microsoft introduced software with that name in 1985.

    I can understand that such a thing is a different matter in non-English speaking countries, like The Netherlands.
    How could they ever not say that it is a generic term in English speaking countries, like the USA?. I look in awe to the fact that such a thing has to be considerd.
    • As do we Americans.
    • An operating system using the name Lindows when the most popular desktop OS is Windows is obviously using that name to capitalize on Microsoft's brand recognition.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Which, in itself, is not a problem and is not illegal.

        It's is a problem, and it is illegal, when the term in question is trademarked. And companies shouldn't be allowed to trademark terms that are generic in their industry. Microsoft trademarking "windows" is akin to Ford trademarking "wheel".

        So, in short, if Microsoft wanted protection from this kind of thing, they shouldn't have used a term that is generic to the computer industry as the name of their operating system.

      • And Microsoft using the terms 'Windows', 'Office', 'SQL Server' and 'Access' are not an attempt to capitalize on name recognition? 'Winows' was in use before MS tried to TM it in X window and also used by Apple.

        'Office' is a generic term, but makes people think if you want office automation only MS has the answer.

        'SQL' is the name of an ANSI standard. Once again giving the impression MS is the only one with a solution.

        'Access' is also a generic English word.

        So MS is hijacking the ENglish language for pr
    • In non-English speaking countries "Lindows" and "Windows" are different names. One trade mark could be considered similar to another only if their written styles are looking similar.

      In Russia Microsoft can win the case easily by bribing jury, but not normal way.

      BTW, Xerox already lost their case. "Xerox" can not be a trade mark in Russia any more, because it is a "generic term". Not "Windows", however...
    • I can understand that such a thing is a different matter in non-English speaking countries, like The Netherlands.

      The vast majority of the Dutch speak perfectly good English.

      How could they ever not say that it is a generic term in English speaking countries, like the USA?

      What proportion of the US population speak English?
    • Actually, the word window has been borrowed into Dutch as a generic computing term. A while back I did a little research into this, reported here [], using Google and easily found examples of window used in this way on Dutch-language websites, including examples in which Dutch suffixes were added, which demonstrates that the word has been incorporated into Dutch. So I think that the Dutch court was wrong in ruling that window is not a generic term in Dutch.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And the security subject comes up when they run the user as root?? Its having having a blind man sell you glasses...
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omnirealm ( 244599 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:26AM (#9276110) Homepage

    ...the latest Michael's Minutes from Linspire pegs all the blame for virus problems on Microsoft and basically says that Linux (well, Lindows anyway) is the cure.

    The irony of this statement is that Lindows will probably be one of the driving forces in getting Linux viruses popular. By marketing the software to those who are less computer-savvy while making the root user the default user, Lindows is opening up the door for some nasty widespread security exploits. Some of the reasons why viruses have not been a problem under Linux so far has been due to smaller desktop market penetration, heterogeneity, the computer literacy of those who run Linux, and the restricted account privileges of the user. Lindows threatens all of those factors.

    • Re:Irony (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dmaxwell ( 43234 )
      What's sad about this is that Linspire could EASILY do this the way OS X does it. When you install something in OS X, a box pops up asking for the admininstrator password. It's easy and maintains security for the system level stuff. It wouldn't be that big a deal to prettify and simplify something like Kpackage.
      • Re:Irony (Score:3, Informative)

        by mpe ( 36238 )
        What's sad about this is that Linspire could EASILY do this the way OS X does it. When you install something in OS X, a box pops up asking for the admininstrator password. It's easy and maintains security for the system level stuff.

        As well as maintaining a distinction between "administrator" and "user" tasks. Which means that it is far more difficult to get the "click on a web link and have some malware quietly installed" senario.
        • Dear accounting,

          I have pictures of your daughter! Install the enclosed RPM to view them. Enter the admin password when prompted.
      • Re:Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Kaboom13 ( 235759 ) <.kaboom108. .at.> on Friday May 28, 2004 @11:10AM (#9277350)
        Training users to enter the aministrator password whenever a box pops up and asks for it might not be the best idea ever.
  • ...mike []

    coz microsoft already takes on []and threatens [] him.
  • Wasnt there something called "XWindows" or "Windows X" on Unix years before M$ coined their Windows?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lindows from what I understand makes the big mistake opf giving users the nice experiance by running as the root user.

    This is pretty brain dead at the best of times and will allow worms to propogate as badly as at present. If windows users were not always logged in as admin there wouldn't be such a problem as there is. I am sure the same will be said for any OS, where you can do anything as the normal user.

    If a Lindows user gets a browser worm or similar and is root, it can still propgate and do what it l
  • by jdesbonnet ( 22 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:34AM (#9276151)
    I don't have the latest figures, but I'm pretty sure that MacOSX desktop figures far outweight those of any Linux distribution (right now anyway ;-)

    MacOSX is a real OS. What's the virus situation here? I think it will be a good indication of what life will be like when Linux desktop becomes more common.

    BTW: this is a question... not a statement, but my hunch is that MacOSX malware is rare (?)
    • Apple just released a patch against the first concept virus specifically aimed at OS X. (It does, of course, also have to patch vulnerabilities found in things like OpenSSH). There have also been one or two trojans which have made the news.
  • Kinspire (Score:5, Funny)

    by 2br02b ( 448267 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:35AM (#9276162)
    Under what's new (right hand side of page)

    New Linspire name
    Rock with Lsongs
    Lphoto ships

    Looks Like Lanother KDE Lin Lthe Lmaking
  • Ok, first off... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <ag-slashdot&exit0,us> on Friday May 28, 2004 @08:48AM (#9276221) Homepage
    ...I really don't like Microsoft.

    But saying Linspire pegs all the blame for virus problems on Microsoft and basically says that Linux (well, Lindows anyway) is the cure." strikes me as wrongheaded. The problems with Microsoft/virus issue are all legacy issues. If you think about it, all Microsoft code is based on a pre-Internet OS. It really isn't geared to the Internet to day. It's kind of like why pre-'70s (US) cars may not need to meet modern pollution codes. This does not make it right. But Microsoft itself is too monolithic to respond properly.

    Also the users that are having the problems are all the "unwashed masses" that don't know to patch their systems properly and to pratice safe web surfing. They need to be educated.

  • Go Lindows/Linspire! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I enjoy reading the weekly Michael's Minute, always a good read, except of course for the obligatory Lindows advertisements.

    With regards to the fight over the Lindows name, I like to see Lindows standing up for principles and also for taking on Microsoft.

    I applaud Lindows efforts to create a user friendly Linux release, I wish that it was a free distribution that I could just make copies of and give out to people, with revenue coming from optional support, click n run subscriptions.
  • keep the new name (Score:2, Interesting)

    by qBeaks ( 98833 )
    I wonder if they will change the name back, I'm just starting to like Linspire better than Lindows.
  • Look at the Related links bar on the right - about halfway down it says:
    -doesn't infringe Microsoft's patent

    Well I thought it was funny anyway.
  • Here's what I want to know.

    Most slashdotters direct much wrath towards the makers of spyware, adware, and malware in general, because they are a pain in the ass that inconvenience users.

    However when someone writes a virus that inconveniences users, almost everyone here blames Microsoft and not the writer of the virus.

    Seeing how there is almost no difference between the two, why are spyware publishers lambasted but virus writers given a free pass, and in many cases, lauded as champions against the evil Microsoft Empire?

    • Spyware and adware and similar evils are nothing to do with MS. They don't exploit any technical flaw - they just assume that nobody's actually going to read the EULA. They're a social evil. We therefore hate the companies that use them to advertise, and we hate the people who take their filthy lucre, and we get really pissed off when we clean a bunch of adware crap from some idiot's computer when we told them not to install that shit. Microsoft can hardly be blamed for this.

      Worms, however, do not exploit

      • On the contrary, spyware, worms, and viruses all require some sort of human interaction (or lack thereof) to manifest themselves on a PC or network.

        Spyware - user installs the application.
        Worm - user not keeping up to date with AV definitions and/or Microsoft OS updates.
        Virus - see Worm, user opens unknown attachment.

        And do the same flaws that allow viruses and worms to manifest themselves not also allow spyware to be installed without the user's consent?

        I think there's more in common between worms,

  • by georgep77 ( 97111 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @09:39AM (#9276547) Homepage Journal
    The main problem with windows in-security is that there hasn't been a virus/worm attack bad enough to make people really look at alternatives. Lax building codes don't get addressed until a supermarket roof collapses and many people are injured/killed, the same is true for the computer world. If a worm was created that automatically nulled all sectors of a hard drive 4 hours after infection people would take notice and steps would be taken to either i) fix the problem ii) change the product that has the problem. I think MSFT is on pins and needles hoping that this never happens . It would be catastrophic if said worm ever did exist but that might be the only thing to get people to really take this seriously.

    p.s. Why didn't they call in "Lin+dows - Linux + XWindows" ??
  • moron (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wasabii ( 693236 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @10:11AM (#9276785)
    Well Michael is a moron frankly. What WOULD prevent Linux from becoming as virus infested as Windows would be security out of the box. Locked down settings.

    We have buffer overflows in programs just like them.

    So, it's good to know that Lindows distributes itself with no user accounts, but you run as root.
  • I had an old Compaq 1255 laptop sitting on the shelf with a bad hard drive for quite some time. Recently a friend of mine gave me an old 2.4G HD to put in it. Now, that's smaller than the original HD, so I couldn't use the factory reinstall disc, which was Win98 anyway, so all the the better I figured! I could have maybe put some other version of Windows on it, but it's an older machine, so I figured maybe this would be the perfect opportunity to do my first native Linux installation (i.e., the first tim
  • I had two of my XP systems down because of all the virus infections going around. Four different virus scanners detected nothing, but people claimed I might be infected. So while I reformatted two XP systems just to make sure, I had Lindows/Linspire running for my email, web server, etc. I even created some documents in and sent them to people using MSOffice and they opened them with no problems.

    Linspire is like the MS version of Linux, easy to install and configure. Linspire also wants you
  • In holland? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pragma_x ( 644215 ) on Friday May 28, 2004 @12:03PM (#9277834) Journal
    "Lindows" is okay in Holland, check. ... so what *isn't* allowed in Holland again?
  • If I remember right, the first real worm released on the internet was a UNIX worm...

    Hard to blame Microsoft for that one.

    I agree they are negligent in their security practices, but to blame them for all viruses is silly and only makes the Lindows team look like name calling children.

    The *blame* goes to the people that are exploiting the issues..

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.