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Linux Foundation discusses Microsoft threat after Linspire deal

Another one bites the dust. After Novell and Xandros, Linspire has signed away their future as well for a wad of cash in the short term. The reaction of the Linspire community isn't as negative as the Xandrosians but that should be no surprise. Xandrosians are the type of people with a big dislike for Microsoft and willing to pay to get far away from it. Linspire folk are on average more the kind of people that want a cheap/free Windows replacement.

The effects of these deals and Microsoft's patent protection racket will be discussed this week at the Linux Foundation summit at Google's Mountain view headquarters. The effect should be clear though. Under GPLv3 only the Novell deal is grandfathered in. Linspire (and Xandros) will get no such protection and will likely be barred from distributing GPLv3 code if they want to keep their Microsoft deal. That should end their distributions pretty quickly.

It's a good thing I run Debian. There's no corporate entity there to sell my rights to Microsoft behind my back. Red Hat should be equally safe despite that it's a commercial distro. And if the sky really does fall down one day… Oh well, there's still Solaris.

The Microsoft Xandros Deal

“Microsoft, Xandros Broad Collaboration Agreement Extends Bridge Between Commercial Open Source and Microsoft Software”. And so it begins again… Here are the details from the announcement on Microsoft's press wire:

  • Systems management interoperability
  • Server interoperability
  • Office document compatibility
  • Intellectual property assurance
  • Microsoft sales and marketing support

Stephen Walli has written a pretty good summary of the MS-Xandros deal over at his blog, but I don't quite share his conclusion that in the end it's just hot air and patent FUD anyway, and therefor does not matter much to either party. It will certainly matter to Xandros. If not the deal itself then on what it's customers think. And they don't think much good. Lot's of talk about switching to a different distro. Resellers wanting to return stock. Loyal costomer who have been there since day one crying foul. It's not pretty.

Thing is, Xandors has the worst kind of customers to try to pull this on. Most of them are former Windows users with a big dislike for Microsoft who are willing to pay good money for something that is untouched by Microsoft but still works a bit like it. Bad move Xandors.