Linspire: Punked by Microsoft

MS Linspire: Like Sheep to the Slaughter

Microsoft, thanks to their deep pockets and scary lawyers, is still doing today what it has done for years to anyone that threatens it’s market position. The difference now though, is that Open Source is not one single company that they can buy or push around. They are, however, finding some sheep that will roll over for fear of being dragged into a legal battle. This fear is not based on losing the law suit, but rather the waiting game that eats money for attorneys and other related costs of defending against this suit. It’s kind of like a staring contest; the first one to run out of money loses. Linspire (the distro formerly known as Lindows), is the latest to cower in their cubicles and corner offices for fear of being buried alive by an avalanche of patent infringements. Here is the gist of what Microsoft has to offer to those willing to come clean; Under the PR guise of a “Covenant to Customers” at least 3 Linux publishers have climbed on board. Essentially, if any of the GPL/GNU concepts are touched on, the “Covenant” is violated. With the exception of patches, any other modification or alteration of the code is not allowed, nor is it okay to make copies of the software to give away to your friends – unless of course, additional fees are paid to Microsoft. Remember, we are talking about Linux – not Microsoft products. Microsoft excludes a number of things from this EULA for LINUX, including anything released under GPL3 because of the clause (section 10 paragraph 3 GPL3) expressly forbidding the imposition of restrictions or fees of this sort on anything released under GPL3. Continue reading