Earlier this week, just less than a couple of months after their seemingly-friendly deal, Microsoft betrayed Linspire. There are more questions to be raised and implications to discuss.
Setting aside the fact that Kevin Carmony took a cheap shot at folks like Mark Shuttleworth (his supplier) with his “pirates” remark, what might be the punishment?
Microsoft has disavowed any GPLv3-licensed software. Ubuntu will be moving toward the new toolchain, which is GPLv3-licensed. Linspire needs Ubuntu, which is the core on which it builds its products. If Linspire carries on adopting Ubuntu as its codebase or even falls back (some would say “forward”) to Debian, any “patent indemnification” will then be rendered moot.
Let’s admit that we only came to this realisation when we read a comment from a very shrewd person who seems to be intimately familiar with Linspire matters. Here is what he had to say about Freespire:
What a complete and utter crock. There IS no 100 percent free version of Freespire because it was KILLED by Kevin Carmony. Several prominent “community” members gave the distro a two-fingers-up and moved on to klikit Linux after KC signed the pact acknowledging unspecified patent infringements. The newest Linspire has an EULA worthy of Microsoft, and there IS no “community” to make Freespire “community-driven.” Freespire is the red-headed stepchild of the parent Linspire (perhaps Lindows will make a resurgence now that Carmony is in bed with MS.) Avoid, shun, discourage use of this distro wherever and whenever possible.
The very same person was very well aware (and critical) of the fact that Linspire used to game DistroWatch ranks and got caught by Ladislav, the Web site’s maintainer. Additionally, the Linspire EULA only permits the user to install the software on one PC. It certainly teaches you a thing or two about Linspire and their source of inspiration. They used to go by the name “Lindows” before a settlement with Microsoft.
Xandros has not been mentioned in relation to GPLv3 yet. There was no announcement from Microsoft. The abusive company only spoke about Linspire, but the deal with Xandros is virtually identical. Since Xandors does not maintain its distribution purely by itself (it has some proprietary component to latch onto it, just like Linspire, which ‘repackages’ Linux), how does it fit into this debate? Do the same rules apply? Is a Xandros betrayal imminent? Statements from Microsoft have already rained on Novell’s and Linspire’s parade. It is obvious that there is more to come.