06.05.07

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More on Xandros (Meanwhile, BoycottXandros.com Goes Live) (Updatedx2)

Posted in GPL, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Xandros at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As Shane promised, the new Web site is finally up and running. At the moment it only redirects to Xandros-tagged posts in BoycottXNovell.com.

It sure seems like Xandors has betrayed some of its own customer, who actively seek a route out. Check out this threa[t|d] in their own Web site. Its title is “Xandros = Microsoft, Which Linux To Use Now?”. PCLOS 2007 is currently leading in the polls and, mind you, being a community distribution, Microsoft cannot ‘buy’ PCLOS.

In other news, Forbes (which is typically biased) publishes the article “Microsoft’s Protection Racket?”.

Microsoft should have admitted that Linux matters sooner. For years, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant seemed to be in denial as the open-source operating software made gains against its Windows franchise.

Elsewhere we learn a little more about the possible legal implications.

Why would any company deliberately defy license terms? Because it can. We’d imagine that Microsoft’s pockets are deep enough that it couldn’t care less about legal action that might arise because of the agreement. In fact, as this InformationWeek piece seems to suggest, it may be that Microsoft wants to challenge the license in court.

As we stressed in the past, Microsoft tries to augment a list of companies which provide ‘admission’ of patent guilt. If these companies need to be paid in order to be lured into unjustifiable admission, Microsoft can use its deep pockets. That is also the point which Bruce Parens made yesterday. Xandros sold out.

Update: Shane and I initially dismissed concerns about the possibility of a legal battle. I changed my mind after hearing from PJ.

That said, Matt Aslett, who sort of sparked this debate, seems to be retracting now.

I also wrote that any deal with Xandros would negate my suggestion that Microsoft could be poised to mount a legal challenge to the FSF.

I’ve had second thoughts on that. This could be the deal that it uses to prove that the FSF is blocking its attempts to “build bridges”. We’ll see.

Microsoft expressed no intent to take legal action (not explicitly anyway). Alas, IANAL.

Update #2: Also worth seeing is the following discussion at Groklaw. Among the good points, which also highlight the resemblance to SCO’s ploy, there’s this reasonable guess:

I’m starting to wonder if this is just face-saving PR, after getting zonked by the GPL. Why would Microsoft care about a company this insignificant otherwise?

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