Technology Swap

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-06-14 Print this article Print

"The first thing that came out of my mouth when I met with Microsoft was that we needed to do better document interoperability between Office and OpenOffice. That is super-critical and has always been critical for Linux," Carmony said. The office document translator work is particularly important to Microsoft, since it is one of the top priorities for its enterprise customers, Kaefer said.
Click here to read more about how Microsoft gave Xandros Linux users patent protection.
On the instant messaging front, Linspire will license Microsofts RT Audio Codec (a device or program capable of encoding and decoding a digital data stream) to promote voice-enabled interoperability between Linspires Pidgin instant messaging client and Windows Live Messenger on the consumer front and Office Communicator, Microsofts instant messaging client for business. Windows Messenger is the predominant IM client internationally, and Linspire, which does a fair amount of business in Latin America, was suffering from not having the next level of interoperability on that front, Carmony said. "This is basically voice over IP chat between our instant messaging clients," said Kaefer. "We at Microsoft have been trying to achieve IM interoperability at different layers over the years," and while the Linspire and Microsoft IM clients already had text-based interoperability, the deal adds voice-based interoperability. Future releases of Linspire will support the latest Windows Media 10 audio and video codecs, allowing Linspire and Microsoft Windows users to better share digital media files. Linspire recently shed light on its new "Wiki-ized" CNR. Click here to read more. "We already had a Windows Media 9 license, but that was coming to an end and so I wanted to expand that with access to Windows Media 10," Carmony said. Linspire will also license popular Microsoft TrueType fonts, including Arial, Georgia, Times New Roman and Verdana, to give its customers better experiences when creating, editing, and viewing files and documents. Many Linspire customers are mainstream computer users, so they want things to look the same as they do with Windows, and a big part of that is fonts. "So it was a culmination of a lot of little pieces that, when added to all the other pieces in Linspire, would continue to make it a compelling operating system going forward," he said. Linspire has decided not to make the instant messaging, digital media and TrueType fonts available to the current and future Freespire products as well as to the existing Linspire 5 distributions. Linspire 6, which is due for release in early July, will include all of these technologies. "While we certainly have the option of offering a version of Linspire without these technologies, I personally would prefer not to do that and I do not anticipate that will happen down the line," Carmony said. "We did this so as to simply limit customers from wanting to mix and match the technologies they wanted included in their distribution. Customers will be able to get the community-based Freespire distribution, which does not include these three technologies, or buy Linspire, in which it is included," he said. Linspire is not going to raise the retail list price of Linspire 6 from the $59.95 charged for Linspire 5, even though it has all these new technologies bundled in. "I think thats a pretty good deal," he said. Freespire currently includes a number of proprietary options, such as video drivers, and so is not a 100 percent true open solution, Carmony said. "The true die-hards in the free and open-source community are already avoiding both Freespire and Linspire because of this," he said. "I expect the reaction to this deal with Microsoft to be less severe in our user base as we have never been against mixing open-source and proprietary technologies in the same product. We could lose some customers, but I expect the additional functionality this deal brings will win us 20 new customers for every one lost." For Microsoft, the agreement is the latest in a series of collaborations with Linux platform and open-source software providers, including Novell, JBoss, XenSource, Samsung, Xandros, Zend and Fuji-Xerox. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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