Microsoft Details Linspire Patent Deal

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2007-07-20 Print this article Print

Microsoft's "Covenant to Customers" concerning its deal with Linux distributor Linspire raises questions. (Linux-Watch)

On July 5, Microsoft quietly released a "Covenant to Customers" to clear up how it is handling its patent deal with Linux distributor Linspire. Instead, it did little but puzzle and annoy members of the Linux community. Click here to read more about Linspires patent agreement with Microsoft.
Roy Schestowitz, a well-known open-source advocate and author, for example, wrote in his article "Can Linspire Still Feed on Ubuntu (or Debian) Linux Codebase?" that "Microsoft has disavowed any GPLv3-licensed software. Ubuntu will be moving toward the new tool chain, 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." Indeed, according to Microsofts memo, Microsofts patent protection only applies only to "Linspire Five-0 and successor offerings" on a desktop. Server use is specifically forbidden. Read the full story on Linux-Watch: Freespire, Linspire and Microsoft Patents Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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