Thursday, June 14, 2007

Linspire Licences Soul From Microsoft

It's one of those "aw, too bad" moments in computing history. Linspire announced today that they would be licensing fonts, video codecs and some IM crap from Microsoft for their upcoming Linspire 6 distribution due out in early July.

"Ummmm - who cares?" you're probably saying. In the big scope of things - Linspire will go the way of NEXT and Be OS, it will become a niche player and then will just disappear altogether... BUT - boy, they had some balls back in the old days.

This was the Linux distribution company that first called themselves "Lindows." Nice.

They were getting press like mad, and flipping "good ol' Bill" the bird in the media.

Then in 2004, being the biggest software company in the world, Microsoft grew tired of being poked - and, of course, called in the lawyers. At first, the little Lindows company resisted.

Then, Microsoft, being the biggest software company in the world, did something so EVIL that it finally caused Lindows to change their name and to also get some free MS technology to distribute. The evil that Microsoft pulled out was not red, but green. They agreed to PAY Lindows $20 million.

Being ballsy will only get you so far, apparently.

Now that they're buddies again, Linspire (the fantasic, dynamic new name they came up with - "Hey, it starts with an L!") they had the brilliant idea to include proprietary stuff (MS stuff, drivers, etc) in both their Freespire Linux OS product (open source, community based) and the Linspire Linux OS product (pay for).

Ummmm... I guess that's one way to go. I can't imagine that open source Linux customers are looking for a bastardized, 1/2 Linux 1/2 Microsoft hybrid OS. On the other hand there are many other Linux distributions out there that are MS-free... so maybe there are IT managers who want "open source lite" to appease the big brass and bean counters, but who secretly are Sith Lords.

You never know.

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