Here We Go Again: Microsoft Inks Deal with Xandros

Lora Bentley

As we pointed out earlier today, News.com says Microsoft has a new agreement. What's the big deal? There isn't one, really -- unless you consider that the other party to the agreement is Ottawa-based Linux distributor Xandros. And the terms are similar to those in Microsoft's controversial agreement with Novell -- including the covenant not to sue.

 

Yes, you read that correctly, and no, you shouldn't be surprised. Despite the prohibition in the last call draft of the GNU General Public License v3, Microsoft and Xandros have entered into a collaboration agreement that includes patent protection. Because it was effective after March 28, 2007, the agreement puts in jeopardy Xandros' right to distribute software that is released under GPL v3.

 

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.

 

If the Free Software Foundation thought changing the license terms to prevent more Microsoft-Novell agreements would end the matter, it was wrong. It seems that Eben Moglen and other free software attorneys will be busy for quite some time.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 5, 2007 4:12 AM Roy Schestowitz Roy Schestowitz  says:
As Bruvce Perens put it ( http://techp.org/p/4 ):"They took the money that Microsoft offered. That's really all the news there is here - that Microsoft found another foundering commercial Linux distribution willing to sign up to the patent covenant and give it publicity. The technical aspects are irrelevant, as they indeed are in the Novell deal." Reply
Jun 5, 2007 4:47 AM Dave Lozier Dave Lozier  says:
Hi Lora,I have to agree with what Bruce Perens stated. Xandros is not a big commercial distribution and was easy pickings for Microsoft's "protection" service. Most are seeing for what it is and that is the dividing and conquering of an enemy of Microsoft, the GPL and the software that uses it. Reply
Jun 5, 2007 10:36 AM Sigh Sigh  says:
It's Ottawa, not Ottowa. Verify it next time you're in Washingtun. Reply
Jun 5, 2007 11:00 AM Lora Bentley Lora Bentley  says:
Thanks for pointing out the typo -- it has been corrected. Reply

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