Here We Go Again: Microsoft Inks Deal with Xandros

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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.