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Linux distributor Linspire is the latest company to enter into a collaboration agreement with Microsoft. Like the controversial deal between Microsoft and Novell and Microsoft's more recent deal with Xandros, the agreement between Microsoft and Linspire involves collaborative interoperability efforts and a covenant not to sue over patent infringement. 老域名购买

Linspire, formerly known as Lindows, has some bitter history with Microsoft. Back in 2004, the two software companies butted heads in an acrimonious trademark dispute that cost Linspire tens of millions of dollars and forced the company to adopt its current name. Under the terms of the new agreement, the two companies will now work together to develop software tools and frameworks that facilitate translation between Microsoft's Office Open XML format and the OpenDocument format. Linspire also hopes to improve interoperability by licensing Microsoft's instant messaging audio codec in order to incorporate support for Windows Live Messenger voice chat into the Pidgin instant messaging client. Linspire also licensed Microsoft's Windows Media 10 codecs, which will make it easier for Linspire users to view Windows Media files. Linspire also agreed to make Microsoft's Live Search service the default browser search engine for Linspire users.

"Linspire has always been about choice, and this announcement continues our tradition of offering options for improved interoperability, enhanced functionality and confidence," said Kevin Carmony, Linspire CEO. "Over the years, in an effort to expand choice, we have entered into dozens of agreements with commercial software vendors. It certainly made sense to collaborate with Microsoft, one of the most important partners in the PC ecosystem."

Like Microsoft's deals with Novell and Xandros, this agreement with Linspire also includes a controversial patent covenant. Critics of Microsoft's patent deals have expressed concern that Linux vendors are adding credibility to Microsoft's unsubstantiated claims regarding Linux patent infringement and undermining the principles of unrestricted distribution promoted by open-source software licenses. An upcoming revision of the widely used General Public License aims to block Linux distributors from making deals that include patent covenants. The latest draft includes a grandfather clause for Novell, but that won't apply to Linspire or Xandros. It is unlikely that the license will be altered again to extend the grandfather clause so that it covers and Linspire.

This agreement will make Linspire the latest company that will face an inevitable onslaught of criticism from a vocal faction of Linux users.


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