Open Source

Linspire gets Microsofter

If you're a user of Linspire, congratulations! You get MS True Type Fonts, DVD Playback, Windows Media Player 10...and...and...

The shaft.

You can't, in the usual spirit of open source software, share the software with others. You can't pass any of the software on with the patent promise. You can't modify the software, or use said software for any "unauthorized" purposes. Yes, you must pay Linspire for the software, but you must also pay Microsoft. And that payment you make to both companies doesn't cover upgrades! Within the agreement it states that new functionality (i.e. upgrades) is not covered under the original agreement (read: payment) and therefore you must pay for another agreement.

So tell me Microsoft and Linspire...how does this, in any way, fit within the mold created by the open source community some three releases ago? And tell me, Linspire, how does this agreement attract and keep Linux users?

Let me answer that question. It doesn't.

I've been around the Linux community for some 12 years. I have seen software come and go. Good software mind you, that couldn't remain alive because of the open source way. Loki Games was a prime example showing that the standard Linux user does NOT want to pay for software. This has, and will continue to be, the Achilles heel of Linux. Because so much is available for free - no one will pay for that which is not.

Think about it. Corel came out with Corel Paint for Linux. They charged a reasonable fee for it but it sank in the water like a Kevin Costner sci-fi film. Why? The Gimp. The Gimp is free. The Gimp is powerful. And again, the Gimp is free. The industry standard Photoshop could finally make its way to Linux and would still have a hard sell because of the The Gimp. Microsoft Office could come out for Linux and suffer the same problems.

So if those softwares could have issues because of free alternatives, why does Linspire think they can charge for their software, sign an agreement with Microsoft, and then change their EUL into something no Linux user in their right mind would start using and/or continue using this distribution? They wouldn't.

Linspire, you've grown soft in the world of Linux. No, you've grown Microsofter. So I guess the only thing left is to break it down as such:

So long farewell, auf weidersehen good-by...

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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