Linux

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.

31 comments
avi999
avi999

You All Are Missing The Point !!! Linspire is Linux for the mom and pap not some one who cares about command line or the EULA type, someone who looks ap a pc the same way like he looks to a VCR! Things have to work... period. And to be faire there is a CLEAN ( No M$$ ) Linspire distribution by the name FREESPIRE !!! So give those guys a break. The CNR technology that they have made available as OPEN SOURCE is amaizing! Regards

ketan
ketan

Having been a long time linux user, i started with RH 5(97) but found TurboLinux to be more of what I needed, used Caldera, Slackware et al; then came Corel Linux, they had the samba config so clean and easy the windows environment didn't know it was being invaded :); when MS bought a majority share of Corel and the linux division was dropped i knew something was up; I moved to SuSE and Mandrake they worked well despite RPM, and SuSE was the first out with a decent boot cd. But then I tried debian... man, apt roped me in so quickly, I saw why corel used it as a base. The network boot/install was rudimentary but you could get it to work so with a small install footprint you could get a great server environment going. Upgraded a couple of old winnt networks with debian servers running ldap, without upgrading the hardware :) Full system updates and upgrades from a remote ssh login over dialup was so cool. I watched as Corel was reborn as Xandros, and while searching for something my mother and friends could use I found Lindows ( i did like the poke at MS too), this was easy, simple to upgrade and it worked, it did not have the things I liked but it was good for someone who needed a stable environment and was worried about spyware etc. I even had my wife using it. Then I met mepis and I found a great merge between linux and the desktop; debian with a nice kde front end, who could ask for more. Ubuntu was being talked up so much i had to try it and I was hooked, i setup my college age daughter with kubuntu on her PWNED windows laptop and she used it for 2 years for music, school, watching movies without a hiccup. I have supported the different distros and the linux community in genereal i purchased: SuSE (from version 6 to Novell 9.2) Corel Mandrake/Mandriva (ver. 6 to 10) Xandros (2/3/4) Redhat (5/6/7) Sun Star Office (6/7/8) TurboLinux (3/6/10F) Quake 3 for linux Corel Wordperfect 8 for linux Hancom Office 2 and many others. I purchased these to support the community and help to keep it thriving; I did it because I could, so that others would be able to get the software without having to pay. For those who struggle with the Gimp plunk down $30 for Pixel, you will be greatly surprised. The next version is going to be a great competitor of Photoshop, and the nice thing, it is OS agnostic :) there are ports for almost all OSs Suffice it to say I have moved through many different distros and software, I use linux and fix windows; I run OOO on my windows box and Koffice on my linux boxen and i have no problems moving files back and forth because they are both ODF compliant; fyi I have fixed corrupted word and exel docs simply by opening them in OOO; I have a linux box attached to my tv so I can download tv shows and watch them :) with out worrying about spyware/virii or the computer telling me i can't open that file because i don't have a receipt for it... Oh, I have seen AeroGlass on a client's computer(he was very impressed and had to show me), and I actually laughed out loud, because I had been using Beryl, on less hardware. Enough of my screed. Anyone actually getting this far deserves a cookie.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

hehe.. had to be said after reading your ending line.

apxtech
apxtech

Wow, I wish this rubbish about Linux users not wanting to pay for anything would stop. Loki failed because they were selling ports of games for full retail price when the original Windows versions were on a budget labels for 1/3 or 1/4 of the price. Corel's problems had more to do with the slow uptake of Linux desktops in the Enterprise than any reluctance to pay for something useful. There's plenty of people who have paid full price for the Unreal Tournament games, Doom 3, Neverwinter Nights, etc. in order to play them on Linux (either through native installers or Cedega). We just have no way of differentiating between those guys and the Windows users at the point of sale. In fact, look at Cedega itself - Transgaming's flagship product costing $5 per month to run retail-bought games but the company aren't doing too badly. The lack of availability of software by Microsoft and Adobe is the #1 reason I normally hear that stops people from moving away from Windows and using Linux permanently - many people would be happy to pay for Photoshop or Office if they were given the chance! If this tactic by Linspire fails, it's because the move goes completely against the spirit of open source while forcing users to pay money to Linux's number one competitor.

minori_aoi
minori_aoi

If only I can use Photoshop (at least) CS2 in my Ubuntu Feisty Fawn box............. I don't have to switch back to my XP. Unless there is a job to make a Windoze application.

jlwallen
jlwallen

I hardly think it's rubbish. I remember standing in the middle of a discussion between Scott Draeker (founder of Loki Games) and Red Hat's (at the time) head of marketing (this was at the Linux Expo at the Jacob Javitz Center in NY) about this very topic. Draeker brought up his concern that Linux users were not ready to start paying for product. And, in my opinion, the lack of software by MS and Adobe ISN'T the problem. It's the lack of education that IS. OpenOffice is a perfect example. I have integrated OpenOffice into many environments that were previously MS Office environments without a glitch. The difference? Education. People simply need to see that the difference between products like MS Office and OpenOffice are minimal. And the biggest difference between PhotoShop and the Gimp? Interface.

drbayer
drbayer

OpenOffice is a full featured and responsive office suite, and I use it for most of my personal needs. That being said, it's not necessarily the right answer for corporate/enterprise environments any more than WordPerfect is. The problem rises when users try to share documents outside the organization and have used formatting that doesn't translate properly. This problem even exists when translating from MS Office on the Mac to Office on the PC. The "powers that be" generally want to stay with the most commonly used office suite when there is significant collaboration outside the organization in order to minimize the compatibility issues. If that were not the case, I would certainly argue for migration to OpenOffice in my environment. I agree with you on the GIMP. I have actually managed to convince a few users to migrate to that on both Windows and Mac platforms, and use it myself on Windows, Mac & Linux platforms.

support
support

In the U.S., we have passed a law that mandates that phone companies allow you to keep your phone number even when you leave them for another provider. Why? Because of the expense of re-issuing company letterhead, stationary, signs, website info, contacting all of your old business partners, etc.. Your phone number is damned important and changing it is just too expensive and troublesome when the phone companies can make them portable. So, we passed legislation that forced the phone companies to put whatever they they needed to in place to let us keep "our" phone numbers. User data is no different. If anything, it is MORE important than a phone number. That's why we MUST pass Open Data Format legislation that forces all software vendors to openly publish their data formats BEFORE they can distribute their software in the U.S. (hopefully other countries will follow suite). With Open Data Format legislation, you get to choose when and where you use your data. Software companies are still free to innovate, they just have to publish their data formats before they can distribute their software. If you think having a phone number tied to a single provider is bad, what about having your company's business data tied to Quickbooks or Microsoft Accounting. What about having your personal and business correspondence tied to Microsoft Office? Making the move from the proprietary formats used to day to Open Data Formats is a breeze compared to the changes required for phone number portability. All the software comapnies have to do is publish their data formats so that your data remains yours and can be ported to any software vendor that cares to write a conversion from other formats to their own. Even if they don't care to do so, you could hire a coder to transform your data from one sw vendor to another - all you need are the published open data formats. Not only would this free people to use THEIR data when and where they see fit, it would force software companies to compete based on functionality, usability and price - something the locked in proprietary data formats are preventing today. Open Data Format legislation would see more innovation in software and operating systems, lower costs to small businesses and governments and would keep the decision of what software to use with your data right where it belongs - with you!

johnson12
johnson12

I can't agree more with the last post. As for giving a flying you know what about linspire any "real" linux user would have dropped it after trying other seeing what a real nix box is like. YUK I think I used freespire for about a week, just long enough to forum that opinion. And just how hard is it to install win32 coedcs? Who cares if they are on an overseas server? I sure as hell don't, and I am sure there are millions that feel the same way I do. I feel this way because flash is a free linux download, and if MS wasn't being the usual pricks they are then wmp coedcs would be as well. Someone touched on the fact that you even have to buy drivers, when they should come with the hardware. I could not agree more.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That thing where you try to share a document with someone else and it translates bad because they have osX Office and you have win32 Office or they have Word and you don't is the very reason for OpenOffice and Open Document Format. Why should the same file not open and look the same on two different machines (with same screen resolution) regardless of what tool is used to open it? When I buy black and decker screws at Home depot I don't have to buy the black and decker philips screw driver just to use them.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

The problem with Loki is that they ported games FAR too late and they didn't port the new games, but old games... On that note, Linux users are willing to pay now. With tools like Cedega, Cross Over Office, and pay distros that are doing well, it is apparent that users are willing to pay, but only pay for that which they feel there is a benefit to. Your statements on education are spot on.

lbennett
lbennett

Why pay for WMP? I would pay to have it removed. Paying for hardware drivers is also a rip off since you've already paid for the hardware!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I gotta ask; what media files are you trying to play in Linux that leads you to conclude that every possible program that plays media in any remote way is complete crap just because it happens to be compiled to run on Linux (often among other destinct OS). " Considering how crappy and useless EVERY Linux Media player out there is, it's about time WMP 10 came to the Linux desktop... " Your statement is flat out wrong. I'm not debating your experience but stating that "EVERY Linux Media player" is crap only shows that you've either looked at one, didn't like it and decided that the rest are crap or your trying to play a specific closed media format and are blaming the OS instead of the patent holder. WMA.. plays just fine in VLC AVI.. plays just fine in VLC (including DivX/Xvid) MP3.. not even a hickup under heavy work load when reading from a network drive The only one there that takes some fiddlig far as I can tell is the MP3 which may be included with your Linux as a codec or may be included through legally questionable codecs available outside the United States of Paranoia. I don't really meant to berate you more than try and offer information that may help but a blatantly blind statement like "anything for OS blah sucks rocks" just sucks to read. As for Media Player 10; there isn't any way that POS RIAA auditor is going into any of my *nix machines. I'm still debating if it will even go into my Win32 machines. That's just me and my choice though. I have a few thousand other completely viable media players to choose from so I will.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's replaced all my other viewing apps. On Windows I run everything through portableapps.com's packaged VLC off my flashdrive. *nix installes get VLC by default if they're workstations. I really love being able to watch quicktime without adding Apples closed player to my systems. Heck, I've not found a music/video file yet I can't through at it.

zarathustra2010
zarathustra2010

Considering how crappy and useless EVERY Linux Media player out there is, it's about time WMP 10 came to the Linux desktop... Donald McDaniel

Neil Higgins
Neil Higgins

I'm not going to plough MS into the dust,as I have used their offerings since 3.1.Indeed,I have Vista installed on a soon to be sold desktop,to a friend.However,having a few friends within the Open Source community,they,like me,are appalled at Lindows stance.Sorry,Linspire's stance with Microsoft.A gui-Windows clone,going under the guise of linux is very odd.Indeed the meaning of Open Source,is just that.Except in this case,the coders at Redmond are pulling the strings.None of the people I have spoken too would touch Linspire with a barge pole.Neither would I.Please stick to Windows MS,and keep out of linux please. Oh,and Ubuntu is free,will forever remain so.Thank you Mark,and you can update without fuss,and worrying about your bank details.No activation needed.

zclayton2
zclayton2

Friends don't sell friends Vista.

RNR1995
RNR1995

ROFL I would sooner let them drive drunk! LOL......

techrepublic
techrepublic

I remember when Lindows first came out and there was such promise. Then they got taken to court by M$ and won...but had to get rid of their name and now they are Linspire and a cheap sell out to the Linux community. I still get newsletters from the founder...what a goober. How does it feel to be in Bill Gates back pocket Mr Carmony? Of course now there's Freespire...Here we go again.

db.townsend
db.townsend

fyi i just received an email from linspire indicating that their new code base was ubunto and that their CNR (click and run ) application would be connected to ubuntu as well as debian newbie linux user

grax
grax

?their new code base was ubunto(sic)? If this statement is correct (forget the typo)then there would seem to be a problem with the original post. My understanding is that Ubuntu is offered under the GNU General Public License ("GPL"). That being so, Linspire is in contravention of the license if the following is correct: ?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,?

avi999
avi999

and how GPL is making you pay for something? even unbutu is going to use it in a future distro !! Regards

avi999
avi999

The Point is that is nothing wrong ( In my view ) to work with m$$ if is done in good spirit and for the benefit of the users!!!! Regards

grax
grax

?Linspire is Linux for the mom and pap not some one who cares about command line or the EULA type, someone who looks ap a pc the same way like he looks to a VCR! Things have to work... period.? Whilst this may be true it does not answer my question! ?And to be faire there is a CLEAN ( No M$$ ) Linspire distribution by the name FREESPIRE !!!? This doesn?t answer my question either! ?The CNR technology that they have made available as OPEN SOURCE is amaizing! ? Who cares! I just want to know if this stuff complies with the GPL. Yes or no. ?So give those guys a break.? Give ME a break. You respond to my post but don?t answer the question. Do you know the answer? Or are you just giving the world the benefit of your vast experience of something else ? like most of the people that post here. Why do I bother? (That?s rhetorical so leave it out.) Sometimes I think you lot live on a different planet, not just a different time zone.

nighthawk808
nighthawk808

Three words: apt-get install foo Three more words (and an indefinite article): Almost a decade old One word: Synaptic (or whatever it is .deb-based distros use nowadays) CNR: a way to get people to pay for free software. I've got to admit, that is amazing. Amazing that people fall for it.

avi999
avi999

Linspire is Linux for the mom and pap not some one who cares about command line or the EULA type, someone who looks ap a pc the same way like he looks to a VCR! Things have to work... period. And to be faire there is a CLEAN ( No M$$ ) Linspire distribution by the name FREESPIRE !!! So give those guys a break. The CNR technology that they have made available as OPEN SOURCE is amaizing! Regards

jlwallen
jlwallen

considering that ubuntu follows the Debian Free Software Guidlines. that would mean MS can not pin them down with anything. i wonder if that's a move on Linspire's part to move away from MS?

minori_aoi
minori_aoi

Linspire use Ubuntu (since Feisty Fawn) as their codebase just because Ubuntu popularity and it's power (and maybe it's ease on use). Linspire just a company like M$. What they do is using (already popular) Ubuntu to attract customer. It's just their marketing strategy....