June 4, 2007 6:15 AM PDT

Microsoft teams with Linux distributor Xandros

Microsoft and Linux distributor Xandros announced on Monday a technical and legal collaboration, the latest step in the software giant's ongoing program to partner with open-source companies.

Over the next five years, the two companies said, they will work on improving interoperability between their servers to improve systems management.

The pact calls for Microsoft to provide patent covenants for Xandros customers that ensure they are not infringing on Microsoft's intellectual property, according to the companies.

Xandros will also ship software for desktop productivity applications that translates between the Open Document Format and OpenXML, which is Microsoft's own document format.

The agreement will make it easier for Xandros customers to run a mix of Xandros and Microsoft software, Andreas Typaldos, CEO of Xandros, said in a statement.

Typaldos could not definitively say whether anticipated changes in the General Public License, which governs the distribution of Linux, will affect the terms of Xandros' partnership with Microsoft. The most recent draft of the GPL version 3 includes provisions to prevent patent-sharing agreements like the one between Microsoft and Linux vendor Novell.

"Xandros is fully aware of the development of the GPLv3 license. We will remain focused in our efforts to address our customers' interoperability and IP needs in a mixed source environment, and will remain flexible so we can adjust to future developments," Typaldos said in an e-mail.

Microsoft said the deal is part of its strategy to partner with open-source firms, including Novell and Zend Technologies.

Xandros is a Debian-based Linux distribution for desktops and business servers.

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33 comments

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Divide and conquer?
n/t
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Could be
Or, it could be MS is trying to get their hooks in most of the Linux companies, shut down the ones they don't control, then pressure they do control into shutting down or making even stupider mistakes that put them out of business. MS can buy off every one of the Linux businesses out of pocket change.
Posted by Phillep_H (497 comments )
Link Flag
Actually, not really.
Novell was a deal that made one sit and go "***?" when one heard it.

Xandros on the other hand was a distro built to be as Windows-like as possible, so it actually makes sense that they'd go for it.

That said, Xandros is also a distro that is failing in popularity; few people use it, and outside of the Linux community, very few people even know what it is.

It all boils down to this: MSFT is trying to get some sort of credibility to their BS claims of patent infringement, but will never come right out and say so. Methinks they want to point at SuSE and Xandros and say "see? they've entered into agreements, so they agree that what we say is true!"

It also pisses off the more zealous of the Linux community, but that's about the sum total of its effect.

Problem is, Novell flat-out told MSFT that Redmond was full of it when it came to patent claims.

One other problem with MSFT's strategy: Ever notice how MSFT is the one doing all the check-writing in these deals? Nobody is paying MSFT for the 'license' (or whatever they're trying to call it).

Finally, once GPLv3 comes out, The entire playing field will change. There will be no 'TiVO' style loophole for MSFT. That is, there's no way for them to try and suck in Linux and GPL code, tuck it into TPM/DRM, and lock it down that way. This explains why GPLv3 makes MSFT rather nervous.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
We are on schedule!
Bye bye Linux.
Posted by Mproject (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Schedule for failure for MS
That's kinda stupid. You could only say that if you don't know what you are talking about. You can't put out something as bad as Vista and not have anyone notice it. As far as Xandos goes, It had always wanted to be like Ms Windows and very few people uses it. So not many people in the linux word even care about this deal.
Posted by eddiewilson (4 comments )
Link Flag
How does this teaming up help Microsoft?
Can someone explain the big picture?

How is this ongoing program to partner with open-source companies help Microsoft?
Posted by muycodo (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Simple Answer!
If you cannot beat them; then, join them; and, the answer is as simple as that.

The IBM's Lotus Development Continuum (CODE-BASE "OPEN LOTUS SMARTSUITE") Anyone!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
taming linux
(a) Each license makes Microsoft's patent threats seem more credible (Novell *and* Xandros have admitted that Linux infringes).

Once the threat is credible enough, tame and/or kill Linux. Either directly by raising prices on these deals, or indirectly via the development community (the Novell deal, at least, doesn't cover developers).

(b) The deals are mildly damaging to the Linux community in themselves, as people rail against them instead of doing productive work in the community.
Posted by jiri_baum (4 comments )
Link Flag
Microshaft slips in
When you drop a small amount of red dye in your tub, it won't take long for your water to be pink.

microsoft wants to get it's code ( code that's unique ) into linux, so they can pull apart open source and kill it from within.

Xandros is their paid tunnel in.

anyone who thinks M$ cares about working with anyone on anything open source, had better put down the crack pipe and get help.
Posted by firehand (3 comments )
Link Flag
Linux will kill itself
Is it the case of the suicide penguin?
Posted by Mark_Smith (85 comments )
Reply Link Flag
meaningless
This is just a meaningless company trying to make headlines. Check DistroWatch and see for yourselves. They rank #28 and are still dropping. And the reality is, this game isn't working. News.com is the only one to print a story, the other Linux news sites don't seem to care.

The next GPL will take care of any MS patent agreements, there will most likely be an exception letting Novell keep its deal, but this one won't be permitted under the new license. Xandros is dying, let them go.
Posted by jsmith1785 (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Distrowatch=useless
Oh please, Distrowatch is absolutely useless when it comes to tracking Linux usage. Distrowatch merrily tracks the number of people clicking to the Distrowatch detail page, it does not track downloads or active installs.

Xandros is no Ubuntu, but it has an active and vibrant user community.
Posted by djhomeless (4 comments )
Link Flag
Freedom Of Press...
... Can CNET NEWS justify its actions not to allow for the freedom of information that would serve to further enlighten the minds of its readership: re: the apparent removal of a previous post with reference to the General Availability of "OpenOffice.org for eComStation and OS/2 (a very notable technological achievement for some by Serenity Systems International ( <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ecomstation.com/openoffice.phtml" target="_newWindow">http://www.ecomstation.com/openoffice.phtml</a> ) as a viable alternative to the Windows and Linux Operating Systems!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just like IBM...
...in the early eighties when it annointed Microsoft to create the operating system for its computers.

One thing led to another and soon Microsoft dominated the personal computer industry. IBM doesn't even make PCs anymore.

Could it be that one day MS won't even be making the foundations of its operating system, just like Apple does using a BSD foundation for Mac OS X?

WinLinux, here we come?
Posted by Maccess (610 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If that is the goals of MS
And it wouldn't a bad goal, building on the foundations of Linux.

However, they don't need these sorts of agreements to use Linux. The GPL makes this possible.

The problem would be to force MS to honor the terms in the GPL.
Posted by MSSlayer (1074 comments )
Link Flag
Not to important...
maybe. They rate number 29 on distrowatch.com and they are going down. They also never recieved a donation from distrowatch, which is a reward of sorts to very exceptional distros.

What I am nervous about is just what kind of mean underhanded lowlife trick is Microsoft up to? I mean... well... you know... keeping the ignorant masses under their control with Vista. I have been using it for several months and I am still not happy with it. In short what I learned in a short time is just how much freedom I lost in using vista. I spend more time with the operating system then I do with creativity. It is hard to manage in comparsion to XP. Defrag leaves you in the dark saying "Trust me I know what I am doing" giving me no indication as to its progress. I DON'T LIKE THAT! Compressed file management is horribly slow. Just what is it doing anyway? No longer can you use screen textures for backgrounds like you could in XP. As I download files I have a hard time putting them where I want them. Where as in XP file management was very easy. I STILL DON'T HAVE OCR! Now if I down grade to XP Professional my OCR and other programs will work fine. Hmmmm...
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Real Story!
In the 1920's there was a depression because business become monopolies. The goverment made legislation to stop that. The breakup of ATT was an example.

Today you have two competing software companies. Apple and Microsoft. There where others but these where the important two. To the goverment that was okay. Now we have Linux. Linux can run on just about any box. It has many competing distros (Operating Systems). The goverment really likes that. No monoploy here. Various linux software will work with any distro. Apple and Microsoft can't do that. If one distro gets stupid or greedy, the people can use another distro. Its all common sense, linux is working and it is growing and it CAN'T BE STOPPED! Microsoft knows that and so doesn't Apple. Apple is now Apple Electronics and no longer Apple Computers. Microsoft is as of now creaming in their pants not knowing what to do. THE LINUX TSUNAMI CAN'T BE STOPPED. Oh they will try... But the will be assimulated, Resistence is futile! You soon will be buying XP and Vista in tag sales along with Macs.

I am not really a Linux user. I am writting this on a XP Pro computer. But I do see the light... soon I will have to get a Linux computer!
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The devil in a blue suit
You under estimate M$, NO monopoly?
sharpen your knives and watch your back, M$ loves a fool
Posted by firehand (3 comments )
Link Flag
RE: The Real Story!
Microsoft isn't going anywhere anytime soon. At best the only other real alternative to Windows at the moment is Apple's Mac OS. Sure Linux will gain ground, but not fast enough, in my opinion, to dominate the market in the next five to ten years.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
IS 'MICROSCHITT' GETING NERVIOUS?
MIZ BILL GATES WORRIED ABOUT LOSING CONTROL?
YOU CAN NOT TREAT PEOPLE LIKE DIRT FOREVER!

WATCHOUT FOR HIM 'LINUX' = A TRAPED RAT WILL GET REAL NASTY.
Posted by lone_horse_64 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
'BEWARE' A CORNERED RAT "LINUX"!
BILL GATES CAN 'BUY' ANY HITMAN/WOMAN HE WANTS.
'LINUX' IS A THREAT TO HIS BANK ACCOUNT AND HE KNOWS IT.
HE HAS GOTEN USED TO "CONTROL", HE LOVES IT.
LOOK AT 'HUGO-CHAVEZ' = HE IS SHUTING DOWN THE TV STATIONS TO CONTROL THE PEOPLE.
MIZZ GATES TO FOLLOW IN HIS FOOT STEPS.
BAR THE DOOR, BILLY DONT DANCE WELL.
Posted by lone_horse_64 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: LINUX COMITTING SUICIDE.
'IF' LINUX HAS NOT ANTICIPATED THE VENGENCE OF BILL GATES AND HIS BELOVED EMPIRE?
THEY ARE 'DEAD'.
MICROSCHITT/WAL-MART/JOHN-DEERE, ALL CORPORATE MONSTERS OF THEIR OWN DESIGN.
RULE, RAPE, CONTROL, OWN, KILL, $$$$$$, MORE MONEY, MORE CONTROL, WELCOME TO THE CORPORATE WORLD FANS.
ITS JUST LIKE AN ALIGATOR EATING HIS OWN TAIL =
A DAY OF RECKONING IS FORTHCOMING.
BILL GATES IS SCAIRT SCHITTLESS, WATCH HIM LINUX = HE DOESNT FIGHT FAIR.
Posted by lone_horse_64 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WinUx
Software corporate version of a <b><i><font color="RED">hostile</font></i><b> takeover.<p>Don't believe
me? Ahhhhh, who am I kidding, you already do.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mr. Anderson...
Run Neo,this can not be good.The only thing that linux could gain would be cross compaible gaming the last windows holdout.
So in the future linux will buil evrey 5 to 10 years instead of 6 months and become incredably bloated?
Posted by ibmorjamn (8 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft's Plan?
Is their plan to somehow control or own Linux Distributions? First they get in bed with Novell. They tell the whole world, "Novell Linux users don't have to be afraid of us, we won't sue you for using an operating system that violates our I.P." Now, they've hooked up with Xandros and are now saying, "Don't worry Xandros Linux users, you are safe from our wrath".

Is this Microsoft's plan? To buy into Open Source Companies and, somehow, own Open Source software?
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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