Microsoft signs another Linux distributor

Free Software 7 Comments »

For those who haven’t quite caught up, last year Microsoft signed a broad-collaboration deal with Novell that included a patent covenant. Since then, Xandros, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and now also Linspire, another Linux development and support company.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they target the cellular handset manufacturers as well. Both Nokia and Motorola have a lot invested in Linux as a platform, and they have existing agreements with Microsoft, so they would be easy targets.

Today, Aaron Toponce, and Richard Johnson (both Ubuntu members), urged Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Ubuntu), to make a public statement about where Ubuntu and Canonical stands with regards to Microsofts new partnerships.

In a recent interview, Mark was asked whether he would sign such an agreement, and his response was:

“No, absolutely not. But the time will come when the folks at Microsoft who have a clear vision for the company as a participant in this community, rather than as a hostile antagonist, will win. At that point I’d love to work with Microsoft. It’s not an evil empire. It’s just a company that is efficiently grounded in the 1980s. New leadership and new thinking might make it a more effective partner for us.”

By that, I understand that Mark has already stated that there won’t be a Microsoft-Ubuntu cross-patent deal. Mark has also previously expressed that he is against software patents. It does sound like he’s quite keen to be doing work with Microsoft though, and I don’t think that’s necassarily a bad thing, as long as Ubuntu doesn’t give Microsoft more FUD mud, I think I’ll be fine with that.

However, what IF Ubuntu would sign a patent covenant with Microsoft? Would I still advocate Ubuntu? I honestly can’t say. I certainly won’t like it, and I admit that I would also feel more comfortable if Canonical would make a statement on where they stand on this. I have lots of trust in the Ubuntu project though, and I’m very confident that the right choices will be made.

FSF starts new campaign: Play OGG!

Free Software 9 Comments »

In the past, the Free Software Foundation used its funding to fund free software development. More recently, the FSF changed their strategy to fund only critical development, and to use their available funds more for free software campaigns.

FSF has employed another full time project manager, and has launched a new campaign called “Play OGG“. I think it’s great that they explain to Windows and Mac users how to get Ogg Vorbis support using a free player, although I think it would be even better to explain how to get Vorbis support in other Windows based applications as well (Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc). A lot of users are quite set on their preferred media applications, and are unlikely to change just to get support for a better audio codec.

This is just the start of the campaign though, and I’m sure it will expand and have much more information real soon. It would also be nice to be able to buy an audio player with a “Yes, it plays .ogg!” logo, similar to the Microsoft Plays for Sure logo.

Read the full announcement here:


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