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Linspire invites dirty uncle Microsoft over for patent party

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When not threatening to sue Linux makers, Microsoft can't help itself from partnering with them. Redmond today announced a buddy-buddy deal with desktop Linux maker Linspire.

We'd call it a stretch to say that anyone cares about the technical details behind the Microsoft-Linspire tie-up, but that would send a handful of Linspire zealots into seizures. Instead, we'll note that Microsoft and Linspire have pledged to work on a wide range of areas including the following:

  • Open source translators for sharing OpenOffice and Office documents
  • Linspire's licensing of the RT Audio Codec to let its Pidgin instant messaging users talk to Microsoft IM users
  • Linspire's support of Windows Media 10 audio and video codecs
  • Linspire's licensing of TrueType fonts
  • The shipment of Microsoft's Live Search as the default search engine with Linspire 5.0

Er, if Linspire hadn't got enough out of this deal, Microsoft has also agreed not to sue it or its users into submission.

Yes, Linspire has okayed a Novellesque patent deal that "provide(s) customers with confidence that the Linspire technologies they use come with rights to relevant Microsoft patents."

Many of you will remember that Microsoft recently claimed that open source software – mostly Linux – infringes on its patents. That message was apparently just meant for Red Hat, since Microsoft, which once described Linux as a cancer, has formed ties with a long list of Linux-related open source software sellers. For more information, see Novell, Xandros, XenSource and Zend.

Teaming up with Linspire doesn't exactly add a lot of heft to Microsoft's "everyone is doing it" open source muscle against Red Hat, since Linspire remains somewhat of a niche play. That said, there is a lot of historical significance behind the deal.

Linspire used to be known as Lindows – a company Microsoft sued, claiming rights to "indows" everywhere. ®

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