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How is Xandros Eee PC Arrangement ‘Complicated’?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interview, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Xandros at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


ne of the more intriguing developments at the moment is the joining of Linspire and Xandros [1, 2, 3]. The CEO of Xandros rarely speak to the press and it’s virtually impossible to find information about him on the Web. Regardless, one of the reasons Xandros is still mentioned every now and then is the ASUS Eee PC. The following new article about the acquisition mentioned that too.

A customized version of the Xandros distro is bundled with the popular Asus EeePC.

Several months ago, Florian von Kurnatowski from Xandros (he had worked at Scalix, which was acquired by Xandros as well) said in reference to the Eee PC that there was “no impact or royalties to Redmond in this case, most of it open source, the stuff that’s not ours and Asus’ own development, and given the numbers this little thingy leaves the building in, actually one of the most successful end-user products based on open technology, ever.”

Mind the following interesting new bit from the CEO of Xandros:

When I asked Typaldos whether Xandros is licensing its Linux OS to Asus for the EeePC and how Xandros makes its money from the 1-1.5 million netbooks he referred to, he responded by saying it’s ‘complicated.’

What does that mean? He doesn’t say, but it sure seems like another secret arrangement from a company that repackages and charges for Free software. As we wrote earlier, negations with Linspire began as far back as last year. It was a back-room negotiation as Kevin Carmony bitterly put it.

It wasn’t long ago that a rumour came about ASUS considering work with Debian, on which Xandros is based. They could go right to the source. SJVN adds some historical background in his follow-up coverage of this.

[I]t’s safe to say that no one saw Xandros, the oldest of the desktop Linux companies thanks to its Corel Linux ancestry, buying Linspire, the desktop Linux perhaps best known for being the first Linux to openly embrace proprietary software. So how did this deal happen? Why did it happen? Here’s what Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos had to say about the surprising deal.

So, to Typaldos it was a great match up of where Xandros was and where Linspire had been trying to go. “Products like the ASUS Eee PC have demonstrated the huge potential market for Linux-based OEM netbook solutions and other emerging mobile Linux platforms. The Linspire CNR technologies provide the fourth “E” as in ‘easy to maintain.’ including on-demand delivery of a growing number of Linux utilities and games.”

To shed some light on the irrelevance of Xandros and Linspire compared to something like Ubuntu, see the image below (click for a full-sized version). Distro Watch tells a similar story.

Linspire Ubuntu Xandros

Here is why Novell is by the far the biggest fish in this Microsoft racketeering pond.

Linspire Xandros Novell

In the future, it is going to be simpler to track Linspire and Xandros under their joint Xandros umbrella. Their destiny — however fortune or misfortunate — will be shared too.

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