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Microsoft Wants to Charge $50 Per GNU/Linux Desktop

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Xandros at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xandros patent protection sale

Summary: Xandros plays ball for Microsoft by offering software patent ‘protection’ as a product

ONE IMPORTANT bit of information that we have not addressed yet is the way Xandros markets GNU/Linux. If one adds Xandros to the cart and proceeds to checkout, then there are two options: Xandros costs $99 without “Microsoft Patent Assurance” and $149.99 with it. Here is the page containing more details.

It says: “Now you have the option to acquire Xandros Desktop offerings together with Microsoft patent assurance. This assurance enables you to use Xandros Desktop software with confidence. This program is available for $50. Learn more by reading Microsoft’s covenant.

“How much does the same thing cost for SLED?”This even links to Microsoft’s Web site. Nice, eh? What a pleasant experience purchasing GNU/Linux from Xandros. This also applies to Linspire, which Xandros bought. They sell Debian with a Microsoft licence for imaginary software patents.

How much does the same thing cost for SLED? And what happens if a customer does not buy this so-called “patent assurance”?

It is sad to see that Xandros still has some presence in sub-notebooks, usually at the expense of GNU/Linux distributions that don’t share a bed with Microsoft. From last week:

The slow-but-steady introduction of ARM-based netbooks is going to be interesting to watch. The above video from NetbookNews.com shows a Pegatron-brand netbook running Xandros Linux on a Freescale platform with an 800MHz ARM CPU, all in a fanless, super slim body that the guy in the video, Sascha, estimates to weigh around 1.75 pounds (800 grams).

More from the news:

Well I started out using the Xandros Linux on the EEE’s and it worked great but I wanted more. So I tried Windows XP for a short time but XP was such a bloated and slow mess I went back to Xandros. Then along came UbuntuEEE (Now EasyPeasy) and I was really happy what it did for my 40G. Finally Canonical came out with Ubuntu 9.04 netbook remix and it’s the bees knees for netbook OS’s.

And lastly:

With major Linux distros like Ubuntu and Xandros embracing the technology, software availability should be improved. Broadband wireless deployments have accelerated sharply over the last year, and should continue to grow by the time the new MIDs appear next year.

It is worth abolishing Xandros, which admits it is no longer focused on GNU/Linux. Here for example is the latest press release which shows that Xandros merely offers hosting when it comes to Linux-powered servers.

A Brazilian Cloud services firm has implemented Scalix Hosted Edition email and collaboration platform to offer robust email and collaboration hosted services to their clients.

Over at Novell’s Web site we’ve found one rave about SLED 11.

Imagine my delight when I received a copy of SLED 11 … it was a polished Desktop with awesome features GNOME-Do is one them and totally a Gem. I could take the Evaluation disk to the Boss, it looked nice, he installed it, was amazed to see it integrate with Active Directory (no PhD required), he feels confident to present it to the Executive Board .. he is pleased with the support options, he feels happy, I feel happy, smiles all round.

Well, yes, but was it required that the boss pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux? Other distributions are equally (or more) capable. They are both libre and gratis and they don’t endorse Microsoft’s slanderous claims by passing money to it.

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  1. Pedro said,

    June 15, 2009 at 4:58 am


    Have you noticed the URL for the MS+Xandros thingie? It has “interop” in it, LOL :D

    I can see the ad coming out of there:
    «IP protection, the only true interoperationality you’ll ever see with 100% support from MS [you may see some other interop after the EU threatens; MS makes no promises about the exclusivity of such interop nor the extensionability of it.]»

  2. Darren said,

    June 15, 2009 at 7:01 am


    If you distribute a GPLv3 piece of software, doesn’t the patent clause kick in and protect everyone downstream as well?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, it’s rather peculiar.

  3. TaQ said,

    June 15, 2009 at 7:08 am


    Seems that they removed/changed the page.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    They did!!

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Oh, wait. They didn’t. Nonetheless, it’s good that I grabbed a screenshot because Xandros may change the page after the latest criticisms such as this one.

  4. aeshna23 said,

    June 15, 2009 at 8:01 am


    I’d be interested to learn if Xandros has sold any “Intellectual Property Assurance” for Microsoft. Perhaps, de Icaza wanted to give Xandros a test drive. And I suppose we lovingly share our human experience with many stupid people.

  5. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 15, 2009 at 8:04 am


    That would explain the talking point floating around the MSFTer lately. They sagely add to conversations that “there is open source that costs money”.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    2 years ago Steve Ballmer said: “I do think it [Novell deal] clearly establishes that open source is not free.”

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 15, 2009 at 9:09 am


    I’ve just fixed the linkage.

  7. aeshna23 said,

    June 15, 2009 at 9:27 am


    Your purchase of “Intellectual Property Assurance” gives Microsoft the right to harass you:

    “The above covenant is personal to any given Customer and is non-transferable. By necessity, the covenant is conditioned upon the Customer providing Microsoft, upon its request, with sufficient information to verify which copies of Client Offerings and Server Offerings are Covered Products subject to the covenant.”

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