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FSF: LindowsOS moving toward GPL compliance

By on June 04, 2002 (8:00:00 AM)

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- by Tina Gasperson -
Michael Robertson, the CEO of Lindows.com, today announced another preview release of LindowsOS, the Linux distribution designed to be able to run Windows applications. It's called LindowsOS SPX, and his company is touting it as the first "Broadband OS" designed to take advantage of broadband technology. All we want to know is, what about the GPL?
Robertson's emphasis on marketing strategies hasn't been sitting well with some Linux people, and the latest push to call Lindows the first operating system to fully utilize broadband tech is sure to further irritate them. Others, however, are delighted with Lindows. "I am a very happy Linux User," wrote an anonymous poster at NewsForge. "I have found the best distros in my humble opinion to be Red Hat 7.3 and Mandrake 8.2. However, lately I stumbled over Lindows. All I can say is WOW!!!!!! The installation was easier than at the time Corel Linux, It has all the power as the usual distros expect for it being able to run most windows apps. So far I have just installed M$ Office 2000, M$ Internet Explorer, Quickbooks 2001, Act 2000. I am trying for Dreamweaver and Photoshop next. If these install and work as well as the others I will be a happy man. I am looking forward to Lindows future offerings and excited to become a M$ free office."

One complaint the Linux community has had with Lindows is its seeming ignorance of the terms of the GNU General Public License, which forbid things like End User License Agreements (EULA), and require software distributors to release their modifications to GPLed code. Remember, this is a Linux distribution, and Linux (or GNU/Linux if you're with the FSF) is still Free Software. Back in April, the Free Software Foundation was tailing Lindows, asking "where's the source?" after a Lindows Insider tipped the FSF off to the fact that the source code was nowhere to be found on the install CD or on the Lindows Web site (although several readers pointed to links on the Lindows site that led to the source code for several KDE products that were included with the distribution).

"We are in the midst of negotiations" with LindowsOS, says Brad Kuhn, v.p. of the FSF. "Our general counsel, Eben Moglen promised [Robertson] a rewrite of the EULA," the original of which is sure to raise the hackles of anyone who's a fan of the GPL. But Moglen has been on vacation for the past several weeks and didn't deliver a new EULA in time for the SPX release. "My hope is that they haven't released unilaterally," Kuhn says.

"They were moving toward compliance based on our recommendations. [Robertson is] willing to move," he says. We located a compliant-looking source file tree at http://net2.com/lindows/source/pool/debian/, but the individual files need to be examined before coming to any conclusions.

"We're still upset that it had to happen this way," Kuhn says, "but we don't hold grudges. If there's a problem with the EULA still, we'll get it fixed. Normally these violations don't happen so publicly. We try to work behind the scenes."

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on FSF: LindowsOS moving toward GPL compliance

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Uhh idiot?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 12:52 AM
This guy is installing m$ office and m$ explorer, and he's happy because this is getting him closer to a M$ free environment how?

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Re:Uhh idiot?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 02:01 AM
well, only idiot "has" runs OS that depends on browser!
m$ office and m$ explorer are __applications__! not part of an OS!
These applications should and can be ported to other platform, if and only if m$' so called OS (yuck...) gets separated from m$' applications development.

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Re:Uhh idiot?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 04:32 PM
Best guess is that he meant he wants to keep Office and IE close at hand for those moronic .doc/.xls files and IE-only websites, while using mainly Free Software to do his everyday job.

Remember that for most people moving to [GNU-] Linux is already an achievement ! 8^)

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Re:Uhh idiot?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 07, 2002 10:55 AM
Take a drink: coffee, tea, lemmon tea, or whatever you like but one thing you shouldn't drink "alcohol inside (it's more crazy drink inside )".
You have to choose what you like !

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MS Office & IE = MS free?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 12:53 AM
"So far I have just installed M$ Office 2000, M$ Internet Explorer, Quickbooks 2001, Act 2000. I am trying for Dreamweaver and Photoshop next. If these install and work as well as the others I will be a happy man. I am looking forward to Lindows future offerings and excited to become a M$ free office."


Isn't this like saying you're a vegan but still eating fish? You're using Office 2000 and IE. You're hardly MS free. Close, but no cigar.

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Re:MS Office & IE = MS free?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 02:35 AM
It somewhat bothers me to see so many people try to force linux/unix to be a desktop environment. Besides that, Using software such as M$ Office, Internet Explorer and Quick books isn't at all close to a M$ free environment. If you want a M$ free environment, learn about linux/unix and the true benefits of the system and yes there are a nice amount of programs out that do the same job as most M$ software out there.

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Re:MS Office & IE = MS free?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 09:00 PM
What is there about UNIX which prevents it from supporting a good desktop environment? Nothing at all. In fact, as far as those environments are concerned, all KDE needs is some work on stability, some improved applications, and for it to be packaged better (remember all those font problems), and then there wouldn't be any need for most people to use Windows at all.

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WINE

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 01:00 AM
One of the most interesting sources is not available through the above link. I'm talking about wine.. Too bad wine wasn't LGPL a few years ago..

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Re:WINE

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 02:39 AM
Wine has alot of potential, its good to see the development pick up speed. I've tested wine many times and even though the range of supported software isn't much right now, it still is a great idea.

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Re:WINE

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 09:38 PM
According to the AboutTheseSourceFiles.txt they have released their WINE changes back to WINE:



3. Specifically, there are no WINE source code mods here, because ALL of our WINE changes
(even those changes we made when WINE was X11) have been submitted for inclusion to the
main LGPL wine tree. Pretty much all of our changes were accepted and are currently in
wine. Lindows.com currently does all their development on the LGPL wine tree, submitting
all our changes back.


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LindowsOS

Posted by: kane121975 on June 05, 2002 01:49 AM
Tell Mike to quit posting reviews of his own product online please. I have tried Lindows OS and yes although it is Linux it is just an attempt to become a M$ clone, nothing more and nothing less. And I am glad the FSF is going after Mike, They need to. I can understand him claiming ignorance tho, he doesnt seem to bright to me.

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Re:LindowsOS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 02:42 AM
What I don't understand is, how is this product bringing people into the Linux/Unix community. Its simply a linux clone sat ontop of a windows install. I've played with systems like this, there called UMSDOS, a file system which allows linux to run under dos enviroments. Dunno why people would rather pay for this type of system.

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Ahmmmm...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 07:42 PM
I don't think you realize what they're doing. In short;

1. Technical...

* LindowsOS is regular Linux with propriatory extentions to run Windows programs.

* The extentions are based on Wine.

* They use the Windows "You've got root!" style installation. This simplifies program installation, but leaves a huge gaping hole for potential exploits. (Corrections appreciated on this if they no longer do this.)

* Good? Bad? Arguments can be made for both. Personally: Wine & Windows program loaders are good and running users as root is bad.

2. Marketing...

* These guys are primarily marketers. They care much less about the technology then in how they will sell it.

* Marketing good -- Marketing bad. Personally, I think that the Linux (and open source) worlds are too tech heavy and don't have enough marketers. The tech has to be there, but I'd like people to use it more so it is less of an "Alternative" and is thought of as just more software. Right now, most folks are scared or ignorant (or both) of Linux, BSD, and various different open source projects.

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give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 03:28 AM
This situation is quite pathetic.

First of all, we all know that Linux on the desktop is a joke.

Second, we all know that linux needs to adapt in order to win in the business environment. Evangelists and eccentrics are usually lousy businessmen.

Third, Lindows is attempting to do this, and everybody jumps on them because of GPL violations, for a beta product!

Are you people really this stupid? Don't you realize that it takes money to create Lindows, and investors are going to puke if the source is included in the beta release? I'm not saying that the code should never be released. I am saying he should have a little bit of flexibility considering what Lindows is trying to accomplish. Releasing the code when version 1.0 ships is fine by me.

Personally, I'd tell RMS to kiss my ass. If we did things his way, every time, there would be no linux in the enterprise.

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 03:55 AM
They are required to release the source to modified GPLed products that don't belong to them. That is the whole point of the GPL. Just because they put something in a pretty package doese not mean they own them. If Lindows doese not want to release the source code to these modified GPLed programs they can always start from scratch and write there own stuff. Lindows is just an atemped for some guy to get rich quick of other peoples work.

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 05:51 AM
"First of all, we all know that Linux on the desktop is a joke."

Are you kidding?

I use linux 100% exclusively for my desktop. My KDE desktop is many times more powerful than any windows desktop.

More features, better user interface, better standards compliant.

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 05:54 AM
"First of all, we all know that Linux on the desktop is a joke."

Yeah, cuz it's not like i use it as a destop.. yep.. a really joke..,

Lick my ass,
Paul Urban
Secure Network Solutions
CIO

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 06:49 AM
"First of all, we all know that Linux on the desktop is a joke."

Who is this we? You, your cat and mista Gates?

I've been doing just fine (probably better than you) using KDE as my desktop for a few years now.

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 11:50 AM
Hey leave the cat out of this. The cat does not deserve to be lumped in with chairman bill.

BTW My cat uses Linux

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 04:54 PM
If the FSF tolerate this behaviour, every one (including RedHat, UL and others) are closing their source. This Lindows guy is using code made by people in their free time, not paid for it. And he's making money with it. The Lindows initiative is a good thing, but the have to follow the rules.

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 08, 2002 12:20 AM
First of all, we all know that Linux on the desktop is a joke.

Well, lets see, my mother and my wife both use it. Well, my mom *did*, until my cousin came over and through the kindness of his heart installed Windows again because he thought she was lost beyond comprehension. (the only thing she does is surf and email, one program.. oh my.)

My wife uses it on a daily basis, and everyday uses more of it. Yes, she touches the command line, also. She's not a computer geek, she's a medical laboratorian who does not deal with computers at work at all.. except for a dos 5.0 machine that runs some proprietary dos program for patient files.

Just because you can't figure out how to click in Linux, doesn't mean the rest of the world is stupider than you. I think you found the niche of you being behind everyone else.

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Re:give the guy a break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 10, 2002 05:51 PM
Are you people really this stupid? Don't you realize that it takes money to create Lindows

But not as much money as it would if 99% of the product didn't exist already. You seem to think that debian GNU/Linux is in the public domain. It isn't. It belongs to many many people who have said that it is OK to use under the GPL. And not in any other way.

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Lindows again

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 04:14 AM
I never liked the idea of using microsoft office on Linux. It makes a beautiful OS ugly. StarOffice finally reached the point where I am a happy user and Abiword is improving everyday. On the other hand
IE is not better than mozilla so why would I want to run a very buggy insecure non-standard comliant browser.
Lindows doesn't support Windows games.
In conclusion if I really wanted to run Microsoft Office I can use codewaever plugin on a more secure and robust OS susch as RedHat.
If I wanted to run Windows Games I would use TransgamingX.
ClickandRun by the way is the worst idea and I am sure if abused can lead to a lot of viruses introduced to linux.
Lindows shouldn't exist and i don't see why anyoen would use it. Time would prove that I am right and
this distribution is going to fail.
Consider the other options to run Windows application and for me they all are better.

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Re:Lindows again

Posted by: Aaron Traas on June 05, 2002 12:27 PM
In conclusion if I really wanted to run Microsoft Office I can use codewaever plugin on a more secure and robust OS susch as RedHat.

Umm... Lindows is based on Debian. Out of the box, Debian is FAR more secure than RedHat. As far as Robustness, Debian can be as lean or as featureful as you want it. I haven't had a RedHat install work in under 200M of disk space in a very long time.

Of course right now Lindows is not that stable. It's a beta project. I personally will not use it, but it's a viable alternative for newbies.

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Re:Lindows again

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 08:45 PM
I'm with you. Lindows is turning probably the most respected distribution into a joke.

Also, if I want to run M$ Office, IE, and Windows games, I would use Windows. Since I don't, I use Linux.

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Lindows must be put out of business!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 04:22 AM
This company is a wolf in sheep clothing. They pretend to be a friend of the community, but stab it in the back at the first chance. How could they ask anyone from the free software world to sign a NDA?

Who ever is saying on these site that they are an "Insider" is a lier. Why?
Well, a person can not sign a NDA for GPL software. So that means that Nothing that a person get will be any thing from the GPL code. In other words no software.

The only ones that would possibly be defending the actions of Lindows are Lindow employees. They are the ones say that they are "Insiders". They are the ones that are attacking people for questioning Lindows intentions.

Why are they doing this? IPO!

If Lindows fails they they have lost their investments, their stock offerings, their time.

But beware Lindows is just another Enron. It's all smoke and mirrors and it's just trying to cash in before anyone realizes that.

But too late for Lindows the word is out. And if you think fighting Microsoft is going to hard, you ain't seen nothing yet.

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Re:Lindows must be put out of business!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 05:07 AM
Okay, so these people should spend...I don't don't what it might be...20 man-years or something maybe (?) developing this distro (in that case costing around 20*100 000=2 000 000 dollars) and then Redhat can just rip it off and use their already strong trademark to wipe them out?

How is anyone going to be able to enter the market under these conditions?

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Re:Lindows must be put out of business!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 05:01 PM
The same way RedHat does. If you don't want to release the modified source of GPL'ed projects, don't use it. Simple.
If they deliver a good distribution, they will make money. If they don't, they will not. They choose Linux to base their 'OS' on, so they have to conform the rules, just like all other Linux company's.

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Re:Lindows must be put out of business!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 01:56 PM
>Why are they doing this? IPO!


Yes, that is exactly what their game is all about. When will people wake up? Once they're their IPO funds filtered through various fees into their pockets, this crummy Lindows thing will get dropped.

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Re:Lindows must be put out of business!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 09:07 PM
I agree with the "fast buck" assessment of Lindows. It hardly lends credibility to the company to note that the head man was the founder of mp3.com, especially when that company epitomised the "dot com" ethos of "grow fast, make hype, sell high".

Sometimes it seems as if people are desperate for "business" role models in the Linux community. Personally, I'd look a bit further than this particular enterprise.

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To the "Insider" who said WOW.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 04:32 AM
Your crap is straight from the add department.

Look jack off, you're not fooling anyone by praising Red Hat and Mandrake. You're just a lowlife Lindows' employee trying to sell this snake oil.

Drop dead, die, be gone.

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source code anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 05:20 AM
http://net2.com/lindows/source/

I emailed the Lindows team a few days ago asking where the source code is. And they gave me this link. It appears to be valid. But all Lindows is, is a Linux distro based off of Xandros. they took a Xandros beta and tweaked it to look better.
Xandros and Lindows use a variant of Wine(Crossover Office with some tweaks) to allow Windows programs to work.

IMO, I'd rather have Xandros than Lindows, becuase it seems as though Lindows simply ripped off Xandros to make money.

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Re:source code anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 09:35 PM
The thrid paragraph of the aboutTheseSourceFiles.txt looks promising:

3. Specifically, there are no WINE source code mods here, because ALL of our WINE changes
(even those changes we made when WINE was X11) have been submitted for inclusion to the
main LGPL wine tree. Pretty much all of our changes were accepted and are currently in
wine. Lindows.com currently does all their development on the LGPL wine tree, submitting
all our changes back.

Sounds good if it is true, if they continue to donate to WINE all WINE users will benefit, even those that do not run Lindows.

//bjorn

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Windows - Lindows; Drivespace - Doublespace

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 08:49 AM
Excuse me Bill, can you tell again what is so confusing about the name "Lindows"?

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Why I still Hate the Whole Lindows Idea...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 12:49 PM

The whole thing...it's a big gimmick, the name itself gives this away,
who can take a name like Lindows serious???...It's just Linux + Wine
you can do this with any Linux distro...and there are far better ones
than Lindows...and the others actually CARE and SUPPORT the
community!


  As a matter of fact...I have been doing a lot of messing around with
wine lately and have gotten quite a bit to work with it (you can see
my screenshots of some of the apps i have installed at
www.phatvibez.net/wine/images/)


  There also has to be a pretty good reason that CodeWeavers pulled
their wine support from Lindows...I would rather BUY Mandrake or SuSE
and BUY CodeWeavers and WinX products than spend a penny on Lindows.


  I also HATE the fact that they make KDE undistiqishable from
the stock kde....Xandros does this as well....this is not helping the community.
If they spent even half the time helping to polish KDE, adding features and
squashing bugs it would be a lot better....


  and then there is Micheal Robertson....it is clear that this man never ran
Linux before a couple months ago when he decided to rip off the work of the
open source community so that he could make a quick buck...(after his other
gimmick MP3.com got severly hit)...He is a good marketer I will give him that
but that's all...he's just a freakin' infomercial. His talent would be much
better spent working with a REAL Linux distro in the way of helping to market
REAL products.


  in short....


  Lindows = JOKE != Linux

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Re:Why I still Hate the Whole Lindows Idea...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 06, 2002 04:12 AM
>who can take a name like Lindows serious???...It's just Linux + Wine

Yes, but "Line" isn't trademarkable, and "Winux" sounds just as silly as "Lindows"...

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Calm down, people.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 05, 2002 02:00 PM
Everybody on these forums seem to get their pants in a ruffle over nothing. If you don't like Lindows because you're a Linux purist and think it discraces Linux then attack it on that and that alone. But do that on another forum because it is offtopic from the GPL. Sheesh. The code *will* be released when the company thinks it's worth releasing. Until then, this is a "preview release" and not an actual product. Rants and ravings within the Open Source community isn't helping the general public take up Open Source.

This is just like when Microsoft was reported to have been wiping out other OS's on installation... Oh wait, that was because it was a "restore" disk. Or when "United Linux" refused to release free binaries... Oh wait, that's because anybody is really interested in computers knows how to compile their own code and free binaries will lower profits for these struggling companies. UnitedLinux is just a set of standards companies have vowed to follow and nothing of their behavior has changed. See? Slow down and you'll find the answer to the question is not "There is a sound when a tree falls alone in a forest" or "There isn't a sound", but "Define sound.".

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Re:Calm down, people.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 06, 2002 02:45 PM
Dude, the GPL doesn't say that you can release source only when it's convenient, you must release when you release a binary. They have released the binary and not full source. This is a violation of the GPL. It matters not that it's called a beta or preview. It's a binary.

You must be one of those people that just sit around while their privacy and freedoms are eroded in the name of protecting us from terrorism. "Relax, it's just a safty precation. The government always does the right thing."

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Re:Calm down, people.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 06, 2002 04:53 PM
If I fart in the forest, does it make a sound?

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Re:Calm down, people.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 06, 2002 08:53 PM
You miss the point. People release their own source code under the GPL for a reason - to protect their intellectual property. MS and just about every company that has ever existed does exactly the same thing. The big difference is that companies use their IP to generate income, whereas GPL coders to it to get good improvements back to the code base. MS wants money, GPL coders want better code.

You may see GPL coders as zealots when they demand compliance with the GPL, but all they are doing is exactly the same thing as MS would do if you infringed their IP - only with more civility (MS will take you straight to court if you bootleg their IP - most GPL coders will ask you nicely to comply with the license).

When Lindows uses GPL'd code, they are obliged under the terms of the license to comply. If they don't wish to, then they can go and write their own code and have their own license. Nobody is pointing a gun to their head and making them use GPL'd code, but if they do, then they have to comply with the license.

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Re:Calm down, people.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 08, 2002 12:38 AM
Ohhhh, I get it now.
I've been wrong all along...

Hey guys, he/she's right. Lets just let everyone else release binaries of the stuff we wrote and not release the source code. Also, hell... why even bother trying to keep the GPL enforced. We should stop right now. We're zealots, you know. If we stand up for our legal rights, we're just a bunch of stupid pagans.

Reminds me of the roman era when christianity was trying to take over.

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What's wrong with a commercialized linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 06, 2002 12:29 PM
whats the problem with linux commercializing itself, then maybe they might recieve some market share. If they give their **entire** source anyone could clone the OS and make it unable to commercialize itself (and dont go giving redhat as an example, the only reason they are successful is because they were the first). I think we should give Lindows a chance to gain market share and not have to release its **entire** source code the the public.

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Re:What's wrong with a commercialized linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 06, 2002 08:18 PM
if they had done _anything_ from scratch, they wouldn't have to give it.. but alas, it seems they have just glued in together something from other peoples work that is available for free, and not very well even.

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Re:What's wrong with a commercialized linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 08, 2002 12:33 AM
sure, lets just tell them it's alright to package everything that other people made into one package and totally annihilate the GPL licensing on EVERYTHING.

What are you smoking? I need some of that. On second thought, keep it... I like being sane.

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Hey Guys, Look at the Entire Picture. Will Ya!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on July 19, 2002 09:07 PM
Every computer Geek who is done with windows, start playing with Linux, Mix and Match and you create your own animal (OS). As much as it satisfies our "need to learn" (it is more fun than practical. Don't get me wrong. it is practical, but not conviniently practical.) it is not a replacement for windows. The reason being is that THE "AVERAGE USER" who by know have someone in his/her family to install a copy of windows, DOES NOT HAVE THE TIME, OR THE NURVE to sit and install a copy of let's say RedHat to find out that if he wants to run such and such favorite app, he should spend anoter 20 hours and it could all be for nothing.
All of this contribute to what we see today. As much as people contribute to Open Source, it is always behind. You make this and that but know xp has a cool design, go figure out how to change the look. Know, If Linux was --->very Create a very easy to install and use OS that seamelessly supports all Linux and all Windows apps.(that is a lot better than Windows apps only)with a very cheap price, or for free (if possible).
That said, if Lindows people don't contribute to the open source comunity, they are guilty. And personally, I think that a copy of THE OS, (linux+wine tweaked to perfection) should run for $10 and each app for $1 to $10 not more, not free.
That way, after you eliminate Microsoft, developers make from a small amout to a good living according to how usefull and populat their apps are. REMEMBER:
GREED IS THE ONLY ENEMY.
CHEAP, RELIABLE, --->EASY TO INSTALL AND USE, AND UNIVERSALLY COMPATIBE,----- IS THE ONLY WAY TO FIGHT GREED. A BIG DREAM THAT SOME DAY SHOULD BECOME TRUE. LIVE ON

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