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No More "Lindows" Outside U.S. - New Name Coming, Says Robertson

No More "Lindows" Outside U.S. - New Name Coming, Says Robertson

Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows.com, made the following statement yesterday:

"Last week Judge Coughenour denied our request to block Microsoft's international legal barrage against Lindows.com. Two years ago Microsoft tried to stop Lindows in a U.S. court, but they were denied. Recently, they started piling on lawsuits from around the world attempting to achieve the same result. At the same time, Microsoft is publicly demanding that the EU respect the U.S. court actions concerning their monopolistic behavior and not impose their own rulings. Microsoft hypocritically has no such respect for the U.S. court decision which determined we can operate under the term Lindows pending a final resolution of the litigation.

Some people may be puzzled about why Microsoft is attacking Lindows and not doing the same for Red Hat - a leading Linux server company. Microsoft has their targets set on Lindows because we are a desktop company. Microsoft has used that desktop dominance to move into other areas and to fund campaigns to wipe out potential competitors (Netscape, Be, Lotus, etc.). Microsoft will attack anything that it believes challenges its desktop monopoly, since it is their life blood. I'm confident that when we get to trial in the U.S., Microsoft employee testimony and internal communications will reveal their true motivations. However it's going to take some time to get resolution due to Microsoft's delay tactics. In the interim, Lindows is unable to fully respond to demand for desktop Linux from countries around the world due to name uncertainty.

To assure that we can do business globally, we are in the process of selecting a different name for our web presence and product name. I believe it's the only way to respond to an onslaught from such a rich company, since we need to be able to continue to grow our business. (Only one of the richest companies in the world would launch 8 identical lawsuits from different countries.) Our US corporate name will remain Lindows Inc. since we have meaningful name recognition and product distribution.

Outside the US we will go by a different name until we can battle for the right to use Lindows internationally. The US case will probably take a year to go through the 9th circuit court of appeals and perhaps another year for possible Supreme Court review. Our plan is to go to trial in the US as soon as possible, at which time we hope to get windows declared a generic word. If we win, we plan to approach the State Department and ask them to petition foreign governments to invalidate the windows trademark as they have done for other generic computing terms like "database," "operating system" and "pascal," which companies have tried to register as trademarks in foreign countries.

Selecting a new name is more complex then you might think. A few weeks ago we asked for suggestions, and we were flooded with some creative ideas. My favorite was one user writing in to say our name should be "lindos" and our new slogan should be "because it's the W that is causing all the problems." :-) Finding a unique name for which domain names and trademarks are available takes real searching. We're now reviewing candidates and we will identify our new international name on April 14th. Once we identify a name, then we'll start the migration. Since we have thousands of web pages and more than 100 servers it will take considerable time to completely transition. The functionality in our product won't change, but outside the US people will know our products by a different name.

We're not taking this change lightly. We need to keep our business from being held back by legal uncertainty. So visit the website next week, April 14th after 1:00 p.m. PST for the unveiling of our new name."

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SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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Most Recent Comments
Robert Town 04/07/04 02:23:25 PM EDT

I don’t have much to add to Justin or Ken’s comments. But I would like to say I am a user of Both Linux and Windows. I use both for there strengths. To be honest Linux really doesn’t have many, now I’m not saying it doesn’t have any. I never have to reboot my Linux system, but if it crashes its hard to fix. Something goes wrong with Windows or a third party program, 90% of the time rebooting fixes the problem. (Yes this is getting somewhere bare with me)

Right now linux problem is purposely treading on peoples feet. I like several Linux distributaries, but there developers use both linux, and windows, so they develop on Linux’s weak spots and on its strengths. They also don’t try to infringe on other peoples copyrights or bash people for using a peace of software they find useful.

I have been in the IT business for 8 years now, and have build several cross platform networks. But as it is now, its hard to sell Linux to a company at any level, on the community hates people that use Linux & Windows so they can’t post there to get help, most IT companies only work on Microsoft products, so that leaves that out, who does that leave, the few like me that use and respect both sides and are willing to mix technology to serve my customers better.

Anyway I see nothing wrong on what Microsoft did, if another technology company tried to Spoof my name I would be suing too, and if you would not then your company has vary little respect in its own name.

Justin 04/07/04 12:33:18 PM EDT

Fecal Extrusion, you are missing the point entirely. I have no problem with an OS utilizing a window-based GUI, and I realize fully that this was indeed a Xerox-PARC invention.

You see, Mac-OS/X, Linux, Unix, AIX, and OS/2 all came up with original OS names, so even if Mac uses a window-based GUI, that is completely different than calling OSX "Mindows" or "Xindows". Microsoft has laid a claim to using "Windows" as a name for their product, and any attempt to produce a product with a similar name would constitute infringement. If I made a product that made software think it was interfacing with Windows APIs and called it Windowz, it would still be infringement.

I don't understand how a company can blatently attempt to lure in customers by capitalizing on a brand name that has already established trust among the general public.

Lastly, I realize that this is a linux site, so I should only be hear to bash microsoft, but as a microsoft user, I also realize and appreciate the benefits of Linux. I just don't see how anyone is accomplishing anything by constantly berating Microsoft. If someone comes out with a better product, more power to them. But, nothing is getting accomplished by complaining and berating a company that has the dominant market position.

Duncan 04/07/04 12:30:42 PM EDT

I actually wonder if we'd have any of these kinds of discussions if all computers came with Linux or no OS at all. Everyone always seems to hate the big guys, and I guess that's pretty American of us. Microsoft may be a huge corporation, but sometimes huge isn't all bad. Yes, the impose their vision of standards, and yes they write contracts to which only an idiot would agree to and sign.

What would happen if tomorrow the courts overturned all of Microsoft's claims to copyright, trademark, and agreed-to contracts? Chaos.

Linux is made by geeks for geeks. The executive-in-charge doesn't give a rats ass if Microsoft has unfriendly contracts or if the damned media player comes pre-installed. He/She just wants to run the damned word processor and send an email.

Until the Linux-zealots get off their high-horses and get a universally acceptable desktop that's easy to install, fast, and doesn't require the developer to understand the freaking GPL's and completely embrace the 'open-source' as the only way to go, Linux will always be reduced to a geek plaything and subject to (albeit not very) clever marketing schemes such as 'Lindows'.

Ken Collins 04/07/04 12:11:28 PM EDT

If you hold a trademark or copyright, you have to defend it. If you allow people to infringe on your trademark or your copyright, you lose it to the public domain. There is no copyright police, so you have to sue whenever there is a potential infringement. If you win, you defend your trademark or copyright. If you lose, you still defend your trademark or copyright, because you establish that the other usage is not an infringement, and that means your trademark or copyright does not go into the public domain.

No one can do business without a tradename. The only way to defend tradenames is through law suits.

"Lindows" does infringe on "Windows." How could Lindows defend their tradename? Suppose Lindows becomes a huge success, and someone comes up with a Lindows substitute called "Rindows." How could Lindows defend their tradename?

Lindows needs to change their name, not just because they infringe on Microsoft, but also because they need a defendable tradename themselves. What if someday they become big and successful, and a bunch of geeks start a company called "Rindows." They would not be able to defend their tradename.

As I said before, if Lindows is a quality product, it deserves its own name. I wouldn't put lutter and lelly on my toast, nor would I buy lasoline for my car, watch a program on a lelovision, or call a friend on a lelephone. If nothing else, Lindows is a stupid name. The company not only needs to get a name, it needs to get some dignity.

Duncan 04/07/04 12:06:26 PM EDT

Uh... http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=uvoiom.2.122

Fecal Extrusion 04/07/04 11:58:27 AM EDT

No one seems to get it...
LINDOWS is a Linux based Windows interpreter for PC hardware
to allow applications designed for Windows to work without
Microsoft Windows.

Essentially it is 'playing the role' of Windows to the
application. It is tricking applications into believing
they are interfacing Windows APIs.

What the hell else are you supposed to call it???

Windows is NOT a trademark name.
"Windows" is a GENERIC term used to define that neat
graphic box of stuff you see on your screen.
This was a Xerox-PARC innovation, NOT Microsoft's!!!!

So what now, Mac-OS/X, Linux, Unix, AIX, OS/2 users all
have to come up with a new word, just because through sheer
volume development and deployment, some piss-ant company
has expropriated a common computing term???

FINE, 16 years after the fact, I'm going to patent the
letters used to spell Microsoft, and deny them the rights
to use them.

Fecal Extrusion 04/07/04 11:43:35 AM EDT

Hey all, I just checked out
"Wil, the Head Geek In Charge" 's site, and I see every sign
he's a republican and a George W Bush lover.

Ironically it's the republicans and Bush that sold the soul
of America to Microsoft.

I don't mean to unfairly stereotype, but ayone who
sympathises with Bush, likely endorses Bush's
leave-Microsoft-alone policy.

Fecal Extrusion 04/07/04 11:37:03 AM EDT

- Wil, the Head Geek In Charge -
(I thought your parents (Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer)
didn't like you hanging around Linux sites online!?!?)

I suggest you start using that spell checker to verify what
URL you are typing, this is not Microsoftworld.com!!!

If you love them so much and hate Linux, then don't bother
hanging around here (linuxworld), unles you want to get

If you wanted to read the words
"God bless wonderful Microsoft and its nice Exectutives"
you're on the wrong site pal! I'm afraid you won't find
those words anywhere on the internet!

I don't qualify "Take it or leave it" as a valid consumer
choice, as you seem to deem acceptable.

You say: "...and yet not accept the descisions and opinions
of the majority of others"

The marketshare of Windows is NOT an indication of the
decisions and opinions of consumers. It exists only because
choice was eliminated by agreements between software vendors
and Microsoft.

I don't CHOOSE to use windows, I have "no choice" because
the applications I NEED are only available for windows
because of agreements between Microsoft and the software

And I guarantee, of the 94% marketshare Microsoft enjoys,
at least 1/3 of the Windows market is desperately seeking
a way out.

Justin 04/07/04 11:24:50 AM EDT

Please understand that nobody is forcing Microsoft down anyone's throat. Everyone has a choice, and as long as their are viable alternatives to Microsoft (Linux being a very attractive alternative), you will always have a choice.

To be honest, I feel that this is a good decision. The very basis of choosing "Lindows" as a product name was to imply by name association that it was a flavor of Linux that was capable of running certain Windows applications with at least some degree of stability. Now, to me, I don't see how that isn't infringing on another person's copyright. They are using the basis that WINDOWS applications (applications that people must be quite fond of, if they are looking at Lindows in the first place) will run on a Linux system.

As far as suing manufacturing companies, I understand the sarcasm, but manufacturers aren't exactly making window panes that are meant to serve as computer operating systems. If they did, and they were to call their clear, glass, flat, operating system "windows", then I don't see anything wrong with Microsoft going after them.

Ken Collins 04/07/04 11:23:29 AM EDT

"Lindows" is a non-existent word that is obviously designed to sound like Windows. (Say "Linux Windows" real fast and it comes out "Lindows," get it?) It is neither subtle nor clever and it does truly infringe on Microsoft's trade name.

It is also a stupid name, because it conveys the idea that the product is a substitute for Windows, like carob for chocolate, or aspartame for sugar; and that in itself implies that Lindows is a second-rate Me Too.

If Lindows is a quality product, it doesn't need to have an "almost as good as Windows" name.

If the chief advantage to Lindows is that it isn't Windows, I'm afraid that is not enough. The product has to be able to stand on its own merits, and if it can do that, it deserves the dignity of its own name.

Duncan 04/07/04 11:21:57 AM EDT

Jeez. Microsoft is protecting their copyrighted name in their own marketspace. Linux-fanatics would be crying foul if Microsoft went around hawking Lindows instead. What would be the reaction to Oca-Ola or Epsi?

IdeaGuy 04/07/04 11:17:40 AM EDT


Just change the name to "Swodnil" - same name only backwards. Kind of represents going against the MS grain.

MHG 04/07/04 11:05:42 AM EDT

Before you know it MS will want a piece of the construction industry trade - a royalty payment for every window that has been or will be manufatured or installed!! - The "dows" part of the Lindows name is only part of a name, as is "Lin". See what happens when big companies feel scared!? Who's next... any company that uses a common word in their name?

Zar 04/07/04 11:02:41 AM EDT

Well, Microsoft's growth is no doubt miracular in a lot of ways and sometimes unlawful, but you still can't denail that they provide a relatively nice platform for a reasonable price.

Every big corp. or company has a limit on how much it can expand. Once it reaches a certain point, further expanding into other area would no doubt hurt the profits. For example, the electronic giant Sony virtually went into unlimited expanding during the 80s and 90s. Not only they own plants for almost every single high end electronic that you can think of, under their asset there are also music making and movie production, gaming and etc. Due to their so well spreaded tactics, their profits suffered.

Wil, the Head Geek In Charge 04/07/04 10:22:33 AM EDT

Wow! What a bunch of cry babies. You need to convince your fellow freedom loving families and friends to stop using Windozes if you want M$ to fail. If you can't do that, why are you bothering to convince the rest of the world M$ should fall?

You Linux fanatics are kind of like some of the Gay community; rant and rave for acceptance, and yet not accept the descisions and opinions of the majority of others.

Call: 1-800-wha-whaa to speak to someone who feels your pain.

Lush PimpJaw 04/07/04 09:40:05 AM EDT

Soon MicroShaft will going after "glass panes in framework" manufacturers and washers for using THE WORD THEY CREATED -- "Windows."

I do agree the company should change their name however, as it suggests their version of Linux by be as bloated, buggy, and prone to disaster as the Paclid "invention" of Bill Gates.

Fecal Extrusion 04/07/04 08:49:23 AM EDT

And that's why Microsoft has to be broken up.
Because Microsoft can BUY governments, court rulings and laws, and because no matter what, whenever it comes to a
case of Microsft vs Anyone, Anyone will always lose, because
of Microsoft's sheer legal brute force, and it's endless
supply of cash to fund infinite appeals until it does win.

They are now officially far too big for any entity on
earth to stop. They will continue to do what they do
until they have 'assimilated' every company on earth.
In a hundred years, there will be only 1 company on earth
and we will all be working for it as it's underpaid full
time temps with no benefits. And we'll have no 'rights'
either, because if you wanted a job, you had to sign a
contract waiving all your constitutional rights, in order
to work for them.

Way to go looking out for our best interests, DOJ!
I'm glad my tax money is put to good use defending and
protecting the actions of a corrupt, immoral, and unethical company. For services NOT RENDERED, I'm not paying my taxes this year!

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