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Lindows Changes Name to 'Linspire' 418

Posted by timothy
from the bully-meets-showoff dept.
Robert Nicholson writes "As previously covered, Lindows has decided to change its name thanks to Microsoft legal threats. Well it has just announced the new name - Linspire - clever, huh? There's a site at Linspire.com. The full story and the history behind it all are covered on Techworld."
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Lindows Changes Name to 'Linspire'

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  • by mindless4210 (768563) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:01PM (#8861166) Homepage Journal
    That left the way open for Microsoft to chase the company all over the world's courts and effectively knock it out of business with huge legal costs.

    This sheds some light on the real reason that they changed their name. I doubt there's a single company that could handle being dragged through the world's courts by Microsoft, let alone a small one like them.

    This led to the daft situation where Lindows renamed itself Lin---s, complete with new website. Microsoft, unbowed, then incredibly claimed that Lin---s was its trademark as well.

    This one just makes me say wow... Microsoft actually thingks they can claim the rights to "Lin---s"? Talk about power hungry.

    Also, if they have changed their name and everything, then why does www.linspire.com [linspire.com] have "LindowsOS" plastered all over the place? I guess it will take them a while to implement the actual name change.
  • by gid13 (620803) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:05PM (#8861217)
    "Microsoft actually thingks they can claim the rights to "Lin---s"? Talk about power hungry."

    Well, they probably don't think they can claim the rights to it so much as they think their lawyers can beat up Lindows' lawyers. And Lindows seems to agree. Yay capitalism, where even the law is privatized.
  • by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot.liselle@net> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:05PM (#8861218) Journal
    Well, the name "Lin---s" was kind of obviously flipping off Microsoft, especially since they had a poorly-drawn hangman on the website for it with every letter crossed out except "D", "O" and "W". I mean, come on. Michael Robertson is good at criticizing Microsoft and pissing in their Cheerios, but he's not good at coming up with with clever names, I guess (I'm not going to go for the obvious parallel). I think he just should have taken absurdity to its ultimate edge and called the damn thing Linfox.

    I was one of the people who said that you couldn't possibly come up with a more asinine name than "Lindows". Here we all are, eating our words. ;)
  • by dupper (470576) * <adamlouis@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:07PM (#8861238) Journal
    But Lindash was better. I think we need a Slashdot poll.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:12PM (#8861312)
    > I doubt there's a single company that could handle being dragged through the world's courts by Microsoft,

    It was a PR Stunt from the very beginning. If they were really scared of MS' Legal Dept, they would have never picked "Lindows" in the beginning.

    And since they made the slashdot frontpage again, their plan is working great.
  • by sulli (195030) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:16PM (#8861365) Journal
    And it is blindingly obvious that it was chosen to draw fire from Microsoft. Maybe not to the hard-core unix geeks still wishing people think of X Window System when they hear "windows," but to anyone else.

    So, as expected, Microsoft played its part in this little Kabuki drama, and Lindows aka Linspire got its free publicity. And bully for them, I guess. But to suggest that they picked the name for any other reason is sheer folly.

  • by stubear (130454) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:21PM (#8861410)
    You're forgetting that on the world stage Lindows was infringing upon the Widos trademark. In the initial suits filed, none of the countries had the word "Windows" in their language so it was a competely unique trademark. This was really brilliant lawering really because even though Lindows had a chance to keep using the name here, they would fracture the brand and Michael Robertson is in this to form a company around Linux right? I'm guessing Robertson had a little help from his board figuring this one out because I think he still wants to fight this fight that he knows he's eventually going to lose.
  • by tepples (727027) * <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:24PM (#8861447) Homepage Journal

    "Windows" is not a common noun in countries that do not have English as an official language. Among European countries, only the UK and Ireland seem to speak English in the trademark office.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:27PM (#8861490) Homepage
    Obviously it's a subliminal message... they believe our right brain will subconscously recognize LINSPIRE as an anagram of IN PERILS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:28PM (#8861504)
    This is a great example of both sides in an argument being wrong.

    First, the grandparent post--wrong because the discussion is NOT about whether or not Windows was registered as a trademark, it's about whether the trademark is valid. So the argument is: "Your trademark is invalid" "No it isn't" "Yes it is" "No it isn't" Nobody is arguing with the fact that Microsoft has the trademarks, as this post suggested.

    Secondly, the parent post--wrong because generic words in themselves ARE patentable as long as they are used in a unique way. For example, the word "Apple" existed long before Apple computers, but nobody ever applied the word "Apple" to a computer before Apple computers, so Apple's trademark IS VALID. On the other hand, "Windows", as a term for glass openings in walls, would be trademarkable for other purposes. The problem with Microsoft's trademark is that the term "windows" WAS in fact used throughout the computing industry to refer to graphical interfaces long before Microsoft's product called "Windows" ever existed. Thus, argues Lindows, it is no more trademarkable than the word "car" would be for a new kind of automobile.

    This is also an example of a clueful Anonymous Coward correcting glaring inaccuracies in the posts of registered users. Only on Slashdot!
  • by TheAwfulTruth (325623) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:34PM (#8861577) Homepage
    So who wants "clever" names for products? The plethora of "clever" naming in the computer world is nothing but a source of confusion for the actual users. Give users names like "Adobe photoshop" and they'll be much happier than "Adobe super-fire bird".

    This lesson needs to be taken to heart, keep the clever code names internal, use sensible naming for actual products.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:43PM (#8861671) Homepage
    Back to this old pissing contest again, eh?

    Joe Sixpack goes to Wal-mart to buy an OS upgrade for his computer. He sees "Windows" for $300, and next to it is "Lindows" for (say) $50.

    Now Joe Sixpack isn't a stupid man, but he's not familiar with the various OSes available to him. Joe assumes that "Lindows" must just be a lower-cost version of "Windows" (because he simply doesn't have the knowledge to make the right distinction) and is essentially tricked into buying "Lindows" when what he needs is "Windows".

    It's easy to dismiss less experienced computer users as "stupid" or "illiterate", but that just tells me you're not willing to confront/admit the real, valid issue at hand here.

  • by dedalus2000 (704571) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:54PM (#8861877)
    Joe Sixpack uses the os that comes with his PC.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:55PM (#8861889)
    Since only a few years ago. They were using Windows for about 10+ years before they trademarked it. Before then it was clear that the word wasn't trademarkable -- this in itself is a huge sea change, along time ago names could go from trademarked to public domain (Kleenix), but now, the opposite is true. Just shows you how much the law has swung in favor of corporations.
  • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:10PM (#8862109)
    ...the term "windows" WAS in fact used throughout the computing industry to refer to graphical interfaces...

    Maybe the term "window" for a specific part of a graphical interface was in use, but I am unaware of anyone using the word "Windows" to refer generically to an operating system. That particular argument seems to be sketchy at best.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:20PM (#8862228) Homepage Journal
    "I think Microsoft's reasoning was "---" stood for "dow", which was still, somehow, theirs... I guess in that case, bleeping out cusswords or saying f--k is the same as just saying / writing them. "

    You hit the nail on the head, except it works against the point you were aiming for. Seeing as how Lindows was already established as "Lindows" and the damage was already done (in the legal sense), then --- change really isn't doing anything to alleviate the problem, now is it?

    To put it in simpler terms: They probably could have gotten away with Lin---s if they hadn't already gotten into a legal battle over the name "Lindows".

    It's fun to bash Microsoft over this matter, afterall it is the 'cool' thing to do here at Slashdot, but the reality is that the CEO of Lindows has intentionally and maliciously made trouble for Microsoft. If the companies' roles in this matter were reversed, the general judgement about who's really guilty wouldn't suddenly change. Microsoft would still be the bad guy.
  • by ratamacue (593855) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:39PM (#8862456)
    Government defines the rules. The rules are unjust and hence exploitable. Government has laid the framework which allows big corporations to crush the little guy.

    "Unchecked capitalism" (I think you mean unfair business practices?) is an unwanted side effect, not the cause of the problem. The root of the problem is government.
  • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:41PM (#8862475)
    companies are required under law to defend their trademarks

    No they're not. Companies are free to stand back and let others appropriate a brand-name.

    I have no doubt that if Bill Gates had a time machine, he'd go back to that little company spreading Vaporware in 1983 and tell them to pick a less generic name than "Windows". But that's what they are stuck with.

    Absolutely backwords!! Claiming generic words as product names (and filetypes) has been a key part of Microsoft's successful strategy! "Insert a Bitmap file from Microsoft Paint into Microsoft Word and then save the Document file"

    The fact that Microsoft's product has a generic-sounding name makes it harder for customers to envision the existence of competitors. ("Microsoft DOS" was an earlier success at redefining a generic term "DOS" as a specific vendor's product)
  • by expro (597113) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:41PM (#8862481)

    The X Window System may not have been in common use yet, but the term "window" was already in very common use for creating UIs. You can find code all over that shows this. Even Emacs called the concept a "Window" [google.com] long before that time.

    Microsoft has no right to claim "Windows" (or Office, which was in common use for Office Automation, etc.) and even less right to complain about Lindows or the X Window System. It should be "Microsoft Windows", and nothing shorter should be protectable, just like "X Window System" is protectable, but "Window System" should not be.

  • by mec (14700) <mec@shout.net> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:51PM (#8862593) Journal
    I doubt there's a single company that could handle being dragged through the world's courts by Microsoft, let alone a small one like them.

    Caldera International purchased the rights to DR-DOS, then sued Microsoft for the damage that Microsoft had done to DR-DOS.

    Caldera settled for an estimated $150 million from Microsoft.

    Microsoft settles Caldera Antitrust Case [bbc.co.uk]

    To be sure, Caldera later turned to the dark side in a big way. They are now suing another software giant.
  • by killjoe (766577) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:54PM (#8862611)
    "It's fun to bash Microsoft over this matter, afterall it is the 'cool' thing to do here at Slashdot, but the reality is that the CEO of Lindows has intentionally and maliciously made trouble for Microsoft."

    What? You can't possibly be serious. What kind of trouble did linodws cause MS? Please list how MS was ACTUALLY harmed by the lindows name. Did their profits go down? Did they lose customers? Did they get calls from customers who were confused?

    BTW: Maybe it's fun to bash ms here but defending poor helpless corporations like MS seems to get the mod points.
  • by killjoe (766577) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:57PM (#8862639)
    Who gave rights to the word "windows" to MS in the first place. It's a generic word, MS has no rights to it. If the lindows lawsuit actually gets decided I bet the judge will throw out the trademark altogether.

    It was wrong for MS to claim trademark on a common word.
  • Re:Word marks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thing 1 (178996) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:59AM (#8866349) Journal
    So let's get back to our roots: Cocaine-Cola...
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @02:31AM (#8866742) Homepage Journal
    "1) Windows is a legitemate trademark (questionable)."

    It already is a legitimate trademark if they earned themselves the little (R) next to their name. That (R) is not something you get just by saying you have it. You have to go through a lengthy application process to get it. When you haven't earned it yet, they use TM instead. If Lindows wanted to fight that trademark, they should have taken MS to court before choosing that name. "Uh well despite them having that (R), we thought it was invalid so we took it anyway full well knowing they were going to drag us to court over it!"

    "2) That a reasonable person would confuse lindows with windows."

    That has been debated ad-nauseum here. The rules are simple. The name is too similar, the functions of the product are too similar. This is not a high hurdle, it's well established law with many precedents behind it.

    "They did no such thing. They went sue happy in europe while the slow and ponderous US legal system was crawling along. That case has not been settled yet."

    So they did catch Lindows before any damage was done, but they didn't? Eh? Guess I don't understand what you meant by that. They *have* to be aggressive with trademarks. Everybody does. That's one of the reasons so many less than life-or-death court cases clog up America's court system. If you don't defend your trademark, you risk losing it.

    "You were modded up because you defended MS. It's very common on slashdot for the MS trolls to mod each other up."

    Sorry, I don't think that's true in this case.

    "Lindows did nothing stupid. They chose a name combining linux and windows."

    Wrong. They picked that name on purpose. They wouldn't need a whole hell of a lot of common sense to realize they were going to draw Microsoft's fire. Given the CEO's other MS taunts (like putting up a $250,000 reward to hack the XBOX), well frankly that doesn't help their case.

    "MS got all uppidy and started suing them all over the world because they have the money and they knew lindows did not."

    Lindows ran up to Microsoft and said "Sue me!!!"

    "It's the great tragedy of our time."

    It's a tragedy that Lindows is even in business.

    "The rich sue everybody else into oblivion."

    In a general sense, I do agree with this particular statement. Megacorps in general do have too much legal power just by money alone. Though I don't think Microsoft is guilty of being abusive in this particular case, I do happily concede they have done it before.

"Love may fail, but courtesy will previal." -- A Kurt Vonnegut fan

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