Mark Shuttleworth chief executive of Ubuntu has made it clear that he is not interested in forming a deal with Microsoft along the lines of those recently reached by Linspire, Xandros and Novell.
"We have declined to discuss any agreement with Microsoft under the threat of unspecified patent infringements," Shuttleworth said in a blog post on Saturday.
Microsoft's latest Linux agreement came last Thursday with Linspire, a deal that would shield the company's customers from Microsoft patent-infringement claims. This has prompted speculation that Linspire partner Ubuntu might follow suit.
As part of the agreement between Linspire and Microsoft, the companies have agreed to cooperate in several areas. Linspire will work with Novell and Microsoft to develop open-source "translators" that allow Open Office and Microsoft Office users to share documents more easily. The company has also licensed Microsoft's RT audio codec to make its Pidgin IM client interoperable with Windows Live Messenger and other Microsoft products.
As part of the deal, Linspire also pledged to add support for Windows Media 10 in future releases of its Linux OS distribution. The company also agreed to make Windows Live Search the default search engine in Linspire 5.0.
However, as with recent Microsoft agreements with Novell and Xandros, another aspect of the deal has been raising hackles in the open source community - the purchase by Linspire of protection from patent lawsuits. Microsoft says Linux infringes a number of its patents, and that Linux companies should sign up to patent licensing deals.
The structure of the Linspire, Xandros and Novell deals, has allowed the open source companies to argue that they are merely interoperability agreements, and to deny that they are agreeing to Microsoft's patent claims. Meanwhile, Microsoft has publicised the agreements as proof of its patents' hold over Linux and other open source software.
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