Microsoft inks Linux patent deal with Linspire

Pact protects Linspire's customers from patent claims

Linspire has signed an intellectual-property agreement with Microsoft that shields the Linux company's customers from patent claims.

Microsoft Corp. has claimed Linux and related open source software violate 235 of its patents, but the company has not provided information to back its claims, including offering a list of its patents allegedly infringed upon. But that hasn't stopped Linux companies, such as Novell and Xandros, from signing interoperability deals with Microsoft that guarantee protection for their customers from future patent claims.

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 OpenOffice 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.

Financial terms of the agreement between Linspire and Microsoft were not disclosed.

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