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Lindows now known as Linspire

So ends a naive attempt to beat Microsoft at its own game.

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Lindows has announced its new name - Linspire - and posted a mirror of its site at

The Linux software vendor that sells a desktop operating system similar to Microsoft's Windows OS, announced last week that it had decided to change its name due to constant legal pressure by Microsoft, which claims Lindows infringes its trademark.

The decision to back down came just two days after a US judge refused to prevent Microsoft from taking the company to court outside the US and turned down Lindows' request for a judgement made against it in the Netherlands to be struck. 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.

Lindows therefore decided to concentrate all its efforts on winning its ongoing trademark battle with Microsoft in the US, started in December 2001. It claims that if it wins it will then work on reinstating its name across the rest of the world.

But while the US case has seen Microsoft lose two injunctions so far, Lindows has not fared so well in the rest of the world. A Dutch court agreed that Lindows was infringing Microsoft's Windows trademark and ordered that Internet users from Benelux not be allowed access to the site.

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.

But Microsoft has also won injunctions in Finland and Sweden and pursued the case in France and Spain, as well as Canada and Mexico.

So now Lindows moves onto its third name. Michael Robertson, founder and CEO explained why last week: "I believe it's the only way to respond to an onslaught from such a rich company." Microsoft has yet to comment, although even it can't claim rights to Linspire.

Robertson hasn't explained the choice but we strongly suspect it has something to do with the word "inspire", meaning "to fill with enthusiasm" rather than "foolishly tried to take on aggressive giant on his own ground".


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