Linspire + Xandros = Anything of value?

Linspire and Xandros are apparently tying the knot. It's doubtful that two negatives can make a positive.

In math, two negatives make a positive. In the fledgling world of desktop Linux, unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case.

According to reports from OStatic and others, Xandros is buying Linspire. Who cares, you ask? Certainly not the former CEO of Linspire, Kevin Carmony, who had this to say as to the importance of the acquisition:

This will end up being a completely insignificant event for Linspire shareholders, and the end for Linspire customers. I predict this was done to: 1) help [Linspire owner and founder Michael] Robertson drain the company of its cash and resources...2) help Robertson save face by issuing a "Linspire Acquired by Xandros!" press release, instead of living with the public humiliation that Linspire failed under his leadership...3) Give Xandros (also seemingly on life support) a press release, and perhaps some way for them to spin this to investors to raise money.

Carmony then goes on to declare that this merger may well be a merger of equals, but they're both equally weak. This is not a merger of which the open-source world can be proud. It's something to learn from and then move on.

Learn what? Well, perhaps we could learn from this that "partnering" with Microsoft on patent immunity is no excuse for a good business. Xandros' deal with Microsoft didn't do it any favors. Ditto for Linspire. To be fair, this patent foolishness was just the tip of the iceberg on Linspire's and Xandros' problems, but it sure didn't help.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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