Lindows Keeps Name, Finalizes Second Preview
In a potentially striking blow to Microsoft's "Windows" trademark, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour issued a preliminary ruling late Friday stating Lindows.com may continue using the Lindows name despite efforts by Microsoft to prove it is confusingly similar to the company's own operating system moniker.
Lindows.com called on the community in January to help rebut Redmond's claim over the term. Although the ruling only covers the preliminary injunction portion of Microsoft's suit, Coughenour openly questioned whether the word Windows can be protected under trademark law. "Lindows.com has presented sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption of validity of the Windows mark," he wrote.
Coughenour added, "Although Lindows.com certainly made a conscious decision to play with fire by choosing a product and company name that differs by only one letter from the world's leading computer software program, one could just as easily conclude that in 1983 Microsoft made an equally risky decision to name its product after a term commonly used in the trade to indicate the windowing capability of a GUI."
Lindows.com will be permitted to leave its Web site online and release its operating system, when ready. LindowsOS boasts it is a new operating system capable of running both Windows and Linux applications. Based on Xandros, a consumer-friendly version of Debian GNU/Linux formerly owned by Corel, LindowsOS uses WINE to enable basic Windows compatibility. An initial sneak preview was released at the end of January to poor reviews and accusations of marketing fluff.
To reassure supporters, Lindows.com CEO Michael Robertson has promised a second sneak preview with "big performance and compatibility improvements." Robertson wrote in a recent newsletter, "Sneak Preview 2 still won't be quite ready for use as your daily desktop solution, but it has taken huge strides from the first version. In fact, those of you who want to know more about operating systems, but have been frightened by the daunting task of installing Linux, will want to get Sneak Preview 2."