Linux distributor Linspire has signed a deal with Microsoft that will
bring the software giant's IM and digital media technologies to the
open-source Linux OS. The controversial deal is just the latest in a
series of Linux interoperability agreements Microsoft has made in
recent months, but it marks a not-so-subtle change of strategy for
Linspire, which was once sued by Microsoft when it operated under the
name Lindows.

"Linspire has always been about choice," says Linspire CEO Kevin
Carmony. "This announcement continues our tradition of offering
options for improved interoperability, enhanced functionality and
confidence."

As part of the agreement, Linspire and Microsoft will work together on
a broad array of compatibility and interoperability initiatives.
Linspire, Microsoft, and Novell will work together on compatibility
problems between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org documents.
Linspire will license Microsoft's IM codecs for voice-based
communications, the Windows Media Player 10 audio and video codecs,
and a collection of Microsoft TrueType fonts. Additionally, Linspire
will use the Windows Live Search service as the default search engine
in its Linux distribution.

Naturally, the agreement also includes the intellectual property
assurances that have marked Microsoft's other recent deals with open-
source companies. These companies include Novell, Xandros, Samsung, LG
Electronics, and others.