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Microsoft Legal Unfazed by Ubuntu Windows XP GUI Clone

When word came over the holidays that a Chinese group had created an Ubuntu distribution named Ylmf OS that clones the look and feel of Windows XP, we contacted Microsoft to see what they thought about this very odd way of pirating the company's most popular operating system. While some speculated that Redmond would take action to stamp out Ylmf OS rather quickly, not in the name of pirating the operating system's code but in the name of protecting its GUI, the official response we received back is nothing of the sort.

"We have not really evaluated the code here, but assuming that this is a Linux implementation, we agree that the existing laws against software piracy are unlikely to apply here," a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. "So we'd have to look to the protection offered under intellectual property law generally in the relevant jurisdictions. But it would be difficult to talk about the legal options in a general sense as each instance is unique, depending not only on the local IP laws in play (in this case in China) but also the technical implementation itself. We'd need to drill down into the specifics to understand better what Microsoft IP rights may be at stake here."

We prodded the company further to see whether it would be making an effort to "evaluate the code" and "drill down into the specifics" or if it would largely ignore the release since this was Linux and not stolen code. "While we can't comment on the future, we have no current litigation efforts in place about this," the Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Ars. The almost pixel-perfect copycat is here to stay, at least for now. That stance might change if the release gains any traction. We doubt it will.

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  • Anonymous Said:

    "we contacted Microsoft to see what they thought about this very odd way of pirating the company's most popular operating system" Human ignorance at its highest...


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