Make Linux look like Windows XP

I can’t say I discovered this–I saw a reference to it in User Friendly this past week–but there’s now an XP-lookalike window manager for Linux called XPDE.

A quick look at the screenshots shows it’s a pretty convincing clone. But is it legal?The authors maintain its legality, because it uses no Microsoft code, mentions no Microsoft trademarks, and uses no Microsoft icons. I wish them well, but there is precedent for a copyright infringement anyway.

Some 20 years ago, the best-selling spreadsheet (and perhaps best-known piece of software in the world) was Lotus 1-2-3. It was expensive. In 1985, microcomputer pioneer Adam Osborne began predicting the emergence of Lotus 1-2-3 clones priced under $100. The theory was, if one could clone the IBM PC and undercut IBM’s price, why couldn’t the same technique be used to clone expensive software and undercut it in price as well?

Osborne had insider knowledge, being the president of his own software company. He released a Lotus 1-2-3 clone himself, and in 1987, Lotus sued him. Borland also incorporated Lotus 1-2-3’s menu structure into its own spreadsheet product, Quattro Pro. Lotus won its case against Osborne’s Paperback Software, with a court finding Paperback in violation of Lotus’ copyright, and Osborne disappeared into obscurity in disgust. Borland was more successful, winning its case against Lotus on appeal. But it took six years to do it, during which both companies’ products were eclipsed in the marketplace by Microsoft Excel.

So while XPDE may technically be legal, if I were involved in the project, I would be afraid of being litigated into oblivion.

But in the meantime, if you want or need a Windows-like interface for your Linux box, you can download XPDE.

5 thoughts on “Make Linux look like Windows XP

  • February 1, 2004 at 3:14 pm
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    But, I just got my Mandrake Linux 9.2 system up and
    running, finally. Why would I want it to look like Win
    XP?? ;^P

  • February 1, 2004 at 4:31 pm
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    So you can make yourself think you are running real OS… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • February 3, 2004 at 4:31 pm
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    Whadda troll… ;->

  • March 29, 2004 at 12:32 pm
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    when you’re running linux you ARE running a REAL OS. Linux is the best os and the best thing about it is it doesn’t look like the fruity, bright windows XP. If you get redhat 9 or SUSE than you get a better GUI (graphical user interface) than winxp.

    • March 29, 2004 at 10:26 pm
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      First off I’d say Choice. But more likely, to make the transition easier for those who are used to that style interface.

      And like I said once before, to make it look like a REAL OS… ๐Ÿ˜‰ We all know that Linux is a cheap imposter. Long live Bill Gates!

      And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to convert my stable rather secure Linux server to Winworm.

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