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bobigeorge
January 28th, 2010, 08:44 AM
Dear Friends,

I would like to know if there is any legal issues in installing windows 7 theme on Ubuntu.

Any copyright infringement regulations if I want to use the modified theme machine for commercial purpose?

Thanks in advance,

Bobby George

J V
January 28th, 2010, 09:00 AM
If the theme is licensed under GPL then no, there shoulden't... but microsoft will probably complain, so redirect them to whoever made the theme :)

If you want a windows-like OS, try installing XPDE as well ;)

bobigeorge
January 28th, 2010, 10:18 AM
This is the link for the theme - http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Win2-7+Pack?content=113264&PHPSESSID=529fd9b50ba36d41ff6a5a8c6ed1bc6f

I was wondering is it fair to imitate windows themes into Ubuntu???!!!
Is it not copyright infrigement??

bobigeorge
January 29th, 2010, 10:53 AM
I need more thoughts on this subject...

I was in the middle of a debate.. Some body help me please...

hobo14
January 29th, 2010, 11:03 AM
For commercial use (ie. you make money from it) I think you'll have problems.

If you're not trying to make money from it, it doesn't matter what MS thinks, you're not breaking any laws.

bobigeorge
January 29th, 2010, 11:05 AM
Thank you hobo14 for the quick reply..

Actually the computers with the altered theme is planned to be used in the business process.

Could you please suggest any links..documents or further reading to support what you said???

Mark Phelps
January 29th, 2010, 02:46 PM
First off, if you're going to be distributing Linux-based PCs to be used in a business environment, you should NOT be installing Win7 or Vista themes. Are you trying to fool your customers into thinking they paid for Win7 when you dumped Linux on them instead?

Second, when you sell something, you need to have the rights to do that. And, while you may not be actually selling these PCs, if your customers are using them to generate revenue, it's very much the same situation. Any theme you download from gnome-look was most probably developed using the GPL, meaning, they you're not really allowed to sell it because it's NOT YOUR WORK!

If you're really concerned about the legality of what you're doing (and it looks like you are), then I strongly suggest the following:
1) Install nothing on the PCs that is not open source, and that includes restricted drivers and audio/video codecs
2) Provide only the themes and apps that come with Ubuntu through the standard sources.
3) Do not install any third party apps or themes -- unless you get written permission from the originators to sell their work for your gain.

J V
January 29th, 2010, 02:59 PM
developed using the GPL, meaning, they you're not really allowed to sell it because it's NOT YOUR WORK!I give you:

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you
have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you
want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new
free programs, and that you know you can do these things.Misinformationalism... You can do whatever you want as long as your clients can get the source code for free, change, distribute, etc...

Seeing as the majority "payment" is for the hardware and the installation service, that shouldn't be a problem.

The only thing I would be worried about, is that the pack includes several outsourced items... you have to hunt down every license there before you can be sure they are open source...

HarrisonNapper
January 29th, 2010, 03:06 PM
Agreed with J V. Most of the software in GNU/Linux is such that you can do just about whatever you want with it so long as you do not prevent others from doing the same.

However, as JV mentioned, you'll need to track down every license to make sure and this can be a pain. There are lots of distros that come with Gnome and free software only out-of-the-box. There are many, like Mint, that do not follow this, so it's important to check with the distro you'll be offering.

As for the Win7 theme, looks like the license is proprietary, you'll have to check with the author. That being said, why would you want a Win7 theme on an Ubuntu PC?

In either case, look for media/code licensed under GPL, Creative Commons (CC, but check the license type to ensure commercial use is allowed and what else is required), NC (no copyright), or public domain.

Cheers.

kostkon
January 29th, 2010, 04:03 PM
First off, if you're going to be distributing Linux-based PCs to be used in a business environment, you should NOT be installing Win7 or Vista themes. Are you trying to fool your customers into thinking they paid for Win7 when you dumped Linux on them instead?

Second, when you sell something, you need to have the rights to do that. And, while you may not be actually selling these PCs, if your customers are using them to generate revenue, it's very much the same situation. Any theme you download from gnome-look was most probably developed using the GPL, meaning, they you're not really allowed to sell it because it's NOT YOUR WORK!

If you're really concerned about the legality of what you're doing (and it looks like you are), then I strongly suggest the following:
1) Install nothing on the PCs that is not open source, and that includes restricted drivers and audio/video codecs
2) Provide only the themes and apps that come with Ubuntu through the standard sources.
3) Do not install any third party apps or themes -- unless you get written permission from the originators to sell their work for your gain.
Total BS

Merk42
January 29th, 2010, 04:08 PM
Total BS

Well I think his initial question is valid.

gradinaruvasile
January 29th, 2010, 04:13 PM
Well why wold you want a windows theme in the first place?
Just make the menu look more windows-ish in functionality, thats what people look for.

Merk42
January 29th, 2010, 04:16 PM
Well why wold you want a windows theme in the first place?
Just make the menu look more windows-ish in functionality, thats what people look for.
Well
"We're switching to Linux, I've made things look similar to Windows to help with the transition"
is completely different from
"Oh sure, this is totally Windows. What? some things look different? oh no..that's just some service pack I assure you."

presence1960
January 29th, 2010, 06:22 PM
I hate to throw a wrench in this interesting conversation, but....

out of all the great themes, wallpapers etc on gnome-look.org why in the world would you want something windows?

Merk42
January 29th, 2010, 06:38 PM
I hate to throw a wrench in this interesting conversation, but....

out of all the great themes, wallpapers etc on gnome-look.org why in the world would you want something windows?

I'm going to guess because of one of the two scenarios I mentioned in the previous post, hopefully the former.

ebharv
January 29th, 2010, 06:44 PM
First and foremost.....

I hate to throw a wrench in this interesting conversation, but....

out of all the great themes, wallpapers etc on gnome-look.org why in the world would you want something windows?

:D Shazaam!! Nuff said!! Shut the thread down!! He pwned all of you!! :D


One more thing....

Thank you hobo14 for the quick reply..

Actually the computers with the altered theme is planned to be used in the business process.

Could you please suggest any links..documents or further reading to support what you said???

You'll probably get sued by Microsoft if they find out and you make enough money, regardless of your legal rights. They have the money to get it to court and NOBODY wants to be in court.

And in conclusion......

First off, if you're going to be distributing Linux-based PCs to be used in a business environment, you should NOT be installing Win7 or Vista themes. Are you trying to fool your customers into thinking they paid for Win7 when you dumped Linux on them instead?

Second, when you sell something, you need to have the rights to do that. And, while you may not be actually selling these PCs, if your customers are using them to generate revenue, it's very much the same situation. Any theme you download from gnome-look was most probably developed using the GPL, meaning, they you're not really allowed to sell it because it's NOT YOUR WORK!

If you're really concerned about the legality of what you're doing (and it looks like you are), then I strongly suggest the following:
1) Install nothing on the PCs that is not open source, and that includes restricted drivers and audio/video codecs
2) Provide only the themes and apps that come with Ubuntu through the standard sources.
3) Do not install any third party apps or themes -- unless you get written permission from the originators to sell their work for your gain.

All this might not be true but it does seem to be a little dishonest to sell Linux disguised as Windows. Unless the company you're selling it to asked for Linux disguised as Windows and in the end the machines won't be sold to someone buying Linux while thinking it's windows.

Oh yeah by the way.......

I hate to throw a wrench in this interesting conversation, but....

out of all the great themes, wallpapers etc on gnome-look.org why in the world would you want something windows?

:D Shazaam!! Nuff said!! Shut the thread down!! He pwned all of you!! :D

chewearn
January 29th, 2010, 06:46 PM
When I first boot up my eeepc, I was surprised to see Asus has themed Xandros as a WinXP look alike. I didn't hear about MS sending a cease desist letter to Asus, so I think you are safe.

HarrisonNapper
January 29th, 2010, 08:43 PM
imho this thread has gotten incredibly off topic or at least repetitive; I vote that we wait until OP posts again before resuming commentary. Elsewise, we'll just be speculating. Just my two cents :)

Cheers.

bobigeorge
February 2nd, 2010, 05:15 AM
Dear all,

I couldn't keep up with the discussion Since I Was out of station for a few days.

I want to make it clear that the plan is not to sell computers installed with Ubuntu nor to fool anybody.

Computers installed with Ubuntu will be used by the employees of a firm, where Windows installed PCs were used earlier, for activities like billing, data storage etc.

Since the employees are not familiar with Ubuntu, there was a suggestion to theme it like Windows.

What I wanted to know was its compliance with law and more importantly with Ubuntu spirit.

No harm meant..

LegendarySandwich
February 2nd, 2010, 05:31 AM
Dear all,

I couldn't keep up with the discussion Since I Was out of station for a few days.

I want to make it clear that the plan is not to sell computers installed with Ubuntu nor to fool anybody.

Computers installed with Ubuntu will be used by the employees of a firm, where Windows installed PCs were used earlier, for activities like billing, data storage etc.

Since the employees are not familiar with Ubuntu, there was a suggestion to theme it like Windows.

What I wanted to know was its compliance with law and more importantly with Ubuntu spirit.

No harm meant..

Bottom line: no, it's not illegal.

There, this thread can now be closed.

Sven6210
February 2nd, 2010, 05:45 AM
I am not sure whether "LegendarySandwich" is right. If you copy the Windows 7 theme in a way the the internet browser (whether Firefox or any other) of the messenger/mail client (whether Evolution or any other) have the logos of the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Outlook I guess it is a kind of risky. I would not do so in a corporate environment.

However, where I do not see any problem at all is having the Ubuntu desktop Window 7-like. Instead of the "Start" button with the flying windows having a different symbol (e.g. Ubuntu symbol) and having items in the comparable task bar but with e.g. the Firefox or Evolution logo is not a problem. The original names of Microsoft Applications (e.g. Outlook, Excel etc.) are definitely protected and usually also the matching symbols.

My summary: For the users you can make the transition easy by adapting the desktop as close to Windows 7 as possible but avoid to use any name or Symbol of a Microsoft application. This way you should be on the save side

bobigeorge
February 2nd, 2010, 06:00 AM
However, where I do not see any problem at all is having the Ubuntu desktop Window 7-like. Instead of the "Start" button with the flying windows having a different symbol (e.g. Ubuntu symbol) and having items in the comparable task bar but with e.g. the Firefox or Evolution logo is not a problem. The original names of Microsoft Applications (e.g. Outlook, Excel etc.) are definitely protected and usually also the matching symbols.


I think this should be the conclusion...

By the way what is a "LegendarySandwich" ?

clicker4721
February 2nd, 2010, 06:01 AM
@ bobigeorge: Assuming they are used to Windows 7, what you need is Vistar 7. Sure, it only works on Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope, but since it is on work computers, the edition probably won't matter to them. Here (http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php/Vistar7+-+Windows+7+Transformation+Pack?content=104232)'s the link. Or, if it is XP they're used to, there (http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/XP+Royale+Makeover?content=43550) are (http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Win_XP_Like_Kicker?content=42202)multiple (http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Windows+XP+-+Luna+Blue?content=119403) to choose (http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/WindowsXP+Blue?content=95142) from (by the way, there's a few links there, and you can pick and choose from whichever and install the chosen in harmony for a very WinXp-y desktop). If it's earlier than that (God forbid), Kubuntu has built-in Redmond themes, so you're set there with a quick icon change on Kickoff/Lancelot.
And, of course it's legal.

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't see you already had a theme in mind. But, hey, you can check those out too, I guess. :P

LegendarySandwich
February 2nd, 2010, 07:04 PM
I think this should be the conclusion...

By the way what is a "LegendarySandwich"

It'd be too hard to explain :p

HarrisonNapper
February 3rd, 2010, 06:23 PM
KDE is a pretty good option to begin with without having to mess with the theme and potential issues that could arise therefrom. sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

HarrisonNapper
February 3rd, 2010, 06:24 PM
Also note, this is probably a better question for your legal department as opposed to tech support forums :-)

bobigeorge
February 4th, 2010, 07:44 AM
yea.. I will do that.... But I wanted to know your opinion too..

Ubuntu spirit ;)

J V
February 4th, 2010, 08:24 AM
You mentioned you wanted to make the transition easier. A windows theme will not help you there, it just makes it look different, everything is just as hard to find.

Look up xpde, it is an enviroment designed to resemble xp, for easier transition.

http://www.xpde.com/shots/startmenu.png

jmweirick
February 7th, 2010, 03:52 PM
Really quickly. I know a lot has already been said on this. But I'm a writer who has had to study copyright laws because of the various concerns of a fiction writer.

The copyright exists at creation. That means that even before registering the copyright Microsoft owned the rights to the Windows interface. Using someone else's artwork without permission is against the law. Trying to make a theme based on a copyrighted work is considered making a derivative of that work. Again, without permission, it is against the law. This is regardless of whatever licence the derivative work is under. (be it GPL, BSD, etc.)

As to the idea of using non-open source stuff, in your particular environment, it would depend on the individual licence. Please check licences and contact the original software developers if you are unsure. They may choose to offer you a unique license if their standard ones won't work (usually for a fee however).

Now, as for the reason for using windows theming - it probably won't help make the transition any easier. In my experience, people will learn the new systems faster if the new system is much less like the old one. Their brains just automatically throw out the old information set because it just doesn't make sense any more.

Zerocool Djx
February 7th, 2010, 06:52 PM
Why on earth would you ever WANT to put windows on Ubuntu? Kinda reminds me of De-cafe coffee,... little counterproductive...

Have fun tho! :)

Mark Phelps
February 7th, 2010, 10:16 PM
Now, as for the reason for using windows theming - it probably won't help make the transition any easier. In my experience, people will learn the new systems faster if the new system is much less like the old one. Their brains just automatically throw out the old information set because it just doesn't make sense any more.

+1.

Making Ubuntu look like an MS Windows version, especially to folks not familiar with HOW Ubuntu works, is only going to confuse them.

Next thing you know, you're going to asking for a Linux clone of Control Panel, or something that looks like WMP, or maybe even a mail client that behaves exactly like Outlook! (I shudder to even THINK about this last one).

Ubuntu specifically, and Linux in general, is all about being DIFFERENT from the MS Windows world. Let your clients enjoy that! Ubuntu 9.10 has some really nice themes. Why not let your folks experiment with the desktop appearance they like -- instead of the one you're forcing on them?

LegendarySandwich
February 8th, 2010, 01:19 AM
Really quickly. I know a lot has already been said on this. But I'm a writer who has had to study copyright laws because of the various concerns of a fiction writer.

The copyright exists at creation. That means that even before registering the copyright Microsoft owned the rights to the Windows interface. Using someone else's artwork without permission is against the law. Trying to make a theme based on a copyrighted work is considered making a derivative of that work. Again, without permission, it is against the law. This is regardless of whatever licence the derivative work is under. (be it GPL, BSD, etc.)

As to the idea of using non-open source stuff, in your particular environment, it would depend on the individual licence. Please check licences and contact the original software developers if you are unsure. They may choose to offer you a unique license if their standard ones won't work (usually for a fee however).

Now, as for the reason for using windows theming - it probably won't help make the transition any easier. In my experience, people will learn the new systems faster if the new system is much less like the old one. Their brains just automatically throw out the old information set because it just doesn't make sense any more.
So then the thousands of Windows and Mac OS X themes, as well as programs like Avant Window Navigator, are illegal?

Meh. Even if that is true, I don't care.

bobigeorge
February 8th, 2010, 05:09 AM
Really quickly. I know a lot has already been said on this. But I'm a writer who has had to study copyright laws because of the various concerns of a fiction writer.

The copyright exists at creation. That means that even before registering the copyright Microsoft owned the rights to the Windows interface. Using someone else's artwork without permission is against the law. Trying to make a theme based on a copyrighted work is considered making a derivative of that work. Again, without permission, it is against the law. This is regardless of whatever licence the derivative work is under. (be it GPL, BSD, etc.)

As to the idea of using non-open source stuff, in your particular environment, it would depend on the individual licence. Please check licences and contact the original software developers if you are unsure. They may choose to offer you a unique license if their standard ones won't work (usually for a fee however).

Now, as for the reason for using windows theming - it probably won't help make the transition any easier. In my experience, people will learn the new systems faster if the new system is much less like the old one. Their brains just automatically throw out the old information set because it just doesn't make sense any more.

Thank you.. I was looking for something like this.. I wanted to be in the safe side.. Can you give me some links to the exact documents??

Regarding the last paragraph.. I have to handle people who have the perception of "LINUX IS DIFFICULT"rooted deep in their minds and who have seen only Windows in their whole life.

As a person who loves open spirit, I too hate the idea of theming ubuntu to look like windows. I can not accept to theme it like mac either.

But it is business and in my case, I am not the one who take decisions... Even though I can suggest

bobigeorge
February 8th, 2010, 05:21 AM
Hello Zerocool Djx and Mark Phelps,

I agree with what you said. Please see my last post.

But in my case people who are going to use "ubuntuThemedToLookLikeWindows" would be using it for preliminary data storage, document editing and other things like that atleast for the time being...

And once they come to know about the stability and openness of Ubuntu and what more it can offer, I am confident that I can transform them into the "real users"

jmweirick
February 9th, 2010, 06:07 AM
Thank you.. I was looking for something like this.. I wanted to be in the safe side.. Can you give me some links to the exact documents??

Most of what I have I got from the book "Free Culture" by Lawrence Lessig, but I don't have my copy anymore so I can't give quotes. I did manage to find this: http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

In particular number six. There's also this: http://blog.v7n.com/2006/03/26/copyright-law-explained/


So then the thousands of Windows and Mac OS X themes, as well as programs like Avant Window Navigator, are illegal?

Tecnically, yes. Practically, the creators aren't likely to get sued for it, and no individual is likely to get in trouble for using it. In the case of a business wanting to cover its bases, however, they should be considered off limits.

jmweirick
February 9th, 2010, 06:13 AM
I just looked up what Avant is, and that reminds me of something else. Functionality (as opposed to artwork and themeing) is covered by patents, not copyright. If the functionality is not patented, than you can avoid a copyright violation by implementing the same functionality in what is called a "white room" environment. That means you work backward to get code without seeing the original code whose functionality you are trying to recreate. This is something that open-source developers do all the time, and it is perfectly legal, as long as copyrighted things, such as artwork, are left out. Confusing right? That's why lawyers get so much money. You really need to consult with a lawyer if you are attempting anything like what we've been talking about, but as I said, that gets expensive.

HarrisonNapper
February 9th, 2010, 05:20 PM
Yeah, for normal users and for distributors of themes/desktop environments, I would suppose that it falls under fair use standards. Not sure if the same applies to corporate use. The presumption therefrom I might conclude that as long as it is being used as a visual aid and not being restricted based on the requirements of the underlying license (or sold commercially), you're probably ok. That being said, it could also be argued that if workers are more productive because of the use of derivative works (based on the copyrighted Windows system, which was not originally owned by MS, but is now--just a note), it could be argued that you are using the theme commercially and some royalty of the boost in productivity/profit is owed to MS.

Probably something with a fine enough line that it would take a qualified and registered legal advisor to sort out. Keep in mind that any advice you may receive on these forums shouldn't be considered qualified legal advisement and neither the forum nor its members are responsible for the consequences of you choosing to follow any of the individual recommendations (or implied recommendations) on the forum.

How's that for a disclaimer? :-) hehe

jmweirick
February 9th, 2010, 08:40 PM
Probably something with a fine enough line that it would take a qualified and registered legal advisor to sort out. Keep in mind that any advice you may receive on these forums shouldn't be considered qualified legal advisement and neither the forum nor its members are responsible for the consequences of you choosing to follow any of the individual recommendations (or implied recommendations) on the forum.

How's that for a disclaimer? :-) hehe

Well said. I just noticed one other thing. The theme that was mentioned earlier from gnome-look.org actually uses the original windows 7 pixmaps. That isn't even a derivative work, but a flat out copy of the original. Illegal by any standards.

Also, as mentioned in the myths link that I gave, regardless of if your use causes any increase in profits, it still has to follow the same copyright rules as if it did.

On a rather side note: I'm not very technically minded, but this has made me wonder. Has anyone tried to strip the Windows7 Window Manager from windows and use a modified Wine set up to use it on Linux? Probably way more work than its worth, but just got me thinking.

MasterNetra
February 9th, 2010, 08:48 PM
I suppose you could slap a Windows theme onto Ubuntu, but would need to use the RGB hack thing to get Aero-like transparency...though not sure how you would go about blurring the transparency.

HarrisonNapper
February 11th, 2010, 12:04 AM
On a rather side note: I'm not very technically minded, but this has made me wonder. Has anyone tried to strip the Windows7 Window Manager from windows and use a modified Wine set up to use it on Linux? Probably way more work than its worth, but just got me thinking.

Probably similar issues with copyright since the code is subject to copyright; it's still IP. You can always ask the Wine dev team, though; worst you get is an answer :)

jmweirick
February 11th, 2010, 02:10 AM
Probably similar issues with copyright since the code is subject to copyright; it's still IP. You can always ask the Wine dev team, though; worst you get is an answer :)

Oh, well of course it would still be illegal, but I just wonder if it's possible. Like stripping the soul of windows and replacing it with linux. Would be pretty fun.

bobigeorge
February 12th, 2010, 04:37 AM
You people have been so helpful... thanks a lot. Now I have to make a decision taking into consideration all the thoughts you have provided.