Lindows chief admits dangling Xbox hack 'carrot'

He put up $200,000 of his own money to encourage anti-Microsoft contest...
Written by David Becker, Contributor

He put up $200,000 of his own money to encourage anti-Microsoft contest...

Michael Robertson, chief executive of open source software firm Lindows, has admitted he was the anonymous donor of $200,000 in prize money in a contest to translate the Linux operating system to Microsoft's Xbox game console Robertson put up the money to spark interest in a contest which challenged the open source community to get Linux running on the Microsoft machine. The revelation was made in a posting earlier this week on the Xbox Linux Project site at SourceForge, a site for collaborative development of open-source software projects. Robertson disclosed his identity as the person funding the contest and extended the deadline.
Robertson confirmed the SourceForge posting in an interview yesterday with News.com, saying he funded the contest not for business goals but to promote open access to technology. He said: "There is no business justification; that's not why I did it. I did it because I thought people should have the choice to run the software they want on the hardware of their choice. I don't think when you buy a car, they should be able to tell you what brand [of petrol] to put in it." The project was announced last July with prizes of $100,000 each for the first developer to accomplish two goals. The first challenge was to get Linux running on an Xbox, a goal that has already been met by several developers. The project team expects to divvy up that prize money among several hackers this month, according to the site. The second challenge, to run Linux on an Xbox with no hardware modifications, has been more of a struggle. To date, hackers wanting to run unauthorised software on the Xbox have needed a console outfitted with a "mod chip" - piece of kit which Microsoft has fought hard to outlaw. David Becker writes for News.com
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