Linux and Technology blog

November 8, 2006

Microsoft & Novell Enter Linux Partnership

Filed under: Linux, News, SuSE — rakeshvk @ 4:56 pm

Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. on 2nd of Oct announced a set of broad business and technical collaboration agreements to build, market and support a series of new solutions to make Novell and Microsoft® products work better together. The two companies also announced an agreement to provide each other’s customers with patent coverage for their respective products. These agreements will be in place until at least 2012. Under this new model, customers will realize unprecedented choice and flexibility through improved interoperability and manageability between Windows® and Linux.“They said it couldn’t be done. This is a new model and a true evolution of our relationship that we think customers will immediately find compelling because it delivers practical value by bringing two of their most important platform investments closer together,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “We’re excited to work with Novell, whose strengths include its heritage as a mixed-source company. Resolving our patent issues enables a combined focus on virtualization and Web services management to create new opportunities for our companies and our customers.”

Under the agreement, Novell is establishing clear leadership among Linux platform and open source software providers on interoperability for mixed-source environments. As a result, Microsoft will officially recommend SUSE Linux Enterprise for customers who want Windows and Linux solutions. Additionally, Microsoft will distribute coupons for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support, so that customers can benefit from the use of an interoperable version of Linux with patent coverage as well as the collaborative work between the two companies.

“Too often technology companies ask their customers to adapt to them. Today we are adapting to our customers,” said Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell. “Microsoft and Novell are enabling customers to take advantage of each other’s products where it makes sense in their enterprise infrastructure. We jointly believe that our business and patent agreements make it possible to offer the highest level of interoperability with the assurance that both our companies stand behind these solutions.”

Time to go and bet on Microsoft and Novell stocks ) Think it is too early to come up with any objective analysis. Guess time will tell. Being frank, I don’t have time to read all this.Related:

Joint letter to the Open Source Community

From Novell and Microsoft

Over the past six years, we’ve seen the effect that the open source community has had on Microsoft. They’ve shared some source code, driven community projects like IronPython and WiX, and they continue to work with a number of open source software companies like JBoss, SugarCRM, XenSource, and Zend.

However, today’s news is a big step forward for the Linux market. Today, for the first time, Microsoft is collaborating directly with a Linux and Open Source software vendor. With this news, Microsoft is saying that Linux is an important part of the IT infrastructure.

More importantly, Microsoft announced today that it will not assert its patents against individual, non-commercial developers. Novell has secured an irrevocable promise from Microsoft to allow individual and non-commercial contributors the freedom to continue open source development, free from any concern of Microsoft patent lawsuits. That’s right, Microsoft wants you to keep hacking.

Why is Microsoft doing this? Because they recognize that customers today are deploying mixed source solutions – Windows and Linux – and they want these solutions to work well together. This will help Microsoft by making it easier for Linux customers to deploy Windows in their Linux environments. Microsoft is committing significant resources to promote joint Windows-Linux solutions. This is all about co-existence and giving customers greater choice.

The collaboration has multiple pieces:

  • Patent coverage
    • The concern over potential patent infringements makes some people nervous about the deployment of open source technologies.
    • To do this, Novell and Microsoft are providing covenants to each other’s customers, therefore releasing each company from the other’s patent portfolio.
    • What it really means is that customers deploying technologies from Novell and Microsoft no longer have to fear about possible lawsuits or potential patent infringement from either company.
  • Virtualization
    • Microsoft and Novell will collaborate in enhancing and developing the functionality required to efficiently virtualize Windows on Linux and Linux on Windows.
    • Both will now be first class citizens in data centers, addressing the needs of mixed environments. They will both enjoy optimized, supported and tuned device drivers to maximize their potential.
  • Virtualization Management
    • As a plus, the companies will work together to implement the necessary standards to manage data centers that run mixed environments (WS-Management).
    • Novell will develop tools to manage virtualized Windows machines, and Microsoft will develop tools to manage virtualized Linux systems.
  • Office Open XML
    • Novell engineers have been working for the last year together with Microsoft engineers through the ECMA TC45 working group in producing a complete specification that would allow for interoperability across office suites.
    • Novell will develop the code necessary to bring support for Office Open XML into OpenOffice, and we will contribute that support back to the OpenOffice.org organization. We will also distribute the Office Open XML plug-in in our own edition of OpenOffice. In addition, we will participate in the Open XML Translator open source project.
  • Collaboration Framework
    • One of the most important components of the collaboration agreement today is that we have setup a framework between Novell and Microsoft to discuss future collaborations.
    • Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new era, and should not be considered a limitation. With the collaboration framework in place, we will periodically evaluate areas where we can work together improving the interoperability of our products.
  • Mono, OpenOffice and Samba
    • Under the patent agreement, customers will receive coverage for Mono, Samba, and OpenOffice as well as .NET and Windows Server.
    • All of these technologies will be improved upon during the 5 years of the agreement and there are some limits on the coverage that would be provided for future technologies added to these offerings.
    • The collaboration framework we have put in place allows us to work on complex subjects such as this where intellectual property and innovation are important parts of the conversation.
    • Novell customers can use these technologies, secure in the knowledge that Microsoft and Novell are working together to offer the best possible joint solution.

This is a watershed moment for Linux. It fundamentally changes the rules of the game. We’re really excited about this deal, and we hope you are too.

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