Microsoft and Novell == MAN Love?

After Microsoft and Novell‘s announcement that they are to start collaboration on tighter integration between Windows and (admittedly SuSE) Linux, there has been a lot of bollocks kicking around from people squealing “this will be bad“, “this will be really bad“, “oh no, it’s the end of the world as we know it“, and so on. $deity forbid two old-school rivals want to bury the hatchet and do something that’s in the best interests of both their customers.

It is good for Microsoft, as it gives them an “in” into both the FOSS community and corporate arenas, and it’s good for Novell, as it helps them solidify their role in the enterprise Linux market. An associated patent agreement, where Novell pay licensing fees Microsoft for specific patents, and Microsoft agree not to litigate on those patents, is just a cherry on the cake, although cynics may suggest that the patent part is the meat of the deal. I’m unconvinced. The patent deal is to keep shareholders happy; the collaboration deal is to keep customers happy. And isn’t that what FOSS operating in a corporate environment is all about?

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2 responses to “Microsoft and Novell == MAN Love?”

  1. Indisputably it’s good for Microsoft, Novell, Microsoft’s customers, and Novell’s customers. My concern is that it’s bad for the FOSS world that isn’t Novell. The point here is; what if, say, Microsoft decide that Mono infringes some of their patents? Novell and SuSE users are protected; the rest of us get hung out to dry. If MIcrosoft weren’t going to sue then Novell wouldn’t have needed the agreement, no? So to my mind it makes it more likely that everyone else will equally have to enter into a patent cross-licencing agreement, which is problematic for FOSS entities that aren’t big companies like Novell (OK, so Red Hat and Canonical can do so, but what about Damn Small Linux, for example?)