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Novell's Technical Strategy

Jeff Jaffe has posted "Novell's Technical Strategy and progress in 2006" on his CTO Blog at

The Microsoft agreement gets much coverage, but no mention of the advantages of the infamous patent covenant, instead focusing on interoperability and virtualization.

3. The Microsoft agreement

We have already alluded to the fact that our virtualization and interoperability strategy is strengthened with our agreement with Microsoft.

It should be clear that, for the next twenty years, Windows and Linux are the two key operating environments for customers. Before this deal there were Linux focused companies and Windows focused companies like Microsoft. No company had legitimacy to assert itself as key to both environments.

That has irrevocably changed. Novell is the company which stands at the nexus of both of these key platforms. (In addition to bringing the NetWare base forward on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as part of Open Enterprise Server.)

Why is that? Only Novell has Microsoft’s endorsement as its partner to drive Linux-Windows interoperability. So – of the Linux vendors - only we can speak authoritatively about Windows. With our virtualized solutions, we are linked even closer with the solution that customers need.

Of course, Microsoft is also at the base of Linux and Windows since we will work with them to optimize SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on Veridian. However, although they endorse SUSE at the Linux level, they do not aspire to manage heterogeneity at higher levels. Novell, on the other hand – has made multi-platform support a key requirement from day 1.

Other aspects of the Microsoft agreement

While we have focused on virtualization, there are several other significant pieces of our agreement with Microsoft. Our business collaboration (sales and marketing) is significant. Beyond that, we are collaborating technically in three additional areas related to interoperability and management.

One component is collaboration with Microsoft on standards for Web services management. Technically, there is a great deal of synergy between our two companies on how we see the proper architecture for the future. This collaboration will simplify our systems management products, since the management architectures for Linux and Windows will come together.

Another component is directories. Here, the open source world, Microsoft with Active directory, and traditional Novell products based on eDirectory require considerable joint activity. Customers regularly ask for greater interoperability. We have agreed to move this space forward.

Finally, in the area of document interoperability, we have already provided technology that allows interoperability between Open Office and Open Office XML, the basis for Vista’s Office products.

Feel free to read the entirety of the blog posting, I have to say if you look at Novell's 2006 year in review and there was no patent covenant, I would be impressed.

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