Bonum Certa Men Certa

How Does the Lenovo-Microsoft Deal Affect Novell's SUSE?

As you may or may not know by now, Lenovo has signed a software deal with Microsoft. The deal is said to address piracy in the east, essentially by preinstalling Microsoft software on more of Lenovo's products. This follows intense debates on whether Linux-loaded (or what Microsoft conveniently chooses to call "naked PCs") are destined to have a pirated version of Windows installed.

When Linux is assumed to be unwanted, then we truly face a dilemma, don't we? Another issue comes to mind, however, because Novell recently got the privilege to have Lenovo compatibility certification, which means that certain Thinkpad models will be guaranteed SUSE support. This comes after promises of full preinstalls. These promises lasted only a couple of days. Rumours tell that Lenovo changes its mind after a little chat with Microsoft. Regardless, have a look at the following bit:

However, last fall, Microsoft and Novell signed a deal making the software giant more Linux friendly, particularly when it's Novell's Linux.

At least on the surface, relations between Microsoft and Lenovo have never been better. Last month, according to Lenovo's statement, the two companies agreed to create a joint research and development center in China.


The stagnating Lenovo-IBM relationship springs to mind, especially at this stage when ex-IBMers land at Novell.

Novell has named Jim Ebzery, an ex-IBMer and former president of the Viisage Division of L-1 Identity Solutions, to run its identity and security management unit. Kent Erickson, who's been running both identity and security and workgroup solutions, now gets to focus. Everybody Novell hires these days seems to be ex-IBM.


Could there be more that we should know about Novell, Lenovo, Microsoft, and IBM? Perhaps it would be premature to assert anything, let alone jump to conclusions. Speculations have led nowhere in the past and we wish to stick to factual information instead.

Finally, there's this other OEM theory, which Dell and/or Novell have just denied.

First, as Danijel Orsolic, founder of Libervis.com, a technology and society discussion site, noted in a recent story, Microsoft is not the boss, we are. "It is being said Microsoft *allowed* Dell to start selling Ubuntu under the condition that it also sells Novell SuSE GNU/Linux."

Based on what my sources at Dell and Novell are telling me, the Novell, Microsoft and Dell deal had nothing to do with the Ubuntu arrangement. David Lord, a Dell spokesperson, flatly denied that there was any connection between the deals. "Our customers told us loud and clear on IdeaStorm that they wanted desktop Linux and we're delivering what they want."

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