Bonum Certa Men Certa

Novell and Microsoft Decided for that World That Interoperability Requires “Assurance” and 'Tax'

As Shane indicated earlier, we are apparently seeing a troublesome new situation. Microsoft discriminates against Linux distributions that are not 'taxable'. Novell supports this. Sadly enough, this may become a future theme and a new method for pressuring vendors to enter unwanted partnerships. One item worth quoting here comes from Andy Updegrove.

The most timely exchanges, not surprisingly, involved the questions, comments and answers focusing on the string of agreements with Novell, and more recently with other distro vendors (most recently Linspire), in the context of the "235 patent" Fortune article. Not surprisingly, Microsoft and Novell painted their arrangement as being "for the benefit of their customers," and as beneficial to the growth of Linux. Novell's Justin Steinman, Novell's long-suffering corporate spokesman for the Microsoft deal, pointed to the huge growth of it's Linux business since the deal was inked, but whether this is incremental Linux market growth or simply sales that have shifted from other distro vendors is, of course, a different question. I felt constrained to point out that for 20 years Unix, and then Linux customers, hadn't felt the need to be protected by such agreements. It's curious why customers should now suddenly need assurance.


It is clear that Novell helped Microsoft's plot become a reality. Compliance through punishment seems to be the strategy. It's a case of "pay us, or be snubbed", which is anticompetitive. Open standards that are the key to real interoperability haven't a cost and they should be simple.

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