Bonum Certa Men Certa

Why the 'Interoperability' Lab is a Case Against Un-Novellised Linux

Paula Rooney has just posted a long and detailed post which explains how Microsoft and Novell exclude Red Hat using their 'special' deal and arrangements. It's no longer about GNU/Linux, but it's about Novell Linux. From the post:

With efforts such as the interoperability lab, Microsoft is reinforcing its promise that when its hypervisor actually ships — now slated for late 2008 — Novell’s SLES-based virtual machines will sing nicely on the Windows server platform.

That’s not all. On Sept 12, Microsoft and Sun also announced an expansion of their alliance in which the two companies will ensure that Sun’s Solaris VMs runs well on Windows and Windows runs well in a virtualized state on Solaris.

But what about Red Hat’s Xen-based virtual machines?

The competitive standoff with Red Hat notwithstanding, Microsoft must realize by now that unless it extends the same level of compatibility to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and all other Linux distributions on its hypervisor that this gesture at interoperability is meaningless.

Microsoft’s alliance with XenSource once provided some measure of confidence that Red Hat would run as well on Viridian as Novell’s Linux. But Citrix’s planned acquisition of the open source XenSource calls that into question.

Citrix is one of Microsoft’s closest longtime allies in the proprietary software world and to date has not participated in the open source market. As Microsoft announced the planned release of the Viridian CTP yesterday at VMWorld, for example, it also unveiled an extended virtualization alliance with Citrix to standardize on Microsoft’s Virtual Hard Disk Format as a common run-time environment for virtualized operating systems and applications. That’s not surprising, given Microsoft’s former agreement with XenSource on VHD.

But the tightening triumverate of Microsoft, Novell and Citrix — three longtime proprietary software companies cooperating on virtualization technology — makes more than a few open source advocates and customers uneasy.

And the agreement with Sun on Wednesday — ensuring Solaris Linux runs well on Windows virtualization hypervisor — leaves Red Hat alone in the cold.


By now, you can hopefully see how Microsoft's hijack of XenSource fits neatly into the theme of this Web site. It's all part of a broad plan to leave Microsoft competitors in the sidelines. Novell is just a tool for getting there. Shane spotted this early on.

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