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Does Novell Sell Proprietary Windows Virtualisation? (Corrected)

A couple of interesting items (both embedded in a single press release) came out from Novell yesterday. The first one seems to confirm what we already knew --- that Novell's patching process has become assimilated to Microsoft's. This comes at the same time as another lifeline gets cut: "SUSE Linux 9.3 Security Support is Now Discontinued".

Novell Inc. on June 18 released its first service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. This service pack, also known as SP1, features significant enhancements in virtualization, high-performance computing, security, interoperability, and system management.


By contrast, Red Hat released RHEL 4.5 several years after the release of RHEL 4. They did this in order to add some popular virtualisation functionality. There was a regular flow of patches, but never a "Service Pack". It sometimes seems as though Novell is building Microsoft's next desktop/server built upon GPL-licensed code. Will Service Packs give Microsoft some control over what gets included in SLED/SLES 10?

The second part of Novell's announcement left some more room for thought and interpretation. On the face of it, paravirtualisation drivers for Windows are proprietary and they need to be sold (yes, for a price)). Is this the price of openness and interoperability? See for yourself:

The paravirtualized drivers for Windows in the Driver Pack are currently distributed under a proprietary license. The paravirtualized drivers for SUSE Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, on the other hand, will be distributed under an open-source license.


Are they selling the ability to do Windows virtualisation? This continues a worrisome trend where Novell limits Windows/Linux virtualisation as a whole. Are we missing something?

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