Bonum Certa Men Certa

CRN, DaniWeb€® Think Novell Could Be Microsoft One Day

NindowsWhat if...?

The idea of a GNU/Linux- or BSD-based Windows replacement (think Winux) has been kicked around for a long time. This notion is not so far fetched, especially if Microsoft buys Novell. While it's not worth repeating the possibilities (we did so several times in the past), it is definitely worth noticing that, over time, other Web sites form similar opinions. They are willing to acknowledge, especially now with Midori and "7" vapourware afloat, that big changes might be ahead.



Yesterday we showed that Novell had begun spreading GNU/Linux FUD, no matter how implicitly. It views SUSE Enterprise Linux as a special breed. The following new comment from Linux Today points out the change in attitude:

This writeup made me see a simple public call-out that the press and open source community and end customers can all ask Novell. Please explain how this works ? 1) Your CEO said ""Our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property." (I remember a public letter/posting on Novell's website with a strong denial right after the first deal in 2006). 2) Now you say: Bruce wrote me that customers wanted the Novell/Microsoft package, in part, because it "provides IP (intellectual property) peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments."


It's worth repeating whatever was said yesterday. Maybe Ian Bruce does not know what Hovsepian and Novell said before. He is new at Novell and he does not realise that he must lie to the public about the meaning of the deal with Microsoft, which, in reality, is a software patents deal.

Microsoft might crave Novell's software patents. Moreover, we mustn't forget that Novell owns UNIX and it could become a problem. This enables a continuation of an SCO-like indictment.

It's no figment of imagination when one considers four possibilities:

  1. Microsoft buys Novell and sells an 'enhanced' GNU/Linux, which others cannot have.
  2. Microsoft continues to use Novell to pressure other GNU/Linux vendors until GNU/Linux is just one company that can be squashed.
  3. Microsoft borrows technology from Novell to build a Windows replacement on its own.
  4. Microsoft along with Novell (or with Novell acquired) launches a legal attack against GNU/Linux, probably with the exception of SUSE Enterprise Linux, which is an expensive Microsoft cash cow. It can be about patents or about copyrights (UNIX).


Here are a couple of interesting new articles:

Opinion: How much is that penguin in the Window?

How far this goes is anyone’s guess. Will Microsoft one day offer its very own Linux distro?


Microsoft and Novell: Buying In or Selling Out?

Microsoft could be investing in Novell for a complete buyout at some point in the future after Novell developers create the ultimate OS for them, using Microsoft's money, of course. $300+ million buys you a lot of development.


If a worst-case scenario becomes a reality, then this site will cease to be targeted at a 'Linux company'. As time goes on, Novell becomes more of a 'Microsoft subsidiary'. Remember Corel.

"If programmers deserve to be rewarded for creating innovative programs, by the same token they deserve to be punished if they restrict the use of these programs."

--Richard Stallman

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