Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft and Novell Still Grow Closer

Novellsoft



Summary: Evidence of Novell/Microsoft intersection from this week's news

LAST night's joke about Novell and IBM did not amuse those who hate this Web site, but it was a statement with a purpose. As oiaohm explains, today (April 1st) is a good opportunity to publish things which contain an element of truth and then discuss the impact as though it was all true. Independently, ITWire chose to do another similar story that suggests Microsoft is buying Novell. The impact of UNIX ownership is therefore debated.



In a shock announcement, Microsoft has today taken majority ownership of software house Novell. This immediately gives the Redmond giant control of Novell's intellectual property assets including the legal copyright over UNIX. Already Red Hat and Canonical (Ubuntu) have expressed their expectation Microsoft will aggressively seek to eradicate all distributions save for Microsoft Linux Vista, formerly SUSE.

Microsoft’s sudden takeover is at the same time a surprise and not a surprise.

On the one hand, there had not been any recent comment or activity that indicated Novell was a target for Microsoft.

Yet, on the other hand, the two companies had formed an alliance back in 2006 to forge interoperability between Novell’s SUSE Linux and Microsoft Windows. This alliance has continued without wavering and Microsoft published a video at the end of last year highlighting some of the achievements during the “two years of interoperability progress.”


Given Novell's strategic direction, the above could become truth one day, hurdles like the FTC being an obvious issue. On many occasions in the past we wrote about the dangers of Novell possessing UNIX and we also showed writings which rationalise a Microsoft takeover of Novell (e.g. Sys-con).

Today we wish to present the very latest evidence which justifies the risk, starting with this video that someone put on YouTube two days ago. It's about the Microsoft/Novell "interoperability initiative" and it's in German.

Ogg Theora







This almost coincides with the release of MonoDevelop 2.0, which we wrote about yesterday. Novell and SUSE are all about Mono. From the PR department (days ago):

[I]f you’ve got ideas on projects to help improve openSUSE and Mono, visit the openSUSE Ideas page or check out some suggestions for Mono-related student projects. Summer will be here in no time, so if you’re interested we encourage you to apply today.


Additional coverage of MonoDevelop exists in The Inquirer and Ars Technica:

NOVELL HAS RELEASED new versions of Mono and MonoDevelop, which it thinks will make running .Net on Linux faster and easier.


More in Jupitermedia.

Novell is making it easier for a Microsoft .NET developer to deploy their applications on Linux, whether they develop their applications on Windows or on Linux, with the release of Mono 2.4.


Yesterday in the 'Microsoft press' (Redmond) we also found the article ".NET Does the Wave," which states:

Rajagopalan said Microsoft has worked on about 17 open developer platforms, particularly in areas like Azure, open document formats and identity. "We are committed to these projects and we continue to listen to feedback," he said.


Mind the part where it says "open document formats." They must be referring to OOXML, but they try to make it sound like ODF ("open document format"), having already named their format "Office Open XML" to confuse with OpenOffice.

Another new article from this Microsoft-influenced press at Redmond is attempting to wed Microsoft and "open source" despite the following: [link from Marbux]

However, Microsoft still continues to come under fire for its actions. Two years ago, Microsoft claimed publicly that Linux and free open source software (FOSS) are violating 235 Microsoft patents. In February, Redmond took what looked to be its first action against an alleged violator, filing suit against auto navigation device maker TomTom over alleged infringement of its U.S. patents by Linux and open source, though the two yesterday announced a settlement.

And standards experts, such as Consortiuminfo.org creator Andrew Updegrove, have argued that Microsoft's efforts to make OOXML a standard were meant to short-circuit the growing popularity of a competing standard, the OpenDocument Format (ODF).


Over in Andy Updegrove's Consortiuminfo.org, says Winter (Groklaw regular) regarding the "Novell deal":

"But if the terms are secret (as they surely would be), would Microsoft end up paying more to TomTom, or visa-versa, or would it be a wash?"



In the deal between MS and Novell, Novell received a few hundred million dollars from MS and MS claimed Novell paid them for patents on Linux that MS owned.



That sounded odd to me then. But there were people who believed MS (or wanted to believe MS).



I have the a feeling that MS will at some time offer TomTom an enormous amount of money to recognize the patents of MS. If accepted, MS will crow that Linux is infringing unspecified MS IP.



That too is an interesting possibility.

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