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Microsoft To Announce Linux Partnership 534

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Microsoft is entering into an unusual partnership with Novell that gives a boost to Linux, people familiar with the companies tell From the article: 'Under the pact, which isn't final, Microsoft will offer sales support of Suse Linux, a version of the operating system sold by Novell. The two companies have also agreed to develop technologies to make it easier for users to run both Suse Linux and Microsoft's Windows on their computers. The two companies are expected to announce details of their plan today at a press conference in San Francisco. In addition, Microsoft won't assert rights over patents over software technology that may be incorporated into Suse Linux, the people said. Businesses that use Linux have long worried that Microsoft would one day file patent infringement suits against sellers of the rival software.'"
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Microsoft To Announce Linux Partnership

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  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @04:41PM (#16694103) Journal
    I dont understand why Microsoft has been so friendly to OSS sofwtare on windows, but this is well strange.

    Microsoft has been nicer since Bill Gates left the CEO position to Steve Balmer but Microsoft must have an incentive. Why would Microsoft help a competitor? Especially one that is very entrenched in the server market which MS wished it owned like the desktop market.

    I wonder if there are clauses in that agreement for MS to pull a SCO if they feel to threatened? This is the same microsoft that screwed IBM twice with DOS and OS/2 and Netscape so I am skeptical.
  • by Cruxus ( 657818 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @04:42PM (#16694131) Journal
    How will the open-source community view SuSe Linux now? I can only imagine the brand will soon have the same stigma as Windows does. Will there be exaggerated anecdotes about how frequently SuSe "WinLinux" crashes compared to "real" distros?
  • by Vlad_the_Inhaler ( 32958 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @04:47PM (#16694255) Homepage
    The most obvious explanation I can think of is that they have decided Linux is not going to displace Windows on the desktop, and that the technologies in question are useful on the desktop rather than on servers. If SuSE (and others) take up Microsoft solutions on the desktop, they will not be developing parallel solutions.
  • by head_dunce ( 828262 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @04:58PM (#16694477) Homepage
    Microsoft is seeing open source applications, like SugarCRM, come into the business market and fast. These open source applications have to run well on Microsoft operating systems, but right now they run better on Linux. For example, that's why they're partnering up to make PHP run better on M$ products. [] I think they tried to do this on their own with Longhorn, and although it may come out at the end of the month, I doubt it's what they originally had planned. With Novell losing their top 3 kernal programmers to Oracle in the last few months here, this may be exactly what Novell needed to keep SuSE alive.
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:14PM (#16694703) Homepage Journal
    Just more crazy speculation on my part, but could this partnership be a prelude to a future Microsoft buyout of Novell? Such a buyout would kill two big birds with one stone. First it would get Netware completely off the table as a competing NOS, not that it has been much lately, but there are still a lot of Netware installations out there. And two, it would get them into the Linux world with one of the best distros around, which also happens to be one of the corporate favorites. A grand strategy, I think, if true. This opening partnership approach might even steer them clear of antitrust entanglements during any subsequent buyout/merger.
  • Strangers with candy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pseudorand ( 603231 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:26PM (#16694885)
    > Microsoft won't assert rights over patents over software technology that may be incorporated into Suse Linux...

    The implied part missing from this statement is "against Novell". Novell will now be free to develop stuff that steps on MS patents, all open source and GLP-compliant, but other distros won't be able to use it for fear the MS will sue them. Esentially this is a move to try to biforcate the Linux market. They want infighting to slow down Linux development instead of the big feel-good code-sharing orgy that has given Linux so much great software in so little time.

    The solution: boycot SuSE. Honestly, there is no shortage of reasons to do this anyway. Its crappy GUI admin tools are MS-like except for the fact that they don't actually work half the time. It's possibly suitable as a desktop OS for users who are afraid of the command line but for some strange reason still want to use Linux. It's NOT very useful as a server product.

    Long Live Gentoo!
  • by ZoneGray ( 168419 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:47PM (#16695297) Homepage
    Pretty simple, really. It's a defensive move. They NEED to be involved in Linux, especially overseas, where they can't get away with charging US prices (and can barely enforce the licenses anyway).

    And don't expect MS to try and make SuSe proprietary; they're doing this precisely because they need an alternative product line, to gain an entry with customers who won't use Windows.

    Expect to see a LOT of SuSe in China.

    The lesson from this and the Oracle move is that it makes more economic sense for huge software companies to handle the distribution, and to benefit from the various synergies and good will that it creates, rather than to start a company that does nothing but Linux (and trying to figure out how to monetize free software). MS will eventually profit more from Linux than Red Hat ever did, but not by charging for the software.

    Linux has "won", in a sense.... it's reached enough critical mass that there's a mad rush to be the one who gives it away. It may never outnumber Windows, but it will ALWAYS be a factor from here on out. The only question remaining is who will eventually buy Red Hat (sure, they may try to restructure, but they'll never be able to make a go of it with MS and Oracle trying to outdo each other at giving it away). SAP and HP are the first names that come to mind. Maybe Sun, but they couldn't afford it. Intel would have antitrust problems. Not sure if IBM would still be interested.
  • Re:wtf? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smilindog2000 ( 907665 ) <> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @05:50PM (#16695377) Homepage
    Microsoft agreeing not to go after SuSE means they cannot go after the code full stop.

    Sorry, but that's simply not true. They can secretly license their patents to Novel for $1, making it perfectly legal for them to sue the heck out of every other Linux distro in US courts. This kind of thing is done all the time. Patent portfolio companies often offer to license their technology for free or cheap to the top one or two players in a field, and then make their money suing everyone else. For example, these pricks [] pretty much gave away their patent license to Intel, and are now suing the heck out of everybody.

  • The Truth. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FatherOfONe ( 515801 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @06:17PM (#16695873)
    Ok, the real thing here is that Novell is all for the use of MONO and .NET. Microsoft likes that idea and will try and write some apps that currently will work with the .NET framwork that Novell has going for it now with SuSE 10.x. So it technically would be possible to buy a Microsoft app and run it on a Novell server. Will anyone do this?

    How many organizations want to run a .NET app on anything but Windows?

    Honestly how many .NET developers out there that want to target Linux?

    Now, how many Java developers out there that develop and use Linux?

    Most people would agree that there is around 1000 Java developers using Linux to every .Net developer, yet Novell appears to have an infatuation with .NET. Yet Novell seems to want to make Linux a .NET server at all cost.

    To be honest I really like SuSE 9ES and OpenSuSE 10 (for home), and I have for the most part overlooked the tools that now require .NET to work with SuSE, but I can only imagine that this is going to get far worse, and at some point I will have to switch distros because of Novells desire to become this "sub Vista" operating system.

    So the truth is that you won't see Microsoft write some cool application in Java or PHP or even C, but in C#, and it will somewhat work on SuSE 10.x or 11, then break with one "Windows Update". Of course nobody will ever use it in production except a handful of people, so it really won't matter.

    Novell isn't doing much here and neither is Microsoft. The only "good" this might do is make MONO better, but given it's track record that shouldn't be hard to accomplish.

    Poor Novell, they use to be a great company, and now they are reduced to begging Microsoft for applications. Just think what they could have done if they would have GPL'd NDS back in 1993. It could have become the defacto standard by now. Ahh, but you guys can at least open source all those cool .NET apps you have that nobody cares about.

  • Re:It's Not a trap! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dhasenan ( 758719 ) on Friday November 03, 2006 @12:34AM (#16699577)
    Perhaps it is a trap, but you can't deny that Microsoft has been acting very strangely lately.

    In the early days of Microsoft, they took care of the hackers and hobbyists, and gained market share against Apple partly for that. Two years ago, the situation was reversed: Visual Studio was expensive, and Apple offered cheaper development tools. Now Visual Studio Express is available for free, and is sufficient for most tasks.

    For years, now, since the Halloween documents of 1998, Microsoft has been aware and wary of open source. In 1998, the issue was less pressing than it is today; Microsoft has responded by becoming more open with its newer file formats and starting its shared source initiative.

    And now they're allying themselves with a popular, professional Linux distributor.

    Things are changing at Microsoft. The bottom line is money, and that's going to be achieved through control of their projects. However, that control need not be so tight as it has been. And they don't need to be the originator of the product in order to have control--they don't even need to buy out the originator.

    In short, Microsoft is changing rapidly and becoming more flexible. They're prepared to consider what they need to do to survive, and will do so. If that means not being the Great Devil, then so be it.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser