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Microsoft and Novell enter agreement

By   |  November 6, 2006

In a significant move for the open source community, Microsoft and Novell have announced a set of broad business and technical collaboration agreements to build, market and support a series of new solutions to make their products work better together.

On the Novell site, a joint letter to the open source community has been posted. In the letter it was said that “for the first time, Microsoft is collaborating directly with a Linux and Open Source software vendor. With this news, Microsoft is saying that Linux is an important part of the IT infrastructure.”

Microsoft will promote the use of Novell’s SUSE Linux operating system alongside Windows in mixed server environments. Rather than selling or supporting Novell’s SUSE Linux, it will recommend the software to Windows users who want to add Linux systems.

Microsoft have committed to purchase and distribute about 70,000 coupons annually that entitle users to a year’s worth of maintenance and support on SUSE Linux from Novell.

The collaboration takes the form of three related agreements between the two companies, which, they claim “will greatly enhance interoperability between Linux and Windows and give customers greater flexibility in their IT environments.”

These three agreements, which will be in place until at least 2012, are:

Technical co-operation agreement – Novell and Microsoft will work together in three primary areas to deliver new solutions to customers: virtualization, web services management and document format compatibility.

Patent cooperation agreement – Microsoft and Novell provide patent coverage for each others customers, giving customers peace of mind regarding patent issues.

Business cooperation agreement – Novell and Microsoft are committing to dedicate marketing and sales resources to promote joint solutions.

For more information, look at the FAQ on the Novell site.

While this announcement is highly significant in that it sees Microsoft making official recognition of the importance of Linux, there is uncertainty as to how this will truly affect the open source community.

For a detailed analysis of what this really means, look at Alastair Otter’s opinion piece.

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