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Red Hat and Microsoft sign patent-free deal

By   |  February 17, 2009

For a long time now Microsoft has insisted that potential partners recognise its patent portfolio before signing interoperability agreements. But now Microsoft has stepped out of that box and signed an interoperability agreement with Red Hat that excludes any mention of patents. The agreement is aimed at improving interoperability between the two companies’ virtualisation products. The companies will join each other’s certification and validation programmes as well as provide technical support for mutual customers, as part of the agreement.

In terms of the agreement, Red Hat will validate Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows 2000 Server SP4, and Windows Server 2008 guests on its Red Hat Enterprise virtualisation technologies while Microsoft will do the same for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and 5.3 guests on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.

For customers the deal means that once the testing is over they will be in a position to receive “cooperative technical support for running Windows Server operating system virtualised on Red Hat Enterprise virtualisation, and running Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualised on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.”

In a statement Red Hat pointed out that the agreements “contain no patent or open source licensing components”.

The Red Hat-Microsoft agreement is very different to Novell’s patent-backed interoperability agreement with Microsoft back in November 2006. That deal put Novell at odds with open source advocates critical of patent deals.

For customers the news is also good news. It frees up users to investigate both options in a non-exclusionary way. And for Microsoft it is yet another sign that the company is opening up to the open source community and is changing the way it behaves.

And Red Hat has made what looks like a good deal. It has not bowed to Microsoft’s patent threats and has signed an agreement that still allows all customers to benefit.

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3 Responses to “Red Hat and Microsoft sign patent-free deal”

  1. ps
    February 17th, 2009 @ 9:33 am

    Seems MS has been called on its phony patent threats. Novell should take note.

  2. Abe
    February 18th, 2009 @ 3:05 am

    I think we need to see the terms of the agreement before we can declare it good for FOSS.

  3. Boycott Novell » Summary of the Red Hat-Microsoft Story
    February 21st, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

    […] Red Hat and Microsoft sign patent-free deal […]

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