[sf-lug] Windows and Linux OS to work together

Tony vze2jy85 at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 3 14:47:02 PST 2006

Hi Everyone:

A very interesting development. Are we moving towards
a unified Windows-Linux OS in the future?

Microsoft, Novell partner on historic Windows, Linux
interoperability deal

By John Fontana, NetworkWorld.com, 11/02/06 

Microsoft and Novell Thursday announced a wide ranging
business and technology partnership designed to make
it easier for companies to run, integrate and manage
Linux and Windows in their environments while steering
clear of patent and intellectual property concerns. 

The companies said an agreement not to assert patent
and intellectual property rights would run through
2012. The agreement applies to independent and other
open source developers who have often feared patent
suits from Microsoft. 

Financial terms of the partnership were not announced,
but both companies said they will make upfront
payments in exchange for a release from any potential
liability for use of each other’s patented
intellectual property. 

On the technology side, the agreement focused on
virtualization, Web services for managing physical and
virtual servers and the integration of document
formats specifically in Microsoft’s Office and
Novell’s OpenOffice. 

“I think this will make our respective products more
attractive to customers,” said Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer during a press conference in San Francisco
where he was joined by Novell CEO Ronald Hovsepian. 

While the two thanked each other for their respective
cooperation, they repeatedly said the agreement was
hammered out under the urging from customers who
desperately needed interoperability for their mixed

“It is great to see these leaders combining to solve
key compatibility issues,” said Randy Cowen, the CTO
of Goldman Sachs, who appeared on stage with Ballmer
and Hovsepian.

Microsoft said it will provide a covenant not to
assert its patent rights against customers who have
purchased SuSE Linux Enterprise Server or other
covered Novell products. Meanwhile, Novell will
provide an identical covenant to customers who have a
licensed version of Windows or other covered Microsoft

“This new collaborative relationship was only possible
with the intellectual property bridge we built between
the proprietary and open source model,” said Ballmer.
He added that the deal protects Microsoft’s
intellectual property while ensuring that the open
source development community can continue to innovate.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said the
companies worked for nearly six months to hammer out
the complex legal agreement. “We had to do something
no one has done before. We will ensure that every
customer that purchases a subscription for SuSE
Enterprise Linux will get not only service and support
from Novell but a patent covenant from Microsoft.” 

As part of the partnership, Microsoft will not assert
its patents against individual noncommercial open
source developers, nor will it assert its patents
against individual contributors to OpenSuSE.org whose
code is included in the SuSE Linux Enterprise
platform, including both the server and desktop

In addition, Microsoft said it will recommend SuSE
Linux Enterprise for customers who want Windows and
Linux products. Microsoft said it will distribute
70,000 coupons for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server
maintenance and support, so that customers can benefit
from the use of an interoperable version of Linux.  

In terms of interoperability, the two said they would
jointly develop a virtualization offering for both
Linux and Windows that would allow either to be the
host or guest operating system. 

In terms of management, the two said they would make
it easier for users to manage Windows and SuSE Linux
environments, including making it easier to federate
Microsoft’s Active Directory and Novell’s eDirectory.
Those platforms form the core of each vendor’s
identity management platforms. 

While the pair did not go into specifics, it is clear
the interoperability will happen between Novell’s
ZenWorks management platform and Microsoft’s family of
System Center products. 

In the area of document format compatibility the two
will focus on interoperability between Microsoft’s
Office and OpenOffice, which ships with Novell’s SuSE
Linux Enterprise Desktop software. They also will
focus on developing translators to improve
interoperability between OpenXML from Microsoft and
the Open Document Format, which is widely embraced in
the open source community. 

In addition, Microsoft said it will work with Novell
and contribute to several open source software
projects, including those focused on Office file
formats and Web services management. 

The two new partners plan to create a joint research
facility staffed by Microsoft and Novell technical
experts who can build and test software and work with

The agreement won praise from other vendors across the
industry including Intel, AMD, IBM, HP, Dell, HP, and

Reference: http://www.linuxworld.com/news/2006/110206-reports-microsoft-novell-to-strike.html

More information about the sf-lug mailing list