Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Nov 2006 22:56 UTC
Novell and Ximian "Often cast as the peacemaker in free software disputes, Bruce Perens is on the warpath. When we caught up with him, he wasn't in a mood to be charitable to Novell. On Friday the Utah company, which markets the SuSE Linux distribution, revealed that it was entering into a partnership with Microsoft. Redmond would pay Novell an undisclosed sum in return for Novell recognizing Microsoft's intellectual property claims. Novell received a 'Covenant' promising that it wouldn't be sued by Microsoft."It's a case of 'Damn the people who write the software'", he told us. "Novell is in a desperate position - it has a smaller share of the market than Debian,"" he told The Register. Update: Novell responds to community's questions: here, here and here. Update 2: Havoc Pennington's take.
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I think that it is too early to tell what will happen. Is MS going to be true to their past and use Suse as a tool to beat on the other distributions and spread FUD (see Zune and Play for Sure for a good example of screwing others for their benefit)? Or are we we going to see the new MS that wants to work with Firefox to make it more compatible with Vista, works with Zend to make PHP work better on windows, the other part of the agreement that talks about making the two offices talk better, etc?

All those moves are perfectly consistent with each other and with doing damage to Linux. If, for example, a crap Vista version of Firefox surfaced, but the version of Firefox on Linux was good, it (along with other things, of course) could be the start of a migration to Linux. Microsoft certainly wasn't, and isn't, going to invite the Firefox developers to improve Firefox on Linux, whether they have signed deals with any Linux distributor or not. After all, the reason why people run Windows is because it's where all the apps are; if Linux had all the business apps, and all the games, Windows would be nowhere, because it's technologically inferior and uneconomic in comparison. A Linux application "ecosystem" as healthy as Windows' is would also remove the "advantages" of having one company control the whole software architecture.

As for anti-Linux FUD from MS, it was around before, it's around now, and it'll be around in future. Microsoft is also vulnerable to claims of patent infringement; for example Apple has patents on aspects of GUI technology that Windows uses. They (probably) cannot afford to launch a patent "hot war", so instead they will use "patent-FUD".

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