For years, Microsoft has insisted that open-source vendors acknowledge that its patent portfolio is a precursor to interoperability discussions. Monday, Microsoft shed that charade and announced an interoperability alliance with Red Hat for virtualization. Red Hat has long argued that patent discussions only cloud true interoperability, which is best managed through open source and open standards. Now it has got what it wanted; unlike the Novell-Microsoft agreements, there is no exclusionary patent deals or cross payments.
The deal focusses on virtualisation, and covers the following aspects:
- Red Hat will validate Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows 2000 Server SP4, and Windows Server 2008 guests on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization technologies.
- Microsoft will validate Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and 5.3 guests on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V (all editions) and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.
- Once each company completes testing, customers with valid support agreements will receive cooperative technical support for:
- running Windows Server operating system virtualized on Red Hat Enterprise virtualization
- running Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualized on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
The key here is that unlike the deal between Novell and Microsoft, there is no patent covenant involved here. Also, technically this is not a joint agreement. Basically, what both companies have done is validated each other’s operating systems for the virtualisation validation programs.