Interoperability boost for Windows-plus-Linux sites

Microsoft and Novell have struck a deal to make their operating systems work together better.

Microsoft and Novell have struck a deal to make their operating systems work together better. The agreement will be in place until at least 2012, and covers interoperability and support for Microsoft Windows and Novell SuSE Linux.

Microsoft will officially recommend SuSE Linux Enterprise to its customers who want a robust Linux system, and the two companies will shield users from potential intellectual property issues by drafting cross-licensing agreements.

Microsoft and Novell will create a joint research facility where they will concentrate on making various parts of their applications work better together. These will include their Active Directory and eDirectory software and their OpenDocument and Open XML office application formats.

The research facility will also focus on virtualisation and web services for physical and virtual server management.

Michael Dortch, lead analyst at Robert Frances Group, said, “Environments that mix Windows and other proprietary solutions with Linux and other open source alternatives are the rule, not the exception. Such environments can only benefit from closer co-operation between key suppliers, when that co-operation helps to improve integration, interoperability, and manageability.”

Chris Papayianni, Novell’s area general manager for the western region, said, “It is never easy getting competitors to work together but the one thing that is coming over loud and clear is customers are demanding better interoperability, security and manageability.

“We will continue to compete in a number of arenas, including the desktop, identity and security management, and systems and resource management. At the product level, Windows and SuSE Linux Enterprise will continue to compete; however, the agreement is focused on making it easier for customers who want to run both Windows and Linux to do so.”

Bill Hilf, Microsoft general manager platform strategy, and head of its open source labs, said that the work on patent cross-licensing would be crucial to users.

“A large part of our customer base say they know there is an issue here with patents and intellectual property and don’t want to find themselves in a legal situation. They want to get that peace of mind through the supplier, and not have to buy separate insurance policies.”

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