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Microsoft And Novell in Linux Deal

A big announcement from Microsoft and Novell late last week. In it, Microsoft and Novell agreed to a very interesting partnership involving interoperability, marketing and patents, one that could make Novell the only huge power in Linux. While Linux users have obviously said no to Microsoft, they would still be more likely to choose the Linux vendor that is far more compatible with Windows, and that is real bad news for all the other prominent Linux vendors, like Red Hat.

Todd Bishop summarizes the deal. The key points are that the companies will collaborate on marketing efforts, with Microsoft offering up Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Server as the Linux of choice for Windows-interoperable systems. Microsoft will even get 70,000 coupons for one-year subscriptions for maintenance and updates on Suse every year, to distribute to Microsoft customers running Suse.

Both companies agree not to pursue any patent infringement claims related to each other. Amazingly, Microsoft also agrees not to sue patent claims against individuals involved in open source projects. In addition, both companies will make upfront royalty payments to release any possible prior patent infringement, and Novell will keep making running royalty payments based on a percentage of its revenue from open source projects.

In terms of interoperability, both companies will offer virtualization technology to allow business customers to run Windows on Linux servers, and Linux on Windows servers. Microsoft and Novell will begin bridging gaps between various products so that they work together, including Windows and Suse Linux, Microsoft Active Directory and Novell’s eDirectory, as well as Microsoft Office and

Seriously, this is great news for anyone not producing a different version of Linux. Microsoft is slowly but obviously softening on open source, willing to deal with Linux in ways you wouldn’t expect an “Evil Empire” to even consider. I can’t way to start seeing results from this deal.

UPDATE: Google’s open source program manager, Chris DiBona, writes this message to his friend’s at Novell:

The Google Engineering Staff and Open Source teams are hiring.


November 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Open Source, Linux, General | one comment

How Developers Hack Windows To Ruin Your User Experience

Raymond Chen writes about the things developers do to make their programs more in-your-face than Microsoft would like. Apparently, Microsoft does care about stuff that annoys the hell out of users, so there’s no interface to access desktop toolbars or Quick Launch. Now, adding a shortcut to Quick Launch is still real easy (as long as you ignore the fact that hard-coding the directory doesn’t work in languages other than english), but the lengths some go through to get a taskbar toolbar is beyond ridiculous.

There is no programmatic interface to turn on a taskbar toolbar. Again, that’s because the taskbar is a high-value piece of the screen and creating a programmatic interface can lead to no good. Either somebody is going to go in and force their toolbar on, or they’re going to go in and force a rival’s toolbar off. Since there’s no programmatic interface to do this, these programs pull stunts like generating artificial user input to simulate the right-click on the taskbar, mousing to the “Toolbars” menu item, and then selecting the desired toolbar. The taskbar context menu will never change, right? Everybody speaks English, right?

The most common form of annoyance developers do invoves the taskbar notification area, where the clock goes. Raymond covers that and other anti-user actions they take in what is a real interesting post.

November 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Developers, Windows, General | no comments