Novell and Microsoft

I have to say I was as shocked as anyone when word started leaking out yesterday that Novell (NOVL) and Microsoft (MSFT) were set to announce some sort of alliance. After watching the webcast it seems to fit very well with what Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian has been all about since he came to Novell. Ted Haeger makes that exact point in his post this morning.

What really bothered me this morning were all the posts and articles I read that treated this news like an unwelcome religious development. Many in the open source community really do treat their devotion like a religion, instead of thinking about what makes sense from a technology or (God-forbid) business point of view.

Groklaw‘s headline was “Novell Sells Out.” The most common reaction on sites like Slashdot and Technocrat was “Guess I better find a new Linux distribution.” Some of these zealots seem to hate the idea of any ties between Linux/open-source and the commercial world. They are living in a dream world, and if they want to dump Novell/SUSE in favor of a more purely communistic distribution, so be it. We won’t miss them.
I can only hope that this does not reflect the view that our customers will have – I have to believe that they will welcome this as a positive. As Novell has said for quite some time, mixed-source environments are the reality in the IT world today. Making that easier on customers is a good thing, right?

Personally, I’m just looking forward to seeing how this pans out. The advantages for projects like Samba, Mono, and OpenOffice are easy to imagine. Michael Meeks at Novell does a good job of describing what’s happening in the OpenOffice space, and answers some questions that community members are already asking. I really liked his perspective on this deal.


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