Nixon goes to China, the Linux version

Microsoft and Novell make a deal to support free software?


Andrew Leonard
November 3, 2006 1:20AM (UTC)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft and Novell are getting together in an "unusual partnership" that will give a "boost" to Linux-based operating systems.

Under the pact, which isn't final, Microsoft will offer sales support of Suse Linux, a version of the operating system sold by Novell. The two companies have also agreed to develop technologies to make it easier for users to run both Suse Linux and Microsoft's Windows on their computers. The two companies are expected to announce details of their plan today at a press conference in San Francisco.

In addition, Microsoft won't assert rights over patents over software technology that may be incorporated into Suse Linux, the people said. Businesses that use Linux have long worried that Microsoft would one day file patent infringement suits against sellers of the rival software.

The Journal says the deal will be announced at a press conference in San Francisco today. I and a bazillion other geeks will await further news developments with interest. But in the meantime, let us recall the words of yore:

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Microsoft's Jim Allchin: "Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer ... I can't imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business."

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer: "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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