This is all over the news and blogs so you may have heard it thus far. Essentially, Microsoft and Novell have become partners. But don’t view this as a concession on Microsoft’s part. They haven’t given up the desktop war – they still own that. They haven’t given up the server war where they are making great strides. And they haven’t given up the productivity war – that’s their cash cow.
So what does this partnership mean?
I found a humerous remark by Mary Jo Foley at Microsoft Watch:
“This (Microsoft-Novell deal) is all because they both want to screw Oracle and Red Hat,” a Linux consultant, who asked to remain anonymous, told me. “It smacks of the Hitler and Stalin alliance. Two bitter enemies getting together to bonk the other bad guys on the head.”
Now that sounds about right. What is the ‘marketing spin’ behind this?
“The companies said Thursday they will collaborate on development of specific technologies, for example to help Microsoft’s Windows, a proprietary operating system, work with Novell’s Suse Linux, which is based on open-source code. On the business side, they will promote each other’s products.”
The companies will create a joint research facility at which they will build and test new products, and work with customers and the open-source community. The focus will be on three technical areas: virtualization, Web services for server management, and Microsoft Office-OpenOffice.org compatibility, the company executives said.”
What does this mean for the web and your company? I honestly do not think much. OpenOffice (which I use at home) is already compatible with Microsoft Office (although it is still one way integration). But Google Docs and Spreadsheets is compatible with both, requires no installation, and resides online.
Combined virtualization efforts may create a more compatible shared environment but both platforms already support running each other’s operating systems through virtualization software such as Vmware. So I don’t see drastic changes coming in this area except possibly higher levels of interoperability.
Now, the fun part – web services and server management. What does this mean for web developers and next generation devlopment? You can already run .NET on Linux using Mono which prior to this agreement was possibly illegal. As Microsoft braces to release the next version of the .NET framework (v 3.0) they are on the cusp of releasing one of the most advanced and agile web development frameworks thus far.
With interoperability with Linux .NET 3.0 could be the next-gen all encompassing web development language (which bodes well for a .NET web developer like myself). And I think this is the biggest factor in this deal.
Microsoft has recently signed interoperability agreements with the likes of JBoss, MySQL, SugarCRm and Zend. Although it is intriguing, the Novell Microsoft agreement won’t change much below the enterprise level – where its effects will still be little.
One thing that you may be able to count on – thousands of
linux geeks anti-microsofties will move to another linux distro.