Linux from Microsoft?

Lora Bentley

Redmond has managed yet another shocker.


Forbes reported late yesterday that Microsoft has inked a deal with Linux distributor Novell -- to help promote and support Novell's SuSE Linux. The goal is to improve interoperability. The story says one open source enthusiast hopes to eventually see a hybrid system: Linux kernel + Windows apps and tools.


The Forbes writer likens the announcement to "Red Sox fans announcing they're going to root for the Yankees." True, but we probably should have seen it coming.


First, it keeps Microsoft in the Linux game. Oracle just announced its own Linux distro based on Red Hat's product, and Oracle can't be one up, can it? At least not in the minds of the powers that be in Redmond.


Secondly, when you want to win -- and this is all about the bottom line -- what better time to hit the competition than when it's down? Microsoft's decision to work with Novell, which has always been in Red Hat's shadow, is just more bad news for Matthew Szulik's company, no matter how the PR crew tries to spin it.


But other than a head-to-head between Oracle and Microsoft, what does this deal mean? ZDNet blogger Dana Gardner suspects Redmond will be using virtualization as a weapon rather than trying to snuff out existing Linux shops with cheap support offerings.


In another post, he points out that what was "us vs. them" is now "our stuff plus Linux vs. your stuff plus Linux."


Stay tuned. We're sure there will be more scrambling over the weekend.

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