Shortly after our recent interview with intellectual property attorney Antoinette Tease on the Microsoft-Novell partnership and GPL v3 was published, Novell representatives contacted IT Business Edge to offer Novell's perspective on the whole thing. Earlier this week, we talked to marketing director Justin Steinman.
Steinman's main point was predictable and makes perfect sense: The agreement with Microsoft came about because customers were asking for interoperability with Windows. Isn't that that what business is about, after all? Seeing a need and striving to meet it? And apparently, it's already paying dividends. Novell has a new deal with Wal-Mart, which may never have happened had the company's Linux distribution not received a Microsoft endorsement.
The patent provision that's raised so many hackles in the broader open source community is nothing more than a covenant not to sue, he says. Novell "strongly maintains" that SuSE Linux Enterprise does not violate Microsoft patent rights, but customers weren't sure. They wanted peace of mind that they could deploy SuSE Linux Enterprise and then go about their business without worrying whether Microsoft might sue them.
As for the GNU General Public License v3, which is currently in process, Steinman says it's too early to say how the new open source license might affect the partnership. However, Novell is committed to helping write a GPL that will allow the partnership to continue.
Check out the whole interview here.