Saturday, November 18, 2006

Beating a dead horse: Novell and Microsoft

While it's true that I love a conspiracy theory-especially in software, I find myself a bit dumbstruck by the recent attempts by Oracle, Novell and Microsoft to sink the Red Hat ship.

As Matt said earlier, it's time for Microsoft to sue or shut-up. And Novell's pact with MS is now clearly a deal with the devil to ensure that Novell Linux users will be safe but every other Linux distro user (and vendor) are not safe from the clutches of MS.

The thing that doesn't make sense to me is that Microsoft has thrived because of the competition-or perhaps in spite of it. And considering the anti-trust aspects of Microsoft's business I find it odd that it would be acceptable that MS could claim ownership over anything in Linux, effectively reducing the world to Solaris and Windows. Extrapolating further, since MS and Sun already have a relationship, it makes me wonder if MS would then have its tentacles in virtually every operating system.

So what does Red Hat do? The short answer is to stay the course. Red Hat is a smart company who thus far have fared well in the face of adversity. Even with some disgruntled customers (trust us on this one) the alternatives of Novell and Oracle, or Microsoft are less appealing. Sun is the dark horse in all of this as Solaris is a damn good OS and the company has proven it takes open source seriously--if only we could understand the strategic vision.

Linux itself continues to grow and will keep doing so. Linux growth switched from being reactionary and cost-driven (though lower costs is still very important) and is now largely based on the benefits of the operating system and the support available.

The funny thing about Novell is that I keep hoping for them to do something smart for the business-they have made some smart decisions around technology, Suse and Mono for example. But the company continues to feel like an also-ran, buddying-up to Microsoft may have been a shrewd move but it sure doesn't seem like it.


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