The news that Dell decided to ship pre-installed Ubuntu Linux desktops
came as a blast among the Linux and open source community. While the euphoria is still on some Linux users' minds, a sudden rumor started to fire up the news channels all around the Internet: Dell joins the Microsoft-Novell partnership. Some might remember the partnership announced last November between Microsoft and Novell regarding the delivering of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED). This partnership was mostly targeted at the increasing number of governments and companies which hope to enjoy the features of both MS Windows
and Novell's Linux platforms without worrying about any patent-right problems. In order to better clarify things, Microsoft announced that it will not file a lawsuit over any technology that is blended with SUSE Linux.
Sources claim that Dell has joined the MS/Novell partnership and agreed to buy SLED certificates from Microsoft. The giant from Redmond is said to have received 75,000 SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) licenses, from which a significant part has already been passed to important companies such as Deutsche Bank AG or AIG Technologies. Another main purpose that is said to gather the three players on the IT market would be the development of a better compatibility between the Windows Servers and SLES, development that would imply significant work on the interoperability and virtualization fields and not only.
Even though the reasons behind this agreement seem well intended, even revolutionary I could say on the IT market, there are voices that opposed it even from the beginning. People working for Novell Inc. took drastic measures, such as quitting their jobs once they've heard of the MS/Novell agreement, mainly due the patent agreement, as some claim (see Jeremy Allisons's resignation
). There were also individuals from outside the Novell/Microsoft sphere who voiced against this agreement, basically on the reason of patent agreement.
Weather this partnership will bring advantages to Microsoft or to the Linux and open source community (or maybe both) or not, is just a matter of time. In my opinion, a partnership of these proportions cannot get out of control or involve any hidden reasons against the already stated ones from none of its members. I also think that we should all be more open to changes, as most of the times they lead the path of success, and we shouldn't judge things too deeply when it's not the case yet.