Dell Joins Microsoft and Novell Collaboration
Dell responds to customer demand for greater interoperability and intellectual property assurance between Windows and Linux.
REDMOND, Wash., and WALTHAM, Mass.â€”07 May 2007â€” Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. today announced that Dell Inc. is the first major systems provider to join the business collaboration that was formed by Microsoft and Novell in response to customer demand for greater interoperability and intellectual property (IP) assurance. As part of the agreement, Dell will purchase SUSEÂ® Linux* Enterprise Server certificates from Microsoft and establish a services and marketing program to migrate existing Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
"We're focused on delivering solutions that help simplify customers IT operations," said Rick Becker, vice president of solutions at Dell Product Group." Our customers have told us they want interoperability and expect technology vendors to work better together. Dell is the first major systems provider to align with Microsoft and Novell in this collaboration, and we intend to lead in this space. This move is a huge success for the industry and, more specifically, for customers who havenâ€™t purchased Linux through Dell and who want to migrate to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for the IP assurance and interoperability benefits."
Under the agreement, Dell will establish a customer marketing team for migrating Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The marketing effort will focus on three areas: Interoperability Workshops, Migration Proof of Concepts and Migration Services.
"Dell's embrace of the Novell-Microsoft agreement reflects a growing market reality: The two platforms of the future are Linux and WindowsÂ®, and customers want them to work better together," said Susan Heystee, vice president and general manager of global strategic alliances at Novell. "Novell continues to grow our SUSE Linux Enterprise business because we are addressing customer needs. Dell recognizes this, and we are proud to have them as a customer and marketing partner to help spur continued adoption of SUSE Linux Enterprise."
"The Microsoft-Novell agreement was a result of our customers demanding more of our industry in interoperability and IP protection," said Susan Hauser, general manager of strategic partnerships and licensing at Microsoft. "Customer response to our agreement with Novell has been overwhelmingly positive. Dell has recognized this demand, and it is the first mover in its space to provide these benefits to its customers."
The Microsoft-Novell Agreement
On Nov. 2, 2006, Novell and Microsoft announced a series of agreements to jointly build, market and support new solutions to improve interoperability; deliver powerful new virtualization capabilities; make Microsoft and Novell products work better together; and give customers peace of mind that both companies stand behind the products they deliver.
Since the announcement, more than 40,000 new certificates for three-year priority support subscriptions to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server have been activated under the Microsoft and Novell collaboration agreement. AIG Technologies Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are among the first companies taking advantage of the benefits of the interoperability agreement between Microsoft and Novell.
More information about the Microsoft and Novell agreement, including other customer announcements, can be found at http://www.moreinterop.com.
Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers infrastructure software for the Open Enterprise. We are a leader in enterprise-wide operating systems based on Linux and open source and the security and systems management services required to operate mixed IT environments. We help our customers minimize cost, complexity and risk, allowing them to focus on innovation and growth. For more information, visit http://www.novell.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Jenda wrote:What's this about Microsoft Linux?
Dell is going to sell Ubuntu, in total defiance of all Microsoft interests - not to mention they are also offering XP to people, which is the last thing MS wants them to do.
Linux-Watch had the news first:According to sources, Dell will be selling SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) certificates, which it will obtain from Microsoft. As part of the Novell/Microsoft deal, Microsoft received 75,000 SLES licenses.
[Emphasis added by me.]
From Microsoft? The Direct2Dell blog confirms that indeed Dell will buy the certificates from Microsoft, not from Novell. Why? Why not directly from Novell?
First, Novell and Microsoft told us that they did the deal because customers were demanding it. Remember that? At the joint press announcement on November 2nd, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer told us, "The impetus from this event really comes from our customers." Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian said the same thing. Dell is saying the same thing. It's all about customer demand.
Yet Microsoft, after six months, still has so many certificates in hand with no takers that it will be Dell's supplier? What might that indicate, that Dell has to find customers for those certificates? The comments on that blog are 100% negative so far.
If you'd like to hear them tell you again how it's all about the customers, there is now a Novell-Microsoft "Interoperability Webinar" you can sign up for. Or, if you prefer to read about how they are being driven by customer demand, here's a summary [PDF] of the 2007 Open Source Think Tank conference held in March, where Novell's Justin Steinman and Microsoft's Sam Ramji defended the deal. You'll find the conference described in more detail on Business Review Online's Open Source Weblog, which is where I found it. Both men mention those clamoring customers who have not yet bought up all of Microsoft certificates but who are allegedly driving this deal.
Steinman says something else, that Novell found it necessary to sign the patent peace because Novell required "sanctioned access to Microsoft's code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating MSFT's IP." Yoohoo, EU Commission, are you listening?
By the way, precisely what IP would that be? Could someone tell us what Microsoft patents are allegedly involved? It seems Novell must know if Steinman makes such a statement. It can't just be some vague "maybe there might be some someday" kind of thing. You can't sell vague notions, can you? If Microsoft really has a leg to stand on, why not tell us like a man?
Oh, and are the Microsoft patents affected by the recent US Supreme Court ruling on obviousness? You don't know? Then why are you signing? Maybe that's why mostly folks are not interested in Microsoft's certificates.
Might there be an additional possible explanation for why Dell will be getting certificates from Microsoft instead of from Novell? Consider this: Recently FSF's Brett Smith said this on Grokaw about Microsoft and those certificates in answer to a reader question:The deal between Microsoft and Novell also includes some marketing cooperation. Microsoft provides coupons for SUSE to companies, who then go to Novell to redeem the coupons and get their copy of the software. Those coupons procure the conveyance of lots of free software.
Our lawyers have seen the terms of the deal under NDAâ€”unfortunately, they're still secretâ€”but they're confident that Microsoft is already conveying GPLed software under this agreement. The coupons are the most direct proof; there is some other evidence to support that idea as well.
So, is it possible Microsoft just wants to get out of the SLES certificates business quick, most specifically before GPLv3 is final?
Open Invention Network Comments On Article In Fortune
New York (May 15, 2007) - Jerry Rosenthal, chief executive officer of Open Invention Network, issued the following statement today:
"A recent article in Fortune Magazine raises - or more precisely, re-raises - tired, old allegations about the Linux operating system for the sole purpose of perpetuating unwarranted fear, uncertainty and doubt among current and potential Linux users and distributors.
This is not the first time that unsubstantiated claims of patent infringement have been leveled at Linux. Moreover, just as in the past, these claims are made without disclosing any evidence. It's time to stop the accusations and show the evidence. What's happening with these accusers is the equivalent of declaring four aces while being unwilling to show even a pair of deuces.
It's clear that these accusations are actually an admission of the rapid uptake of Linux in the marketplace, Linux' success in displacing legacy products of competitors and that Linux provides superior software in performance, security and stability.
Here are some facts to provide clarity around Linux and patents:
* There never has been a patent lawsuit against Linux. Never.
* Linux has excellent intellectual property vetting.
* Linux has thousands of high-quality, dedicated programmers.
* Linux creates a robust, secure computer operating environment.
In less than a year, OIN has accumulated more than 100 strategic, worldwide patents and patent applications that span Web / Internet, e-commerce, mobile and communications technologies. These patents are available to all as part of the free Linux ecosystem that OIN is creating around, and in support of Linux. We stand ready to leverage our IP portfolio to maintain the open patent environment OIN has helped create."
About Open Invention Network
Open Invention Network is an intellectual property company formed to further the Linux System by acquiring patents and ensuring their availability. It promotes a positive, fertile ecosystem for Linux, which in turn drives innovation and choice in the global marketplace. Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005, and has received investments from IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. For more information, go to www.openinventionnetwork.com.
Linus Torvalds, lead developer of the Linux kernel, has a sharp retort to Microsoft executives' statements in a Fortune magazine article that Linux and other open-source code violate 235 Microsoft patents.
"It's certainly a lot more likely that Microsoft violates patents than Linux does," said Torvalds, holder of the Linux trademark. If the source code for Windows could be subjected to the same critical review that Linux has been, Microsoft would find itself in violation of patents held by other companies, said Torvalds.
"Basic operating system theory was pretty much done by the end of the 1960s. IBM probably owned thousands of really 'fundamental' patents," Torvalds said in a response to questions submitted by InformationWeek. But he doesn't like any form of patent saber rattling. "The fundamental stuff was done about half a century ago and has long, long since lost any patent protection," he wrote.
Microsoft should name the patents that it claims have been violated so the claims can be tested in court or so open-source developers can rewrite code to avoid the violation, Torvalds wrote.
"Naming them would make it either clear that Linux isn't infringing at all (which is quite possible, especially if the patents are bad), or would make it possible to avoid infringing by coding around whatever silly thing they claim," he said.
"So the whole, 'We have a list and we're not telling you,' itself should tell you something," Torvalds said of Microsoft's stance in the Fortune story. And for good measure, he added: "Don't you think that if Microsoft actually had some really foolproof patent, they'd just tell us and go, 'nyaah, nyaah, nyaah!'"
Microsoft would prefer not to actually sue anyone, particularly a Linux user who's also a Microsoft customer. "They'd have to name the patents then, and they're probably happier with the FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt] than with any lawsuit," Torvalds predicted.
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