Since Novell announced its agreement with Microsoft, it has been under constant attack from the open source community and some of its competitors (see this opinion on and the article on Most commentators are citing past agreements with Microsoft which have turned bad for the other side; it has been the kiss of death for OS/2 from IBM and the Windows Phone from Sendo. But I don’t think that the future perspective is that dire for Linux in general or Novell in particular. The main reason for my optimism is the nature of the deal. Neither is Microsoft embracing Linux unanimously, nor is Novell giving away anything serious, as one can see from Novell and Microsoft Agreement FAQ:

  • Microsoft will sell (exclusively, at least for the next three years) SuSE Enterprise Linux Systems.
  • Novell will not get any sort of secret knowledge from Microsoft in order to improve the interoperability between Linux and Windows.
  • Both will cooperate in virtualization, so SuSE will probably become the recommended guest Linux operating system for Microsoft’s virtualization software.
  • Novell will not drop out of Mono development.

By the way I wouldn’t give the patent issue such a weight, since none of the parties is interested in an SCO like legal battle. All in all I think that the whole thing turned out to be a publicity nightmare but not much apart from that.