Microsoft's Hand in Novell Deal Bodes Ill for Linux

Open source vendors unwilling to 'partner with' Microsoft could increasingly face patent litigation.

By Katherine Noyes, PC World |  Open Source, Linux, Microsoft

Attachmate may be the primary purchasing party in the Novell acquisition deal announced today, but the involvement of Microsoft means there's a fresh new threat to Linux looming on the horizon.

[ See also: Novell is dead and Microsoft has eaten its heart ]

"Novell also announced it has entered into a definitive agreement for the concurrent sale of certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft Corporation, for $450 million in cash, which cash payment is reflected in the merger consideration to be paid by Attachmate Corporation," the press release reads.

Attachmate plans to run Novell's SUSE Linux business, according to the announcement, and it's not yet clear which--if any--of Novell's Linux-based assets will end up in Microsoft's hands. If Unix is involved in those assets, however, it won't be good news for Linux or open source software in general.

A Deal About to Expire

Attachmate's ownership of SUSE is bad enough news in and of itself. Given the company's history so far, it's very difficult to imagine the company making anything more than the most basic investments to keep the Linux distribution going, so the many companies relying on the software would do well to watch the situation closely from now on. Red Hat may ultimately benefit from this decision.

As for Microsoft, its primary purpose in participating in the deal was doubtless to prevent Novell from ending up in the hands of VMware, one of its key competitors.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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