Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The proof is in the pudding

Two years have passed since Microsoft and Novell struck their technical collaboration agreement, and Novell received a windfall of US$348 million in cold hard cash. As my father used to say, "The proof is in the pudding."

Here's the proof: the companies are nearly ready to deliver some software. In the first half of next year, Microsoft will release a management pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise that integrates with its System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 software. Likewise, Novell is completing a beta of Mono Moonlight, a variation of Microsoft's Silverlight run time that works with Linux.

Microsoft demonstrated a technical preview of the management pack at the TechEd EMEA conference earlier this month, my former colleague and Microsoft’s senior open source community manager Peter Galli, wrote in a post on the company's Port 25 blog. It manages Linux and Windows servers from a single console.

Further, Microsoft has been very collaborative with the Mono team. Its engineers are in regular communication with Novell, and has provided test cases to assist with Moonlight's development, Mono project head Miguel de Icaza told me in a recent interview. Significant work has happened.

A handful of other Linux vendors have struck similar interoperability agreements with Microsoft, and there is no doubt more to come. Interoperability is good for customers regardless of what motivates Microsoft, whether it be its enterprise customers' demands for interoperability or the European Commission. Even a cynic would have to acknowledge that the company has thus far stayed true to its interoperability principles.

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