Red Hat downplays Novell/Microsoft deal

by admin November 6, 2006 at 9:48 am

In response to a recent agreement between Microsoft and Novell, Red Hat’s corporate secretary Mark Webbink has predicted that Red Hat “will be the dominant player in the Linux market” a year from now, and that “by that time there won’t be any other Linux players.” In light of Microsoft’s partnership with Novell and Oracle’s ambitions of Linux support dominance, Webbink’s statement doesn’t seem all that realistic.

In a recent interview with Search Open Source, Webbink downplayed the new relationship between Microsoft and Novell, claiming that the two companies have “gone off the road a bit” and arguing that Red Hat’s approach to Linux support and stronger ideological ties to open source will ensure eventual triumph. He points out that the agreement between Novell and Microsoft involves intellectual property licensing, which he says represents a contradiction for Novell and a deviation from the conventional values of the open source community. Webbink thinks that “Novell has fallen into the trap of allowing Microsoft to do exactly what it wants to do, which is to trumpet IP (intellectual property) solutions and promises.” According to Webbink, a company “can be either for freedom and collaboration,” or “a different approach,” but Microsoft and Novell “are trying to do both.” The interview asks some good questions, and it is definitely worth a read for those interested in Novell’s agreement with Microsoft. Let’s examine some of Webbink’s arguments and see how they hold up to scrutiny.

Full story: Ars Technica