(Thanks to Amy Terry Sheehan for link) Microsoft and Novell have signed an agreement by which the software giant will not assert its software patent rights for technology that can be used in SuSE Linux distributions. The agreement also provides Microsoft users with the possibility of obtaining support for dual-boot systems that contain both operating systems.
As a person who has both SuSE Linux and Windows in his laptop, I think that this is great news. There is going to be further incentive for corporate enterprises to adopt Linux without fear of SCO-like litigation for potential patent infringement. This agreement also recognises that there is a growing number of people who are more than willing to bypass all of the ideological baggage involved with open source, and take the pragmatic approach of using whatever works and is easier to use. I believe that this is further evidence that Microsoft has changed its tactic with regards to open source software, and that the relationship with large parts of the community have been thawing.
However, I’m still a bit concerned about what Microsoft is getting out of this agreement. It’s clear that this is very good news for Novell, but what’s in it for Bill Gates? (cue eerie conspiracy music)