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Is Microsoft Going to Start a Linux War?

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In a surprise announcement, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer seems to be doing a deal with Novell and the SUSE Linux folks. Apparently, the goal is to make Linux interoperable with Windows and perhaps move some apps onto the Linux platform. What could be brewing? Does it make any sense that Microsoft is going to embrace Linux in a big way? After all, Ballmer used to demean it.

I think something is up, and it was probably triggered by Larry Ellison's announcement at the recent Oracle OpenWorld event that his company would sell support services for Red Hat Linux. I suspect that the big enterprise players are each going to jump on one of the various Linux boats and start a software war.

The fact is, Microsoft is way overdue in this effort. What has the company been waiting for? It's been waiting for the final legal ramifications of "shims," that's what.

Microsoft has been leery of doing too much with Linux because of all the weirdness with the licenses and the possibility that one false move would make a Microsoft product public domain at worst, or subject to the GPL at best.

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