Linux beware: Microsoft acquires Novell, become UNIX copyright owner
In a shock announcement, Microsoft has today taken majority ownership of software house Novell. This immediately gives the Redmond giant control of Novell's intellectual property assets including the legal copyright over UNIX. Already Red Hat and Canonical (Ubuntu) have expressed their expectation Microsoft will aggressively seek to eradicate all distributions save for Microsoft Linux Vista, formerly SUSE.
Microsoft’s sudden takeover is at the same time a surprise and not a surprise.
On the one hand, there had not been any recent comment or activity that indicated Novell was a target for Microsoft.
Yet, on the other hand, the two companies had formed an alliance back in 2006 to forge interoperability between Novell’s SUSE Linux and Microsoft Windows. This alliance has continued without wavering and Microsoft published a video at the end of last year highlighting some of the achievements during the “two years of interoperability progress.”
This alliance was viewed with suspicion at the time, particularly given the strategic importance of Novell’s ownership of the UNIX brand and copyright.
Ironically, it is now the Redmond giant who is the UNIX owners, and this has Linux vendors concerned.
(remember, it's April 1 in Australia)