Microsoft and Novell Collaborate

The big new of the day: Microsoft and Novell are set to collaborate. You can read all about it here, you can also go straight to:

But the question on everyone's mind regarding today's announcement is what is the position regarding Mono, from the Q&A:

Q: What are you announcing?

...

Under a patent cooperation agreement, Microsoft and Novell provide patent coverage for each others customers, giving customers peace of mind regarding patent issues.

Q: What does the patent agreement cover with regard to Mono and OpenOffice?

Yes, under the patent agreement, customers will receive coverage for Mono, Samba, and OpenOffice as well as .NET and Windows Server. All of these technologies will be improved upon during the five years of the agreement and there are some limits on the coverage that would be provided for future technologies added to these offerings. The collaboration framework we have put in place allows us to work on complex subjects such as this where intellectual property and innovation are important parts of the conversation.

And from our joint letter:

Mono, OpenOffice and Samba:

  • Under the patent agreement, customers will receive coverage for Mono, Samba, and OpenOffice as well as .NET and Windows Server.
  • All of these technologies will be improved upon during the 5 years of the agreement and there are some limits on the coverage that would be provided for future technologies added to these offerings.
  • The collaboration framework we have put in place allows us to work on complex subjects such as this where intellectual property and innovation are important parts of the conversation.
  • Novell customers can use these technologies, secure in the knowledge that Microsoft and Novell are working together to offer the best possible joint solution.

So today we have secured a peace of mind for Novell customers that might have been worried about possible patent infringements open source deployments. This matters in particular for Mono, because for a long time its been the favorite conversation starter for folks that find dates on Slashdot.

Anyways, now that we got that out of the way, I wanted to point to Michael Meeks' blog entry on the OfficeXML collaboration, which one of the major areas of collaboration, his blog entry is here, regarding the general question around why support Office XML, Michael says:

This should not be a surprise - Jody Goldberg (on my team) has been working hard for months with Microsoft and others on the ECMA process. At one stage there around 1/2 the open 'issues' wrt. improving disclosure (and hence the spec.) came from Jody. I for one am proud of the job that he did there, an (ongoing) investment that will yield better interoperability for years to come.

Anecdotally, I would like to point out that the work that happened through the ECMA TC45 has proved very fruitful, as things that were completely left out of the Oasis specification and in the original TC45 submission were put in there because Jody and Michael that have previously worked on Gnumeric and OpenOffice managed to get these things into the spec.

Read Michael's blog for more details, as he has many nice things to say about Open Office and Office XML.

I have a longer blog entry in the works, I promise I will post later more of the details on the various areas of collaboration on the business angle, and the technical angle

If you have some questions about this, please email me at miguel@novell.com and I will include answers to your questions on my updated blog entry.

Posted on 02 Nov 2006 by Miguel de Icaza
This is a personal web page. Things said here do not represent the position of my employer.