Snowballs are also reported to be seen in hell... :)

No seriously - we have and it makes sense.

I've been working with customers for a while as a consultant in my past life that have both Novell and Microsoft as parts of their infrastructure. This announcement has a number of parts to it and is well worth a read from both the Novell perspective and the Microsoft perspective. Let me give you some links and then some of my thoughts.

Novell announcement on their press release site.

Microsoft PressPass article with video of SteveB talking about the announcement.

Microsoft site www.microsoft.com/interop is where all the documentation, faq, covenants and the like are stored for review.

Good blog perspective from Jason Matusow

My take on it - FWIW...

There are three parts to this announcement (again, visit the www.microsoft.com/interop site - it's worth the read). 

The Technical Agreement is around these three areas.

  • Virtualization. Virtualization is one of the most important trends in the industry. Microsoft and Novell will jointly develop the most compelling virtualization offering in the market for Linux and Windows.
  • Web Services for managing physical and virtual servers. Microsoft and Novell will undertake work to make it easier for customers to manage mixed Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise environments and to make it easier for customers to federate Microsoft Active Directory with Novell eDirectory. 
  • Document Format Compatibility. Microsoft and Novell have been focusing on ways to improve interoperability between office productivity applications. The two companies will now work together on ways for OpenOffice and Microsoft Office users to best share documents and both will take steps to make translators available to improve interoperability between Open XML and OpenDocument Formats.

The Patent Cooperation Agreement around Microsoft and Novell interoperability collaboration. (you should read this page from the interop site)

  • Covenant being bi-directional between patent protection. In other words - I won't enforce if you won't enforce for our customers and the community. This is REALLY cool and keeps doors open.

From an open source community perspective - three interesting things that you might not be aware of:

  1. Microsoft will work with Novell and participate in the open source community on projects dealing with Web services management, open document formats.  This is in addition to the 600+ projects Microsoft is already contributing to.
  2. Microsoft will not enforce its patents against individual noncommercial open source developers.
  3. Microsoft will not assert its patents against individual contributors to opensuse.org (who's code is included in Suse Linux Enterprise platform).

Novell has sent an open letter to the community - have a read here...

I decided to pop over to Port 25 to see what Bill Hilf and our Open Source software lab people had to say about it. Again - an interesting read as well.

My final thoughts? It's a new era in collaboration between Microsoft and Novell around some key technologies I am interested in (virtualization, web services based server management and document formats).  It marks the creation of a collaborative facility (i.e. cool hardware and geek stuff) where MS and Novell engineers will work together (I got to see if I can visit).

This announcement is very new and will be hashed and rehashed in the blogsphere and community for a while.  I am interested to see where it lands and how it's interpreted.

On the record - I am pleased and excited about it.