As odd as it may seem for a company that just announced it would offer the Ubuntu Linux distribution on selected consumer PCs, the server side of the house at Dell has climbed on board with the controversial Microsoft-Novell Linux deal of last November. Here’s the press release:
Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. today announced that Dell Inc. is the first major systems provider to join the business collaboration that was formed by Microsoft and Novell in response to customer demand for greater interoperability and intellectual property (IP) assurance. As part of the agreement, Dell will purchase SUSE Linux Enterprise Server certificates from Microsoft and establish a services and marketing program to migrate existing Linux users who are not Dell Linux customers to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
No financial terms were announced. While interoperability is universally beloved like motherhood and apple pie, it’s the pesky “intellectual property (IP) assurance” that is the problem here. The implication that Linux infringes Microsoft patents drives the open source crowd wild and Dell has just thrown away all their open source good will for reasons not immediately clear. Novell needed the money badly, but what’s Dell’s excuse?