Hell Freezes Over And Microsoft, Novell Team On Linux

If this Wall Street Journal report is true, and it has the ring of truth, the recently departed Novell chief Ray Noorda must be spinning in his grave.

If you don't have a Journal subscription, the gist is, Microsoft and Novell will cooperate on Linux-Windows interoperability AND Microsoft will "offer sales support" of Suse Linux. That very term of "sales support" is open to interpretation.

Still, the fact that Linux-basher Microsoft is offering any Linux support, stands in sharp contrast to Dell which will not directly support Linux on its laptops, a fact helpfully pointed out by co-CRNer Ed Moltzen.

Top Microsoft dog Steve Ballmer is slated to speak of this strange rapport later today from San Francisco.

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(Reaction from veteran tech reporter Ed Scannell: "Winux! Sounds like Elmer Fudd trying to say Linux.")

The Journal expects there to be patent concessions out of Microsoft as well. Fear of litigation over IP in Linux has been a hurdle to further Linux adoption, observers say.

This news days after, Oracle rattled a lot of cages when it said it would support Red Hat Enterprise Linux cheaper than Red hat itself. In fact, it will offer the RHEL distributionstripped of Red Hat trademarks and copyrights, natchitself.

That move, if successful, could cut the ground out from under Red Hat, which makes its dough on support contracts. It could also, as pointed out by analyst Stuart Williams, thwart Microsoft's SQL Server enterprise thrust. The free linux plus near-free hardware sucks a lot of the cost out of a total Oracle enterprise database solution, making it more price-competitive w/ Microsoft's stack, said he and others.

On the flip side, how many Oracle customers are there out there who are actually happy with that company's support? My guess: Not many.

Blogger pal Dan Lyons agrees here. And how many Oracle customers and partners gagged when Larry Ellison blasted Red Hat's "expensive" support. Ummmm, the last I checked, Oracle charges 22 or 23 percent of new license cost for support of its rather pricey software. Even 20 percent on $40k per proc ends up being real money pretty fast.

Reality check boys!