Turbolinux, Microsoft in Patent Cross-Licensing Deal

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-10-22 Print this article Print

The agreement is the first between Microsoft and a Linux server and desktop platform distributor in Asia.

Linux vendor Turbolinux is expanding its relationship with Microsoft with a patent cross-licensing agreement with the software maker. The deal, which was announced by the two companies Oct. 22, is the first between Microsoft and a Linux server and desktop platform distributor in Asia. Turbolinux is headquartered in Tokyo.
It brings to five the number of Linux vendors that have entered into patent agreements with the Redmond, Wash., software maker. The others are Novell, XenSource, Xandros and Linspire.
This latest agreement between Microsoft and Turbolinux has four key elements: intellectual property assurances, interoperability, greater desktop collaboration and business alignment. Read more here about Linspires patent agreement with Microsoft. On the intellectual property assurance front, Microsoft and Turbolinux will share their patent portfolios in a move designed to further advance interoperability between Linux and Windows on the server front, further their research and development collaboration, and give Turbolinux Server users the assurance that Microsoft will not sue over its intellectual property. Earlier this year, Microsoft claimed that free and open-source software violates 235 of its patents, but the company so far has not specified which patents these are. The interoperability component of the deal will see the two companies collaborate on a single sign-on solution for customers operating in mixed-source environments, which will enable them to use one set of credentials to log onto Windows-based and Turbolinux devices. "This should improve computing efficiencies and cut down on internal IT costs," said David Kaefer, general manager for intellectual property licensing at Microsoft. "Turbolinux is now one of Microsofts preferred Linux partners, and we are looking forward to continuing to build bridges between open-source and commercial technologies." The deal also includes a Workgroup Server Protocol Program evaluation license, which lets Turbolinux evaluate additional technical collaboration opportunities for the future. With regard to desktop collaboration, Turbolinux desktops will now feature Live Search. This move expands the companys earlier agreements with Microsoft under which the Linux vendor used the Microsoft Windows Media Format collaborated on Microsofts Office Open XML document format. Turbolinux has joined the Ecma Open XML-Open Document Format Translator Project. Read more here. For its part, Turbolinux management is hopeful the move will help boost demand for the companys solutions. "When strong Microsoft customers are evaluating Linux, we want them to see Turbolinux as the distribution that works best with their existing Microsoft investments," said CEO Yano Koichi. "Together, we can do much to reduce the cost and complexity of running mixed Windows and Linux IT environments, and we believe this agreement gives our company a significant edge in the marketplace." On the business alignment side, the deal includes an R&D interoperability lab that will be housed in the same building as Microsofts Beijing office and that will focus on testing and showcasing solutions for customers and partners. Turbolinux will also participate in the Interoperability Vendor Alliance, a Microsoft-sponsored community of software and hardware vendors working together to enhance interoperability. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel