Red Hat, Microsoft Talk Tux

Opinion: A potential partnership between Red Hat and Microsoft makes great business sense, no matter what some Linux fans will say about the idea. (Linux-Watch)

We knew that in 2006, Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik held talks with Microsoft concerning a patent deal. Once Microsoft and Novell signed an agreement, those talks were history. In fact, Red Hat made a point of spitting on the Microsoft-Novell deal.

That was then. This is now.

On July 3, according to Paul Cormier, Red Hats executive vice president of engineering, said Red Hat wants to work with the Microsoft to improve Linux/Windows interoperability.

"I want to talk to the folks at Microsoft about our two operating systems and how we can work together to solve real customer problems without attaching any unrelated strings, such as intellectual property," Cormier told Peter Galli of eWEEK.

Patent agreements, however, wont be on the table, as far as Red Hat is concerned.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read about Microsofts claims that open source technology violates 235 of its patents.

Microsoft officials, though, dont see it that way. They say that the issues of interoperability and IP (intellectual property) are not completely separate, and have to be considered together.

Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president for server and tools, said, "In terms of helping to drive conversations with those guys [Red Hat], were open to talking to them about interoperability, were always open to talking about this."

"But," Muglia continued, "It is necessary to have a conversation about intellectual property when it comes to open source, and you cant just sit back and talk about interoperability for interoperabilitys sake without fully solving the customer issue.

"Unless you actually address the issues around IP you havent fully solved the customers interoperability problem."

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