Feeds

Red Hat tight lipped on Microsoft talks

But middleware will make it chatty

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Analysis The debate over who in the Linux camp will next get into bed with Microsoft is back on, after Red Hat's chief executive admitted to holding patent talks.

The only question is over what terms and at what point.

CEO Matthew Szulik has reportedly confirmed what we've heard for months: that Microsoft approached Red Hat with exactly the same deal it offered Novell but was turned down. Meanwhile, Novell signed to win wavering customers.

Szulik, though, apparently declined to comment on whether Red Hat is still in negotiations with Microsoft over signing a patent agreement. That's the subjective part.

Refusals to comment are seen in two ways: either as a tacit admission of guilt or as the familiar "talks are always on going" disclaimer used to squash rumors.

The comments appeared after Szulik stated again for the cheap seats on Wall St, Red Hat's stance on talking to Microsoft about patents. Announcing first-quarter results Szulik tactfully told analysts: "We continue to invite the opportunity to participate with Microsoft around standards in improving the customer experience of operating successfully in heterogeneous environments."

Has Red Hat, which gives customers patent protection and has set out its views on IP in Linux here, changed from belligerent to pragmatist? The tone of Szulik's comments will certainly suggest the later and will perpetuate the simmering debate over which among the Linux community will next sign a patent protection deal with Microsoft.

Red Hat has made a reputation as the industry's spiky maverick; however, CEOs are renowned for settling differences quickly when there's a business benefit.

It is telling that Szulik's words to Wall St focused on interoperability in mixed environments. Reading the text and tone of Microsoft's recent patent deals with Xandros and Linspire, their managements' denials they discussed patents or that they accepted Microsoft's position, suggests such deals owe more to traditional cross-licensing of Windows intellectual property to help improve their Linux's features and interoperability between their Linux desktops and Windows. After years of failing to help the Linux desktop jump the chasm from early adopter to mass market, Xandros and Linspire may have recognized they need some Windows magic.

For those dismissing the likelihood of Red Hat getting into bed with Microsoft, consider Red Hat already has a relationship thanks to an earlier JBoss deal. In September 2005, JBoss and Microsoft agreed to provide assistance, guidance and performance tuning for customers using JBoss, EJB 3.0 and Hibernate with Active Directory, Microsoft Operations Manager and the SQL Server database.

Representatives from both camps will have continued liaising through that deal, and will have uncovered new ways to work together. Such is the nature of vendor relationships.

It will be middleware, and better interoperability with Windows on performance and improved management, that will become more important to Red Hat in the future and drive talks with Microsoft. Red Hat is trying to diversify and to persuade customers to adopt JBoss in mission critical and back-office deployments.

If Red Hat and Microsoft are talking interoperability, the sticking point in any interoperability agreement will be the fact it comes bundled with acceptance of Microsoft's patent claims. If Red Hat can divorce the two on the server - and for its fledgling desktop - then you'll likely see Red Hat come around to an expanded relationship with Microsoft.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.