Attachmate-Microsoft-Novell deal raises big questions for Linux

It's pretty obvious that Novell -- yes, the No. 2 provider of Linux -- should swiftly clarify which intellectual property assets are going to Microsoft, and which are going to Attachmate.

It's pretty obvious that Novell -- yes, the No. 2 provider of Linux -- should swiftly clarify which intellectual property assets are going to Microsoft, and which are going to Attachmate.

I was a bit stunned to learn that Attachmate would buy Novell for $2.2 billion, but more stunned to learn that Microsoft would be getting a chunk of the Linux company as well.

I suppose Attachmate's interest in Novell's Xen-based desktop virtualization software makes sense. Attachmate is at its core a terminal emulation company and we know that desktop virtualization is the favored successor for that technology;.

Yet there are so many questions in the open source community about what Attachmate will own, and what Microsoft will own. We know Attachmate plans to run the SUSE Linux business, but which -- if any -- of the many GPL-Linux based assets of Novell are embedded in the Microsoft portfolio.

Fears about a Microsoft-led legal charge against Linux have declined somewhat but it should be apparent to anyone involved in this deal that the general business community -- customers, vendors, developers and partners -- need more details than what has been dropped on their plate this Thanksgiving week.

I've called all Novell PR numbers this morning and no one is answering. The operator said all of the employees in Waltham, MA are in a meeting.

Novell ... got any answers?

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