Microsoft has done to Novell what Russia wants to do to Georgia.
It's created a compliant client state, a vassal, small and subservient, a bridge between the closed world of Windows and the free world of open source.
Larry Dignan described just how small that state is in his piece today. Novell has invoiced $157 million in "support certificates" over the last two years, and Microsoft is authorizing another $100 million.
To Microsoft that's a rounding error.
Listen carefully to Russian voices and it's clear that's their aim with Georgia. They want the current elected regime overthrown, they want to get their hooks into regions where Russians live, and they want guarantees there will be no trouble.
Given how successive U.S. governments have treated Latin America down through the centuries, this is hard to argue with practically, as offensive as it may be morally.
Microsoft has benefitted enormously from its Novell deal, and to be honest so has the Linux community. The bridge, in this case, goes both ways.
It may not be fun to work at Novell, and it may not be fun to live in Russia's "near abroad," but the rest of the world finds balance in it.
The Cold Wars, in both cases, go on.