New Microsoft deal in the works with Red Hat? Don't bet on it

New Microsoft deal in the works with Red Hat? Don't bet on it

Summary: There's a story making the rounds today that Microsoft is poised to sign a new technology partnership with Red Hat that could be as sweeping as the one it signed with Novell. There's only one problem with the report: Red Hat is denying it.

TOPICS: Open Source

There's a story making the rounds today that Microsoft is poised to sign a new technology partnership with Red Hat that could be as sweeping as the one it signed with Novell.

There's only one problem with the report: Red Hat is denying it.

I asked the open-source vendor for comment on the original story and received back this statement, via e-mail, attributable to Red Hat Associate Deputy Counsel, Mark Webbink:

"While we are engaged in activities around interoperability with Microsoft, those activities only involve technology development. All announcements with respect to those activities have already been made public."

(One of these interop deals, announced in the fall of 2005, involved Red Hat's JBoss subsidiary and Microsoft. The other, announced last week on February 13, was Red Hat's decision to join Microsoft's Interop Vendor Alliance.)

It sounds like Webbink gave the same statement to VNU that Red Hat's public-relations department supplied to me. So what's behind VNU's story claiming the Microsoft-Red Hat odd couple are prepping a new partnership?

It could be a case of pure journalistic sensationalism. Or it might be that Microsoft is trying to get the industry to believe that Novell isn't the only one interested in a sweeping technology and IP arrangement.

The first paragraph of VNU's February 19 story makes it seem like the latter. VNU's story states:

"Microsoft is to form a partnership with Red Hat to improve the interoperability of Windows and Linux, according to Tom Robertson, Microsoft's general manager of interoperability and standards."

Microsoft and Red Hat both have acknowledged that Microsoft has tried to get Red Hat to sign an all-encompassing technology/marketing/patent deal. But Red Hat execs have been quite plain in their disinterest in a Novell-type partnership -- while, at the same time, telling customers to go ahead and take Microsoft's Linux voucher money.

I understand why Microsoft would like to get another open-source vendor or two to sign a Novell-type deal. After all, there's nothing like the smell of FUD to get customers ready to buy Linux to reconsider the wisdom of their decision. But I am doubtful Red Hat will be the one to cave.

Do you think another open-source vendor might take the bait? If so, who?

Topic: Open Source


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Microsoft Is Sucking Air

    And dog-paddling for solid ground after their vista suppository.

    Plus they are seeking more victims to join Novelle on their certain trek to the netherworld.

    Poor Novelle. They never learn. Has there ever been a successful Microsoft partner? No sooner does a partner join them than they start building a cage around it, then either starve them to death or blow them to smithereens
    Ole Man
    • Well, let's see

      Microsoft has partnerships with Apple, Yahoo, Dell, Toshiba, Fijitsu, Gateway, Acer, HP, multiple security firms.....need I go on? Just a ridiculously ABMer statement full of cynicism and misspelled company names. <br><br>
      Your take on Vista is like any ABMer that hasn't a clue. It will be capture a large percentage of the business and consumer market over time just as XP did. There is no doubt about that. I think Steve Jobs desperation moves of late demonstrate how worried he is and it's not about Microsoft having another generation of high percentage marketshare for him as it is Vista is even gaining defectors from the Mac.
      • Captive OEM's

        Under the devious control of Microsoft a partner does not make. Just like all the other Microsoft victims, they must obey Microsoft to maintain their meek existance. Otherwise, they perish.

        As for the future of Vista, time will tell.

        Steve Jobs doesn't seem to be quite as desperate as Mr. Ball-more.
        Ole Man
        • captive OEMs

          Yes they part of the huge wake called the Microsoft ecosystem that accounts for billions upon billions of revenues in all sectors of IT. Would the world be better off with no PC manufacturers? Apple surely isn't supporting an ecosystem even remotely this large. Teh OEMs will sell the most popular OS. If somebody delivers a commercially viable OS more popular than windows that would increase their revenues, that runs on their equipment, they'd bail on MS in a heartbeat, are you crazy?
          Your links simply show a cautious businessman. He knows Vista adoption will be slower....the entire IT industry is in cost cutting mode. But overtime, as companies need to upgrade equipment and same for consumers, the majority will go wtih Vista. If you read my link on what Microsoft has given developers this time around, it's beyond that of the VB6 world. And there is nothing that will stop it from happening. It's a great programming evironment with very powerful foundation classess that blow the competition away quite frankly. .NET 3.0 is the next step toward the truely Rich Internet Application. There is technology in Vista that has brought complaints to the EU alreaday, what do you suppose they are complaining about? <br>
          And Ballmer's cautious projections of Vista sales have no relation to Apple sales. Using a silly play on words/names like you have demonstrated, crapple is scared and on the defense. I think right where MS wanted them.
          • You Should Splain Your Vast Reservoir Of Knowledge

            To others. It don't work on me. I might be crazy, but i've got enough sense to know that a truckload of crap stinks and I don't want it dumped on me.
            Ole Man
          • solution

            don't read my posts and just continue hating MS. Simple. I'm not sure why you hate 50000 employees as well that come from all walks of life and are just trying to do their best. That's the killer part. If they worked for a linux distro or Google you'd be fine with that, the very same people. That is why your opinions are a large ocean going vessel full of crap.
          • Thankfully, So Far, Microsoft Hasn't Been Able

            To remove my right to read what I want and
            go where I like. I am sure they will put an
            end to that as soon as they possibly can,
            but meanwhile I will continue to read what I
            want, even if it is the bleating of some
            sheep because they've had to "pay for *nix*"
            all these years, and go where I please, at
            least until i'm ambushed by some Mafia
            Don't think anyone wants your trainload of
            manure dumped on them because of your
            eloquent oratory either. Anyone with one eye
            and half sense knows it's a croc of crap.
            Ole Man
          • that explains it.

            You took something intended strictly as an idea or advice, and registered it as a request or requirement? This one example answers a lot of questions. Do you always interpret things this way...that might explain your unusually high amount of cynicism.
      • OLPC at a time

        It's only a matter of time. Worldwide adoption of Linux and the advantages the development model offers will finally create the utility that we need in computers without having to pay tribute to a single vendor.

        Now couple worldwide Linux adoption along with a serious campaign to put government documents in open formats that are unencumbered by a reluctant incumbent vendor, and eventually, Microsoft will be a lone proprietary vendor trying to convince us all that they really, really, really want to be interoperable with other systems.

        Too bad it takes world governments to give them the boot. MS says, it's about Intellectual Property. The governments of the world say "it's about Sovereignty, Stupid. Without sovereignty, IP has no protection." MS could have played nice about it and decided against it. I guess you could call Microsoft an example of free will run riot.

        And now that "Psycho" Steve Ballmer is telling us what he really thinks of the Novell deal, we can all see him for what he is: Someone who thinks that deception and lock-in are ok for business.


        • I do have to agree

          linux zealots open attack against MS is slowly wearing away and gaining some traction. Too bad the technology couldn't have sold itself, but when you have governments and religious activists behind something, look out. I personally hate to see the United States go with government sponsored, socialist style software distributions. I've been paying the *nix tax for way way too long as it is and have never gotten anything in return for it. I thank God I live in the Unisted States where the government doesn't dictate directly what Operating System businesses should be using. There is too much government interference in our lives as it is and free enterprise will win out in the end. If Linux becomes the standard it will be owned by the few, just like anything in the world. Mozilla, one of the most successful open source projects can only thank the miilions in revenue from Google and Yahoo and the assistance of Google engineering to get FF 2.0 out the door. Otherwise, I don't see any real commercial leader at this time that doesn't have corporate America attached to it....Novell, IBM, Google(misusing the license). Good short story on Mozilla about Firefox<br>
          hmmm. I guess both Open source and MS competitors teaming up may help your "cause" of standardization, but has obviously lost the original meaning of free software and open source to be sure. Mozilla keeps non-profit status while funneling in millions upon millions from Google and Goole expertise to bring FF out of the dark. There is no debate on the truth of that. <br><br>
          The unix beginnings of the minix and linux models were also built by tax sponsored research at many facilities all the while pusing that technology out to private concerns and keeping them exempt from anti-trust laws even, for a certain period of time when Darpa was building modern day SECURE unix (which linux adopted by using that unix model, not innovation). This government sponsorship went on for decades and still does today. I'm tired of paying a *nix/apple tax. what a crock. I stand behind companies that have made it w/o being handed their technology directly by the government such as SUN who was given all of the Standford and much of the PARC risc processor technology and encouraged to privatize. <br><br>
          Funding a revolution is a great name for it.
          <br>and I agree, MS has no chance once all the governments of the world decide what software their people can and cannot use. Here in the United States we like to hold on to the fact our fore fathers, from Europe, fought with their blood to get away from such tyranny. but I guess if can't spread politically, then the next move is for the tyrants is to try and control the economy and in this case the internet and what is used on it.
          It's also disheartening to see what amounts to anit-Americanism via Microsoft around the world. America has helped every country on the planet more generously and the citizens give to so many causes on their own each year it's compelling, and for there to be such sentiment is sad. I don't believe there is any definitive proof that Linux is less expensive to operate in the long run. Microsoft does offer a lot of value with their pay to use software. Instead of needing high caliber IT staff to the hilt, you get systems easily maintained and there is really no service side to MS. Any IT generalist can Google an MS issue and normally implement the solution. I don't belive that is the case with Linux. And with Vista and 2007 products there is just so much unified and integrated power that is aimed at the bottom line and developer community as well(big time). <br>
          Oh well, all things come and go in this world. I guess it's time for countries to show they are soverign when it comes to software. What's next then, hardware. Should countries be relying on other countries or merely using other countries hardware? What about Google? Hopefully the EU will find a rival for Google to keep another American company from getting too big of a foot hold. <br>
          I hope they don't negate this new found sovereignty by contracting the programming etc. out to ohter countries. That would be a shame to not use EU born programmers exclusively, in the case of the EU obviously.
          • Spell Checker

            Go back to school and learn to spell when you're pissed.

            And remember that Linux is free as in freedom, not as in beer. But that's not going to matter to you. A life under Microsoft looks like freedom to you.
          • Try not to make the mistake

            of reading someone's emotional state through text. It's a huge mistake to try that, unless the person is using CAPS and lots of !!!!. Which I was not. Not pissed. Just my thoughts. <br>
            You have a right to not like them, but I don't have time to correct speed typing mistakes, I'm happy for you that you have nothing else to do. <br>
            I don't look as my life as being under ANY operating system. That, my friend, is called being a zealot, which I'm not. I have a family and work and a life that takes up all of my passion. Non left for the label on the software, but I'm sorry you live in that small geeked out nerd zone of people who wear an OS as a badge. I'm also betting you have a room dedicated to Star Trek. oh my.....leave me alone if you can't accept my opinion.
          • What part of Open Source are you worried about?

            Are you concerned that Open Source has received assistance from corporates like Google, IBM, etc. or that Unix once received grants from the US Government?

            Didn't MS receive assistance from the Department of Defense for Virtual Earth?

            Is Open Source not allowed to receive investment?

            Are you a Google hater who just HAS to bring Google up every time MS is mentioned?

            Make up your mind!!

            As for "free enterprise" and Microsoft. Don't you realise that monopoly or near-monopoly are the antithesis of free enterprise?? You keep bringing the term into your rants without knowing what it is.
          • I'm not concerned, as you say

            about anything. I use Google daily and am fine with Linux technology. I just don't believe in the ABM press and community around these technologies that taint them with ignorance. That's all. I am a UCCer. Use client's choice. I'm established enough in enough areas of IT that I personally have no worries about anything. I worked on Unix for a decade of my life. I'm fine with it and enjoyed writing C code and even Borne, Korn et al. shell programs and trying to master the art of Unix admin. I used to love using VI and all the ther editors. It was fun. I esp. loved the PolyForth system we had during that same decade, the 90s. It was great. Writing code on a PolyForth system is great. Have never used a system with better file handling. It's big downside was a very skittish kernel that could be brought down easily, just by an errant program with just, say, an array overrun logic error. I now love to write code on the MUMPS system powering many healthcare facilities around the world. It's very "C" like but strictly procedural. I prefer object coding in visual studio, for example, but it's still fun to kick out an old non OO program.
            I think MS has a great portfolio of software right now starting with Vista on through .NET 3.0 and I love the WPF, if I've not said that enough already. It's kick butt technology and why someone would put it down for the sake of hatred is beyond me. I just can't go there in life. That component is not strong enough to me when I look at life's big picture. I don't believe MS really broke the law. When the courts have to resort to making NEW law, and you know they did by confining the "monopoly" to the x86 platform, then it's not sound law. RISC based machines were all over the place at that time. For the courts to seperate out the platform MS used was reaching big time. They discounted Apple's offerings altogether, why is that right? The main question is that during the 80s, 90s while MS was growing into a mammoth corporation, who were they squeezing out of x86? I really don't recall anyone competing with them directly? Who was it? Besides that, US anti trust law is screwed. They ALLOWED AT&T to operate as a monopoly for years before the breakup. They granted them the monopoly...get your history books out. Should we say Unix was born from a monopoly, it wouldn't be unfair to say that. <br>
            But mainly my point is that most ABMers here like to pick apart every move MS does and hail the same type of move by Mozilla, Apple or Google as brilliant. That's the crux of it, and I'm just standing up against such a wrong. As for Linux, they should learn from the US government and how Regan armed the taliban to fight the Soviets in teh 80s. It's not smart policy to be friends, with your biggest enemy's enemy. It's going to bite those that have worked with true honor and dilligence in open source, in the butt, but it wasn't they that started it. I remember when IBM first started to fiddle with open source. The majority of communities were against that. Now they've been overruled by a growing revolution of ABMers willing to do anything...A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G to promote, boost or othewise advance open source. Linux himself has spoken out on occasions about the direction of Linux, but he's been sequestered to a role of basically a figurehead. His thoughts are just tramppled under in the stampede of religious zealots controlling what he founded.
          • Obviously I meant "Linus". and other mistakes noted.

          • Bla Bla Bla Bla Bla

            "I've been paying the *nix tax for way way too long"

            Just warms my heart to know you've been paying for my Linux all these years. THANK YOU! Maybe it'll justify the "Microsoft tax" some poor sucker has been paying all along.
            Ole Man
          • It seems to me...

            that more than anyone here, you only hear your own voice or those that fall in line with you. <br>
            My first computer was an Apple. I could have continued to buy Apples, but chose Windows along the way. My choice....i know you like to claim "no choice" as though Apple didn't exist, yet you hail the mac. Your irony does not go unnoticed, trust me. <br>
            If you were working in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s you were paying a *nix tax by FORCE OF LAW. I think that's just a weee bit different, but I'm sure you think paying federal taxes is a good thing and the more the better by golly. <br>
          • You would have to be

            At least 98 years old to have done
            everything you claim to have done, work at
            least 27 hours a day to do all the generous
            medical work you boast about, oversee the
            tech hardware (not to mention software), and
            patrol the halls of ZDNet and post replies
            to everybody else, every day, all the time.
            Where do you find time for personal hygeine?
            Oh!, that's right. You don't. that's why you
            dump your load here.
            Ole Man
      • coming from the NBMer that you are

        "Microsoft has partnerships with Apple, Yahoo, Dell, Toshiba, Fijitsu, Gateway, Acer, HP, multiple security firms.....need I go on? Just a ridiculously ABMer statement full of cynicism and misspelled company names."

        Then who is Fijitsu? A Fijian company?

        Anything anti-MS has to be ABM in your mind, but none of what you say is NBM, is it?

        "Your take on Vista is like any ABMer that hasn't a clue. It will be capture a large percentage of the business and consumer market over time just as XP did. There is no doubt about that. I think Steve Jobs desperation moves of late demonstrate how worried he is and it's not about Microsoft having another generation of high percentage marketshare for him as it is Vista is even gaining defectors from the Mac."

        Considering your ABMer comments, it's interesting that you bring Apple in to this. Where is the relevance? Is it your anti-Mac-zealotry? Similar to your insistance on bringing Google into any argument about MS and Open Source. Irrelevant.

        Look yourself in the mirror before painting someone else with any sort of brush.
        • You are right.....

          <i>Considering your ABMer comments, it's interesting that you bring Apple in to this.</i><br><br>
          I guess you were a bit hasty pointing out my mistakes then. Seems you are a bit confused....FGB. <br><br>
          I was unnecessarily harsh. Although you are coming in to something that is ongoing. The poster I was replying to has had a habit of using extremely harsh posts out of the blue and off topic so I guess considering that, I wasn't too far out of line. As for you, I believe i have some of your vulgar posts bookmarked so don't make me get them out mr. ethics. <br>
          As for Google's part in Open source I've only ever mentioned the truth. google funds Mozilla heavily. As does Yahoo. It's not a secret. Google helped Mozilla with FF 2.0 by loaning engineers to the project. That is very relevant because the
          ABMers make Linux and other open source systems sound like they are pure and w/o corporate corruption, such as MS of course. <br>
          dude, I just like technology. I've used Unix and Novell and PolyForth and MUMPS and other proprietary systems and Windows is good technology, esp. for developers. For people to be completely blind to the what the employees at MS do is just asinine. Bill Gates doesn't write the software you know? Mozilla has taken on MS employees. Apple has taken on MS emps, Google has stolen MS emps out the gazoo, so are you going to tell me they are only good at what they do when they are not working for MS? That's what posts like the "ole Man" are saying about Vista, w/o any room for debate. That's just wrong. Vista is loaded with cool technology and the dev. side of Vista is going to be a boon to companies doing Rich Internet Apps, Distributed apps, whatever. the .NET 3.0 stack on Vista is great. Ever use it? You might like the toolset. Very nice. <br>
          I guess as long as the ABMers keep posting garbage, I'll keep posting my thoughts on the matter. You are more than welcome to post anything you feel is wrong, but keep the slut talk out of it like before. (don't think I don't have the links.).