Microsoft appoints Linux interoperability chief

Linux veteran may be in for a roller-coaster ride in what so far has proved to be a controversial partnership between software giant, Novell.
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor
Microsoft has appointed a director to lead its interoperability efforts with Novell.

The two companies have been trying to sell a combined proprietary and open-source software package to businesses since they announced a deal in November. Through a jointly run Interoperability Lab, they intend to make Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server 10 run on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. The companies will also market each other's products.

Tom Hanrahan, former director of engineering at the Linux Foundation--which was formed by the merger of the Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group--will head up the Interoperability Lab and take the job title of director of Linux interoperability. Hanrahan is a Linux veteran, having overseen a large team of kernel developers in a former role at IBM's Linux Technology Center.

Novell appointed Susan Heystee in December to manage its relationship with Microsoft.

Both Hanrahan and Heystee look set for a turbulent ride in what has already proven to be a controversial relationship between the companies.

Microsoft and Novell have argued vehemently over whether Linux infringes Microsoft's patents--or vice versa--and the partnership was criticized heavily at Novell's own conference by one of the open-source community's most prominent figures, Richard Stallman.

While the market's No. 1 open-source vendor, Red Hat, continues to distance itself from Microsoft, the software giant has entered patent agreements with Linux players LG and Xandros.

Separately, Microsoft has appointed a head of its Macintosh Business Unit. Craig Eisler will take the helm as the Redmond, Wash., company works to finish Office 2008 for Mac in time for a release in the second half of this year.

Eisler, who worked as a development manager for DirectX during an earlier job with Microsoft, replaces Roz Ho.

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report. Richard Thurston of ZDNet UK reported from London.
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