Three months after promising to jointly develop business software that combines Windows and Linux, Microsoft and Novell are getting specific about the projects they plan to tackle. They'll focus on facilitating server virtualization, Web services implementations, directory and identity interoperability, and document format compatibility.
To help businesses create virtual server farms with hardware running Windows and Linux, Microsoft and Novell plan products that will let users host SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 as a "virtualized guest" on upcoming releases of Windows Server, including the forthcoming Longhorn version. They also have products in the works to let Windows Server reside as a guest on SUSE Linux servers.
The companies will use Web services standards to create management tools for the mixed environments, with Novell's ZenWorks Orchestrator and Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager 2007 incorporating one of those those specs this year.
Microsoft and Novell--which in November agreed not to sue each other over operating system intellectual property and to do co-development, all to the dismay of many in the Linux community--also pledged to produce productivity applications that work in Windows and Linux environments. They've embarked on an open source project to create a translator for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations between the OpenDocument Format, supported by OpenOffice.org, and Open XML, the default format for Microsoft Office.
Finally, the companies are working to improve directory and identity interoperability between their Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory products, to improve IT resource management.
The road map is a sign that the controversial Microsoft-Novell pact will result in more than talk, vaporware--and angst in the open source community.