Microsoft’s Next Linux Partner Is …?

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Believe it or not, on my way to the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit at the Googolplex here this week, I realized that I knew at least one more Linux distributor would form a partnership with Microsoft, and that the most likely one was Linspire. Why?

Did you read my piece on Linux company reactions to Microsoft’s Xandros deal?

I started thinking about how nice Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony was in his comments about Xandros. Carmony said, “I can understand why they approached Microsoft to work with them and entered into the agreement.” And, “As long as no one is pointing a gun at anyone’s head to buy or not buy something, I have no problem with it. It’s just another choice people should be free to make.”

So what, you say? Compare Carmony’s recent reaction to the Xandros deal to what he had to say about Novell getting buddy-buddy with Microsoft last November. Then, he hated the deal.

“Since investing in SCO, Microsoft has wanted to find ways to use third parties to thwart open source and Linux,” Carmony said. “They would love to point their IP [intellectual property] guns directly at Linux and blow it out of the water, but that would appear too heavy-handed, so they need to have one willing partner to set a price and precedence on that IP. They found that partner with Novell.”

His attitude certainly has changed since then, wouldn’t you say?

So, who’s next?

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