Hey Mo -
I hope you don't mind but I'm in a writing mood. Check out this post about Xandros who only days ago made a deal with Microsoft. Like I said already, I think it's to enable Microsoft to say they can interoperate and it's to enable Xandros (aka Corel) to keep their business. But, given what Joe Wilcox writes, I think there may be more of Microsoft's strategy showing.
Some have interpreted the signing of this deal to mean that Microsoft is pretty sure that it can evade the strictures of GPLv3. Take note that Microsoft has not signed up to distribute Xandros - which means that it does not want to be considered a Linux distributor in this case, something which makes any patents which it allegedly claims are being illegally used by Linux available to all and sundry.
In the case of Novell, Microsoft is a distributor, no matter which definition one employs.
As far as Xandros goes, it is a sign of desperation and means that the company is not going to be around selling GNU/Linux too long. Take the money and run, appears to be the new company motto.... Slice these deals any way you like, they are a sellout.- Sam Varghese, ITWire
It actually could be Microsoft did this deal with Xandros because they may have been obligated, via Microsoft's 2000 bailout of Corel, to save Xandros' hide under the current circumstances.
Xandros sells a Linux desktop tailored to family home use. Once virtualization (real virtualization, that is, with transactional synchronization) capabilities come to the front, Xandros will be virtually unnecessary. Various desktops will spring up from Microsoft developers (whenever they finally get a chance to build something useful for the web using Microsoft products) that will obsolete the Xandros approach.
Microsoft could morph the Xandors desktop to run on a minimal set Linux platform so they can put modules in the Kitchen, family room, garage and bedroom... what about the bathroom? What could you do in the bathroom with a "computer"... and interoperate with the internet and other systems while keeping the core Longhorn server in the closet secure and pristine (until some wag can get a trojan across the Windows/Linux interchange, that is).
Notice the above blurbs are from a distilled Groklaw sidebar at http://www.groklaw.net/ . The remainder of the article says the following for our interest:
"...In one way, it is a pity because Xandros's Linux offerings are good. But like many other companies, it is in the wrong business. I was mistaken when I recommended the distribution recently - nobody can switch to a commercial distribution without some certainty that the company selling it is going to be around for at least some time. Time to throw out those trial versions of Xandros server which I was planning to test over the next month.
What's up? Is the coming ubiquity of virtualized services going to threaten all other Linux "desktop" capabilities as Microsoft pushes Vista out through Novell (will Novell become part of Microsoft after GPLv3?)? And is Microsoft taking this opportunity to help Xandros out of a jam, provide a morphable front end for their present "Longhorn" system (while they attempt to build out their collection of tools into a suite codenamed "Hawaii"?) and skunk other Linux providers who will be caught flat footed with no real means of providing the kind of transactional synchronization I described in what Joe Wilcox was writing about?