The Novell-Microsoft deal would of been wonderful if it wasn't for the patent agreement. 99%
of everybody works with and around Windows machines and they are a huge PITA to deal with from
a Linux point of view.
Linux already has the highest level of compatability with Windows that your going to find
anywere and that is with very good reason. With windows protocol and file format compatability
is the key to cracking open the Microsoft Desktop monopolies. Anything to make Linux easier
and cheaper for regular folks to use is a good thing.
Obviously Microsoft knows this so they made sure to slip Novell the poison pill in the form of
the distasteful patent agreement.
(a tasteful patent agreement would allow the use of the patents by any free software-using
person for any purpose. That's a good software patent agreement.)
In this case the patents are a mixed bag.. Samba can't/won't use them, but on the side note
Samba nows exactly which patents Microsoft has over the network protocols and can now more
easily avoiding them. So eventually this deal should completely disarm any patent weapon
Microsoft may choose to leverage against Samba AND (thanks to the documentation) make Samba
work just that much better. It's a WIN-WIN, mostly.
This is the sort of thing that Novell should of been aiming for in the first place... Samba
did it right, Novell did it wrong.
Hopefully this sort of thing should serve a lesson for other Linux-oriented companies on how
to deal with these sort of situations.
For example this sort of approach (sans the anti-trust lawsuit) would/could be an effective
way to deal with Nvidia and ATI/AMD when it comes to openning up hardware. There are numerous
patents related to OpenGL and lots of agreements with third party companies were ATI/Nvidia
uses a lot of 'IP' they don't actually control or own.