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Financial Firms Tap Microsoft for Linux

Financial heavyweights are among the first IT customers to take upMicrosoft’s offer for Linux — delivered to its Windows customers throughRedmond’s recent deal with Novell, which signed up its Suse Linux forthe interoperability and patent partnership last month.

AIG Technologies, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank all professed theirapproval of the partnership, which has alienated some free and opensource software (FOSS) advocates. The financial institutions indicated they now have better support and flexibility for their mixed environments.

Although the customer wins are a more substantial sign of support for the partnership than a survey released last week, skepticism in the open source community persists, with Novell’s Jeremy Allison, a key Samba project developer, announcing his departure from Novell because of the Microsoft pact.

Favoring Flexibility

Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian, who has countered contentions that thepatent agreement with Microsoft suggests any concession that Microsoftintellectual property is incorporated in Linux, called the customer moves so soon after the Nov. 2 announcement “proof points” of the wisdom of the companies’ jointcollaboration.

“We see both Windows and Suse Linux as strategic platforms goingforward, and we’re very pleased to see Microsoft and Novell, who supportthese platforms, step up and work on interoperability,” said CreditSuisse Chief Information Officer Tom Sanzone. “This is a great model,because it provides a bridge to connect the open source and proprietarysoftware to benefit customers.”

Linux Leanings Key

It is no secret that IT customers are using both Windows and Linux, wantmore integrated support and interoperability, and would like to removeor mitigate IP issues whenever possible, Interarbor Solutions PrincipalAnalyst Dana Gardner told LinuxInsider.

However, he noted that it is too soon to tell how successful Microsoft andNovell will be pitching their partnership to IT users — most of whom arenot concerned about the prospect of legal action from Redmond againstLinux users.

“What’s more telling is whether this arrangement between Microsoftand Novell steers customers away from other Linux distributions,”Gardner said.

Light on Details

The announcement of major financial firms as customers is promising, butis not necessarily a harbinger of things to come, Gartner Vice PresidentGeorge Weiss told LinuxInsider.

“I wanted to talk to the CIOs [involved] to find out exactly what hasbeen promised,” he said, “because mainly, it’s promises at this stage.”

With no interoperability road map from the twocompanies, the significance of the announced customer deals isdecreased, he pointed out, adding that “real announcements speak for themselves.”

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