Microsoft, Novell open interoperability lab

Windows and Suse Linux platforms to work together

Cross-platform virtualisation is top of the list of projects that a new joint development lab operated by Microsoft and Novell will work on, executives said.

The companies announced plans for the joint lab back in November 2006, when they formed a patent-licensing and interoperability agreement.

Microsoft and Novell have started working together on several interoperability projects, including one that will ensure that Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 will run well on Suse Linux Enterprise Server and that Suse Linux will run on Server 2008 in virtualised environments. The capability will be available after Microsoft ships the server next year -- after releasing its virtualisation capability up to 180 days after that.

The new lab is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is staffed by two directors and five test engineers. The companies hope to hire three more by the end of 2007.

Engineers from both companies can remotely access resources in the lab and contribute to the work there, said Suzanne Forsberg [cq], the lab's co-director for Novell. She shares director duties with Tom Hanrahan [cq], director of Linux interoperability at Microsoft.

In addition to the virtualisation project, the engineers will also work on document format translator capabilities that will allow sharing between various document standards such as open XML and OpenOffice.

The goal of the original agreement between Microsoft and Novell was to ensure that operating systems from the companies work better in environments where they co-exist. The lab will have 80 servers so that engineers can test how their developments will operate in an environment similar to an enterprise data center, Hanrahan said.

Xandros and Linspire have also struck similar partnerships with Microsoft.

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