Red Hat joins Microsoft interop initiative

A post in CBR points out that Red Hat has joined Microsoft's Interop Vendor Alliance. As the article points out though, this seems to be related to JBoss only (remember that JBoss was already working directly with Microsoft on interoperability). There is no mention of any other Red Hat related bits, such as RHEL or RHN. From the article:
While Red Hat has vowed not to pay Microsoft an “innovation tax” via a patent deal with the software giant, it has proven that it is not averse to working on interoperability and has signed up as a member of Microsoft’s Interop Vendor Alliance.
The IVA was formed in November with 25 other software and hardware vendors to ensure that their offerings are able to interoperate with Microsoft's Windows operating system and applications.
IVA members included Novell, of course, as well as other open source vendors including Sun, SugarCRM, XenSource and Centeris, as well as BEA, Business Objects, Citrix, Software AG, and Quest Software.
Missing from the list of open source vendors Microsoft had already struck an interoperability deal with was JBoss, despite their November 2005 integration agreement.
Red Hat’s decision to join the IVA makes sense given that agreement, and appears to be limited, at least at first, to the JBoss middleware stack.

Matt Asay says that the need for a group like this underscores that the market is currently broken in ways. From his post:
The strange thing in this announcement, and in the existence of the VIA, is that we have to talk about interoperability at all. It is precisely because the system is broken – with intellectual property rights driving vendors apart, rather than together – that something like this VIA is even remotely interesting.
But still I wonder if an industry alliance is the way to resolve the problem. Yes, you need scale/network effects to make something like this work. But in a large room filled with vendors who inherently distrust each other, I don’t see much interoperability emerging. Just lots of meetings about interoperability.
If the goal is to get one-on-one interaction, what good does the Alliance provide? Not much, in my view.

Since JBoss and Microsoft were already working together, it's hard to say what additional will be gained by this. It may have simply been to formalize the relationship and get a little PR, which is fine. What I wanted to point out here and what I think is important for some Novell execs to realize is that you don't see anyone freaking out about this… despite the fact that Microsoft is involved. The response by some seemed to be that the only reason the community reacted to the MSFT-NOVL deal the way they did was because it was a deal with Microsoft. Hopefully this points out that was definitively untrue. Working with Microsoft in places that are genuinely mutually beneficial is fine – some would even say it makes sense. After all, interop is absolutely key for customers and customers are really what it's all about in the end.

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