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Just about everyone has expressed an opinion on the Novell-Microsoft patent agreement—except, that is, for the 800-pound gorilla of Linux: IBM.

Today, Scott Handy, IBM’s VP of Worldwide Linux and Open Source, decided that enough was enough and it was time to state IBM’s position.

In an interview with, Handy opened by saying that, “IBM has long supported interoperability between Windows and Linux.

“As supporters of open source and open standards,” he continued, “we applaud any effort to bridge this gap.”

Handy added that, as a member of the OIN (Open Invention Network), “We fully support the OIN statement.” The OIN is an intellectual property company formed to further Linux by acquiring patents and ensuring their availability.

In that statement, OIN CEO Jerry Rosenthal said, “Hearing Microsoft agree that Linux is a major force in the information technology industry is welcome news.

Many IT customers and software programmers have recognized that Linux is a first-rate computer operating system with performance, stability and cost-of-ownership that compares well with all its competitors, including Microsoft’s own offerings.”

Handy put it more strongly, though. From where he sits, Microsoft’s Novell deal indicates that “Microsoft is coming to terms with the fact that Linux is an unstoppable force in the marketplace.”

Read the full story on Linux-Watch: IBM sees Novell/MS deal benefiting Linux

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