What does it mean with the lastest hoolabaloo about Microsoft tying up with Novell?
IMHO, Microsoft has succeed.
What about Linux Distros? Well, if Novell faced an issue (Interesting enough, SUSE was going pretty well), other Linux Distros will surely face a similar issue. If Novell was just interested in getting 300MN$, it would have easily sold of SUSE to someone such as Oracle, Sun or Google (i am sure Oracle would be interested).
What about other large Linux Supporters such as Oracle? Well, Microsoft is trying to kill Linux Completely. In fact, in mid-to-large server segment, Linux is (and was?) first real threat to Microsoft. Solaris achieved a status and is just maintaining it as a leading Unix OS. Mac OS X is still years away from becoming the darling of corporations in running their mail servers and directories (Exchange, Actrive Directory are probably most sold products of Microsoft in server segment). Linux based mail and ldap have become easy to setup and maintain. Companies like oracle had performed sufficient harm to the whole scenario by buying off various small opensource entities such as SleepyCat/Berkley, which were running as backbone of many such Linux based system.
What is this occuring? A reason behind why this may be occuring is partially becausing of IP Laws as well as how the licenses are structured. OpenSource companies have to find a way to make product seperate from the company. Right now buying a company allows the buyer to literally kill the product. It should be structured such a way that product remains alive even after company is purchased by someone else.
What about Patent Laws: US need to something about the law. If someone finds a new way of holding a pencil that will make writing easier, can he patent it? I think with the current law, I can (provided I get the right lawyer to get it worded correctly). Patents were about technology and innovation, but instead they have become a legal battleground. If nothing is done about it, the market will be shrunk.
What does the threat lie now?
What about Other OpenSource based OS? OpenSolaris? Mac X OS? Would Microsoft go behind them too? There are several other opensource operating systems, all of them have a problem now.
What about the 100$ laptop that Media Lab of MIT was building. It was supposed to be running a flavour of linux. Now, if Linux is in danger, then this project is also in the danger. A laptop running Windows Vista will need atleast 800$ of cash, which means no one can afford it any more in 3rd and 4th world countries. So we can forget about educating kids with easily available technology, atleast for 30 years (assuming that patterns expire in 30 years).