ASIAN LINUX distributor Turbolinux has become the fourth and latest Linux distribution to sign a patent covenant deal with Microsoft, Beta News reports.
Turbolinux reportedly sees an opportunity to get interoperability information to develop a cross-platform authentication framework with Microsoft. Such a shared authentication service could provide a single-signon capability enabling users to access both Windows and Linux services simultaneously.
Turbolinux could have gained such authentication interface specifications through a simple licensing arrangement. But a cross-licensing agreement holds out the potential of making Windows the logon client for Linux services and vice-versa. It's also easy to suspect that the Vole made signing a mutual patent covenant deal much more attractive to Turbolinux than a one-way licencing agreement.
Turbolinux had previously joined Microsoft's OOXML-ODF translator project last year. The companies said they plan to extend that collaboration, such that Turbolinux will be able to develop a Live Search feature under Linux.
Beta News also speculates that Turbolinux and Microsoft might seek to do something with Turbolinux's Wizpy MP3 player that also contains a complete Linux system in pocket-sized computer form.
The Linux distributors that have previously signed patent covenant deals with the Vole are Novell, Linspire and Xandros.
Each Linux company has been offered somewhat different inducements, variations on the Vole's theme of offering assistance for interoperability with Linux. These different patent covenant deals might have been driven by the varying interests of the Linux distributors, but it seems like Microsoft offered to work with each one in a different area of collaboration.
What seems clear is that these various patent covenant deals will result in fragmenting the capabilities of the participating Linux distributions such that they will wind up offering some features and functions that are diverse and possibly incompatible. And that sounds an awful lot like a cunning Volish plan to divide and conquer. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ