.NET News Desk
Microsoft & Novell Extend Hated Pact
The infamous Microsoft-Novell interoperability/patent protection deal that FOSSers love to hate just passed its first birthday
By: Maureen O'Gara
Nov. 9, 2007 10:00 AM
The infamous Microsoft-Novell interoperability/patent protection deal that FOSSers love to hate just passed its first birthday and, bragging that it's exceeded their original business targets, the pair has extended the arrangement.
They're going to create a cross-platform accessibility model that links the existing Windows and Linux frameworks used to build assistive technology products that enable people with disabilities to interact with computers.
At the same time they disclosed the names of 30 new customers, including Costco, Southwest Airlines, the City of Los Angeles and Zabka Polska, one of the largest retail chains in Poland, that will be getting Microsoft certificates for three-year priority support subscriptions for SUSE.
As part of the accessibility initiative, which looks like it's going to benefit all of open source, Microsoft is supposed to make its User Interface Automation (UIA) specification, available. It's an advanced accessibility framework that simplifies the development of assistive technology products for people with one or more disabilities, and says it's "pledging not to assert any Microsoft patents necessary to implement the specification against anyone, regardless of platform, in the open source and proprietary software communities."
Novell, in turn, will develop and deliver an adapter so the UIA framework can work with existing Linux accessibility projects and complement the investments made by IBM and others.
Novell's work will be open source and will make the UIA framework cross-platform while enabling UIA to interoperate with the Linux Accessibility Toolkit (ATK) that ships with SUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu Linux. It said the UIA solution will ensure the interoperability of non-visual access to the next generation of software applications.
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