Microsoft has appointed an executive to lead its controversial efforts to make its software more interoperable with Novell's Suse Linux.
The company has named Tom Hanrahan to the new position of director of Linux interoperability, reporting to Sam Ramji, director of platform technology strategy. Ramji runs the Microsoft Open Source Software Lab at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington, where Microsoft tests its products to see how they interact with Linux and other open-source software.
Hanrahan's duties will include running the new Microsoft/Novell Interoperability Lab, announced in November when the two companies formed a patent-licensing and interoperability deal. The deal will, in part, ensure Novell's Suse Linux works better with Windows in environments where the two OSes co-exist. Experts from both companies will work in the Microsoft/Novell Interoperability Lab to test and build interoperable offerings.
As part of their deal, Microsoft and Novell also are co-marketing each other's technology, and Microsoft is offering Suse Linux maintenance and support coupons to customers who want to run the OS in their IT environments. But Microsoft's ability to do the latter could be threatened by the passage of the GNU General Public License Version 3 (GPLv3) in light of bold claims by the vendor that it will seek damages for 235 of its patents it says both Linux and other open-source software violate. A provision of GPLv3 provides patent protection for anyone receiving software, such as Linux, distributed by the license.
Microsoft executives also have used the Novell deal as the blueprint for how it wants companies violating its patents to pay for them, while Novell insists to this day its Linux distribution does not infringe on any Microsoft patents.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Hanrahan was director of engineering at the Linux Foundation. He also has served as senior program manager in charge of software development and testing at IBM's Linux Technology Center in Oregon. Before that, he spent 11 years at Sequent Computer Systems and several years working for Intel.