Novell has already been hammered left, right and centre after it signed a deal with Microsoft in November. If anything, one would expect that it would studiously avoid doing anything even remotely seen to be aiding Microsoft.
But, on the very day when Computerworld carried a detailed yarn about how Microsoft tried to foist its so-called open standard - OpenXML - on the US state of Masschusetts, in preference to the open document format (ODF) which OpenOffice.org supports as a default, Novell came out with what can only be termed a silly move.
Had this been announced in the absence of its earlier deal with Microsoft, then Novell would have been seen merely as trying to steal a march on its other rivals in the commercial GNU/Linux arena. But given the circumstances, Novell has merely accumulated more bad karma.
The announcement by Novell said, in part:" "Novell will release the code to integrate the Open XML format into its product as open source and submit it for inclusion in the OpenOffice.org project. As a result, end users will be able to more easily share files between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org, as documents will better maintain consistent formats, formulas and style templates across the two office productivity suites."
But all this talk of "sharing the code" isn't going to cut much ice. Plenty of contemptuous smiles would have greeted this news, and the GNU/Linux community at large has interpreted it as more cosying up by Novell to a company which is seen as trying to eliminate the competition which GNU/Linux poses to its profitability.