Enterprise IT users strongly support the Linux partnership that Microsoft and Novell unveiled last month, according to the two companies.
The claim is based on a survey of 201 business people involved with IT in their organisation.
The majority of the people surveyed (57.2 per cent) use Windows and either Red Hat or Novell's Linux distribution. The survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland and commissioned by Novell and Microsoft.
Ninety five per cent of people surveyed said that they approved of the partnership. Another 87 per cent said that they believed that customers would benefit if leading Linux distributions and Microsoft worked more closely on interoperability.
Microsoft and Novell inked a partnership in early November in which the two vendors will collaborate more closely. Among other initiatives, Microsoft will distribute copies of Novell's SuSE Linux to its customers.
The two also agreed on a patent cross-licencing deal that indemnifies SuSE users from patent claims from Microsoft. Thirdly, the two companies pledged to collaborate on Linux-Windows interoperability.
The survey's findings stand in stark contrast with the response from several dignitaries from the open source community.
Eben Moglen, one of the co-authors of the third version of the upcoming General Public Licence, has sharply criticised the partnership's patent covenant because it violates the spirit of the GPL.
Bruce Perens has also spoken out against the partnership and has called on Novell to abandon the agreement, as has the Samba open source project.
Red Hat, the world's largest Linux vendor, has dismissed the agreement and referred to the patent covenant as an "innovation tax".
Observers have suggested that the deal signalled a more gentle stance by Microsoft towards open source.
But Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer further infuriated critics of the deal when he warned in November that the company might still pursue legal action against Linux distributions for potential patent infringements.
The survey was conducted in the days after Ballmer made his comments, and the threat of Microsoft's patent arsenal has been an ongoing topic of discussion with Linux users and developers.
The intellectual property fears were reflected in the survey as well. Some 71 per cent of the people surveyed said that they would be more likely to deploy Linux that comes with intellectual property rights. The percentage was even higher with users of SuSE and Red Hat Linux.
The number of people surveyed, however, is considered low by statistical standards, making for rather high margins of error. The report also provides only limited information on the survey's methodology.
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