Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian is calling for a standardized way to develop Linux applications across multiple distributions (Novell, Red Hat, etc.). Hmmm. Hovsepian's motivations are easy to understand -- Novell badly trails Red Hat when it comes to Linux application support. But will anybody answer his call for help?

That's doubtful. Hovsepian painted Novell into a corner when the company agreed to partner with Microsoft on Linux-Windows interoperability last year. Some mutual Microsoft-Novell customers are certainly benefiting from the deal. But the partnership's focus on patents upset many members of the open source community.

The VAR Guy thought the rift between Novell and open source advocates would settle down after a few months. But during Ubuntu's developer conference in July, many attendees once again expressed disdain for Novell's business relationship with Microsoft.

Still, there may be a silver lining. During the Ubuntu conference, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth called for major providers (Ubuntu/Canonical, Novell, Red Hat, etc.) to synchronize their major Linux releases, starting in 2010. Initially, none of the Linux providers answered Shuttleworth's call for discussion. Maybe Hovsepian should give him a shout and find some common ground between the two companies.