As a developer, the first thing I thought about with the Novell announcement was Mono and whether or not Microsoft would be putting resources toward that Herculean effort.
Miguel makes reference to the FAQ which talks about this subject:
Q: What does the patent agreement cover with regard to Mono and OpenOffice?
Yes, under the patent agreement, customers will receive coverage for Mono, Samba, and OpenOffice as well as .NET and Windows Server. All of these technologies will be improved upon during the five years of the agreement and there are some limits on the coverage that would be provided for future technologies added to these offerings. The collaboration framework we have put in place allows us to work on complex subjects such as this where intellectual property and innovation are important parts of the conversation.
I'm not in a position at Microsoft to officially comment on what "improved" from the FAQ means, or what role Microsoft will play in Mono development - but the developer in me sure gets excited about the prospect.
Imagine developing .NET 3.0 Web Services that could be deployed to both platforms! That would be interesting.
Even if we don't work on Mono, they did mention during the press conference that our two companies would be collaorating on interoporability between Active Directory and their directory services product (E-Directory?).
This could be good news for the adoption of WS-Federation, SAML, INFOCARD, et al.