A further step toward cementing OS interoperability between Microsoft and Novell was taken today with the announcement of significant financial support from three big financial firms. Novell initiated a deal between the two software giants, and penned the agreement in November of this year. In the terms of the agreement Microsoft pledges not to prosecute users of SUSE Linux for patent infringement. SUSE is a distribution of Linux offered by Novell.Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and AIG Technologies announced yesterday that they have taken delivery of SUSE Linux subscriptions from Microsoft. This announcement marks these companies as among the first to take delivery of the open-source SUSE from Microsoft. This is an important show of support for the deal from three heavy-hitters in the financial field.The deal between Microsoft and Novell has taken some flak from advocates of Free and Open Source Software. What does it mean for the average consumer? Below a certain level, really, nothing right now. Although this could be an inroad to enhanced interoperability between the otherwise bitterly competitive operating systems, the average user, and even most business users, won’t be too affected. Where we’ll start seeing an impact is in large businesses or technology companies running their network in a mixed Linux/Windows environment. The availability of SUSE Linux certificates from Microsoft, and support of Linux in a mixed environment from Novell means smoother operation of mixed environments. It might also mean more companies will gravitate toward a blended environment.