EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.01.07

Novell Selfishly Uses Mono as ‘Protection’-based Advantage

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 8:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nomo
No Mo’ patents!

Computer Weekly has just published a one-sided article about Mono.

To Mono’s founders, the proprietary/open-source battle was less important than issues of co-existence and the most appropriate platform for the job. According to Justin Steinman, Novell’s director of product marketing for Linux and open platform systems, and the man in charge of selling Mono to the world, “Mono essentially enables you to run .net applications on Linux,” giving you the choice of developing for either platform knowing that it will run on both.

Interestingly enough, the article defends Mono proponents while dismissing opposition to it as being “anti-Microsoft”. Mind you, they use negativism; not “pro-open standard”, not “anti-patents”, not “freedom advocate”, or even “fair competition proponents”.

“Remember that Microsoft has no commitment for Mono.”The article quotes Justin Steinman, whose “night job” (that’s what he calls it) now involves both Microsoft and Novell. This type of duality in role and responsibilities is similar to Miguel de Icaza’s role at Novell, but Miguel describes a duality in a different way, namely: “I have two positions, and one is speaking as the person managing the Mono team, and then there is another answer speaking as a Novell vice president.” It wasn’t long ago that he spoke about OOXML being a “superb standard”.

In any event, remind yourselves why Mono is risky, unlike GNU/Linux and open standards (Novell will try to convince you otherwise, using perceived risk as an ‘advantage’).

…Mono’s role in the deal that of a hook to make customers write .NET applications because they can be run on Linux – only to find later on that they are armless or legless because of a change in the .NET specifications, a change which Microsoft decides not to make public?

Remember that Microsoft has no commitment for Mono. It can pull the carpet from underneath Mono’s feet at any time, so again, as a Mono-reliant customer, you’re left at Microsoft’s mercy.

If you seek evidence of what might come, then read the following.

I read the agreement between Xandros and Microsoft, and one of the excluded products was Mono, so Microsoft promises to not sue Xandros over their distribution but excluding Mono and a few other products, i.e. they reserve the right to sue over Mono. I wonder if this is an interesting preview of on what basis they want to fight the free world.

Interestingly, the Novell deal seems to be different, Mono is not excluded from the Novell deal. So Microsoft seems to be promising not to sue Novell over Mono, but keeps the option open for Xandros. Weird but true.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

21 Comments

  1. David said,

    October 2, 2007 at 2:49 am

    Gravatar

    Hi Roy, After reading this post, I fail to see the point of it, regurgitating an old, albeit intresting difference between the several microsoft deals.

    To me the title especially seems over-sensationalised, and fails to deliver. Theres no new evidence in this post of Novell using mono as a competitive advantage.

    Obviously, if I’m missing something, then please correct me.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 2, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Gravatar

    David,

    Have a look at this:

    And There You Have It: You Need Novell (Not Just .NET) to Run Moonlight

    While Linux thrives in the sharing of work, Novell seems to be Monopolosing (pun) Mono. Since Novell is claimed to have received special ‘protection’ for “Mono”, I firmly believe that it would be wise to disengage and exclude it from other GNU/Linux distributions. While Jeff Waugh has insisted that GNOME is in no way Mono-dependent, a friend of mine who is a former Fedora maintainer begs to differ, even after hearing Jeff’s rebuttal to my posts.

  3. David said,

    October 2, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks for replying, Roy. I understand that Novell has the ability to use Mono to prolong dependence on proprietary software and formats, but I don’t see how Mono is any different to Samba or MS-Exchange implementations.

    Or is it that Novell owns the copyright of Mono, and now has perceived clearance from Microsoft to use Mono, that makes this different from other Free implementations of proprietary standards?

    Forgive my ignorance/stupidity ;-) Almost a year after the deal I still don’t understand a lot of the ramifications of it.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 2, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Gravatar

    David,

    Have a look at this excellent analysis from MattD. It also includes the Mono promises.

    The Novell/Microsoft Deal Dissected

    Also, of interest you might find the following:

    Dissecting Microsoft’s OOXML/ODF Strategy

    Mindmap: Microsoft Deals and Partnership as Proxies in a Software Battle

  5. Jose_X said,

    September 14, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Gravatar

    >> I understand that Novell has the ability to use Mono to prolong dependence on proprietary software and formats, but I don’t see how Mono is any different to Samba or MS-Exchange implementations.

    Here is one difference. One is an API, used to build things. The others are specific implementations. Two specific bad apples (for arguments sake let’s assume) vs. the rotting poison that creates bad apples.

    That’s an oversimplification of one of the major differences.

  6. AlexH said,

    September 15, 2008 at 2:18 am

    Gravatar

    @Jose: that’s not true in a theoretical or technical level.

    Samba is entirely about the API. Samba 4 is built out of API descriptions (idl files) and can be used to build things (e.g., OpenChange).

    Mono is no different to GNU Portable.net, gcj, etc.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Gravatar

    Alex,

    Is Samba /actively/ being used to build things, like Novell builds a lot of the desktop with Mono (unlike Mainsoft for example)?

  8. AlexH said,

    September 15, 2008 at 2:46 am

    Gravatar

    I just gave you an example, OpenChange for native MAPI access to Microsoft Exchange.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Gravatar

    I’ve just browsed it a bit [ http://www.openchange.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=54 ].

    it seems like a drop-in replacement for Exchange, which is designed to work with existing software. That’s not the same thing as Mono. Here you have protocols that Microsoft commoditised.

  10. AlexH said,

    September 15, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Gravatar

    No, primarily (at the moment) it’s to get clients to talk to Exchange, replacing Exchange comes later.

    Microsoft didn’t commoditise these protocols in any way.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Gravatar

    It made them hard to bypass.

  12. AlexH said,

    September 15, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Gravatar

    Do you just want to explain what you understand “commoditisation” to mean?

    “It made them hard to bypass” doesn’t fit with the definition I use, so I suspect we’re talking at cross purposes somewhat.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Gravatar

    There are a variety of protocols that became almost essential to follow due to the ubiquity of Microsoft software, particularly on the desktop. One example of this is Outlook/Exchange, which the widespread use of Microsoft Office led to. At one later stage, the competition among ‘rival’ protocols hardly exists, but there is no standardisation, either. I think of it (the protocol) as a form of a commodity although it may still involve pricey licensing, such as those that Scalix (Xandros) subscribed to. Other examples worth adding are the wide use of GIF on the Web and x86 on the desktop.

  14. AlexH said,

    September 15, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Gravatar

    I think your use of the word “commodity” is incorrect.

    In terms of protocols, HTTP or TCP/IP are commodity protocols: they are well-known and used in the marketplace, but there are also many different products which implement them. Cars are commodity items in the same way; different people buy different cars for different reasons, but at a basic level they all do the same thing. X86 processors are also commodity.

    Exchange’s protocols are very much not commodity; they are de-facto as you rightly point out, and while some people have licensed the information to use them they’re not replaceable in the market place.

    Indeed, there isn’t really such as thing as “Exchange protocol” anyway. In terms of authentication, you have exactly the same Active Directory/Kerberos setup, which Samba already provides. The IPC mechanism is the same, and it uses the AD tree, and then provides a MAPI API to access actual data.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Gravatar

    This brings us back to the earlier point about whether or not Mono is different from Samba. This comparison was used a lot by Jeff Waugh.

    We can live without Mono because we have popular frameworks like Java. It’s not the same with Samba.

    Also see:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/03/09/samba-microsoft-eu-tricks/

  16. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 15, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Gravatar

    Moonlight and Mono are also separate products, so your logic fails to deliver.

    Here’s my theory:

    Only Novell can deliver Moonlight (as defined by the product Novell is implementing + the Microsoft codec binary blob) because Microsoft only gave Novell the right to redistribute the binary blob and it comes with a number of other restrictions as well.

    There’s nothing that suggests that distributions could not ship Moonlight sans binary codec blob that I’ve seen.

    Of course, for distributions to do so, they would have to link with, say, ffmpeg to make it feature-complete and by doing so put themselves at legal risk unless they also licensed the video formats (from Microsoft and MPEG) because the video formats are patented.

    AFAICT, the risk of other patents applying to Silverlight should be fairly minimal because there’s nothing that Silverlight does that does not have “prior art” written all over it (e.g. 2D vector graphics, gee wiz, SVG maybe? Same with the XAML format – SVG or GladeXML = prior art).

    If Microsoft have patents on Silverlight’s 2D vector graphics, then it is just as likely that Cairo infringes – and Cairo is a core part of the Linux Desktop (and actually, afaik, Moonlight uses Cairo for drawing anyway).

  17. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 15, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Gravatar

    I should mention also that InkScape can read/save XAML and convert between it and SVG and whatever other formats it supports.

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Gravatar

    It’s irrelevant to the point that Moonlight requires Mono.

  19. AlexH said,

    September 15, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: what you mean is, *you* can live without Mono. And that’s fine, it’s a choice you can make. Others will choose to use Mono, and that’s also fine, because it’s free software.

    @Dan: indeed, the actual output – Flash, Silverlight, whatever, is relatively unimportant.

    What is crucial is that there need to be free software apps for *creating* the content, not just passively consuming it. Inkscape is one app, LunarEclipse is another.

    I personally wish that there was a decent free software tool which did SVG + animation. It looks like we’re a long way from that, though.

  20. AlexH said,

    September 15, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: Moonlight doesn’t require Mono unless you’re scripting it, and you can always script it from the outside using Javascript anyway – in that mode, it’s just a fancy canvas. Even Moonlight users can avoid Mono if they wish.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Gravatar

    It’s also possible to use GNU/Linux without X. Would people actually do this? Would /packagers/?

    Look at the URL:

    http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight

    “A page to track the various projects that make up the Mono-based implementation of Silverlight.”

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC6, New Release of Netrunner and End of Scientific Linux

    Links for the day



  2. USPTO and EPO Both Slammed for Abandoning Patent Quality and Violating the Law/Caselaw in Order to Grant Illegitimate Patents on Life/Nature and Mathematics

    Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’ (appointed owing to nepotism), mirrors the ‘Battistelli operandi’, which boils down to treating judges like they’re stooges and justices like an ignorable nuisance — all this in the name of litigation profits, which necessitate constant wars over illegitimate patents (it is expensive to prove their illegitimacy)



  3. IRC Proceedings: January 27th, 2019 – March 24th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  4. IRC Proceedings: December 2nd, 2018 – January 26th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  5. Links 21/4/2019: SuperTuxKart's 1.0 Release, Sam Hartman Is Debian’s Newest Project Leader (DPL)

    Links for the day



  6. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  7. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  8. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  9. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  10. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  11. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  12. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  14. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  15. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  16. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  17. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  18. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  19. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  20. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  21. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  22. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  23. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe



  24. A Linux Foundation Run by People Who Reject Linux is Like a Children's Charity Whose Management Dislikes Children

    We remain concerned about the lack of commitment that the Linux Foundation has for Linux; much of the Linux Foundation's Board, for example, comes from hostile companies



  25. Links 15/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC5 and SolydXK Reviewed

    Links for the day



  26. Links 14/4/2019: Blender 2.80 Release Plan and Ducktype 1.0

    Links for the day



  27. 'Poor' (Multi-Millionaire) Novell CEO, Who Colluded With Steve Ballmer Against GNU/Linux, is Trying to Censor Techrights

    Novell’s last CEO, a former IBMer who just like IBM decided to leverage software patents against the competition (threatening loads of companies using "platoons of patent lawyers"), has decided that siccing lawyers at us would be a good idea



  28. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 2)

    Calls for papers (CfP) and who gets to assess what's presented or what's not presented is a lesser-explored aspect, especially in this age when large corporate sponsors get to indirectly run entire 'community' events



  29. Patent Maximalists Are Enabling Injustices and Frauds

    It's time to come to grips with the simple fact that extreme patent lenience causes society to suffer and is mostly beneficial to bad actors; for the patent profession to maintain a level of credibility and legitimacy it must reject the deplorable, condemnable zealots



  30. Further Decreasing Focus on Software Patents in the United States as They Barely Exist in Valid Form Anymore

    No headway made after almost 4 months of Iancu-led stunts; software patents remain largely dead and buried, so we’re moving on to other topics


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts