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.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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. The Internet Archive Doesn't Forget, Whereas the Internet and the Web Forget Very Fast

    World Wide Web history is grossly undervalued and preservation of such history (e.g. by the Wayback Machine) is taken for granted by far too many people; the robber barons of today benefit the most from erosion of collective memory as they get to rewrite the past to suit their present and future interests



  2. Environmentalism and Free Software Can be Viewed as Closely Connected and Help One Another

    Modest lifestyles are an overlapping pattern in the Free software community and green activists; there's room for alliances and collaboration, bettering society by reducing consumption and discouraging voyeurism



  3. Free (as in Freedom) Software + Social Control Media ≠ Free Speech

    Speaking through middlemen and private platforms is bad enough (that gives others unjust power over speech); to claim that because the underlying platform is free/libre software it therefore becomes a non-issue is also dishonest



  4. António Campinos: President or Quasi-Autocratic Corporate Puppet?

    The culture of oppression — and censorship of evidence of oppression — is what today’s EPO is all about; the EPO learned how to better avoid (or block) negative publicity without actually changing its ways; and due to unprecedented speech restrictions you won’t hear that from SUEPO



  5. The Media Continues to Ignore Corruption of António Campinos

    António Campinos has Croatian scandals on his lap; the obedient media, however, refuses to even talk about it (or uses COVID as an excuse to write nothing on the subject, as some journalists have told us)



  6. A Call for Patent Sanity

    The public's call for reform is motivated by improved understanding of today's debased patent system and how out-of-order (detached from its original mission statement) it has gotten; patent maximalism, if it does not completely unravel this whole system, severely discredits it



  7. Declassified US Army Field Manuals Explain Microsoft's Public Relations Strategy (Similar to Selling Imperialism to the Occupied)

    The misuse of public broadcast to brainwash the public is well understood and thoroughly exploited by both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation (which sells this ridiculous lie that the world’s richest people speak for and fight for the poorest, i.e. those impoverished by endless greed)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 10, 2020



  9. Links 11/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Openbox, Kiwi TCMS 8.5, Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

    Links for the day



  10. Education Without Free Software is Training or Indoctrination

    Kids need to decide for themselves what they want to do and what they wish to use when they grow up; schools need to provide general tools and the mental capacity to make good decisions (rather than make these decisions for the kids, sometimes at the behest of foreign monopolists)



  11. Links 10/7/2020: Wayland-Info, diffoscope 151 and Tor 0.4.4.2-alpha

    Links for the day



  12. European FRAND (Related to SEP) Proponent and Famed Programmer Comes to Realise That It's Actually a “Scam”

    Even people who have long promoted the practice of mandatory "licensing" (in effect patent tax one is unable to work around) are apparently changing their minds and their tune



  13. Not Even a Single Corporate Journalist Has Written Anything About These Very Important Bits of News

    Constant propaganda from patent maximalists has long infested the media, which is sometimes controlled and even bribed to set the tone and the agenda; important developments are being tucked away and require very deep digging for ordinary citizens to find



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 09, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 09, 2020



  15. Racism in Technology (and Who Typically Lectures Us About the Subject)

    Racism is a real problem; some approaches to tackling racism, however, can also be problematic and those who take the lead 'on behalf' of victims tend to be opportunistic and privileged few (piggybacking others' grievances to further advance their financial agenda)



  16. Links 10/7/2020: Debian 8 Long Term Support EOL, Mobian Project, Mesa 20.1.3

    Links for the day



  17. [Humour] COVID-19 is Very, Very Afraid of Human Beings Making More Monopolies Instead of Fighting Together

    The European Patent Office (EPO) to the rescue! Fighting a dangerous pandemic one profitable monopoly at a time!



  18. The News is Never 'Slow', It's Just Journalism That's Slowing Down (and Investigative Journalism Coming Under Attack)

    A mix of censorship and subtle mind control contribute to misinformed societies that shape their perception or misunderstanding of the world based on false measures of authority (where money can determine what is true and what is untrue); many topics remain completely untouched, leading to apathy in a vacuum; it's very much applicable to international organisations, which are presumed benign by virtue of being multi-national or supranational



  19. Social Control Media is About Social Control and If It Doesn't Ban You It'll Shut Down Everyone's Account (One Day)

    It’s time to leave the ‘Internet rot’ which is social control media well behind us; blogging and RSS/XML may seem like a thing of the past, but they may as well become the future (again; if we make the correct and informed choices)



  20. Microsoft's Fingers in Every Pie: The Cult Mentality That Society Needs to Become Wary of

    Microsoft and its co-founder (pretending to do his for-profit 'charity' via the Gates Foundation) are trying to control the world; in the process they've moved to control even their most potent competitor, according to Gates himself, which is GNU/Linux



  21. Links 9/7/2020: Google’s Open Usage Commons, GNOME 3.36.4, Neptune 6.5

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 08, 2020



  23. Links 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  24. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  25. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  26. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda



  27. Manners Are a Good Thing. The Yardstick or the Standard of Manners Changes Over Time.

    Entirely legitimate grievances of African-Americans are being exploited by people who aren’t even African-American (and usually don’t speak for African-Americans) to warp the debate from one about software ethics and technical issues, not to mention war crimes of companies that employ many programmers, to something which is unlikely to really help African-Americans (also, they don't employ any African-Americans)



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 07, 2020



  29. Links 8/7/2020: Huawei’s GNU/Linux PC, Sparky 5.12, and Endless OS 3.8.4 Released

    Links for the day



  30. [Humour] Television Channels That Don't Speak of Real Looting But Participate in Looting

    People may need to look beyond (or outside) the television screen to grasp what's going on


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

Recent Posts