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11.25.07

Necessary Cloning versus Unnecessary Cloning

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mono, Samba, SUN, Windows at 1:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Or: “Why it’s OK for Samba, but not for Mono and OOXML”

Yesterday we stated that CIFS/SMB isn't the same scenario as OOXML. The same goes for Mono which, as Beranger might put it, does not actually serve a required, necessary and needed need (repetition intended).

”Mono is about ease of migration to Windows programmers (the minority), not Windows users (the majority).“Samba has a need. There is no going back in a mixed enterprise environment that is networked. But for mono — no actual need. Mainsoft appears to be focused on migrating business applications, but this is not the same thing as actually building Linux applications from the ground up using Mono. This can be done with other programming languages. Mono is about ease of migration to Windows programmers (the minority), not Windows users (the majority).

This leads to another point: Is it truly necessary to embrace a Windows-like Linux in order to attract users? This new blog item disagrees. Don’t mind the grammar because the writer’s mother tongue is not English.

Last but not least, Free software world need to innovate and provide a different experience. They should stop going after an hypothetic cloning of Windows to ease migration. If the system is well done and provide unique features with a good price, people will switch.

Let’s look at some older articles, shall we?

From OS Weekly:

- Xandros and Linspire are so much like Windows in overall feel that it’s painful.

- Using any Debian-based distribution to install software is actually easier than using Install Shield and Add/Remove. Software management, discovery and installation is light years easier than with Windows.

Here is what Stephen O’Grady said (from Wired Magazine):

Ubuntu Must ‘Play To Its Strengths’

[...]

You can’t out-Windows Windows, he says. Defining and playing to Ubuntu’s strengths are what will make free software succeed on the desktop.

As we briefly mentioned last week, OpenSolaris needs CIFS as well, but it didn’t turn to Samba. There’s more information in this new article:

The patents and intellectual property behind Samba technology have long been the subject of dispute between the open source community and Microsoft. In an 2006 interview with InternetNews.com, Microsoft’s Bill Hilf, now general manager of Windows Server marketing and platform strategy, chatted about the company’s IP concerns over Samba. Microsoft’s patent covenant deal with Novell specifically lays out Samba as an area of interoperability.

Whether the companies also have agreements covering Microsoft for CIFS/SMB, however, is unclear.

“I know that Sun and Microsoft have a variety of agreements in place covering a variety of technologies, but I’m not aware of an arrangement specifically around CIFS/SMB,” Greenberg said.

As you can see, Sun recognises the need for protocols that facilitate communication. It does not, however, try to build a Windows-like Solaris. OpenSolaris/Project Indiana is actually more of a Ubuntu copy (sure, they will carry on denying it). Even Simon Phipps, if I recall correctly, talked about the resemblance (in GNOME) to Ubuntu.

Nomo

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3 Comments

  1. Sam Hiser said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy-

    This mis-represents the goals of Mono; moreover there is a bit of fuzzy logic going on, which I take is based upon unwarranted fear and a lack of recognition of the benefits of diversity in the face of Free Software’s strength.

    There is an over-broad brush here being applied. If Windows .Net applications are useful on Linux, then Mono is a good way to do that. The more applications that run on Linux, the merrier. If people don’t want them they can delete them. It’s up to the developer, the administrator and sometimes the user.

    I believe a lack of confidence in the superiority of Free Software tools discourages a helpfully permissive attitude: that certain strategic proprietary dependencies have a role to play.

    Linux is strong and will do well to keep playing to its strengths. Red Hat: simple, great. Ubuntu: simple, great. Each a bit different, great! Novell, more like Windows, maybe necessary, maybe even great.

    The idea that no Linux distro should play the Windows-like space is fearful & weak thinking in my opinion. Let Novell test that thesis. If it’s a bad idea, the market will tell Novell pretty directly it’s not on.

    So far Ubuntu’s lead is the reward for simplicity, single free product, discipline, clarity of purpose, and works well. Red Hat’s also due to similar discipline and recognition of its strengths as well as simplicity.

    These are clearly characteristics which appeal to lovers of Free Software. They may appeal in the enterprise, but we don’t know yet if Windows-like characteristics are even more appealing to the enterprise class. Adoption is simply too young. The dynamic may shift as we shift over the Chasm and up the Adoption Curve. We’ll have to test the notion.

    Once, ease of install, ease of use, and Windows UI were the biggest demands for improvement of Linux. If they were the only things holding Linux back, Xandros and Linspire would have run away with the Linux market. Why? Something external to Linux was holding its adoption back. How about appetite for change?

    What if the Windows-like approach works better further up the adoption curve for a different audience and SLED starts to lead visibly in enterprise desktop segment? This still leaves room for others to try other things in that space too and it is not a signal that only Windows-like machines will ever be the only thing.

    Diversity & competition are good. Trust & confidence, just as good. Diversity that undermines Free Software, bad. I don’t see Mono as such a threat. But it’s anyone’s personal choice.

    Free Software should be permitted to embrace Windows and extend it, too. Because of its strengths, Free Software can survive certain proprietary dependencies — which may from time to time have a use — and never last forever on their own power.

  2. 54e64e__&/t& said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Gravatar

    Well-said.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a known, pseudonymous, nymshifting, abusive Internet troll

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 27, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Gravatar

    Sam,

    You seem to have completely ignored the fact that:

    1. None of what was implemented using Mono actually needed to be implemented using Mono
    2. Microsoft plays the patent/protection card with Mono. It’s one of its weapons of choice against Linux.
    3. When Novell uses Mono, it passes it upstream, so it affects distribution who do not necessarily need or want it (see point (2) again.

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