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12.06.07

Drinks Under the Moonlight

Posted in ECMA, ISO, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 12:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drinks are on Microsoft

If you watch the arrangements made at the XML 2007 conference, you’ll find that Microsoft hosts, pays for, covers, and sponsors all sorts of things (mind the “Hors d’oeuvres and drinks hosted by Microsoft”). Novell is involved as well, though it appears to have no interest in real standards, but in “interoperability” instead.

Novell has just reiterated its arguments about the role and the plan for a Silverlight clone, which relies on a framework tied to Microsoft patents.

“We don’t know if [Silverlight] becomes successful,” De Icaza said, but if so, Moonlight will offer the same functionality to Linux.

“We didn’t want to be left out. We didn’t want Linux to be a second-class citizen,” he said.

But that is exactly what Moonlight does to GNU/Linux. While encouraging the use of a supposedly cross-platform Silverlight and ensuring it “become[s] successful” (to use his own words), GNU/Linux becomes a second-class citizen.

Silverlight is not needed and it is hard to come by. There is already Flash. The most recent version of Flash was released to Linux at the same time as the Mac and Windows version. That was a couple of days ago and there was feature parity, no patent threats, and no demands. Compare that to Microsoft and Silevrlight, which is a case of ignoring GNU/Linux and leaving the heavy lifting for somebody else to do.

Adobe’s patent promises and standards are easier to trust because there are no prior incidents of so-called 'patent terrorism‘. In fact, PDF too has just received an ISO as well, which gives Adobe plenty to rave about.

Adobe has received word that the Ballot for approval of PDF 1.7 to become the ISO 32000 Standard (DIS) has passed by a vote of 13::1.

Speaking of standards, Jan van den Beld has meanwhile been writing about ECMA, whose credibility seems stagnant.

Related old article: Moonlight and the dupe quiz? Microsoft or Novell?

Microsoft doesn’t respect Novell. Microsoft uses Novell. Novell has a temporary use for Microsoft as its sycophant to “prove” that Microsoft cares about interoperability. “See! We interoperate with Linux, provided that it’s a Linux we can crush at a moment’s notice the minute too many of you care about it. We’ll even keep tabs on your Linux adoption with our nifty coupon program.”

Novell needs to keep growing its Linux business independent of Microsoft. Then, and only then, will it be able to talk interoperability with Microsoft as an equal and then, and only then, will customers truly benefit. Customers that are locked into the Microsoft + Novell platform are not any more free than they were with just Microsoft. In fact, they may be worse off, because they’ve been duped into believing they actually have freedom.

Watching shadows on the wall….

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6 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    December 6, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Gravatar

    This Microsoft beta web site uses Silverlight:
    http://preview.microsoft.com/downloads/Default.aspx
    But I agree that Silverlight aren’t common yet.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    December 6, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Gravatar

    Though I may install Mono, I probably will not install SUSE or OpenSUSE or Xandros or Linspire.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Gravatar

    Silverlight was sighted as the only option for viewing of a recent Halo 3 promo. As for Moonlight, don’t expect it to come with any GNU/Linux distribution unless it’s from Novell, which seems to have gotten some sort of exclusive distribution rights (Bruce Lowry seems to suggest so).

  4. Yuhong Bao said,

    December 6, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Also keep in mind that Adobe Flash is non-free software. Gnash is available as free software.

  5. Hmmm said,

    December 7, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Gravatar

    I asked one of the Moonlight developers about this a while back (same LUG) and he told me that as far as he understood, they had 2 options:

    1. anyone could ship Moonlight core, but everyone would have to download the codec package from Microsoft (for free) which would be fully licensed for them to use, all legal/etc. (you can see hint of this on Miguel’s blog: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2007/Sep-05.html )

    2. have Novell distribute Moonlight w/ the codecs as a single package.

    They have to do things this way for legal reasons, something about the way licensing rights for the MPEG-LA codecs works. You have to be an MPEG-LA licensor to be legally allowed to distribute the codecs.

    I’m not sure, but I doubt Red Hat or Ubuntu license MPEG-LA.

    Keep in mind that this is a second-hand understanding so I could be confused, but it makes sense to me.

  6. eet said,

    December 7, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, I know you’re a censoring coward, but just for your information, from Miguel’s blog:

    “Update: Some comments indicate that people would like to use GStreamer as the media backend (as GStreamer already has licensed codecs and some people might have purchased them already). We would be glad to merge any patches that people send us (copyright assignment required) to add support for GStreamer.

    Update: Some folks are asking whether they could use OGG for the video rendering in Moonlight. Today this is already possible because the media engine we use to prototype is ffmpeg which has support for this. From the standpoint of a desktop developer this might be enough, but for the web, the problem becomes an issue of compatibility with the Microsoft Silverlight implementation. ”

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

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