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12.11.07

Mono and OOXML Unwanted in the Free Desktop

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, Patents, Ubuntu at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lot of discussion has been stirred up by the article from Sam (of iTWire), who is critical of Miguel de Icaza’s relationship with Microsoft. Microsoft can use Miguel as a tool for arguing that Microsoft is loved and accepted by the “Free software world”. Gnumeric and the binding contract with Novell are embodiments of this relationship, which is almost akin to that "letters from dead people" incident from 2001.

Say No to MonoGNOME’s direction is a case of hurting oneself. In Slashdot, for example, a damaging item has incurred the wrath of at least one person in the GNOME Foundation. It would be wise, particularly at this stage, to address image issues by ensuring that the free desktop does not lose sight of its goals. Let’s face it. Microsoft seems prepared to use Mono as a mechanism for ‘taxing’ GNU/Linux users.

One Ubuntu blogger has just called for action and recommended the removal of Mono from the Ubuntu CD-ROM.

There has been a wide range of discussion on the subject of Mono and its inclusion in Ubuntu by default. Some people believe that Mono may infringe on Microsoft patents while others believe that it is useful to include. Personally, I have no idea about whether Mono does infringe on Microsoft patents, but I see other reasons why Ubuntu should remove it.

Mono by default takes 48MB of space on the CD. The ISO download is 690+ MB. Therefore, it is taking up valuable space that could be used for a whole host of other things.

Rejecting Mono is not a case of zeal, but a case of defending the freedom of our desktop, among other things.

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17 Comments

  1. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 11, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Gravatar

    If you read that email again, it is supportive of the fact that the issue raised on Slashdot has absolutely nothing to do with the GNOME Foundation, thus the word “misattribution”. It is disappointing that you are unable to distinguish important subtleties such as this in your reporting.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 11, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Gravatar

    I wrote:

    GNOME’s direction is a case of hurting oneself. In Slashdot, for example, a damaging item has incurred the wrath of at least one person in the GNOME Foundation.

    I’ve just reread that. It’s fine. it’s true. I wasn’t talking specifically about the Nokia remark (which I found surprising myself), but the post as a whole. You’re still nitpicking, but I don’t think you’re identifying mistakes in this case.

  3. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 11, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Gravatar

    The post to foundation-list was not indicative of “incurr[ing] the wrath of at least one person in the GNOME Foundation”. The absolute opposite is true, because the post was *SUPPORTIVE* of the Foundation in the face of abject misinformation on Slashdot. Your interpretation of the email is mistaken.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 11, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Was the item in Slashdot flattering (I was referring to Slashdot, not the mailing list)? I believe it was not.

    Just moments ago:

    Quim Gil: “I’m currently director of this Foundation to fulfill an administrative bypass. I never requested this role and I’m doing nothing with it. Wait a couple of weeks and I will be done as director and board member.”

    The rest of the post is all very understandable, but I can’t help but think about Miguel de Icaza leaving shortly after embarrassing statements as well.

    Anyway, the main point of this post was to show that people are becoming aware of software patents and other issues. Slashdot was a side note.

  5. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 11, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Was the item in Slashdot flattering (I was referring to Slashdot, not the mailing list)? I believe it was not.

    You’re now suggesting that the Slashdot post “incurred the wrath” of a GNOME Foundation member, rather than the GNOME Foundation itself? Perhaps you should write more clearly, and not raise irrelevant issues in your reports.

    but I can’t help but think about Miguel de Icaza leaving shortly after embarrassing statements as well.

    That is because you seek to report and insinuate the absolute worst about upstanding members and organisations in the FLOSS community, particularly GNOME now that you’re enjoying this running theme of attributing bad deeds and actions to GNOME-related personalities and organisations.

    We’ve just had the Foundation elections, Quim wasn’t standing (as of months ago), and his term will expire at the end of the year. There is nothing interesting about his statement that is in any way related to Miguel, or the process that resulted in Miguel’s resignation a few weeks ago (after many years as an inactive, titualar president who had no influence on the GNOME Foundation’s activities).

    But you keep bringing this up because you want to smear the GNOME Founation and people related to it as much as you can, while ignoring the truth.

    Anyway, the main point of this post was to show that people are becoming aware of software patents and other issues. Slashdot was a side note.

    Core developers in the FLOSS community (and particularly in high-risk areas such as GNOME) are already extremely aware of software patent issues, and have been for quite some time.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 11, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Gravatar

    But you keep bringing this up because you want to smear the GNOME Founation

    No, I like GNOME, but there seems to be a less conformist part of it which wants to subvert GNOME’s agenda to fit that of a corporation. See the recent message from RMS. Judging by the discussions on the list, there remains a subtle (even friendly) disagreement between those who support Microsoft technologies and those who prefer to adhere to an independent and innovative route. The latter is less sensitive to patent abuse, which addresses your last point.

  7. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 11, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Gravatar

    But there seems to be a less conformist part of it which wants to subvert GNOME’s agenda to fit that of a corporation.

    That’s complete bullshit, Roy. No one in the GNOME community is interested in “subverting GNOME” to fit the agenda of *ANY* corporation, whether it’s they’re unpopular today or not (Novell, Microsoft, etc).

    Your perspective illustrates that you simply don’t have any depth of understanding of the GNOME community at all. You could ask, but you don’t. You prefer to report without knowledge, without understanding, without expertise and without evidence. Because of that, what you report is very often wrong, almost always based on extremely ill-informed assumptions, and ends up being sensationalist blather.

    I have tried to help you get on a path that is positive for your website, for your readers, and for the FLOSS community, but you obstinately refuse to do the right thing. This could be a great site if you were responsible and respectful in your approach.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 11, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Gravatar

    That’s complete bullshit, Roy. No one in the GNOME community is interested in “subverting GNOME” to fit the agenda of *ANY* corporation, whether it’s they’re unpopular today or not (Novell, Microsoft, etc).

    People in the GNOME community have different interests, responsibilities, and affiliations. It’s inevitable. The community typically balances itself to prevent dissatisfaction by many.

    The Linux kernel has similar types of pressure applied from the outside (and inside) for a variety of reasons. I’m not even going to mention Con Kolivas’ arguments on biases because Linus Torvalds appears to have already debunked that and it’s really off-topic.

    GNOME’s founder and former president (even going years back) had his ambitions and interests, which involved bringing Microsoft development and software to the Free desktop. That’s fine. Novell also signed a deal with Microsoft, which gives it a ‘Mono advantage’ (exclusive patent ‘protection’). This may be fine. Bringing all that stuff, along with other things, into the desktop many people share is acceptable only if everyone agrees with and understands the consequences. Again, see the recent message from RMS because he must have put a lot of thought into this and it was phrased eloquently.

    Your perspective illustrates that you simply don’t have any depth of understanding of the GNOME community at all. You could ask, but you don’t. You prefer to report without knowledge, without understanding, without expertise and without evidence. Because of that, what you report is very often wrong, almost always based on extremely ill-informed assumptions, and ends up being sensationalist blather.

    By your definition, and also judging by your recent comments on Sam’s article, your attack on messengers isn’t uncommon. You find it convenient to question the credibility and reporting methods of people whose assessment threatens your stance on various issues.

    I have tried to help you get on a path that is positive for your website, for your readers, and for the FLOSS community, but you obstinately refuse to do the right thing. This could be a great site if you were responsible and respectful in your approach.

    As I understand it, you are trying to say that only if I cease to criticise where I see fit will you get off my back. I am posting here neither to provoke nor to create flamewars; Au contraire — I inform. As I said in Slashdot or Digg (can’t recall where, but it was only last night), my posting history will show you (do a Web search) that I praise life in harmony when it comes to KDE, GNOME, and other DEs. I have taken an active stance and putting an end to DE wars is a priority.

    If I choose to say something critical about a decision which was made by the GNOME Foundation, it’s not because I wish to bash, but because I can at least help in reversing it and help GNOME this was (we’re all working together for Free software, right?). As you can see, even in GNOME blogs, some people are not happy with your OOXML participation. You need to take a careful look at feedback from all your “community” (a term which I prefer to avoid).

    Let me explain to you my fear. Back in November 2006 we predicted what would come. Thing didn’t take long to materialise. Ever since the beginning of the year Microsoft has terrorised the industry with mythical software patents and done everything it can to intercept ODF. I look around me to find that many people use Ubuntu Linux, which contains Mono and thus encourages people’s dependency on programs like Beagle. In other words, their applications — the very core of everyone’s working processes — are what Microsoft claims to be an infringement of its software patents. Need we have this? Can we do better? Are we at all listening to the feedback rather than attacking it (or its deliverer)?

  9. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 11, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Gravatar

    People in the GNOME community have different interests, responsibilities, and affiliations. It’s inevitable.

    Of course. But that does not even remotely suggest that individual participants in the GNOME community aim to “subvert” it, which is what you’ve claimed.

    GNOME’s founder and former president (even going years back) had his ambitions and interests, which involved bringing Microsoft development and software to the Free desktop.

    The “president” issue is absolutely irrelevant and Miguel does not actively participate in the GNOME community, as noted previously. You keep bringing this up, demonstrating your interest in misrepresenting the truth.

    Regardless of whether or not you and I agree or disagree with Miguel’s choices or approach, he created Mono to benefit the FLOSS community — it is, after all, entirely Free Software. You don’t have to agree with his strategy, but nor do you have to demonise him (and GNOME, however irrelevant it might be).

    By your definition, and also judging by your recent comments on Sam’s article, your attack on messengers isn’t uncommon. You find it convenient to question the credibility and reporting methods of people whose assessment threatens your stance on various issues.

    I have good reason to question Sam’s bias and approach, and also yours. I don’t question the credibility and reporting methods of people who disagree with me but who also show responsibility, accountability and professionalism in their pursuit of the truth.

    You and Sam are (differently) irresponsible on that front, so I’m absolutely fine with making a public example of that behaviour. You should read Sam’s hilariously combative and immature interview of me from a few years back. There’s a particular phrase in the introduction to that interview that 100% demonstrates Sam’s unprofessional approach.

    I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in my criticism of Sam or you in this regard.

    I am posting here neither to provoke nor to create flamewars; Au contraire — I inform.

    I’m sorry Roy, but you obstinately repeat insinuations and mistruths in order to raise suspicion. You do not seek the truth. You do not seek to prove the accusations and insinuations you raise on this site. If you did, you’d actually show a capable and responsible approach to primary research. You simply do not do that.

    Your constant repetition about the relationship between Miguel and the GNOME Foundation — which you haven’t adequately researched or proven — even in articles for which it is absolutely irrelevant, is a case in point.

    I’d have no problem if you reported negatively about the GNOME Foundation’s activities in a truthful, factual, responsible manner. Unfortunately for you and your approach, the GNOME Foundation has actually done nothing wrong, so you have to insinuate and raise suspicion based on irrelevant and unproven mistruths.

    There is a completely valid disagreement to be had over the perception of the GNOME Foundation’s participation in ECMA TC45-M. But only the perception. Not the intent. I am totally willing to agree to disagree over the perception issue, because I completely understand it, and I’m okay with that. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to demonise GNOME or its people as a result. That’s just divisive, foolish and short-sighted, and YOU are contributing to that.

    There is absolutely no question about our intent, which is purely in the positive towards Software Freedom and open standards, not matter how much you question the integrity of the people involved (and even the spouses of the people involved) or the decisions of the organisation.

    Because you’re so ready to make assumptions and report insinuations, and not coherently understanding the subtleties of the issue (your use of silly propaganda imagery demonstrates that pretty conclusively), you’re not actually doing the right thing by your site, your readers, or the FLOSS community.

    Are we at all listening to the feedback rather than attacking it (or its deliverer)?

    Roy, you haven’t raised anything new that the GNOME community doesn’t already know about or deeply consider when we make our decisions. If you had done so, without taking such a destructive and thoughtless approach, perhaps you’d have a point. But you don’t.

    The GNOME community in general is already vastly more informed than you on all of these issues. You’ve just brought a bunch of yelling and screaming to a complex issue, and as a result, distanced yourself from the people who actually have a part to play.

    I’ve tried to encourage you to do the right thing, but it’s pretty clear what your attitude is.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 11, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve tried to encourage you to do the right thing, but it’s pretty clear what your attitude is.

    So, is doing the “right thing”:

    1. Permitting Microsoft to derail ODF (and ruin the ISO in the process)?
    2. Hiding under a rock (or in a cave) until Microsoft, based by an abused USPTO, comes banging on the door?

    There are real issues here. These are just two examples among several more. The “right thing” to do is to inform. By informing we can bring change.

    The “president” issue is absolutely irrelevant and Miguel does not actively participate in the GNOME community, as noted previously. You keep bringing this up, demonstrating your interest in misrepresenting the truth.

    We made progress yesterday when you confessed that he has had “little” impact (as opposed to none) inside GNOME. Everyone knows how he feels about OOXML (and also Microsoft, where he sought employment shortly before starting GNOME).

    About Sam, I find his articles informative. He dares to report on more controversial issues that journalists tend to escape. If he has prejudice, maybe there’s reason to it.

  11. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 11, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Gravatar

    So, is doing the “right thing”…

    Well, neither of these things are relevant to the mistakes you’ve made on this site, and I don’t believe you’re positively contributing to solving them through what you are doing here anyway.

    I mean, it’s absolutely hilarious that you’d attack and make insinuations about Pia and I — particularly about our personal and professional integrity and suggested financial considerations — without any knowledge or understanding of the work we do. You just come off looking like a paranoid jackass.

    We made progress yesterday when you confessed that he has had “little” impact

    No, we didn’t. You played a semantic game to suggest there was merit to your accusations, instead of actually coming up with any evidence. The fact is, you’re peddling bullshit there as well, but you’re obstinately refusing to be accountable or responsible for it.

    You really desperately want to see a connection between Miguel and the GNOME Foundation so you can keep making these laughable insinuations about OOXML, Mono, GNOME and some kind of conspiracy involving Microsoft and Novell.

    Of course, absolutely nothing of the sort exists, and you haven’t found or reported any evidence to suggest as such, but you’ll keep repeating the mistruths and insinuations because you’re more interested in being divisive than reporting the truth.

    I keep posting here, hoping that you’ll come to your senses, and use some of your energy to do something positive for the FLOSS community, but perhaps those who just dismiss you as a paranoid idiot (and ask me not to bring your work credibility by involving you in things like the podcast) are right.

    You just keep refusing to do the right thing, time and time again, and you keep posting these hilarious conspiracy theories and insinuations.

    I haven’t replied to that objectionable comment yet, because your asinine attitude and stupidity makes me so angry. But I will. At some point, you’ll get the idea that the truth is more important than looking for conspiracy theories, and you’ll do something useful.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 12, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Gravatar

    No, we didn’t. You played a semantic game to suggest there was merit to your accusations, instead of actually coming up with any evidence. The fact is, you’re peddling bullshit there as well, but you’re obstinately refusing to be accountable or responsible for it.

    Are you saying that your remark on Miguel’s “little impact” in GNOME was not truthful?

    You really desperately want to see a connection between Miguel and the GNOME Foundation so you can keep making these laughable insinuations about OOXML, Mono, GNOME and some kind of conspiracy involving Microsoft and Novell.

    I have shown places where software/changes make it into the Free desktop which are the result of a binding contract between Microsoft and Novell.

    You just keep refusing to do the right thing, time and time again, and you keep posting these hilarious conspiracy theories and insinuations.

    Terms like “conspiracy theory” and “paranoid” are sometimes used to stick labels and apply a taboo on inconvenient truths.

    Was I wrong to be (what you call) “paranoid” about Novell signing a patent deal? Has Microsoft never used patent FUD and extortion since then? Was I “paranoid” when I thought that OOXML implementation by FOSS developers will be used by Microsoft against them (and ODF)? Can you give examples of cases where I was “paranoid” in vain? This a simple case of logic and social-human behaviour. There’s no “conspiracy theory” here.

    I haven’t replied to that objectionable comment yet, because your asinine attitude and stupidity makes me so angry. But I will. At some point, you’ll get the idea that the truth is more important than looking for conspiracy theories, and you’ll do something useful.

    Again, I look for no “conspiracy theories”. I have watched some companies closely for at least a couple of years and I know their intentions, which luckily enough are expressed explicitly sometimes. In the case of Microsoft, I have seen a huge number of Iowa exhibits, for example, and I am intimately familiar with what has become a pattern. I cite other people and companies to show you guys that what I say isn’t the case of a lone voice. Many others who are familiar with the situation have independently reached the same conclusions. Have you ever followed the links to the external resources? Have you considered rebutting (or attacking) those whom I cite?

    Some thing that I say might be “unpopular” and discomforting. It doesn’t make them incorrect.

  13. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 12, 2007 at 1:17 am

    Gravatar

    Are you saying that your remark on Miguel’s “little impact” in GNOME was not truthful?

    Ha ha ha. You will truly find anything you possibly can to smear and insinuate — short of actual research — won’t you, Roy? Of course it was truthful. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would bother questioning the use of a softening word in a comment like that. Don’t be fatuous.

    I have shown places where software/changes make it into the Free desktop which are the result of a binding contract between Microsoft and Novell.

    In a Novell product perhaps, but this has nothing to do with the GNOME project, community or Foundation. So, your insinuations are irrelevant and wrong.

    Again, I look for no “conspiracy theories”.

    Of course you are, Roy. You’re desperately looking for some kind of connection between Miguel, GNOME, Novell, OOXML, Mono, my company, my wife… and all the while making asinine assumptions and ridiculous insinuations with any evidence whatsoever.

    Have you ever followed the links to the external resources? Have you considered rebutting (or attacking) those whom I cite?

    Stop dodging responsibility and accountability, Roy. You’ve constructed the conspiracy theories on this site. You’ve made the connections where there are none. You’ve repeated insinuations without evidence, even on stories that are not relevant to them. You’ve questioned my integrity, the integrity of GNOME Foundation directors, and even my wife’s integrity. YOU ALONE are responsible for that, and you’ve landed NOTHING on me or GNOME in the process.

    And every step of the way you’re dodging responsibility and accountability, failing to do basic research, and not even asking questions of stakeholders. You are not seeking truth, or you would do everything in your effort to uncover and report it. Unfortunately, what you do is just lazy and convenient.

    It’s sad and shameful that you can’t just own up to it and do the right thing.

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 12, 2007 at 1:36 am

    Gravatar

    Stop dodging responsibility and accountability, Roy. You’ve constructed the conspiracy theories on this site.

    See? Again you repeat this ‘magical’ argument. You hope it will have people look away. I have constructed no conspiracy theories. I have collected evidence from other sources and you are free to follow the hyperlinks and see it for yourself.

    A lot of what you do here, including the repetition of accusations against me, is clearly a way to drive away readers of from this Web site, essentially by questioning my credibility and trying to portray this reality as a one man’s fantasy. That won’t work for you, Jeff. I urge readers to follow the links if they remain unconvinced. I rarely do speculations or analysis. I usually explain how one fact related to another and build upon previous arguments, which are based on facts. Where mistakes are made, corrections are posted.

  15. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 12, 2007 at 1:44 am

    Gravatar

    You’ve made insinuations and theories based on things you’ve found elsewhere and other people’s opinions. You’ve also made claims independently of those sources. You haven’t done basic primary research or asked questions.

    You didn’t even ask any questions during the podcast interview which was created specifically to give you a venue to ask questions!

    None of your insinuations about financial considerations of myself, my company, my wife or my fellow GNOME Foundation directors are based on facts. You’ve questioned our integrity. You have nothing to show for it.

    So, show me the evidence behind your insinuations. Show me the evidence behind your insinuations that Miguel or Novell were involved in the GNOME Foundation’s decision to participate in ECMA TC45-M. Show me the evidence behind your insinuations that GNOME “supports” (in whatever sense of the word) OOXML or Mono.

    Those were *YOUR* insinuations, Roy, and you need to be responsible and accountable for them. You are avoiding that, repeating them anyway, and doing damage to your reputation, the FLOSS community, and your ability to achieve your aims with this website.

    Show me the evidence, Roy.

    Show me the evidence.

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 12, 2007 at 2:09 am

    Gravatar

    You didn’t even ask any questions during the podcast interview which was created specifically to give you a venue to ask questions!

    There was no opportunity to ask questions. Questions were taken from others in advance. They from the Web sites, other people (also in advance), even IRC. A crowd of people didn’t exactly facilitate a dialog.

    Show me the evidence behind your insinuations that GNOME “supports” (in whatever sense of the word) OOXML or Mono.

    Do some part of GNOME facilitate Mono? Will they? Mono is a Novell project and I do not claim that it’s deeply rooted in GNOME. However, as in all projects, one path can be favoured at the expense of others. Use drives development and Novell’s direction is likely to play a role in actual deployments of GNOME. Have you had a chance to see the request for removal of Mono from Ubuntu Linux? Where would that leave Ubuntu users who already depend on these applications (lock-in)?

    I am aware that Mono and GNOME are still seen as separate, but they are as separate as I am from my sister. Over time, GNOME and Mono seem likely to build a less separable environment, especially when key components that are irreplaceable get written in C#.

  17. Jeff Waugh said,

    December 12, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Gravatar

    There was no opportunity to ask questions. Questions were taken from others in advance. They from the Web sites, other people (also in advance), even IRC. A crowd of people didn’t exactly facilitate a dialog.

    There were a select few questions taken from the website and IRC, most were from the participants on the call, and you had every opportunity to grill me about these issues. That is, after all, why I suggested doing it in the first place.

    [...] ACTUAL QUESTIONS! FINALLY! [...]

    I encourage you to ask these questions in a reasonable and respectful fashion, such as by contacting me or the Foundation Board, instead of taking it up in the comments section of your website. That said, almost all of them have been answered before either on this site, in my blog, or in any number of other public places. You’re crappy at doing research, but I don’t want to discourage you from doing the responsible thing and asking questions of stakeholders. This is good progress Roy! Perhaps you’ll actually listen to the answers, ask further questions and not make assumptions or insinuations about them later on!

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  28. Raw: EPO Comes Under Fire for Lowering Patent Quality Under the Orwellian Guise of “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI)

    Stephen Rowan, the President’s (António Campinos) chosen VP who promotes the notorious “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI) initiative/pilot, faces heat from the CSC, the Central Staff Committee of the EPO



  29. Making The Most of The Fourth Age of Free Software

    "For better or for worse, we can be certain the Free Software Foundation will never be the same."



  30. FSF is Not for Free Speech Anymore

    The FSF gave orders to silence people


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