A ‘Micro’ kick in the ‘Soft’ crotch
Thanks to a Microsoft partner [1, 2, 3] called Novell, the plan to have a semi-cooked, always-behind, patent-sensitive .NET implementation for GNU/Linux is under way. As expected, it’s far from satisfactory. Unless you are Microsoft, you are a second fiddle at Microsoft lawyers' mercy. Have a look at some early thoughts about MonoDevelop:
MonoDevelop an open-sourced IDE for creating software using Mono has gone gold. Sounds interesting! It is more stable than before, but there are some caveats:
1. The documentation is far from complete!
2. To be able to create applications graphically is darn nice, but the GTK# implementation of Windows.Form namespace requires an awkward approach: I can’t simply drop components on my form, but I have to create a layout before doing anything and I’m still waiting for a normal Visual Studio compatible layout manager.
Windows.Form raises software patent issues. This was covered before in posts about Mono [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33], so it needn’t be further discussed or repeated. It was only days ago that we last mentioned the dangers of Mono, the context being remarks from a GNOME Foundation member.
The name .NET echoes some of the framework’s aspirations to become part of the Web (or Net). The ‘host’ to prey on will have a seemingly-innocent and enlightening name: Silverlight. Where does Novell stand in that regard? Have a look at this new report:
One thing I did learn is that Moonlight is not ready and the code Miguel presented was apparently quite buggy (confirmed by comments from Miguel like “this has got a bug in it…”).
Recall again what Miguel de Icaza said about it in this very same conference. This doesn’t sound reassuring, so why did he go down this path in the first place? The duty for moneyflow seems to have been his primary motivation. It is therefore only natural to consider Novell a Microsoft accomplice in this context. We previously explained why Novell does more harm than good here.
Now, recall again the case of Microsoft sort of bribing (with an advance payment of $3,000,000) to have Silverlight in the Library of Congress Web site [1, 2, 3, 4]. Should we not learn from history here? Remember Bill Gates’ Corbis and the following incident, in case you never read about it before.
Annexing the Public Domain
In 1995 a virtually unknown company called Corbis purchased the Bettman Archives, the world’s largest private collection of historical and newspaper photographs. Corbis, a company founded in 1989 and owned by Bill Gates, is also actively negotiating with museums worldwide for exclusive licenses to electronically reproduce works of art held in their collections. Since that time, the Corbis “collection” has swelled to over 20 million images.
The apparent purpose is to provide Microsoft with access to a huge supply of exclusive cultural “content” for its web sites and multimedia CDs, and to prevent others from obtaining similar access. The rub is that Corbis now holds exclusive reproduction rights to images which are not copyrighted, but are in held in the public domain. Gates has seduced these museums, presumably with promises of future residuals, into veering from their missions as trustees of our cultural legacies, and into exploring the murkiest areas of “fair use” practices and curatorial ethics.
What if all our memories and national assets got .NET-ified and no longer accessible in a proper archival-friendly fashion? About a year ago it was said that Microsoft had given the US Government free services for data storage of medical data just so that they impose the same type of dependency (even bankruptcy protection) that Silicon Graphics once received. Don’t let Silverlight seize your data. Reject it now when it’s earlier enough and complain about Web sites that use it. █