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05.14.08

Q: How Can Microsoft Make Windows Less Expensive Than GNU/Linux?

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, OLPC, SLES/SLED, Windows at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A: Offer discounts on XP and encourage OEMs to embrace Microsoft-taxed Ballnux

What happens when you discover that choosing a PC with GNU/Linux means paying more than for the same PC with Windows? Shouldn’t free software be inexpensive? Microsoft would love to change this [1, 2, 3].

“Novell is merely following Microsoft’s lead in this, for its own selfish benefit.”We recently debated this very same problem using China's server market as an example, where GNU/Linux can be made more expensive than Windows due to Microsoft’s and Novell’s plot. Novell is merely following Microsoft’s lead in this, for its own selfish benefit.

Someone recently raised the concern that many low-laptops these days pick up a Microsoft-taxed GNU/Linux distribution (also known as “Ballnux”). Might Microsoft be helping Novell getting contracts behind the scenes? We recently uncovered some secret deals Microsoft had been making with laptop manufactures/assemblers.

It’s important to defend Free software’s entry point into the broad consumer market. Most recent additions (from the news) include the muchly-anticipated MSI laptop, which turns out to have picked SUSE.

MSI today has firmed up specs for its Wind mini-notebook, including its launch timeframe. The 10-inch system will closely follow ASUS’ practices with the Eee PC and ship in both a low-cost Linux version (based on Novell’s distribution) as well as a more expensive Windows XP edition.

SUSE is described here as “Linux version (based on Novell’s distribution).” Better than "Microsoft's Suse Linux franchise," right? Here is another news report:

There will be a Novell Linux version and a Windows XP MSI Wind, similar to how the Asus Eee. I do not know why MSI chose Novell Linux, seems a bit odd.

The selection of SUE Linux [sic] wasn’t quite so odd to the Microsoft-friendly CNET, which said this about the Ballnux-loaded ThinkPad a few days ago.

I was gladdened yesterday when techbargains.com reported a sale on a new Lenovo ThinkPad R61 running SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop ($552, see below).

People need to demand that OEMs do not make a Microsoft-owned Linux their de facto choice. This could have horrendous effects that are summarised in the title of this post. Mark Shuttleworth warned about it just over a year ago.

Microsoft cannot make Windows cheaper than free (gratis). In the case of the OLPC, Intel and Microsoft actually covered the cost of hardware to defeat AMD and GNU/Linux, but that’s dumping, which is illegal. As such, Microsoft will try to elevate the cost of GNU/Linux, using software patents and back-room deals.

Novellsoft

Say No to Novell

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73 Comments

  1. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 4:41 am

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    Where is the evidence of the Linux laptop being more expensive than the Windows equivalent? The articles state that the Windows ones are more expensive (but also not quite the same hardware, a la eeePC), but I don’t see any evidence of “elevated costs” for GNU/Linux.

    Also, I realize you don’t read the stuff you post, but it’s “Mark Shuttleworth”, not “Matt”.

  2. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 4:49 am

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    “a Microsoft-owned Linux”

    Your usual dose of slander in the mixture, as always…

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

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 4:50 am

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    Oops. Yes, that’s a typo. It’s Matt Asay who had lunch with Mark at the time, so I thought about the blogger (Freudian slip).

    Regarding cost, Microsoft can tweak its tax over time. The contracts are secret, so you can’t tell how much is deducted or passed. Microsoft now calls the “coupons” “patent royalties,” says Asay.

  4. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 5:03 am

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    Ok, but again, are you speculating about the future, or attempting to report present facts? You’re making comments like, “GNU/Linux can be made more expensive than Windows due to Microsoft’s and Novell’s plot”, and then you’re quoting references which say:

    “The 10-inch system will [..] ship in both a low-cost Linux version (based on Novell’s distribution) as well as a more expensive Windows XP edition.”

    So in short, you don’t have any examples of Linux systems shipping at a more expensive price point, or any good reason why Novell would let Microsoft push it out of the market. All you have is “this is my opinion based on no evidence”.

    If you’re going to write such obvious opinion pieces which are unsupported by evidence, wouldn’t it be better to actually mark it as such and make it clear to people that it’s just your speculation?

  5. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 5:09 am

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    He would have to mark all of them, and that would look just like my ‘flagged’ comments look now, thank you Roy.

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

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 5:09 am

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    Alex,

    Have a look at:

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Windows-XP-Based-Eee-PC-Cheaper-than-its-Linux-Sibling-85154.shtml

    I cite this, as well as this:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/03/21/dell-windows-ubuntu-tax/

    This is the result of a combination of factors, some of which are unknown. It is safe to say, however, that SLED is not free. Microsoft changed it.

  7. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 5:16 am

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    > It is safe to say, however, that SLED is not free.

    It is not free in the same way that RHEL is not free.

    > Microsoft changed it.

    What utter crap! Not that it surprises me to read that from you.

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

  8. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 5:31 am

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    @Roy:

    But you know full well those aren’t comparing apples with apples: the Windows eeePC machine is less well specified than its Linux counterparts. You can argue about the unit costs of various parts, but unless you’re comparing like with like, it’s not a fair comparison.

    Your example of the Dell system is even worse: Dell are pre-loading with Ubuntu. In what possible way are Microsoft influencing the price of Ubuntu? They can’t, and Canonical have guaranteed that Ubuntu will be free-of-cost.

    Your examples actually back up my argument, not yours.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 5:35 am

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    Alex, see the previous coverage of this from iTWire (SSDs being an excuse) and this very recent one also:

    “Yu said that in previous Eee PC models, about 70 percent of the units
    sold were based on Linux. He added that the price of the Windows
    operating system did not trigger the difference between the new 12-Gb
    and 20-Gb variants, meaning it was not true that lesser storage capacity
    was used to offset the price of the Windows software. He said that it
    was Microsoft’s policy to include Windows Home only in the 12-Gb version”

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view/20080513-136234/Asus-targets-niche-market-for-new-Eee-PC

    As for Dell, bear in mind that it joined the Microsoft/Novell deal, so I still have my suspicions. Dell never said quite so clearly what this actually meant, but it happened just before they began offering GNU/Linux desktops (Ubuntu first, then SLED in China).

  10. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 6:13 am

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    That quotation doesn’t support your argument either. What he’s saying is that they didn’t deliberately remove SSD storage from the Windows device to ensure rough price parity with the Linux one. He’s actually arguing _against_ your point.

    It remains that the hardware is different, so comparing the costs of the devices isn’t a fair comparison. It’s not the same PC so you wouldn’t expect to pay the same price.

    I don’t see what you’re trying to achieve by casting aspersions on Dell. If they were deliberately making Ubuntu more expensive as part of some Microsoft/Novell deal, don’t you think Canonical would have something to say about that, given that they also have a deal with Dell?

    http://www.ubuntu.com/news/dell-to-offer-ubuntu

    Or do you think Canonical are also “in on it”? Do you have suspicions about them too?

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 6:18 am

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    He’s actually arguing _against_ your point.

    Glyn Moody and others made the assumption at the time that specs different because of cost-balancing needs. The leaked memo (or just plain information) only came later.

    It remains a fact that elsewhere in the world the price was made equal for the Windows- and Linux-based Eee PCs.

    Or do you think Canonical are also “in on it”? Do you have suspicions about them too?

    No, not at all. See this older summary.

  12. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 6:59 am

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    Ok, so people made an assumption that the price was being fixed by altering specs., and that later turned out to be wrong. Why then are you still referring to those wrong examples as support for your argument?

    Just to remind you, your argument is that Windows PCs are being artificially made cheaper than Linux PCs.

    “It remains a fact that elsewhere in the world the price was made equal for the Windows- and Linux-based Eee PCs.”

    Indeed, it does. You pay the same price for the Windows machine as the Linux machine with the extra storage. Linux users get a better machine for the same price. This isn’t supporting your argument.

    The example of Ubuntu also does not support that argument; as you agree, Canonical are not part of the Novell/Microsoft deal.

    So where exactly is the evidence which _does_ support your argument?

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:05 am

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    Just to remind you, your argument is that Windows PCs are being artificially made cheaper than Linux PCs.

    To say this more clearly, it’s a case of manipulation by one company on both sides, namely dropping the cost of Windows while elevating that of GNU/Linux (making it costly).

    Canonical are not part of the Novell/Microsoft deal.

    Canonical does not sell PCs. There’s a lot going on which we are not permitted to know about.

    http://boycottnovell.com/2007/10/29/exclusionary-deals-linux/

    It’s a similar situation with BECTA by the way, as criminal as that is. The Register wrote about it not so long ago.

  14. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:16 am

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    Ok, so the hypothesis is “it’s a case of manipulation by one company on both sides, namely dropping the cost of Windows while elevating that of GNU/Linux (making it costly).”

    So, to get this straight, you’re accusing Dell of elevating the price of Ubuntu?

    Let’s stay on-topic with this, and not wander off into different areas. Show me specific evidence of how Dell are manipulating the price of Ubuntu.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:24 am

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    Alex, you are blending so many different things here and putting words down my month in the process. I only said that I had /suspicions/ about Dell and when talking about elevation of price I spoke about Turbolinux, Xandros, Novell, Linspire and a few others. Your supposition is not correct.

  16. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:38 am

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    No, I’m precisely _not_ blending anything, and I’m quoting you word-for-word. I’m asking about one specific accusation you’re making.

    You cited the “Dell Windows Ubuntu Tax” story. Ubuntu, not Novell, Linspire or anyone else.

    Either you’re accusing Dell of raising the cost of Ubuntu, or the citation you gave doesn’t support your argument: which is it?

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:41 am

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    There’s no such story. You’re looking the post slug that contains a set of key words. Look therein to see what the story actually is.

  18. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:42 am

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    eet’s algorithm:
    1. Assume Roy is wrong.
    2. Insult Roy for being wrong.
    3. Return to 1.

    -
    Dell’s Linux machines do seem to get the cost inflated, when you stop to think about it, there is no windows license, and there is obviously less demand, yet the cost is higher, it doesn’t make a lot of sense… The issue I think is subvention, MS is known to do this on software like Visual Studio against students (I am witnessing this invasion at my faculty) so, I don’t think it is far-fetched to think the same happens with windows when necessary, but the real problem comes from crapplets, well, I guess I should be glad I don’t buy OEMs, though unfortunately there simply is no way to build your own laptop…

  19. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:45 am

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    I read the story when you cited it. It ends with: “The worry here — however baseless it may be — that Microsoft wishes to ensure it gets paid for GNU/Linux deployments no matter where you get it from.”

    So, if you’re not saying that Dell are raising the price of Ubuntu, why did you cite that story as support for your argument when I asked specifically for examples earlier?

    I ask again, do you have any evidence which supports this story? Or do you just have “baseless worries”?

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 7:56 am

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    I know that Dell joined the Novell/Microsoft deal and didn’t properly explain what it means and what it was for. As Victor points out, I wish to believe that the issue of quantity and craplets is at fault.

  21. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:10 am

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    Even assuming that they’re selling few specialist machines at a higher price (which is hardly unheard of…) and/or making less money by installing “craplets”, what does this have to do with Microsoft, and how is this raising the price of Ubuntu?

    Also, why did you delete the Mono story? It would have been better to publish a retraction publicly than simply delete it.

  22. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:13 am

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    It wasn’t removed. Am I missing something?

  23. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:16 am

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    Yes, I was referring to the Winforms story which was at http://boycottnovell.com/2008/05/14/mono-winforms/ .

    But yes, certainly that Evolution story should be retracted now it has been shown to be false :)

  24. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:22 am

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    Yes, I was referring to the Winforms story which was at http://boycottnovell.com/2008/05/14/mono-winforms/ .

    It’s still there though.

    But yes, certainly that Evolution story should be retracted now it has been shown to be false

    I’m not convinced. See the comments, for example, including the one from “Woods”. Maybe some bits are not accurate (by accident), but the story as a whole isn’t fictitious. This is a blog, not a journal paper.

  25. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:26 am

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    It was certainly gone a minute ago.

    As for the Evolution story – which part is accurate? All I can see is a single developer speculated that writing an IMAP handler in C# would be easier. That’s very much not what that blog post was saying; it was saying GNOME was contaminated via Evolution with a new Mono dependency for IMAP, which is totally wrong.

    I understand this is a blog. That doesn’t mean mistakes shouldn’t be corrected when pointed out.

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:30 am

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    It was certainly gone a minute ago.

    You’re right. I’ve just spotted this. I was never sure if it’s a WordPress bug or something I do by accident but about 6 times in the past year stories that I thought were published suddenly got marked as private *gasp*. It did some damage at time, so I periodically go through the posts to ensure it does not happen.

    I’ll add your correction at the top of the named item. Thanks for that.

  27. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:37 am

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    Thanks for adding the correction.

    I’m not sure “insisted” is a fair word to use, but it’s better than nothing.

  28. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:40 am

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    It wasn’t meant in a bad way.

    I appreciate your challenges. Just be aware that I’m not here to deliberately deceive in any way and it’s the integrity of Free software we try to defend. I’m receiving a lot of input at the moment (thus the high posting pace), which is why going back and posting corrections is hard (let alone proofreading). I’m also about to publish a long article about MySQL.

  29. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 14, 2008 at 8:55 am

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    If you aren’t here to deliberately deceive, why is it that you are so often WRONG? You consistently mislead readers with misrepresentations/misinterpretations of the facts.

    If this only happened once in a while and when pointed out that you misread/misunderstood, etc, you quickly fixed the article, posted apologies, etc – then we wouldn’t doubt that these were only mistakes, but after happening hundreds of times, it seems more likely that you PURPOSELY try to deceive.

    You still haven’t posted an apology about any past articles where it was proven you were wrong and you even now are trying to argue that your Evolution article is correct when you’ve got nothing to support it.

    It’s plainly obvious to anyone that has dug into any of the articles you link to or research any of the “facts” you use to backup your claims that this site is pure fiction.

  30. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 9:34 am

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    How is it right to post large numbers of stories attacking free software projects like GNOME, Evolution, Mono, etc., when you know you don’t have time to even proofread them?

    I don’t see that as defense of free software, I see that as attacking free software. The problem is that you consistently attack the same targets, building up a history which you re-reference, but there is only cursory checking. The picture becomes steadily more twisted over time.

  31. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 9:47 am

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    No, it’s software patents-encumbered modules that Novell exploits to sell tax-ridden GNU software that is attacked.

    As for the references, you selectively consider inaccuracies. There is a great deal apart from what you choose to criticise. It’s not a case of poisoning the well. It mustn’t be.

  32. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 9:52 am

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    Mono and gnome’s continuous dependence on it remains a threat vector to free software regardless of the lack of proof reading in this site.

  33. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:01 am

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    Well, two things. First, the concept of “software patents-encumbered” isn’t really a matter of debate, and software like Mono has been shown not to be problematic:

    - Novell has licensed no patents from Microsoft for it;
    - the Novell/Microsoft deal does not cover it;
    - distributions like Debian and Fedora who do not include patented software (e.g., mp3 players) do include it;
    - the Mono project does not accept code implementing patented methods;
    - the Mono code is protected by the Open Invention Network (OIN) as part of the Linux stack deterring people from bringing patent claims against it.

    It will take some serious evidence to overwhelm those points, and to date no evidence of any sort has been shown to indicate Mono is covered by software patents. However, you do continue to attack Mono, even though you admitted only yesterday that it was entirely free software and that the problem was that it was some kind of “bridge”.

    Second, with the amount you post, do you seriously expect other people to find all your inaccuracies? You say you don’t have time to even proof-read your posts; we cannot be expected to do the research that you don’t do and find all the problems.

    I generally only scratch beneath the surface on Hula / GNOME / Mono stories, and by and large they tend to have serious problems. I assume that they’re not statistically anomalous.

  34. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:14 am

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    Actually, it is because gnome is free software, that an attack is in place. Free software people are not religious zealots. Unlike the proprietary software people, we do not put all our blind faith on a corporation, group or software. We provide feedback and criticism when necessary. We also do not fall in love with anything that apparently was released with a free software release, it doesn’t automatically become immune to our criticism if it is, in the advocate’s opinion, wrongdoing.

    If gnome is doing things that we think will only threaten our own freedom and ultimately gnome’s as well, then we are going to be vocal about it, the reason is precisely that it is free software, and a DE I actually prefer over the alternatives, this is the reason I rant about the incrementing Mono dependency, it will ultimately screw me, a gnome user.

  35. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:15 am

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    I was typing that last post before Alex’s appeared, so don’t consider it a direct reply to it. Perhaps later when I get more time I’ll read it in detail.

  36. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:17 am

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    I generally only scratch beneath the surface on Hula / GNOME / Mono stories, and by and large they tend to have serious problems. I assume that they’re not statistically anomalous.

    This echoes my conclusions as well about Roy’s articles. He’s more concerned with posting thousands of articles than he is with the quality of said articles; and not just quality of writing but quality of “evidence” (if it can even be called that).

    Typos can be forgiven, complete misinterpretations/fabrications of the facts cannot.

  37. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:20 am

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    A quick reply:

    the Novell/Microsoft deal does not cover it;

    Read the last answer on Novell’s own FAQ about the deal? Interestingly, of all the Ballnux deals, Novell’s is the only one that mentions Mono.

    PS: I wish blog sites allowed you to edit your own posts instead of flooding them.

  38. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:23 am

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    Just to be clear, I’m not advocating that free software projects get a free pass – of course people should be free to criticize them.

    What I have a problem with is publishing large numbers of articles where the author readily admits that he rarely has time to read, let alone research, them: that’s not constructive criticism. Readers don’t know whether or not the story is accurate, or whether it’s a misunderstanding, or what.

    It’s not fair on projects to make criticisms that you don’t have time to research, let alone proof-read. Remember, these projects often involve people who are working on free software for no recompense in their spare time. How do you think these inaccurate stories make them feel? Do you think they would want to continue writing free software?

    Developers are an extremely scarce resource to free software project leaders.

  39. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:24 am

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    Victor: the sad truth of it is that you get all your “facts” from Roy and do no research of your own, so it’s no wonder that you so screwed up.

    Roy’s articles are not criticism, they are attacks. Plain and simple.

    If you truly loved free software, then you would offer constructive criticism and would not lash out like Roy does. You would be willing to hear the other side of the story, talk with the developers and try to understand why they do what they do instead of attacking them under false pretenses and blatant misrepresentations of the facts.

    Stop lying to yourself that you are simply criticizing the developers and get a grip on reality. You are attacking them and with no evidence that they are doing anything wrong.

  40. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:28 am

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    Dan, I understand that it affects people and it’s hard for me too. If people were not told about the situation, taking into account some lesser-known facts, what would be the impact on all of us?

    Let me ask you this: why did Miguel de Icaza criticise the Novell/Microsoft deal? Even slammed it, based on IDG?

  41. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:28 am

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    AlexH: I agree, if these guys aren’t willing to do the necessary research to make sure they aren’t misrepresenting the facts before they go off and attack free software projects and developers, then they shouldn’t be posting articles. Period.

    All you are doing is hurting innocent developers’ projects and reputations.

    Or is that your goal?

  42. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:30 am

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    Victor: the sad truth of it is that you get all your “facts” from Roy and do no research of your own, so it’s no wonder that you so screwed up.

    I didn’t know Novell’s FAQ was written by Roy. That’s odd, is Roy a Novell employee then?

    I think you are denying as much evidence as well. Moonlight remains with the requirement to purchase SLED or get moonlight from Novell, all thanks to the deal. Oh, do you mean that’s Roy’s plot as well? So, Miguel Icaza is also Roy’s puppet posting things that are not true?

    Or perhaps it is the fact Mono apps in gnome end up looking more like window’s apps internally, which I consider a very big mistake? I think that Roy probably implemented my computer a trojan, F-spot ends on .exe and uses a bunch of .dll according to my computer, it must be a trojan horse.

  43. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:30 am

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    Why ask me? I wasn’t there. Ask Miguel what he meant by it, if he’ll even speak to you after all of your slandering.

  44. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:35 am

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    @Victor: I don’t know what FAQ you’re referring to, but the text of the agreement is pretty clear:

    http://www.microsoft.com/interop/msnovellcollab/patent_agreement.mspx

    ““Covered Products” of a Party means all products [..] except for Foundry Products, Clone Products and Other Excluded Products (collectively, “Excluded Products”).”

    ” “Clone Product” means a product (or major component thereof) of a Party that [..] implements all or substantially all of the Applications Programming Interfaces of the Prior Product.”

    Clearly, Mono implementing all of the .net API makes it a clone product, and therefore excluded from the agreement. Interestingly, the agreement then goes on to say that OpenOffice.org and Wine _are_ covered – but _not_ Mono.

    @Roy: Miguel’s comments weren’t about the original Novell/Microsoft agreement, but the subsequent agreement to distribute paid-for codecs covered by patents (video and audio).

    We all know the pain all the distros go through with codecs: all the good ones are basically non-free. There are some free alternatives, and Moonlight supports them, but the problem is that the proprietary boys don’t support them. Microsoft aren’t going to build them into Silverlight, Apple won’t build them into Safari (HTML 5), etc.

    I think it’s very important to keep all these things distinct. They’re not the same problem.

  45. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:37 am

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    All you are doing is hurting innocent developers’ projects and reputations.

    Why are you trying so hard to draw attention away from the Mono issue and make it sound like you come from the “save the devs” charity or something? I am sure, the developers are most grown up men that can defend themselves and don’t get any feelings hurt by criticism, I also think they are not doing things right, and any sort of attachment from me to them for the fact they do software I like is not going to prevent me from saying so.

    I just wish I would be able to uninstall Mono as easily as I am able to uninstall Wine. The last time I was penalized during my ubuntu upgrade for not having ubuntu-desktop, this is all for a technology that’s allegedly cool, but is imho unnecessary. Regardless of any legal tidbit or not, I don’t think Mono is the correct approach here, at all. It is after all advocating a technology that got the only objective to further the lock-in on microsoft technology and products. I don’t really feel ok, seeing it take over gnome applications.

    Perhaps it is that I care about the developers? Gnome is a great piece of free software that , certainly did not need Mono in the past, I am unsure as to why it does now. There are plenty of gnome applications that are well coded and all, and are native to the OS I am using, I don’t like to see their work get replaced by non-native applications.

  46. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:40 am

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    Alexh: Wow, I am starting to seriously consider the possibility Roy planted Novell’s FAQ.

    http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq.html

    Why would Novell say the deal gives coverage to Mono while the covenant itself doesn’t? err.

  47. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:43 am

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    Victor: the issue with Mono for GNOME is actually a small part of a wider issue surrounding high-level languages.

    The technical problem GNOME has is that C isn’t a great language for building applications. Evolution, for example, is extremely complex: technology like Bonobo is a great idea, but really difficult to implement reliably. This is why Miguel got onto Mono; he saw it as a way of really simplifying the process of building apps, and he’s right: building a Gtk# app is _way_ simpler than the equivalent in C.

    Mono isn’t the only answer, though, obviously. Java is now a possibility, as is Python, as is C++. The issue now is actually about whether or not you can choose between the runtimes, and how you make that decision. Python is arguably the biggest and slowest, and not great for big apps. C++ is quick and slim, but arguably has many of the same language issues as C. Java and Mono are roughly the same, although Mono has much better desktop support while Java is better on the server.

    It’s a technical issue for developers of the platform primarily.

  48. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Gravatar

    Victor: wow, you are truly a moron.

    The .exe and .dll stuff is just an extension for compatibility with Windows. Mono’s compiler doesn’t compile things into ELF shared-object files, so obviously .so is not the appropriate extension for CLI library files; at this point why not re-use .dll, which is what Mono would need to compile to for Win32 anyway? While we’re at it, Mono’s compiler is meant to output library and executable files that can run on any platform, so it makes sense to use the same extensions as on Windows so that people don’t have to rename the files when they are moved to another platform.

    Had you put more than 1 brain cell into thinking about why .dll and .exe extensions were used, I’m sure you could have reached this very logical conclusion yourself.

    As far as moonlight, all the evidence I’ve seen is that Moonlight WHEN BUNDLED WITH THE MICROSOFT CODECS can only be gotten from Novell (/SLED).

    The moonlight sources themselves can be distributed by anyone and are under a free software license. And if someone builds with the ffmpeg backend (or I guess implements a GStreamer backend), then moonlight could be distributed with functioning video support without the need for Novell.

    Had you actually used your brain to think instead of relying on Roy’s propaganda to reach conclusions for you, you would have realized this. Sadly, this amount of thinking is clearly beyond your rock-like intelligence.

    Applications written for Linux have historically taken on the appearance of familiar tools that often came from the Windows environment, even ones not produced by Mono developers. But again, your rock that you call a brain was unable to make this connection, instead regurgitating what Roy has spoon fed you.

  49. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Gravatar

    @Victor: it gives coverage for Mono as the “state of the art” when that was signed; all their current apps were grandfathered into it.

    So, any new functionality within Mono wouldn’t be covered.

    The relevant language is:

    “The Parties agree that versions of products [..] before the Effective Date (or major components thereof) (“Existing Products”) and new versions of such Existing Products to the extent they incorporate features and functionality of Existing Products (“Existing Product Functionality”) will not be deemed Clone Products.”

    This is very important. Obviously, Novell were avoiding Microsoft patents before the agreement was signed. The agreement was signed, with Microsoft indicating that Mono at that point did not infringe their patents, since they made an open-ended covenant (it doesn’t terminate, ever). Now you see Novell have to avoid Microsoft patents again, because as a clone product it’s not covered by the agreement.

  50. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Gravatar

    @Dan: while I agree with the technical points in your post, you should keep it civil, you know. The facts speak for themselves ;)

  51. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Gravatar

    Alexh: They could just stick to C, or invent something better that does not need more runtime dependency or to follow some external party’s technology

    This is the reason I like Vala, I’ve seen it work the other day, I think I hacked my first vala gnome app, thinking on submitting it after some polishing.

    Victor: wow, you are truly a moron.

    Had you put more than 1 brain cell into thinking

    your rock that you call a brain was unable to make this connection

    So, I have recently decided not to credit any post that does personal attacks with an answer, but got to say that mono apps need .exe and .dll for “compatibility” with windows, even when included in gnome’s desktop, talks to me of a critical design flaw in either Mono or gnome’s handling of Mono apps.

  52. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Gravatar

    As a matter of fact Dan, it is so great you blame Roy of slander and all, yet your behavior places you much worse in the rank of people to take seriously than Roy. At least Roy doesn’t go as low as throwing out personal insults to those who oppose his view.

  53. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Gravatar

    Everybody who ever tried could easily discuss Roy into a corner about any of his stories; pick one at random and dissect it; it’s easy. It is because he bases his argument on speculations (which is never a good idea).

    Roy is not interested in truth. He is only interested in propaganda. And his is the very cheapest sort (look at the images he uses and you quickly realize…).

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

  54. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Gravatar

    As far as moonlight, all the evidence I’ve seen is that Moonlight WHEN BUNDLED WITH THE MICROSOFT CODECS can only be gotten from Novell (/SLED).

    Ouch, did you just agree with Roy’s conspiracy theory that Novell wants to make the rest of Linux distros a second class citizen by exploiting the deal?

  55. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Gravatar

    @Victor: the problem with C is that it’s just not a well-suited language for desktop app design. It’s workable, but it’s not great. Certainly Vala is an alternative, as it has support for higher-level language constructs, but at that point you could just use C# or Java and compile to native code rather than to a run-time.

    As for needing .exe and .dll – actually, they don’t need those suffixes. The executable hook in Linux looks at the mime type of the file, which is ‘portable executable’, and knows it’s .net from that.

  56. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Gravatar

    On codecs – it’s not a conspiracy, that’s the fact that Miguel was criticizing.

    Do Novell deserve criticism for that? Probably. On the other hand, how else are you going to do video in Silverlight? Flash has the exact same problem, and why no free distro has DVD / MP3 support :(

    That codec agreement is a separate agreement, though, as I noted earlier.

  57. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Gravatar

    I’m just catching up with this discussion at the moment (been away). What I don’t reply to isn’t something I have no response to, but to address the last point, those codecs that you mention were discussed before. There’s a lot to be said about them, including the fact that they are not owned by a company that thinks of this as “Jihad” and War” (Microsoft’s words). The longer explanation was given before.

  58. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Gravatar

    Instead of promoting Microsoft’s platform for web apps by using moonlight, and thus requiring to rely or pay Microsoft codecs. I think the work should have moved to make an actual complete alternative that was ogg based, however it apparently is crazy to think of freedom in terms of codecs used in web applications, crazy situation.

    As for needing .exe and .dll – actually, they don’t need those suffixes.

    Can’t gnome, then stop using them? It makes everything look awkward to me, I didn’t switch from windows to get back to see that stuff…

  59. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Gravatar

    Victor, I have a feeling that you don’t even know what a video codec is. Otherwise your post doesn’t make sense. Now, if you knew what a codec was, you would also know that there is a free implementation of the patented MS-codecs. YES, this free implementation is illegal and evil and in danger of patent lawsuits… You probably know it; it’s called FFMpeg

    Anyway, the Mono-website hosts a detailed instruction on how to build Mono with this evil, non-MS-taxed software: http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight

    Oh, and BTW, Moonlight just saw it’s number 1 release: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2008/May-13-1.html

    Get it from the Mono-website: http://www.go-mono.com/moonlight/

    As you see, it’s a simple Firefox-plugin; will run in any Linux distribution, no discrimination whatsoever.

    And yes, the builds come without these evil, patent-encumbered MS-video-codecs. It really is a FREE Moonlight… If you want those evil codecs you have to build Moonlight with FFMpeg, as mentioned above, use SUSE or…

    ..or simply wait till the FFMpeg-Moonlight pops up in the Ubuntu-repos. ;)

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

  60. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Gravatar

    …Great news been spread by Sun’s CEO a moment ago. JavaFX goes GPL. Time to rip and replace plans for Flash and Silverfish clones? Probably not, but here we have a RIA solution we can stand for. Sun also has plans (or ongoing development) involving an Ogg-like codec.

  61. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Gravatar

    Victor; you can absolutely build an Ogg-support only Moonlight! Problem is, you’d also have to build your own websites with Moonlight/Ogg-content so you could test it, if you know what I mean…

  62. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Gravatar

    @Victor: of course, you can do that. Moonlight supports GStreamer, so all free codecs are easily used, and indeed it would be great to see some way of creating a plug in for this on Windows so that free media can be used anywhere.

    As for .exe/.dll – that’s not a GNOME decision, it’s a distro decision. Most people just use the default naming convention, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

    @Roy- good news on JavaFX if true. Another RIA system isn’t terribly important though; if they have something decent with that video codec they’re supposedly working on that’s probably more important.

  63. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Gravatar

    Roy: We don’t need another Ogg-like codec – for audio, Ogg Vorbis is an excellent, free codec; for video, not-so-great Theora’s successor will very probably be Dirac which is absolutely free, developed by the BBC and technically top-notch. You can use it already:

    http://www.diracvideo.org/about_dirac
    http://schrodinger.sourceforge.net/

    What the Sun folks do is trying to create yet another proprietary video-codec that we don’t want nor need; that’s all. As this codec will be developed from scratch in relatively little time and as the company has no expertise whatsoever in video engineering, quality will very probably also be an issue…

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

  64. Niklas (sic!) Koswinkle said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Gravatar

    Forgot to mention: The problem remains; there is no content on the web that uses other codecs than proprietary ones.

    But Dirac is poised to become VC2 (http://blogs.gnome.org/uraeus/2008/01/31/dirac-on-the-way-to-become-vc-2/). If this happens, we will for the first time ever have an open and truely free internationally standardized video codec.

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

  65. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Gravatar

    Alex, I agree. Sun assured that Java’s prevalence (installed on 99% of the desktops) would make prevalence of JavaFX easier to achieve. Curl doesn’t have this advantage (or licence).

  66. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Gravatar

    Hm, not sure about the 99% comment – surely some form of Java is relatively common, but modern Windows doesn’t come with a recent Java and only recently did it get included into modern GNU/Linux.

    I don’t think JavaFX has much better potential for deployment than (say) Adobe AIR, and probably worse than Firefox.

  67. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Yeah, I quoted the high figure from memory, based on what Sun said yesterday. It’s probably more of a marketing routine that’s intended to attract developers.

    Being able to use a free RIA (even just for videos) would be extremely valuable. Unlike standalone Oggs, it’s also likely to be easily workable under all major platforms.

  68. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Yeah. Adobe claim 98% penetration for Flash or something, but then huge proportions of that are old versions of Flash.

    It will be interesting to see what Sun do with JavaFX. They’re pretty late to the party, and the client side isn’t what’s interesting. It’s the development tools which are interesting. Sadly, http://www.javafx.com isn’t very informative – it’s slow and chock full of Quicktime movies.

    But like I say, being able to consume other people’s apps is only a small part of it. What’s interesting is being able to _create_ the apps. That’s why Mono is so interesting; there are great free software development tools like Monodevelop, and work on stuff like Lunar Eclipse. Sun need to come up with some free software developer tools before I’ll take it seriously.

  69. AlexH said,

    May 14, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Gravatar

    I should have added, tools that aren’t Netbeans.

  70. Victor Soliz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Gravatar

    Why free? Because developers don’t want to encumber their applications with royalty bearing dependencies, or use technologies that predefine where consumers might appear. You don’t build developer communities around closed source, you build user communities – and this is an instance where developer selection and adoption will define the broadest RIA marketplace. JavaFX will, like all of Sun’s software platforms, be made freely available as open source, and it’ll be released via the GPL (v2) license.

    And lest you think free and open software is the province of those with goatees and tattoos… we’re seeing a rising tide of developing nations mandating free and open software in government and academic procurement. Why? To protect choice, and build indigenous opportunity – there’s no reason to build dependencies upon proprietary software if you can avoid it.

    I like this, well it is at least better than the current dual [proprietary silverlight - free moonlight] relationship…

    eet: I never really thought that moonlight wouldn’t be able to work in any distro, I am interested in seeing it redistributable in repositories, I guess it will happen if it is true just replaceable codecs are not redistributable, hope you are right.

  71. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 14, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Gravatar

    Aex,

    Mono will always live int he shadow of .NET (and under a shadow of a Beast with Patents). It’s not safe to get carried away in this direction.

  72. Alex H. said,

    May 14, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Gravatar

    @Roy: the patents argument against Mono was dismissed earlier.

    There’s nothing wrong with Mono that couldn’t also be wrong with Java etc. Gtk# lives under Microsoft’s shadow in the same way Swing does.

  73. Miles said,

    May 14, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Gravatar

    FWIW, MonoDevelop now supports creating/working with Vala projects

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