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08.12.08

Novell May Promote Silverlight Because It Spreads Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono: Free software Achilles Heel?

Moonlight is a mess and Novell probably understands what it supports. It supports Microsoft, not an already-struggling Silverlight, which Moonlight is not compatible with (and never will be [1, 2, 3]). Novell must only care about the competitive advantage it gains by helping Microsoft, at the expense of other GNU/Linux distributors.

It is worth being reminded that Moonlight is a cooperation between Novell and Microsoft (quoted below from the news). Chances and likelihood of malice aside, the codecs come from Microsoft. That’s downstream Microsoft code in your GNU/Linux distribution and there have been warnings about this several months ago.

The Silverlight technology will allow streaming of video and interactive applications like video games to both Macintosh and Windows PC users. (For example, the new Netflix streaming service is based on Silverlight.) A version for Linux users is available via a joint project with Novell, and a mobile version will be available in the future on Windows Mobile and Nokia smartphones.

Pamela at Groklaw had something to say about the article above: “Note that the article says that Moonlight is available for Linux users. Except, aside from not wanting to touch Mono folks’ code if you are like me, even if you wanted to, if you go to the download page, it tells you clearly it’s not exactly ready for the Olympic trials.

“So thanks, Microsoft, for once again showing us your malice toward FOSS and that there is no new Microsoft. Here’s the warning about Moonlight: “Warning: These are test installers and are not complete or bug free. They are snapshots from our development tree and might not work. New: Firefox 3 is now supported.

“Novell is the only company whose customers are temporarily ‘covered’ for the use of Mono. It’s a trap.”“Note: These are currently built without multimedia support. No video or mp3 playback is enabled on these binaries.”

Perlow seems exdited nonetheless, but it’s that trollish posting style, which he admitted to before.

Novell has a plan. It may actually have several. It wants to lure users in to Moonlight (Mono) and lure users in to Banshee (Mono), among other such programs. Unsurprisingly, both are Novell-funded project. Novell is the only company whose customers are temporarily ‘covered’ for the use of Mono. It’s a trap. By putting enough money into these projects, Novell can generate some buzz, steal the thunder from non-Mono counterparts, and have users of all distributions come to dependent on Mono, its own creation (Novell bought Ximian to serve as a "Red Carpet"). It’s important to prevent this.

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