Mono enthusiasts are already actively pursuing and ensuring that the the next version of Ubuntu will have Mono deep inside its heart. Mono 2.0 that is, with extra Poisonware called WinForms.
It is probably a good time to share the concerns expressed by Jose X, who asked us to post his remarks below.
The “Technical Merits” Red Herring:
Assuming mono has technical merits that impress or you can’t get elsewhere, here is one argument about how there are more important things than technical merit if you are building for the long haul and want to keep costs under control.
And don’t forget this: a subset of the community can fork mono and then maintain or even improve the “technical merits”. The point would be to diverge from the details of Microsoft .NET.
Novell’s “Interop” Fantasy:
“Interop” with Microsoft .NET, where it would really count, is a pipe dream. Microsoft controls what code ships and updates their customers’ systems. They are not beholden to produce bug-free and standards-based .NET code. They are not beholden to limit themselves to the standard without adding undocumented lock-in. Surely they won’t limit themselves and yield ground if they don’t have to. They are not going to give away key items crucial to keeping their monopolies in place. They are also not going to give up the revenue generator that is their hidden source code as it’s secrets change over time. They are not going to give up their option to change the rules or their option not to renew your NDA contract terms after they are up or not to increase the fees, perhaps beyond the breaking point. [See this article]
Gifting Linux to Microsoft While Saving Microsoft Lots of Money:
“Additionally, in the case of a fork, we test Microsoft’s behavior to forks and to code being develop in areas where they have many patents.”By avoiding .NET or perhaps to a lesser degree by forking mono significantly, we lessen patent issues and the ability of Microsoft to EEE (embrace, extend, extinguish) and to leverage their existing huge investments in .NET. Additionally, in the case of a fork, we test Microsoft’s behavior to forks and to code being develop in areas where they have many patents. Better now then later. Better to learn now than later when we could have much more to lose and to recode.
Microsoft already made the huge investments. Giving them extra bang for the buck spent is the exact opposite of what the FOSS community should want. I’m still waiting for Microsoft to open up their core platforms essentially completely. Until that happens, their monopolies, the dollars they spent to fight real FOSS and Linux, etc, all hurt FOSS and open platforms. To fight such a strong, established, and committed enemy of software openness and transparency and of user and developer freedom, you want to see devalued the assets where they have put their dollars. Don’t help grow mind share in .NET or the .NET ecosystem.
Here is a comment titled “It’s so obvious.”
“Mono will just improve the situation for Microsoft by making porting Linux applications to Windows a no-brainer.”
To which I would add that …
(a) “FOSS” on Windows/Vista is not FOSS any more than HTML running on Internet E is FOSS: in both cases the “open source” completely depends on the lower closed source software layer to function.
(b) Microsoft can more easily and subtly sabotage FOSS running on Windows/Vista than they can closed source apps running there. And sabotage (as well as pre-design of “special” API) will happen as the season dictates a beneficial risk/reward ratio for Microsoft.
“Generally, there will be more and better Windows apps if there are more and better .NET apps.”(c) Apps ported to Windows grow the value of Windows. This more so the better these apps are. Generally, there will be more and better Windows apps if there are more and better .NET apps. The more FOSS ports there are to Windows, the more Microsoft can keep their monopolies entrenched by keeping up with Linux/FOSS. Most users won’t bother to go through the hoops and over the hurdles if they can get most of what they want right where they are.
(d) Exclusivity gives extra value to a platform. There will be more and better exclusive Windows apps if there are more and better mono apps BECAUSE Microsoft can more easily embrace and extend open source mono apps to incorporate into their integrated software. They study the code but hide their extra lock-in sauces (thus saving on perhaps 90%+ of the work required). .NET is where Microsoft has an advantage over everyone else. They have invested the most in .NET. They control the direction of .NET.
(e) Novell is contracted to work for Microsoft. Giving copyrights to Novell or helping improve software and systems key to their business (e.g., OpenSUSE), will be helping Microsoft. Microsoft has a better chance of getting the source code you give Novell but with a special proprietary license instead of the GPL. [Such an automatic pact may already be in place.]
Here is another comment titled “On tactics and the nature of Free Software.”
Let me say something positive for Novell. Assuming .NET becomes well-established and the greater Linux FOSS community and Linux commercial players have already suffered, then Novell might be sitting pretty. They can play the lock-in game against Microsoft, essentially through a fork/extension of .NET. Of course, the best lock-in is closed source. Novell has shown they love and likely prefer closed source (Netware). Not to mention that Novell may even fold or be bought out by Microsoft.
Microsoft has stated they will deal with those serious about licensing. Only to those that are serious will they reveal the patents and other details. If you don’t have it, I can look for a link to a recent interview that revealed no less than this much in very explicit terms.
Before closing the book on this, you may want to consider asking something similar from Linux vendors or other vendors. It’s easier to contrast responses this way. See what Red Hat offers the community, and see what Microsoft offers. Actually, we already know what Red Hat offers and what Microsoft offers, and the differences are plenty.
Just like with the benefits Microsoft gains from so-called ‘piracy’, they gain similar and greater benefits from the spread of .NET clones people will use for no charge.
“Novell and everyone that advocates use of .NET or clones are helping to spread Microsoft’s technological “drugs””Novell and everyone that advocates use of .NET or clones are helping to spread Microsoft’s technological “drugs”; however, in this respect, mono is worse than Windows and Office. The extra damage arising from mono and other clones vs. from user level Microsoft “drugs” is that the former are not end products to themselves but propagate as they are used by developers to create apps. Further, a stronger “addiction”/commitment/dependency results from a complex set of API vs. what most ordinary users have to deal with when they use end products. [Do note that most developers limit themselves to a rather small set of projects, languages, etc, because of the large overhead learning curve.] Spreading .NET or clones is a serious win for Microsoft. The battle for developers is very important.
Without an open source .NET clone, Microsoft’s proprietary offerings would be much less attractive to businesses. Most managers and even some developers have some faith that a “second source” is possible. In any case, risks for using Microsoft .NET are lowered if there is something similar enough in the market that is FOSS; thus, mono has increased the attraction from managers to Microsoft .NET.
Mono apps are easier for Microsoft and for anyone to port to Windows. These ports help Microsoft retain their lock-in and levers through the increased value that accrues to Windows. Additionally, it’s easier for Microsoft to gain control (”manage”) FOSS apps than closed apps.
Mono (and other Novell owned code.. assuming they own mono or have a license to sub-license) is even worse than would be a different .NET clone owned by someone else to the degree Novell is already working very closely and is financially dependent on Microsoft so as to be that much more likely to give special non-GPL licenses to Microsoft. Thus, the GPL only hampers/checks everyone except Microsoft — a very clear gain in advantage for Microsoft over everyone else.
Novell developers are not naive enough to think that interoperability is possible. Enough said.
“They also want to weaken the strategic advantages Sun gains from Java and OO.org, thereby making Microsoft’s path to holding and growing the lock-in that much more secure.”Look at the basic facts, Novell is a mostly proprietary company, helping a very powerful monopolist hold and gain ground. They aren’t fooled by the interoperability spiel they push. Novell is more than willing to participate and agree with Microsoft’s deceptive maneuvers (like the patent scare with customers) to grab extra money from clients.
Novell wants to eliminate Red Hat competition with full battle guns, again, helping to give a very significant strategic gain to Microsoft. They also want to weaken the strategic advantages Sun gains from Java and OO.org, thereby making Microsoft’s path to holding and growing the lock-in that much more secure.
The list can go on and on. I have to expect a lot of the developers defending Novell, e.g., those developers posting here, many of whom have read all of this before, are well aware of the details… yet they continue to defend Novell. █
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“If thought can corrupt language, then language can also corrupt thought.”
LAST week we highlighted a set of Novell lies or selective analysis delivered by its industrial ‘buddies’ [1, 2] (including Microsoft’s too). It is a famous saying that “PR lies” or at best embellishes all sorts of facts and figures in order to increase sales.
The following press release (also here and here) is a good new example of Novell not telling the truth or delivering useless information in order to deceive.
Novell today announced more than 2,500 software applications are now certified on the latest versions of SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise, with an average of 140 new applications being added each month. Based on publicly available information, SUSE Linux Enterprise 9 and 10 have the most certified software applications when compared to the latest releases of all other commercial Linux* distributions.
Novell is being dishonest and it gets caught lying once again. In fact, two sources have independently busted Novell for these confusing numbers. Matt Asay, a former Novell employee, writes:
Novell needs a recount: Red Hat still leads in certified applications (Update)
I was a literature major, so perhaps my math is wrong. But I think this means that Red Hat has 1,765 more certified applications than Novell, which I believe means that it has a lot more than Novell. In most contests, having more points than the opposing team means you’re leading, which would mean Red Hat remains the leader in certified Linux applications, not Novell.
Joe the “Var Guy” beat Asay to it.
Novell today claimed to have more certified software partners than rival Linux providers. The chest pumping represents Novell’s latest thinly veiled attack against Red Hat. But take a closer look at Novell’s claims and you’ll see why Red Hat may take issue with some of Novell’s statements.
Novell attacked Red Hat in mid-November, with a new offer to help partners migrate customers from Red Hat Enterprise Linux to SUSE Linux.
Watch the comments where it states:
# Ron Says:
November 25th, 2008 at 11:13 am
“Stretched the truth.” “Bending the truth.” Give me a break!
Since when have we redefined the word “truth” to take on a meaning other than what it had? Just call it what it is: a lie.
# The VAR Guy Says:
November 25th, 2008 at 11:17 am
Ron: Point well taken.
It all boils down to brainwash, which Novell seems to be getting more of.
In a press release, Pan said it has been “retained to elevate Novell’s overall corporate message, increase exposure for the company’s solution areas and deliver coverage which underscores the company’s promise of ‘making IT work as one.’ Pan will also devise creative thought leadership programs.”
A company called “Pan” will handle some of Novell’s PR aspects, much like Microsoft uses external agencies to bully, to spy, to profile, to bribe, and to pressure journalists [1, 2, 3].
Pan won the business after a review; billings were not disclosed.
“Pan has strong enterprise IT credentials and a reputation for aggressive media relations,” said Ian Bruce, director of global public relations at Novell, in a statement.
“Aggressive,” eh? Like those dirty tricks Novell used against Red Hat [1, 2]? Novell is becoming more like Microsoft all the time, not just in terms of marketing but also in terms of staffing and technical preferences.
The Utah press has this new report about a Salt Lake City-based marketing company with connections to Novell.
The economy is racing toward recession and advertising budgets are shrinking, but Salt Lake City-based marketing communications agency Axis41 is wrapping up its best year.
Wiest, Wright and a third partner, Ron Pynes, started Axis41 almost eight years ago. The name is a tip of the hat to their former employer, Novell, the computer network operating system provider where Wiest was in charge of marketing communications, Wright ran the company’s Web site and Pynes led Novell’s global advertising efforts.
Marketing is hardly a productive occupation that contributes anything to society. It’s about delivering brainwash to people. Beware the Novell marketers and boosters. They exist to confuse [1, 2, 3, 4]. █
PAN Communications Named Public Relations Agency of Record for Novell, Inc.
Monday November 24, 9:53 am ET
ANDOVER, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PAN Communications, Inc., an award-winning, full-service public relations firm, today announced that it has been named the agency of record for Novell, Inc. in the United States and Canada. Novell is a leading enterprise software company that delivers the best engineered, most interoperable Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software that helps customers around the world reduce cost, complexity and risk. Novell also specializes in Identity & Security Management Solutions (ISM) which helps companies simplify governance so their businesses operate smoothly. Novell’s ISM solutions deliver policy-driven components that automate security and resource management tasks.
“Novell’s reputation in the industry makes this a significant win and addition to PAN’s technology portfolio,” said Mark C. Nardone, executive vice president at PAN Communications. “Based on the seasoned team we assembled, we were confident that our experience in Novell’s industries would be a valuable resource to their marketing team as they further build Novell’s historic brand, while strengthening the company’s visibility with all stakeholders. We look forward to a great partnership and are honored to be selected from such a distinguished list of agencies they considered.”
PAN has been retained to elevate Novell’s overall corporate message, increase exposure for the company’s solution areas and deliver coverage which underscores the company’s promise of “making IT work as one.” PAN will also devise creative thought leadership programs, assist with Novell’s social media initiatives, conduct outreach to business press, manage overall media relations and secure speaking opportunities and industry awards, among other activities.
“PAN has strong enterprise IT credentials and a reputation for aggressive media relations,” said Ian Bruce, director of global public relations at Novell. “We selected PAN after meeting a dozen firms and going through a detailed RFP process. PAN offered the right blend of experience, insight and drive; but most importantly, presented a very talented team to represent Novell.”
About PAN Communications
PAN Communications is an independent public relations agency that delivers high-impact programs to increase visibility and market share for its clients. An award-winning agency with an extensive portfolio of nationwide clients, PAN serves emerging and established organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer sectors. For more information on how PAN creates awareness and opportunity for its clients, visit our website at www.pancommunications.com or call 978.474.1900.
Ani Bardakjian, 978-474-1900 x143
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“People everywhere love Windows.”
Illegal tenders that blindly favour Microsoft and all sorts of other secret deals with Microsoft were mentioned here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. And yes, it’s considered illegal. Some angry observers took it all the way up to the top (court of law) by essentially suing their government. This happened in Quebec. More stories, however, can be found in the links, so repeating them would prove wasteful.
The following new story was found in the blog of Glyn Moody where he called it (in the headline) “Microsoft in the Land of the Mafia,” referring quite humorously to the nature of the act.
The Italian open source advocacy group Associazione per il Software Libero is protesting two memoranda of understanding (MOU) signed this summer by the Italian government and Microsoft. The group last week published a public protest letter.
The association explains that over the past three months it has in vain tried to raise the issue with the minister of public administration and innovation, Renato Brunetta. “We now publish this letter to get his attention on the benefits of open source software.”
The advocacy group writes is it worried about a three-year memorandum of understanding signed by Minister Brunetta with Microsoft to develop software solutions for schools. It also expresses doubts over a similar agreement with Microsoft for the modernisation of public administration document management systems.
If Microsoft engages with countries as though it’s the Secret Services and then refuses to tell what was signed, perhaps it’s time to call the Secret Services and have them crack down on crooked politicians and the company/ies they engage with behind closed doors. Microsoft is just threatening democracy again and it’s taking Italy back in time. █
Redacting corruptible governments and companies
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According to the new text which is hosted in Andy Updegrove’s Web log, ISO is more interested in burial of evidence (and itself) than in self punishment and cure. Using gentle words, Andy explained why he is troubled.
Why troubled? Because these elements, when added to those that come before, basically add up to a ratification of the conduct of the Geneva BRM. To my reading, not one single element of Recommendation 5 addresses any of the concerns raised relating to the BRM – the voting procedures adopted, the amount of time to be provided in advance to consider proposed dispositions, or the timing of the delivery of a complete specification prior to a vote (admittedly this last element is beyond the scope of the BRM itself, but this concern could have been the subject of a further recommendation).
For information about the unspeakable BRM, see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. It’s akin to the ACTA, which can almost be characterised as white-collar crime [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 5].
As Groklaw points out, linking to Exhibit A, double standards at ISO prevail as well: “In reducing the number of alternatives to a reasonable minimum, JTC 1 and other SDOs have demonstrated that it is not necessary and may not be desirable to choose only one alternative or option for standardization. Further, JTC 1 notes that the cycle of innovation in the ICT sector has resulted in the continuous introduction of new technologies that improve upon existing standards. Any attempt to choose only one standard would ignore and threaten to inhibit the cycle of innovation that continues to fuel this industry. Therefore, JTC 1 recognizes its commitment to ISO’s and IEC’s ‘one standard’ principle; however, it recognizes that neither it nor its SCs are in a position to mandate either the creation or the use of a single standard, and that there are times when multiple standards make the most sense in order to respond to the needs of the marketplace and of society at large.”
“They fail to establish universality, which renders them moot.”Putting all the corruption involved aside for a moment, it is clear that ISO has grown irrelevant because it fails to respect the rule which speaks of “commitment to ISO’s and IEC’s ‘one standard’ principle.” This, as Benjamin Henrion pointed out last week, means that “ISO is dead for software standards.” They fail to establish universality, which renders them moot.
This latest decision which is made in retrospect may be — as one must remember — carried out by an ISO that is already occupied by self-serving cronies who perfume their own sins and hope for history to dissolve gracefully, then be rewritten.
Speaking of ISO being ripped apart from the inside, worth watching is the following list of attendants that contains people who are on Microsoft’s payroll, such as Rex Jaeschke, Jean Paoli, Doug Mahugh and Isabelle Valet-Harper. It was the same in the BRM and other decision-making phases. Valet-Harper was mentioning the meeting in Jeju, so it could be related to the ODF hijack [1, 2]. The European Commission is hopefully watching this closely.
Speaking of ODF, I exchanged some E-mails with IBM, criticising them for foolishly allowing Microsoft to get involved in ODF after they had fought it viciously, if not illegally. For more information about ODF, here is a report from the latest ODF workshop.
The OASIS ODF Adoption TC and the new OASIS ODF Interoperability and Conformance TC met informally at the OpenOffice.org 2008 conference in Beijing, on November 6, 2008 for an all day workshop.
Playing diplomatic games with Microsoft is pointless. Companies like Google, Oracle, IBM and Sun should turn a cold shoulder to Microsoft after what they had done. History supports such a decision and so are continents that declared Microsoft an abusive monopolist. The industry does not need Microsoft anymore. Microsoft is crumbling anyway. █
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“[The Novell/Microsoft package] provides IP peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments.”
–Ian Bruce, Novell’s PR Director
This is not the first time that it’s pointed out [1, 2], but Novell clearly uses Microsoft’s FUD against GNU/Linux to its own advantage. Just watch this new press release.
Marking the two-year anniversary of their agreement to build a bridge between SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Windows, Microsoft and Novell, are celebrating strong customer demand for their business model and strategy that provides interoperability and intellectual property (IP) peace of mind.
Again, it’s worth stressing that this is not the first time that Novell markets itself using “intellectual property peace of mind” [1, 2, 3], as if to say: “buy GNU/Linux from us (and from Microsoft, which gets paid patents royalties) or very horrible things may happen to you.”
“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”"
–Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008
In the last part of Groklaw’s analysis of the Bilski case, the conclusion is as follows:
Speaking for myself, I’d have to say I feel a lot less threatened by Microsoft than I did a year ago. Don’t you? I can’t help but wonder if there ever would have been a “patent peace” deal between Novell and Microsoft if Bilski had been decided earlier.
So, here we have Novell which instead of touting the end of software patents (many of them anyway) is marketing and promoting these patents in press releases, trying to use these to its own advantage (or rather, to other vendors’ disadvantage).
Whereas Red Hat came out with a formal statement praising the re Bilski decision, Novell seemed silent on the subject. Unless we missed Novell’s statement, what does that say about Novell?
There are some more analyses coming, most of which confirm that software patents where there is no transformation of an article to a different state or thing (or the invention is untied to a particular machine), there is no sufficient merit for a patent. This rules out the vast majority of existing software patents, according to some assessments like that from the Free Software Foundation.
Myers predicts that the next wave of business method litigation will focus “on what degree of computerized involvement you have to have in order to meet the threshold.”
Over in Europe, the Community patent seems to be going nowhere, which is good news too.
Delegates at the Fourth European Judges’ Forum, which has recently ended in Venice, have issued a statement deploring the apparent slowdown in negotiations over the creation of a Community patent and a single European patent jurisdiction.
Let them whine. Novell too seems to be interested in
software patents broader intellectual monopolies and it is still applying for them. Novell needs these monopolies to exist. Why else would anyone choose its Microsoft-taxed GNU/Linux distribution over the competition, which is cheaper and better?
From a legal perspective, Novell continues to be part of the problem, as opposed to the solution to it. It’s milking the community. █
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“Moonlight is Silverlight for Linux” is a lie
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