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03.31.09

Novell Releases Poisonware Factory 2.0 (MonoDevelop)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono strings GNOME

Image contributed by Beranger

Summary: Novell unleashes MonoDevelop 2.0 to destroy the freedom of Free software

Novell and its employees are not learning the lessons of FAT, maybe because they already pay Microsoft for software patents. But to make matters worse, they are trying to spread this disease to everyone else in the Free software world, selling them out in exchange for Microsoft cash.

Novell encourages people to produce applications that depend on Microsoft 'standards' which are riddled with software patents. Removing those applications and infringements would be hard.

Here is yesterday’s press release about Poisonware Factory 2.0.

The Mono(R) project, an open source initiative sponsored by Novell, today announced the availability of MonoDevelop 2.0, an open source integrated development environment for programming with C# and other languages. Developers can also take advantage of Mono 2.4, the latest release of the open source, cross-platform .NET application framework which powers the recently announced SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Mono Extension. Mono and MonoDevelop together streamline the development process and provide the tools that Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and corporate developers need to build and deploy .NET applications quickly and efficiently on the platform of their choice.

This is already mentioned in some places, but it should be shunned for obvious reasons.

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

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22 Comments

  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    March 31, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Gravatar

    If Mono is “riddled with software patents” as you say, then why have you had so much trouble finding a single patent that Mono infringes?

    If it’s “riddled” with them, it should be easy!

    Keep spinning Roy, maybe someday you’ll actually convince a gullible person.

  2. Jose_X said,

    March 31, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t know where Roy got that evidence or if he did not intent to communicate that it had been proven that mono is “riddled with software patents”. That may have been bad language to use.

    Check this out. Lookup “Microsoft API” on freepatentsonline.com http://www.freepatentsonline.com/result.html?query_txt=microsoft%20api&sort=relevance and you get almost 30,000 entries.

    For those that want to find the problem violations, you can start there. Read over each patent carefully. You can’t know if a patent applies unless you read all of its claims. Study every single Microsoft API (or at least the dotnet or mono ones), then work hard to find the points you think overlap. Remember that the language in the patent can be very different from the language in the API documentation (where documentation even exists).

    Or, to simply recognize how realistic it is to generate “patented APIs” and to patent around existing APIs, read this http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/04/the-api-trap-part-1/ .

    Note that recently an example Red Hat patent that did just the above patenting around a standard/API was brought to boycottnovell’s attention. Red Hat is just getting its toe into the patent waters (in comparison). Surely, Microsoft is likely to have more experience, skill, accumulation of such patents (look at all the secrecy in “fixing” up OOXML in hiding, post the MBR). Surely, Microsoft has a lot more to protect with their patents (monopolies and billions in profits).

    Good luck.

    PS: Here is one link that I suspect covers aspdotnet http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7013469.html . I’m willing to look it over a bit if someone points out the full documentation for aspdotnet. I will note that a quick googling actually produced results for two of the exact names mentioned in claim one of the patent: asynccallback and iasyncresult (within the context of aspdotnet).

    PS2. Roy might be correct that mono is “riddled with software patents”, but it might be best if the language was toned down unless he can produce the specific evidence. Maybe he can. I just pointed to what might be such a patent (for aspdotnet components). Anyone want to *disprove* that that patent doesn’t apply to aspdotnet? Dan, can you disprove that http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7013469.html isn’t infringed by those unlicensed individuals using aspdotnet or some component of it? Can anyone prove that core dotnet (mono) patents aren’t held by trolls and hence are not affected by any Microsoft covenant? [If you read the patent api trap link above, you'll see that, apparently like what Red Hat did, it's relatively too easy to patent around a core protocol to capture use cases that many would eventually want to leverage.]

    PS3: Software patents may be deemed by US courts to be unconstitutional or at least not to apply, but that is a different question. We just saw TomTom and many others cave in to what is likely not a patent that can withstand a court challenge under Bilski.

    Dan O'Brian Reply:

    Jose:

    Firstly, it is irrelevant as to whether or not Mono’s ASP.NET infringes any patents or not, that doesn’t mean the core does. No one is writing ASP.NET apps on Linux, so if Microsoft were to sue over ASP.NET patents, Mono’s ASP.NET implementation could easily be dropped without any problem.

    Secondly, it’s not my responsibility to prove innocence. In the Free World, it is guilt that must be proven, not innocence. The burden of proof is on Roy.

  3. Jose_X said,

    March 31, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Oops, I participated in a mono conversation but forgot to show this:

    Test drive QtCreator http://labs.trolltech.com/blogs/category/qtcreator/

    Parrot 1.0.0 appears to be out http://www.parrot.org/news/2009/Parrot-1.0.0

    http://www.sun.com/software/opensource/java/ and eclipse http://www.eclipse.org/ and JBOSS http://www.jboss.com/products/devstudio/ and apache http://www.apache.org/

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    How can I add these to posts without it seeming like some sort of ad? Someone else has suggested this.

    Jose_X Reply:

    Put a symbol next to “mono” and have that symbol point to a comment or write-up that you like. The symbol is to serve as the link anchor.

    TM
    scared smiley
    light bulb
    dead light bulb
    !

    Hey, how about a page loaded with all applications that don’t use mono. Call it safe(r) apps and link to that + some blurb.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> Hey, how about a page loaded with all applications

    We can focus on apps that have mono equivalents. We can have information on that app. How to contribute to it. Who is the lead maintainer. A progress report. Homepage. Interviews with the devs. Bugzilla. Outline of the app internals. Artwork. Tutorials.. We can even try to get a distro to be built specifically around any/all of those apps. The community around that app might be willing to suggest other possibilities.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Sometimes I link to a summary of Mono dangers. Is there a tool that scans text off-line (statistically) and adds links to it? Links to Wikipedia for example?

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> Sometimes I link to a summary of Mono dangers.

    But it would be useful to have discussions that don’t mention anything about the mono distraction. Have a special place to focus on other things and without mentioning mono at all or just about.

    >> Is there a tool that scans text off-line (statistically) and adds links to it? Links to Wikipedia for example?

    Depends on how the data is stored.

    XSLT; a looping script to walk the DOM to identify various nodes and then adjust them (any script lanaguage that has DOM support can be used); or maybe even regular expressions.. can work.

    XSLT basically allows you to, with an XSLT parser (eg, Xalan) and a short hand “program”, to find the parts of an XML document and rewrite them. The input is an xml file and the output is anything. [Here the input might be html massaged into xml and the output would be some html.]

    The looping DOM walk might be the easiest if you don’t know XSLT. Again, you look for the nodes you want (eg, BN reply nodes can be identified if they have unique patterns as the id attribute or are a part of special CSS classes), then covert these nodes so that you have the extra anchor links in there. [I'm only familiar with doing this in javascript running on a browser.]

    But regexp might be the easiest of all. These wouldn’t be guaranteed to work (you’d have to look at specifics); however, they might not only be likely to work, they might actually provide for the easiest solution. It depends. A sed command as part of some sort of pipeline or shell loop, or awk, or perl (or anything else) might be used for this.

    Question. What would the data stream fed to the script from the database look like? Ie, what does the database look like?

    Finally, the most important work would be to determine exactly what you want to catch and what you want to convert that into.

    Perhaps start off by describing on the left hand side what you are looking for (and under what context if any) and on the right side how that would be translated. Use English to do this if you want. This table could then be turned into to a proper 2d array that could be used by a perl script as the instructions to test on every BN reply that it was fed. The left side might be what goes into the first part of a substitution operator and the right side might be the corresponding substitution part.

    So, the short of this is to first decide what you want to substitute and how do you want to replace it. Then see what the mysql database looks like (its tables/fields structure). And then write up a “quick” script to do the conversions.

    I’ll help you if you tell me what you want to replace and how and explain what the input from the database will look like.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I had something simpler in mind: a simple scanner/parser that takes a word like Ubuntu and turns it to a link. This can be done off-line for plain text.

    Jose_X Reply:

    Believe it or not, what you mention is what I had in mind.

    Keep in mind that Ubuntu may have a specific wikipedia entry that may not use the exact work “Ubuntu” (in this case, there probably is no change, but sometimes you have to change). Sometimes the wikipedia entry is a phrase.

    So what are we looking at as input? Many of my comments have hyperlinks added. Would the text being scanned be an html fragment? What would it look like?

    Give one specific case of an input (file) and the desired output (file).

    Jose_X Reply:

    [For cross-ref purposes]

    There was a small related discussion on irc april 1.

    Jose_X Reply:

    To add a little more..

    Forget that “plugin” talk (irc). A simple php page on the server (eg, boycottnovell.com/querypagetoretrievechunkofpostingsforprocessing.php) can just query the database and return the data as the webpage.

    Then you process that webpage at home.

    Then a different php webpage (or part of that page above with a different submit button) can be used to update the data.

    This way all of the query/update is done through the boycottnovell web interface.

    To debug the script (assuming you decide to move forward along this path), you do everything first on a sample database as mentioned on irc.

  4. Gentoo User said,

    March 31, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Gravatar

    it might be best if the language was toned down unless he can produce the specific evidence

    Ha, ha.

  5. Jose_X said,

    March 31, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Secondly, it’s not my responsibility to prove innocence. In the Free World, it is guilt that must be proven, not innocence. The burden of proof is on Roy.

    Yeah, I worded my comment about proving something is safe, badly, but I had already agreed with you that Roy would be less controversial by changing the language.

    It’s about risk management. A lot may not currently be proven, let’s suppose, but people surely know that some courses of action are riskier than others. Isn’t it amazing the mileage Microsoft has gotten out of their stupid FAT patents? They have smarter patents than that. They have huge investments in dotnet.

    On the other hand, any proof Roy and anyone else has, they don’t have to show you. Surely, to take an example, IBM doesn’t reveal all they know in a public forum out of court, especially when it comes to legal information. It’s your choice if you want to ignore risks. You might just get your proof, many times over, on the day where you will be fined up the nose by a court as a confirmation prize.

    >> Firstly, it is irrelevant as to whether or not Mono’s ASP.NET infringes any patents or not, that doesn’t mean the core does. No one is writing ASP.NET apps on Linux, so if Microsoft were to sue over ASP.NET patents, Mono’s ASP.NET implementation could easily be dropped without any problem.

    I used the linked patent as a single example, one I had come across because it was posted on BN months back. The point of that other comment stands. This is about risk management. Microsoft has high revenue streams and levers to protect. They use their patents to fend off those threats (Linux). They control the development of the interfaces to these “standards”.

    Did you read the patent trap link? Did you understand the comment made at the very bottom? The US patent system is pathetic, unfortunately.

    I have heard mono supporters talk of patents on dotnet, btw. Surely, someone besides Microsoft might own those tomorrow and Microsoft’s covenant would be useless. And this is just over the core dotnet patents “we” know about. But did you read the bottom of that patent trap link? The US patent system is pathetic, I know. Even Red Hat pulled off patenting around a standard in ways many are likely to violate.

    Like I said. We should discuss the risks. Personally, I don’t spend time reading patents or studying Microsoft protocols; however, “I pity the fool” that ignores the message.

    Microsoft makes many patents. They don’t use them to defend Linux. Their business is not helped, but is quite threatened by Linux.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    For legal reasons, Microsoft also instructs its employees not to look at prior art when filing for patents.

    Jose_X Reply:

    Imagine that. No one looks at patents! I thought that was their whole point.. to bring trade secrets to the world?

    Of course, if a “trade secret” is good (like closed source), it’s kept as a trade secret by the beggars ordinarily looking for monopoly grant opportunities. If a “trade secret” is pathetic, on the other hand, like a very vague (or even specific) interface spec or product outline, then these are patented in order to tap into the monopoly hand-outs. The leeches get the best of both worlds. Society gets the worst of both worlds.

    So much for the theory that patents encourage valuable trade secrets to be opened up.

    OK, some people do look at patents because patent monopoly hand-outs are so valuable. My bad.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> I worded my comment about proving something is safe… It’s about risk management.

    Let me use an analogy to help explain what I meant originally.

    In math, you can come up with a conjecture.

    You might hear of a proof for it. Instead, you might hear of a proof that shows it is false. Or you might hear of no proofs and simply have a suspicion one way or the other.

    What I was saying was that absent you being aware of a proof against your point, you might want to go ahead and try to prove you point and thus help move people over to your argument.

    Maybe coming up with a “proof”, one way or the other, ahead of an expensive court trial + appeals, is not something that is easy or cheap to do.

    Dan O'Brian Reply:

    It’s about risk management. A lot may not currently be proven, let’s suppose, but people surely know that some courses of action are riskier than others. Isn’t it amazing the mileage Microsoft has gotten out of their stupid FAT patents? They have smarter patents than that. They have huge investments in dotnet.

    Considering:

    1. that it’s public knowledge that Microsoft was licensing FAT at $0.25 per unit or $250,000 max

    2. there’s a lot more money to be made by enforcing licensing for FAT than for .NET

    3. suing over .NET would drive a lot of developers away

    I’m disinclined to agree. The goal is not to drive people away from Windows or their technologies, it’s to keep people there. If you go suing over .NET then they’ll scare off the .NET developers. One of the things they’ve even started doing lately is opening up their code under the MS-PL. They’ve just released their ASP.NET MVC under MS-PL, for example (which, btw, contains a clause like the GPLv3 meaning that they cannot sue you over those patents).

    On the other hand, any proof Roy and anyone else has, they don’t have to show you. Surely, to take an example, IBM doesn’t reveal all they know in a public forum out of court, especially when it comes to legal information.

    It’s in Roy’s best interest to reveal that information because it’s his goal to get people off of Mono. If he had that information, he’d be screaming it at the top of his lungs.

    Since he isn’t, he obviously has no proof.

    It’s your choice if you want to ignore risks. You might just get your proof, many times over, on the day where you will be fined up the nose by a court as a confirmation prize.

    Just like it could happen simply by using Linux. Yet that doesn’t stop me from using Linux, Mozilla or OpenOffice.

    (XPCOM and UNO are basically just a portable reimplementations of Microsoft’s COM – if you think Microsoft is going to sue over Mono, then you can bet they’d sue over XPCOM and/or UNO).

    Clearly we should all stop using these technologies. </sarcasm>

    Jose: My point is you can’t live your life in fear. Microsoft could have a patent on anything you write or use. So could any other company.

    A number of years ago, Kodak sued Sun over patents that Java infringed: http://news.cnet.com/Sun-settles-Kodaks-Java-suit-for-92-million/2100-1012_3-5401804.html

    Kodak. Who’d a thunk? We both obviously agree that the US patent system is seriously broken.

    You’ve taken the “omg I’m afraid of getting sued and so should you be!” approach, but only when it concerns Microsoft tech you don’t like. When you like or need a particular Microsoft tech, you say it’s “fine”. (E.g. SAMBA, UNO, XPCOM, AJAX, the HTML DOM, ODF (they’ve got patents on parts of ODF 1.1), SSLv3, TLS, DHCP, SASL, LDAP, IPsec, PPOE, IPv6-overIPv4, FTP, HTTP, PPTP, IPP, UPnP, USB, and many more).

    If you really believed what you say, then you’d be having us drop all of those protocols and technologies. We’d have to drop OpenOffice and Mozilla. We’d have to stop printing. We’d have to stop using the interwebs and pretty much any networking at all.

    If Microsoft decided it was worth suing to destroy “Linux”, then there are so many avenues that Mono is the least of our problems.

  6. Jose_X said,

    March 31, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy, one of my comments from a few hours back got caught in that net of yours.

    The link is http://boycottnovell.com/2009/03/31/monodevelop-poison-factory/comment-page-1/#comment-61316

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, link density puts it in the queue. Thanks for adding references that I ought to embed in each such post.

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