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Microsoft Uses Pseudo “Open Source” to Fight Against GNU/Linux and the GPL

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, TomTom, Windows at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Like a gun that turns against its owner

Summary: Microsoft deceives on “open source” and uses it to exclude or to poison (with software patents) GNU/Linux

MICROSOFT IS UP to no good, but this is hardly news. The news can be broken down as follows.

Microsoft Tries to Make Silverlight be Perceived as “Open Source”

We saw this before and we are seeing it again. It was last mentioned with examples just over a week ago (Microsoft’s /opensource page trying to associate Silverlight with “open source”). Now we see Microsoft joining forces with Rupert Murdoch and issuing a press release which is summarised like this:

World’s Premier Social Portal Works With Microsoft to Launch Open Source Kit for Silverlight Developers

When Microsoft puts the “open source” label next to Silverlight, then it’s known that the company renders the term almost worthless and deceiving. Silverlight is blocking GNU/Linux users (out of Web sites) whilst Microsoft is falsely claiming that Silverlight cross-platform, which it is not. As we will show in a moment, Moonlight is neither a Silverlight clone nor is it safe for GNU/Linux users to touch. It’s the type of thing which Microsoft’s Partner[sic] Group calls patent trap (or "poison pill"). We already know how close Gartner is to Microsoft.

Microsoft Shuts GNU/Linux Users Out of NASA

The above example comes from MySpace, which is a private entity, but what about NASA? There was a similar deal/arrangement with NASA recently, bragging about an open source platform (not really open), which helps totally exclude GNU/Linux users — or users of any open source platform for that matter — from access to NASA data. As Matt Aslett put it, “it would appear unfortunate that while the data will be hosted on an open source platform individuals with an open source desktop are not going to be able to view it.”

This case involves national assets, much like the Library of Congress [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] where Microsoft pulled similar stunts with Silverlight. Since Microsoft’s Silverlight is not catching on, Microsoft actually paid this government/federal section to pick up a patents-encumbered technology that excludes those who are not customers of Microsoft, thus denying them access to national assets that they own (library).

More Poison Against the GPL

Here is a new publicity stunt with Microsoft’s ‘poison pill’ licence. Last month we explained what makes the MS-PL so problematic (it’s incompatible with the GPL, by design) and it is hard not to see what is happening here.

Regarding this Microsoft publicity stunt, Miguel de Icaza has already enhanced some PR efforts for his good friend Scott Guthrie from Microsoft (even though it’s a Windows technology) and so have Microsoft fans like Gavin Clarke.

“Let’s remember that with an increased investment of $100 million, Microsoft essentially pays some Novell wages.”For a sobering reality, the comments in LinuxToday are worth a look. These comments are ranging from “Senor Microsoft de Icaza is all giddy….” to “Miguel == MS” — a comment that states: “I remain convinced that Miguel De Icaza and Nat Friedman are on the Microsoft payroll (probably using some shady accounting tricks to hide it). Ximian (now known as “Novell”) are a Microsoft cancer infecting Linux and Open Source and should be eradicated.”

Let’s remember that with an increased investment of $100 million, Microsoft essentially pays many Novell wages. Nat Friedman actually worked for Microsoft prior to his days at Novell. In our daily links we’ve recently tried to show who is really is by adding video interviews. Miguel de Icaza wanted to work for Microsoft before starting his Free software endeavours in the late 90s. A lot of what he has built recently did more harm than good, notable examples being promotion of Microsoft technologies at the expense their competition, the “superb” OOXML remark, and even him telling off European regulators who watched over Microsoft’s abuses.

Here is a recent video where de Icaza expresses his feelings about Microsoft. He is still totally ignoring the FAT/TomTom situation and saying nothing about what it means to trust in Microsoft, the risk of Mono, and so on.

Quoting from Microsoft's very own evangelism 'bible', one of the commenters in LinuxToday writes:


Every line of code that is written to Microsoft’s standard is a small defeat; every line of code that is written to a Linux standard is a small victory.

You want to destroy Linux? Just continue to use MONO or begin using ASP.NET. After everything Linux is dependent on MONO and ASP then watch the other shoe fall: updates cut off, licenses reversed, and lawsuits for infringement begin.

De Icaza is doing EVERYTHING he possible can to make Microsoft technology dominate on Linux. Microsoft’s past history and current examples of unethical and illegal behavior doesn’t seem to phase him.

It is time to consider that he is a STEALTH Microsoft employee who does NOT have the best interests of Linux at heart.

Corresponding transcripts about Microsoft’s standard strategy can be found here and none of this is new, just leaked. The TomTom case was merely a reminder of the harms of Mono [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Groklaw: Time to Get Mono and Moonlight Out of GNU/Linux?

As Groklaw put it yesterday, “Perens on TomTom: Be Wary of FAT, OOXML, .NET, Mono, Silverlight.” Pamela Jones even did a detailed post to mention this, so it’s not just in News Picks.

Ah, yes. Mono. Once again. And OOXML. Might governmental agencies wish to particularly take note of OOXML in light of the TomTom settlement? I would think so. And .NET and Silverlight. Perhaps you can think of others.


Wake up. Microsoft should be treated like Microsoft.

It is what it is. It is what it always has been.

Microsoft asked recently to be judged by its actions, not its words. OK. The TomTom settlement *is* Microsoft actions. We watched it, and we judge them by it.

Will Novell listen? Not everyone has paid Microsoft for the use of Mono.

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

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  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    April 3, 2009 at 9:07 am


    First of all, both the OSI and the FSF have accepted the MS-PL as a Free Software license.

    Secondly, there are a lot of F/OSS licenses that are incompatible with GPLv3 (including older versions of the GPL, hah!), does that make them non-free? See here for details: http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/index_html#GPLIncompatibleLicenses

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 3, 2009 at 9:31 am


    First of all, both the OSI and the FSF have accepted the MS-PL as a Free Software license.

    That’s what makes effective Trojan horses; they appear benign.

    Care to comment on Mono, which you ignored?

    Here are some comments from Groklaw:

    Someone asks whether anyone “can help against inadvertently reinstalling mono.”

    Replies include:

    Ubuntu needs to get rid of it’s MONO parts… ASAP…!

    Get rid of SPOT and the other MONO based programs, or else they will find that Microsoft will be after them next. I am staying away from Ubuntu and MONO, and there is a way to remove MONO. Ubuntu should offer a MONO free distro option to all users who are sensitive to this Microsoft IP issue.


    I managed to get rid of mono from an Ubuntu 8-04 version. There did seem to be a few spurious dependencies in the packages, but by carefully watching what synaptic was doing it was possible.

    I’m holding my breath about the upcoming Gnome upgrade on the current Debian testing. I have no mono on there now, but there are things in the repositories that would bring it in.


    The KDE desktop has no major components which rely on Mono. Now KDE4 is probably not quite ready for serious use yet, but it will not be very long now. Meanwhile, KDE3 is quite adequate.

    The choice of desktop is a personal thing, but I happen to find KDE much more usable than Gnome, and I am now using both of them fairly regularly.

    What I would prefer Canonical to do is to make KDE the main Ubuntu desktop (presumably with Gubuntu for those who insist on Gnome), instead of sidelining it to Kubuntu, as I think that it is more likely to make Windoze users feel more comfortable, and that does matter, if the community wants to attract new users.


    Fedora keeps ramming Mono down my throat on every update as well. I am a KDE user and have no use for Gnome and it’s mono implementation. However parts of the Fedora LSB package require Gnome and that then requires Mono. I hope Red Hat and the Fedora team now take another look at this. I have no interest at all in helping Silver Light become the new internet standard.

    PJ writes:

    I’m sure they will, as the Linux Foundation is offering help publicly, at least think about making some changes.

    But you can let them know how you feel. Sometimes, that is the most effective way to get your message across – deliver it yourself, politely but clearly.

    Sarcastic approach to a reality:

    Please do not use GPL3!
    says paid Microsoft shills in their plea,
    How can Microsoft steal
    or sign a patent deal?
    When you license PLEASE choose BSD.

    Somehow we must kill GPL.
    We don’t think that it is very swell.
    Hippies like it a lot!
    It’s a communist plot!
    We can’t monitize your code to sell!

  3. Yfrwlf said,

    April 3, 2009 at 11:44 am


    @Roy: Pet peeve here, but it kind of makes me cringe when software is called “technology”. Such a term migration IMO has stemmed from businesses pushing it in ads and when talking about themselves. They do so not only to make it sound like it’s “more amazing than just plain ‘software’”, but also to make it sound like it’s something special that could deserve a *patent*. IMO, everyone should call software software, because it isn’t anything special, it’s just art.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Good point. I’m a lot more careful with the word “solution”.

    Jose_X Reply:

    I cringed as well and refused to use the term for a long time.. but I caved in. I use it now as I think it gets the point across quicker sometimes.

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