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Who Promotes Mono? Microsoft and Novell

Posted in Europe, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RCA cables

Summary: New signs lead back to Microsoft (not just Novell)

IN recent posts [1, 2, 3, 4] about Richard Stallman's statement on Mono, we saw that resistance to it mostly comes from Mono developers, Novell, Microsoft and other such stake holders. We have already seen the FSF and the SFLC putting their weight behind Stallman’s statement and now there is this from the FSFE (Adriaan de Groot from the board of directors of KDE e.V.):

There have been two posts about C# and mono on PlanetKDE this week (e.g. Richard and Andreas). The comments on Andreas’ entry are quite cogent, as are those replying to Richard, but it deserves a wider audience. As far as asking RMS at Gran Canaria this weekend, it’s worth a shot if you abstract the question away from specifically-C# and specifically-mono.


This isn’t to say there’s not other submarines in the water. We don’t know. Maybe we should. The known submarine should be treated with caution. And the side of caution is to treat C# as a non-Free platform to be avoided.

Mono is a win to Windows [1, 2, 3] and it is also helping Novell, which owns Mono and has exclusivity over it (including perceived ‘protection’ from Microsoft patent assaults that target Mono). This is explicit in the Novell/Microsoft agreement. As Stefano Forenza puts it, there is “pressure Novell and Microsoft.”

Pressure Novell and Microsoft (as some of you work in both the companies) to change the agreement to look like this:

Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, Google and its affiliates hereby grant to you a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this License) patent license for patents necessarily infringed by implementation of this specification. If you institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the implementation of the specification constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses for the specification granted to you under this License shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

Is that easy. Everybody wins. Even Microsoft.

Just look what they are doing. At Novell, there is now promotion of a new conference called Monospace. Details of the registrar are “protected”, so it is hard to know who initiated the Web site, but Miguel shows that it’s probably Scott Bellware, whose blog says: “I am a recipient of Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional award.” As for the conference he seemingly sets up for Mono, its description is: “Monospace is the conference that teaches .NET software developers and organizations how to use the Mono framework to leverage investments in .NET skills on a broader array of platforms where business opportunity awaits.

Microsoft staff may openly say "Fuck you, Richard Stallman", but there are rebuttals to this disgraceful behaviour. Stallman was being polite and rational.

Does anyone still doubt Microsoft’s involvement in Mono? Some people in the Mono team itself are directly on Microsoft’s payroll (not just via Novell). Had Mono been beneficial to GNU/Linux, would Microsoft really help it? Mono is a bridge leading to Microsoft, not from Microsoft. There is even evidence.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Addendum: the gentleman who insulted Stallman has expressed regret about it and the statements should not be attributed to Microsoft.

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  1. André said,

    July 1, 2009 at 3:45 am


    C#, managed code and its class library is fantastic, it is extremely well designed software. It is Java done right. For the patents there is of course need for clarifications, but you hardly ever heard of a development platform that is enforced against developers. The simple solution is to invest in patent reform and otherwise join OIN and relax.

    — André

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    How did OIN help TomTom?

    NotZed Reply:

    I would have to disagree with the ‘Java done right’ claim. It simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    There is too much messy syntactic sugar – you don’t really know what’s going on in many cases when sometimes you need to. The compiling and linking model is more like traditional languages than Java, so you don’t benefit as much from a so-called `JIT’ compiler as you do in Java (it’s a valid trade-off to be sure, but claiming .NET CLR is in any way the same as a javavm is nonsense). The API and libraries are not as consistent or as usable as the Java ones – for example, details are abstracted too much in some places and not enough in others (Dictionary, and List, please raise your hands). And finally, as an `enterprise platform’ it is simply a joke – more like ‘visual basic for dummies’ than a real platform. Both of these last points are partly due to maturity of Java, and making the same mistakes over again (and so in fact, not learning from Java at all).

    To sum up:

    Java is a platform, .NET is only a product.

    And pretty much like everything MS has ever made, not a very good one.

    FWIW I’ve been paid to write C-# for the last 3+ years, dabbled with mono some time ago, and have been paid to write Java in the past.

    I think the patents are a pain but should not be the focus for any free software vendor. The effort to help turn what is just an MS product into a MS-controlled platform is sheer lunacy.

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