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07.01.09

Poll: 62% Don’t Trust Microsoft on Mono

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 5:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pie chart colour

Summary: A lot of news about Mono with special emphasis on key developments

A GREAT DEAL has happened [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] since Richard Stallman spoke his mind about Mono. Coverage in the press was initially scarce because Stallman’s statement had been made public just before the end of the week, but here is ZDNet UK catching up.

GNU project founder Richard Stallman has called on developers to pull back from Mono, arguing that increasing use of the open-source toolset could prompt legal action by Microsoft.

Stallman does not even say much (or anything) about the fact that Mono makes Windows stronger [1, 2, 3]. Novell makes it happen. It is almost Novell’s obligation to do so because as the SCO-faithful Maureen O'Gara put it a couple of days ago, “Of course, without Microsoft propping up its Linux business, Novell would be in the tank.” To say more on the path to Windows, watch how Novell loses to its so-called ‘partner’. From the news:

Sydney Water has decided to migrate its email platform from Novell’s GroupWise to Microsoft Outlook/Exchange and is looking for a contractor to help implement the change.

Is Novell trying to befriend the company which takes away its Netware and GroupWise customers? If so, why? And why does it help Microsoft by promoting and spreading .NET? GreyGeek writes the following in LinuxToday:

De Icaza has been trying for EIGHT YEARS to get a distro to become totally dependent on MONO, and since Novell bought De Icaza, both have increased their propaganda efforts, with the assistance of Microsoft TEs, trolls, astroturfers and fanbois.

IF MONO is what its advocates are saying it is (the best thing since sliced bread and safe to use), it would already be in widespread adoption by now. The fact that you can count dependent programs on the fingers of one hand says VOLUMES about how the Linux community as a whole totally distrusts MONO. They are right to hold that distrust.

Java is open source and is MUCH less susceptible to patent attacks. It has CONSIDERABLY MORE tools and applications built with it and for it than MONO does.

Qt4 is GPL’d and has an excellent API and development tools, bar none. It also has excellent apps built by it and tools available for it.

MONO serves no purpose, except to raise the risk of patent attack or of being left in isolation WHEN Microsoft adds extensions to .NET that patents will prevent being added to MONO. This is backwards from Microsoft’s usual attack mode.

The remainder of this comment is well worth reading.

Perhaps the most interesting finding today is this poll. Based on 557 votes in total, 62% don’t trust Microsoft on Mono (at the time of writing). Compare that to 73% who said "No" to Mono (for whatever reason). Might it be safe to infer from this that the majority of people are with Stallman on this subject?

Debian

Looking at distributions more specifically, Stallman referred to Debian as an example. One of the Debian officials wrote an open letter to Stallman. It concludes as follows:

So, Debian didn’t change “the default installation” (whatever that’s supposed to be) but the dependency of a package which is used by a minority of our users who explicitly wishes to install everything GNOME related (which is to the best of my knowledge in accordance with upstream developers who added tomboy to the default GNOME installation, too).

This is already covered by Heise

Debian – Mono is not in our default installation

[...]

In response to the open letter written by free software guru Richard Stallman about the Mono problem, Alexander Schmehl, Debian developer and spokesperson for the GNU/Linux distribution has pointed out that Debian has no plans to include the controversial programming environment in the default GNOME installation. Stallman, who opened his letter with “Debian’s decision to include Mono in the default installation, for the sake of Tomboy”, had suggested that Debian were including the Mono libraries for anyone using Debian with GNOME.

There are other noteworthy remarks and there are skeptics of Mono inside Debian. How is this for an argument?

I recently came across this very interesting article, written in 1999, which details the tactics used by Microsoft to fight IBM. They obviously saw OS/2 as a threat. Back then, Windows 95 was the trading token. They could have caused IBM a great deal of harm shall they refused to license it to them, but it seems the idea of subjugating IBM was more appealing. This is how Garry Norris (IBM) put it:

“Microsoft repeatedly said we would suffer in terms of prices, terms, conditions and support programs, as long as we were offering competing products.“

“[Microsoft] insisted that IBM sell 300,000 copies of Windows 95 in the first five months or face a 20 percent price increase“

Nice deal, eh? Make your dependancy on Windows 95 stronger, or else we’ll use your existing dependancy on Windows 95 against you. No surprise IBM abandoned the PC market. Are Red Hat and Sun/Oracle set on the same direction?

Why don’t people learn from history? It is an immense loss to ignore all these lessons. Consider what Bill Gates, for example, had to say on this subject.

Ubuntu

Canonical repeatedly insists that it will not change its Mono policy, not even after recommendations from the FSF and SFLC. There is a lot of coverage about it, such as:

  1. As It Stands, Ubuntu Has No Issues With Mono
  2. Ubuntu’s Position on Mono Revealed (Update)
  3. Mono Discussion: Stallman Warns, Ubuntu Dismissive

This comes at a price. From yesterday, for example, there is this:

Our company also takes the potential threat of patents seriously. As such we stand by the position of the SFLC, FSF and RMS in that Mono is just too dangerous.

We are therefore going to look at switching from Ubuntu to Fedora.

The threat is too great to ignore. I wish the UTB would reconsider this as more harm will come to Ubuntu rather than good.

For context, there is more in this address.

Sam Varghese cites the assessment of the SFLC and aligns this with Canonical’s relative apathy.

The Ubuntu technical board has announced that it sees no reason to consider a dependency on Mono as an issue when suggesting applications to be included in the default set included in the GNU/Linux distribution.

[...]

The Software Freedom Law Centre, which provides “legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free, Libre and Open Source Software” has a diametrically different view.

Following the statement made by Free Software Foundation chief Richard M. Stallman against Debian’s inclusion of Mono as a default, SFLC technology director, Bradley Kuhn , has written an essay, backing Stallman’s view about it being better to avoid a language like C#.

And to conclude, popular blogger devnet writes about Ubuntu’s decision: “I think this is pretty bold…they’re inviting someone to throw the first stone so to speak.

“I’m with Stallman on this one….better safe than sorry.”

“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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63 Comments

  1. Will said,

    July 1, 2009 at 6:12 pm

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    Just for clarification, how embedded will mono be in Ubuntu if things continue as they are now? Will it get to the point that ubuntu-desktop or some other metapackage required for in-place system upgrades will depend on mono?

    I’m hoping MS won’t succeed in snaring Ubuntu as this goes on. It was only a few years ago that I jumped ship from OpenSuse to Ubuntu, and Fedora is a little too bleeding edge for me. I guess there’s always Debian, if it ever comes to that.

  2. Will said,

    July 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm

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    Oh, and Mandriva, I guess. But I’ve gotten spoiled by the deb package system.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm

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    I was just about to recommend Mandriva (before your second comment). 2008.1 (Spring) never gave me RPM issues and this afternoon I burned PCLinuxOS 2009 — in order to try tomorrow while I enjoy a break.

    http://blog.mandriva.com/2007/10/31/an-open-letter-to-steve-ballmer/

  4. Ed Landaveri said,

    July 1, 2009 at 9:12 pm

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    I’m mostly a Red Hat, Fedora/CentOS guy! That’s how I started Linux 7 years ago. I got used to RPM even before YUM and when YUM was included I was hooked in. Since Fedora was to bleeding edge. I just left them on my daugther’s desktops since I have not time to build some packages that doesn’t come with CentOS.

    To most people I helped to migrate to Linux. I installed, helped with the installation with Ubuntu. This way they won’t have to tweak harder with movies, music, && plug-in issues when I’m away. But ALWAYS teach them, first thing after installation to remove mono opensourcerer style.Thanks OpenSourcer! Men, I have a feeling of kicking Ballmer’s && Icaza’s b_tts! everytime I do it or someone tells me they’ve removed it. We have to educate our people about mono dangers. Why give MS another chance to sue Linux as they have done with Tom Tom! Wake UP people! The leopard WON’T change its spots! NEVER!

    When I read that Debian which I installed on my daughters desktops since Ubuntu went the mono way was to include mono on a default installation I was disappointed since I was to help other people to migrate from Ubuntu to Debian. I hope they will leave it on the repositories where it belongs. Users MUST be free to decide if they want it or not! That’s the beauty of CHOICE! I sincerely hope they will listen the FSF && the SFLC. If not my people will go to Fedora which is becoming easier && easier for newbies.

    Let us not our guard down with MS/Novell deception! Keep up the good work!

  5. contextfree said,

    July 1, 2009 at 10:44 pm

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    The comment from “GreyGeek” makes no sense. There are quite a few great languages that haven’t been widely adopted, Ocaml for example. Meanwhile poor languages such as PHP remain extremely popular. MySQL is still more popular than PostgreSQL despite the latter’s superiority. Popularity doesn’t map to quality in any straightforward way.
    (Also posted to the LinuxToday thread.)

  6. David "Lefty" Schlesinger said,

    July 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm

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    The following comment to Mr. Blankenship’s (statistically meaningless) poll is much more worth reading:

    “This article is little more than flamebait as it stands now. I don’t believe it was your intention, but this topic deserves some more accuracy.

    The issue is not C#. C# has been standardized through Ecma and as part of that standards process Microsoft and partners had to declare that any patents they may hold on the technology behind C#, Common Language Runtime(CLR) and Common Type System(CTS) be made available to any implementor on a fair an non-discriminatory base.

    Microsofts deal with Novell has basically set the standard: Free. As Novell gets the patent licenses for free, any implementor of C#, CLR and/or CTS would be discriminated against if they had to pay.

    C# (the language) is in this respect much more open than Java. Java has open source implementations, but the all-important specification is still fully under Suns (and soon Oracles) control. As benevolent dictators Sun has for many years followed a semi-open path by relinquishing some control to the Java Community Process (JCP). But Sun was *always* at the end of the table and always reserve their right to veto or just forge ahead without the JCP. Like they did with JavaFX.

    C# cannot be changed by Microsoft alone anymore. They have to get amendments through the same Ecma/ISO channel. Of course, MS has a big saying in these matters, but even so, factually, this process protects against any patent litigation from Microsoft with respect to C#, CLR and CTS implementations.

    Now, Mono is not just C#. The Mono project also has clean-room implementations of large/most parts of the .NET Framework. Some of this Framework is also covered by the standards process patent protection, while other parts such as Windows Forms and ASP.NET are not.

    The FUD about the potential Microsoft patent litigation actually centers around these parts. The fear is that even while Mono does a clean room implementation that may still violate some patent within their implementation.

    Microsoft certainly holds many patents, and some code you write may indeed violate a Microsoft patent (where valid) or someone elses patents. What is unclear is how Mono code somehow is more prone to such infringement than other code, say Java Runtime implementations.

    You (nor Microsoft) can not patent an API. Only implementations can be patented in some jurisdictions (you can only patent how a machine *work*, not what it *does*).

    The .NET API does not mandate a specific implementation. Yes, Mono code may violate some patents, Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Apple, Rambus etc. So may any other code. To suggest that Mono code is more likely to infringe is disingenious. Simply FUD.

    Indeed, Microsoft has covered Moonlight by their Novell covenant. Moonlight (part of the Mono project) is guaranteed free from Microsoft litigation. And Microsoft has gone beyond that and offered users of Moonlight free access to Microsoft licensed (not owned by Microsoft) codecs. They could do that because anyone who downloads the codec from Microsoft are covered by Microsofts license with the IP owners.

    So, please. This is not about C#. It is just a programming language, and it is guaranteed free from MS litigation, per the terms agreed to by Microsoft as a prerequisite to standardize C#.

    Some believe that there is an issue with Monos reimplementation of the .NET Framework. However, it is hard to see how Mono code should be any more at risk than anything else.”

    Finalzone Reply:

    The fact Microsoft clearly stated they reserve the right to sue about Mono, the recent vfat saga against TomTom, the twenty years of shady tactics from Microsoft outweight Mono technical aspect. Basically the posted comment suggest to ignore those risks.

    Robert Millan Reply:

    What does “fair an non-discriminatory” mean? I understand English, but this part of your phrase was written in IP-speak.

    It is very similar to “reasonable and non-discriminatory” (RAND), so maybe it means the same. Whenever I read about RAND, I see a loaded term with an implicit point of view: “UFO terms are reasonable!”

    But I don’t agree that they are. In any case, reasonable or not, they are incompatible with free software.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#RAND

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    “Fair” and “non-discriminatory” are simple English words which mean exactly what any dictionary suggests that they do. If you find yourself having difficulty with words like “fair”, then I’d suggest that more reading (and less posting to web sites) might be in order.

    RMS (and you, now) like to claim (without particular substantiation) that RAND terms are “incompatible” or that they somehow “discriminate against” the free software community.

    (Luckily for me, I’m part of the “open source software community”, so such things don’t affect me; also, how the range of possible license arrangements that could be described as “reasonable and non-discriminatory” can somehow all be “incompatible with free software” is a complete mystery to me: if my “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” are that anyone can use my invention as they please, and I don’t expect to be paid a fee, that’s clearly pretty clearly “reasonable” and just as clearly “non-discriminatory”, yet you and RMS make a blanket claim that would cover that arrangement as well…)

    This all seems quite silly, just as much so as if you were to go in and demand some sort of special discount on your groceries by virtue of the fact that you’re a member of “the free software community”. The grocer’s turning you down doesn’t make his groceries “incompatible with free software”, as much as you might wish it did.

    You may not like the terms on some patent licenses, but it’s up the the holders of those patents to set the terms they choose. This is entirely legitimate, just as it’s entirely legitimate for a copyright holder to only use his copyright to keep others from publishing his work against his will.

    Just because something is inconvenient for you doesn’t necessarily make it “incompatible with free software”. And coming up with a new term (e.g. “UFO” vs. “RAND”) for something doesn’t change the underlying practices.

    Robert Millan Reply:

    “Fair” and “non-discriminatory” are simple English words which mean exactly what any dictionary suggests that they do. If you find yourself having difficulty with words like “fair”, then I’d suggest that more reading (and less posting to web sites) might be in order.

    I know what “fair” and “non-discriminatory” means in English. You should be aware that patent lawyers, however, speak a different language. When they say “fair” or “reasonable”, they mean “we aren’t screwing you completely”. When they say “non-discriminatory”, they mean “we’re not discriminating against anyone we care about”.

    When Ecma says “reasonable” and “non-discriminatory”, it is not English they’re using, but a variant of it, which I like to call IP-speak (as a pun on Newspeak from 1984). In IP-speak, “piracy” doesn’t mean attacking ships and murdering, but helping your friends by sharing with them. “protection” doesn’t mean preventing harm, but imposing restrictions on someone, etc.

    In English, you can say “everyone will pay, and the fee will be the same” in many different ways. One of them is “uniform fee only”. Notice that “uniform fee only” (UFO) doesn’t carry any implicit point of view in it: it merely describes reality. If I wanted to embed my particular POV in those words, I could use “tax” rather than “fee”, but I wouldn’t hide the fact that it is my opinion this is representing.

    In contract, IP-speak people like to pretend they have the right to define words like “fair”, “reasonable” or “non-discriminatory” to suit their agenda.

    Because of this, before I can establish a meaningful conversation with you, I need to know if you’re speaking English or IP-speak.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    Robert, we can’t have a meaningful discussion because, frankly, you haven’t got the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

    You should be aware that patent lawyers, however, speak a different language. When they say “fair” or “reasonable”, they mean “we aren’t screwing you completely”. When they say “non-discriminatory”, they mean “we’re not discriminating against anyone we care about”.

    You should perhaps be aware that I actually work with patent attorneys on a regular and ongoing basis, and I suspect I understand a lot more about the process than you do. When I state that, in this context, “fair” means “fair” and “non-discriminatory” means “non-discriminatory”, I am able to do so with some authority. Believe me when I tell you that no judge will interpret those terms as you suggest.

    You, on the other hand, seem to have little to offer but propaganda, and not even original propaganda at that. If you can point to a concrete instance of “fair”, “reasonable” or “non-discriminatory” being arbitrarily redefined as you’ve described and those redefinitions being supported in a court, please trot it out. I’d love to see it. If you can’t, then you’re just blowing hot air, and this site already has an ample supply of that, thanks to Roy’s efforts. Your attempts to add to that supply is literally carrying coals to Newcastle.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> “Fair” and “non-discriminatory” are simple English words which mean exactly what any dictionary suggests that they do. If you find yourself having difficulty with words like “fair”, then I’d suggest that more reading (and less posting to web sites) might be in order.

    You don’t have to search the definitions for too long, if you speak English, to realize that these words are not defined in black or white. Perhaps little English, if any, is black or white (ie, unambiguous), but surely these words are nowhere near black or white.

    When the US Constitution was created, slavery was likely considered fair and non-discriminatory in many ways by many slave holders and writers of the Constitution. I think human slavery is an example of what one group sees as fair, the other sees as unfair. There is a lot of gray, so much that some might see white where others see black.

    Jose_X Reply:

    … (cont) …

    Are you really not understanding the point Twitter is trying to get across to you?

    Since you have more experience than I do, is it your belief that the fairness of a “fair” contract term has never been disputed in court?

    I am curious as to how the body that defined RAND defines “reasonable” and “non-discriminatory”.

    Again, if anyone thinks that the application of “fair”, “reasonable”, and “non-discriminatory” has never been in dispute or that no person (or court) has ever felt the need to shed light on what might constitute something “fair”, “reasonable”, or “non-discriminatory”, then I will have to question the level of experience of such a person in understanding how these words are used in society. [I think "level of experience" is also one of those grey areas.]

    >> This all seems quite silly, just as much so as if you were to go in and demand some sort of special discount on your groceries by virtue of the fact that you’re a member of “the free software community”. The grocer’s turning you down doesn’t make his groceries “incompatible with free software”, as much as you might wish it did.

    >> You may not like the terms on some patent licenses, but it’s up the the holders of those patents to set the terms they choose.

    Fact is that if many developers and users like the protections of the GPL (and don’t think “free software” is protected enough in many cases), then the details of “fair” and “non-discriminatory” are very important to know ahead of time.

    David “Lefty” Schlesinger, since the GPL is a very popular license which has protections that other free software does not, don’t you think that the many people that value what the GPL offers will be unwilling to call “reasonable” any patent license whose protections are rejected by the GPL or are otherwise incompatible with the GPL?

    Perhaps you will be less misunderstood on this forum if you start addressing issues that affect the GPL and stop simply considering “free software” in its most general forms. This site is about protecting FOSS and not just about what is defined technically as FOSS. It’s about preventing monopolists and those working with them from exploiting the contributions of the community to protect their monopolies.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> Microsofts deal with Novell has basically set the standard: Free. As Novell gets the patent licenses for free, any implementor of C#, CLR and/or CTS would be discriminated against if they had to pay.

    Their contract was not reduced to “the terms of this contract are that Novell gets RAND and no fees.”

    They have a long contract with many stipulations.

    Did Novell get free access because they were able to offer their own set of patents to cross-license?

    Would you be considered my customer if you download software that was modified and redistributed several times since I posted it?

    Did Novell customers gain the ability to pass on this same protection from Microsoft to their customers for forks of mono and anything else related?

    Why do some people want all of these issues to be shoved under the carpet? Shouldn’t those that want mono uptake to grow be pressuring Microsoft to answer these very relevant questions that could become problems for GPL and other software depending no how these issues are ultimately resolved?

    >> What is unclear is how Mono code somehow is more prone to such infringement than other code, say Java Runtime implementations.

    Microsoft created dotnet. They didn’t create Java. http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/04/the-api-trap-part-1 . It’s much easier to generate patent infringements to your patents if people adopt API you crafted.

    >> You (nor Microsoft) can not patent an API. Only implementations can be patented in some jurisdictions (you can only patent how a machine *work*, not what it *does*).

    You should read the above trap link if you don’t understand.

    API can specify how an application (ie, “machine”) works.

    >> To suggest that Mono code is more likely to infringe is disingenious. Simply FUD.

    Consider reading the above link.

    >> C# (the language) is in this respect much more open than Java.

    Dotnet patents have particular relevance to those working on desktop software and who are impacted by Monopolysoft.

    Beyond this, I’d say that Java (platform in particular) might also be a concern, if a lesser concern, from the patent pov. I don’t know enough of the details, but I suspect your overall statements about Java did the situation injustice.

    The picture might get less cloudy after the SCOTUS rulings later this year (or next). Hopefully the rulings will turn out to bring some peace to these discussions (at least for Americans.. and depending on how much could be undone through the passage of new laws).

  7. contextfree said,

    July 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm

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    I think the C# and CLI ECMA specs specify not only RAND but also royalty-free. At any rate this discussion is somewhat outdated as only C# 1.0 and 2.0 have been standardized through ECMA. 3.0 (which Mono has implemented for a while) and the upcoming 4.0 have not been submitted to any standards body.

    Shane Coyle Reply:

    I think the C# and CLI ECMA specs specify not only RAND but also royalty-free.

    Not that I’ve seen, but I do recall a discussion here once where an interview with a Microsoft spokesperson did indeed confirm their intent to have RAND-Z terms (Reasonable and Non Discriminatory, Zero-Cost). My concern is that RAND-Z is still not necessarily GPL compatible, including (but not limited to) whether redistribution is permitted, etc.

    I’ll search through the old discussions for that link, it was right around when I actually tried to contact MS and HP for elucidation of those RAND terms. Like Sam Varghese a few months later, I had never received anything but an autoreply from HP acknowledging receipt of my emails.

    Shane Coyle Reply:

    And as “Lefty” has been pointing out, logically, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the RAND-Z/RAND-RF terms for C#/CLI aren’t GPL-Compatible, just that no one I know has ever seen them or made them public.

    Someone mentioned that the SFLC should contact MS and try to obtain the terms, I’d be all for that – FACTS trump FUD almost every time.

    (OH, and Roy- couldja fix my comment where I bungled the link? THX)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks, just done that. :-)

    Shane Coyle Reply:

    Here was that discussion – one of the more prolific ones in the site’s history, and a good read.

    During the discussion, a link to this article/interview with MS Director of Intellectual Property, Michelle Herman yielded the RAND-RF/RAND-Z confirmation:

    According to Herman, third parties will have to enter into a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) license agreement with Microsoft. “But,” says Herman, “while RAND sometimes means there could be a financial obligation, [Microsoft] …will be offering a conventional non-royalty non-fee RAND license. We’ve always made that clear to anyone who has asked.” In other words, there will be no financial obligation.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    This is Rumour Control; here are the facts.

    —Brian Glover as “Andrews” in Alien3

    Thanks for digging that up, Shane…

    twitter Reply:

    LOL, Lefty. There’s about as much fact to M$’s so called “reasonable” license as there is about UFOs and Hollywood movies. A license which has never been published can not be considered reasonable and we can not be sure of anything until M$ makes things explicit. It would take all of five minutes for them to end this issue. Until then, mono is rightly considered a trap that prudent people will avoid.

    A side issue of RAND is that no agreement which forces the receiver to recognize software patents should be considered reasonable. Software patents are a contentious issue, even in US courts, which are well out of line with informed US opinion. Software patents are business method patents and should never have been recognized or enforced in the US.

    G. Michaels Reply:

    LOL, Lefty.

    LOL Willy, IP law does not disappear or change because you don’t like it.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    Hm. On the one hand, I have a sourced and attributed quote from Microsoft’s head of IP saying “No fees.” on the other hand, I have a “twit” going “LOL”.

    twitter Reply:

    It is amazing how you can read things and see what you want, Lefty. Do people pay you to think like that?

    You have a ZDNet reporter saying “no fees,” his interpretation of RAND. Roy has sourced many other Novell and M$ executives saying that no one but Novell has a license to use mono. In short, everyone else has nothing. Novell’s magical mono license has never been published, but we do know that M$ gave Novell a lot of money to accept it. I’m afraid it was a bad investment for M$ to make right before the Biski decision. We can all be sure M$ intended to get their money back in FUD and shakedowns. From what I see here, even the FUD is a bad investment. All they have managed to do is waste their own money and Novell’s time. The net result is that more people understand how devious and dishonest M$ is.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    It is amazing how you can read things and see what you want, Lefty.

    Actually, it’s more amazing that you can ignore what’s clearly right in front of your eyes, not to mention quoted in full a few comments up. I am forced to suspect reading comprehension issues, frankly.

    Do people pay you to think like that?

    If you mean clearly, coherently, and in possession of the actual facts, then yes, they do.

    You have a ZDNet reporter saying “no fees,” his interpretation of RAND.

    Let’s look at that quote which you seem to be unable to comprehend again.

    According to [Microsoft's director of intellectual property Michele] Herman, third parties will have to enter into a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) license agreement with Microsoft. “But,” says Herman, “while RAND sometimes means there could be a financial obligation, [Microsoft] …will be offering a conventional non-royalty non-fee RAND license. We’ve always made that clear to anyone who has asked.

    (Emphasis added for the reality-impaired.)

    Now, that’s not “a ZDNET reporter”, that’s Microsoft’s intellectual property chief. And there’s no “interpretation” necessary of “non-royalty, non-fee”: it simply means what it says, i.e. they won’t charge a royalty and they won’t charge a fee. It’s clearly neither a statement nor an interpretation the reporter made, it’s a clear, simple and straightforward statement that Microsoft made.

    Which seems to have somehow completely escaped you. (Hence the name, I suppose, although I continue to feel there’s a syllable too many there, and it’s not the first one…)

    If Roy has “sourced” such statements, then the authoritative statement quoted in the ZDNET article, made by a person who’s clearly the authority in this context, completely undercuts them; I’d have to take that public statement as being the fact of the matter (as would any judge in the world, by the way).

    I find nothing controversial or unusual in the other terms. You’re fomenting a lot of imaginings about the agreement between Novell and Microsoft (which I think was a silly and unnecessary move on Novell’s part, by the way), but you’ve got no actual facts with which to back up those turgid imaginings.

  8. Patent Sleuth said,

    July 4, 2009 at 12:56 pm

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    I have stated a project to track which patents Linux infringes today to highlight the problem that the patent world has today.

    This will be an effort to identify patents that Microsoft has, and to find workarounds for those.

    The introduction is here:

    http://linuxpatents.blogspot.com/2009/07/introduction-post-patent-day-project.html

    This is an effort to highlight “one day, one patent”. Please join me in finding these elusive patents. I have an inaugural patent listed, so we can all get started on working on finding prior-art or removing the functionality:

    http://linuxpatents.blogspot.com/2009/07/patent-5892904-code-certification-for.html

    Jose_X Reply:

    You have replies on your identical comment here: http://boycottnovell.com/2009/07/01/patent-racketeering-myhrvold/comment-page-1/#comment-69063

  9. Jose_X said,

    July 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Gravatar

    >> third parties will have to enter into a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) license agreement with Microsoft. “But,” says Herman, “while RAND sometimes means there could be a financial obligation, [Microsoft] …will be offering a conventional non-royalty non-fee RAND license.”

    Maintaining periodic contact and paperwork with Microsoft to avoid losing the license is one example that is not reasonable and non-discriminatory when you consider many FOSS use cases and stakeholders, yet, for all I know, courts might have ruled these things to be reasonable and non-discriminatory practice among most patent licensors/ees. Dotnet is their area to exploit.

    >> There’s about as much fact to M$’s so called “reasonable” license as there is about UFOs and Hollywood movies.

    Microsoft and mono supporters saying that mono is safe appear to want the dotnet products to be bought up by us before these things have been cleared up.

    Of course, we can’t forget about patent trolls, especially those closely related to Microsoft: http://boycottnovell.com/2009/07/01/patent-racketeering-myhrvold/comment-page-1/#comment-69063

    This isn’t just about getting a reprieve from Microsoft because Microsoft can leverage their large investments (patents) protecting their investments (dotnet work) through third parties.

  10. KiL said,

    July 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not that it would take great efforts to get rid of Mono in Ubuntu, just remove Tomboy and Beagle, remove mono and then install “mononono” (http://tim.thechases.com/mononono/) which is a programme that deliberately causes a conflict with mono, so that you can’t inadvertently install it when you install an application that would depend on it.

    I personally somehow miss Gnome Do, but found to my surprise that even Google Desktop Search is a nice replacement (there are others, but I didn’t like them).

    eet Reply:

    So, rather than using a free software which is GPL’d but which you fear might or might not at some distant time in the future be indirectly threatened by a mysterious patent threat – rather than using Mono, you use a 100% proprietary and un-free software that is (c) Google?

    Congratulations, that is a great solution. Being so afraid of what scary things Microsoft might do against free software that you willfully use proprietary software by a corporate giant.

    /shakes head

    Jose_X Reply:

    That’s how bad Microsoft is!

    http://opensource.org/node/445
    >> On the alarm front, I heard specific confirmation of a storyline I’ve been following, which is that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is basically telling governments: if you want contributions/investments from us, then you’ll give Microsoft cabinet-level access to inform policy, and you’ll use Microsoft products.

    Talk about abusing nonprofits, free software, … just name it … in order to advance their private interests.

    eet Reply:

    Again, hearsay by a source we do not know dressed as fact.

    Carlos Reply:

    “That’s how bad Microsoft is!”.

    My dear José, dude, you can’t be FUCKING serious when you say something like that, specially when you have tried, sometimes without success, to prove something.

    Dude, put it in perspective: change a free impl and use a 100% propietary one instead, just becase “that’s how bad MS is?”?

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

    I always try to be a little respectful (as opposed to you, who seem to enjoy using negative terms such M$), but you need to read what paranoia is.

    I won’t read your comments if you include things like: “this is how ms is” or “RMS said” or “incompatible with GPL”.

    PD – Dude, “specific confirmation”? Come ooooooooooooooon. Dude, plain FUD, FUD, FUD. And paranoia, of course.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    “That’s how bad Microsoft is!”

    No, Jose, that’s how monomaniacally obsessive you folks are. In your quest to escape the grips of your Great Satan, you embrace the very proprietary software you profess to abhor. Those who hunt monsters have indeed become monsters themselves!

    As for the rest, that “specific confirmation” seems remarkably nonspecific. Did it come from a small bird? The voice of God, perhaps?

    Jose_X Reply:

    eet, that was hearsay, but that doesn’t make it false. I don’t verify or have a way to verify most things I read online. Recounting almost anything from the evening news is hearsay. Do you ever accept as true anything you see on television or hear from anyone? If you do, I’m sorry, but any testifying you do over the “facts” of what you heard will be called hearsay. Are you now going to stop believing everything you have not immediately experienced?

    Carlos, perhaps you misread what I wrote. I was quoting someone else. I don’t use “M$”, but I don’t mind those that do. There is good reason to see Microsoft as primarily concerned with making money. .. Dude, if you don’t want to read comments about incompatibilities with the GPL then don’t. That’s your choice.

    FWIW, I was not being specific over incompatibilities with the GPL, but I had the following basic idea in mind:

    From http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html [.. this link is currently to GPLv3]
    >> If you convey a covered work, knowingly relying on a patent license, and the Corresponding Source of the work is not available for anyone to copy, free of charge and under the terms of this License, through a publicly available network server or other readily accessible means, then you must either (1) cause the Corresponding Source to be so available, or (2) arrange to deprive yourself of the benefit of the patent license for this particular work, or (3) arrange, in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License, to extend the patent license to downstream recipients. “Knowingly relying” means you have actual knowledge that, but for the patent license, your conveying the covered work in a country, or your recipient’s use of the covered work in a country, would infringe one or more identifiable patents in that country that you have reason to believe are valid.

    >> My dear José, dude, you can’t be FUCKING serious when you say something like that

    Dude, be more specific.

    I was not being 100% serious because eet was not being 100% accurate.

    [David "Lefty" Schlesinger] >> As for the rest, that “specific confirmation” seems remarkably nonspecific.

    You would have to ask M Tiemann. I don’t think he or I were claiming to pass on that “specific confirmation”. He blogged that he got specific confirmation he was looking for. I linked to his comment. Now you know you can call him up if you want to know more details.

    I have read numerous times of the B&M Foundry giving out significant payments towards Microsoft software. If this isn’t Bill taking money from his left pocket to place in his right (more or less), please explain.

    Michael was writing about actually having this sort of left to right pocket action become a requirement (formally or informally).

    I am not stating Michael is correct, but I assumed he was likely mostly correct.

    Does anyone here think that the decisions over software donations by the B&M Foundation are made with no regard to what would benefit Microsoft [directly or even indirectly]. It’s tough to prove anything without something “juicy”, but I would be curious to know if someone here thinks that what benefits Bill through his other investments is not being considered by the B&M Foundry .. Foundation?

    >> No, Jose, that’s how monomaniacally obsessive you folks are. In your quest to escape the grips of your Great Satan, you embrace the very proprietary software you profess to abhor. Those who hunt monsters have indeed become monsters themselves!

    No embracing of proprietary here.

    However, I am not above using a piece of proprietary software if I thought the alternative would have a worse effect all around. For example, I don’t like google proprietary software and just haven’t found a need for it, but I have used, use, or would use nvidia closed source drivers and adobe closed source flash plugins. I also have created and leverage data that is likely stored on proprietary servers running proprietary software [eg, when dealing with various companies].

    Making certain compromises is very difficult to avoid at times or makes it easier to break Microsoft’s widespread and very strong proprietary lock-in [I'm not just talking about myself, but about compromises others might strike.]

    Short-term compromise to help resolve a larger issue.

    As to how using mono helps Microsoft, that has been stated over and over (eg, http://np237.livejournal.com/24790.html?view=179158#t179158 ).

    Hey, I’ll just post that comment here in its entirety (I wrote it).

    Jose_X Reply:

    [Comment written at other link just mentioned...]

    >> However the Debian policy with patents is to put them in a trash and pee on them

    This stream of energy can be channeled in the direction of the US Supreme Court which will address (software) patents later on this year. If you (the reader) care about (eg) mono and having users/devs/biz keep their rights and choices, you should try to write something up for the event.

    This online comment talks about latches and weakening your case by allowing patent infringements: http://forum.freeadvice.com/patents-104/statute-limitations-patent-infringement-349619.html . The news is both good and bad.

    We know people seek damages way after they know of violations (or else they keep their eyes/ears shut). This has happened many times before, in fact, I think it is standard practice. With respect to Microsoft, some have been saying that the reason they have not replied to those seeking a license is because of bureaucracies. That’s an excuse for them to have lagged.

    The comment does suggest that in some cases the burden of justification shifts dramatically to the plaintiff if they go beyond 6 years. This is good but bad because it still leaves so much room open, especially if plaintiff+proxies have truckloads of patents being churned out each year. You always have new patents available for every one that becomes difficult to enforce in court and win.

    This patent http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7017162.html is an example of one where you might get into trouble as you start to expand your use of mono into application domains (even if you avoid aspdotnet since this patents attempts to cover other similar uses). It shows that the threats lie beyond using mono itself to actually doing interesting things while using it.

    So Microsoft gets a bunch of years lead time over its competitors. They can sit on the patents and selectively choose to use them here or there.

    It might make sense for Canonical to be aggressive and public about their use of mono and force Microsoft’s hand, but there is still an awful lot of advantages, time, and FUD that Microsoft gains when you go play on their turf.

    Hopefully the SCOTUS will neuter Microsoft. If not, at least mono devs will be able to move to C++, Java, vala, and many other things.

    >> It is stealing customers from their best and most advanced product, their lead development framework.

    I think it is a great idea to go after MSdotnet developers, but growing the dotnet market helps the company most heavily vested in dotnet and current provider of the most functionality around dotnet. They have many years to work with *for each patent they hold.* The patents might not affect some core software devs directly, but growing mindshare means many customers (employing in-house devs) will get letters and offers saying they should move to the protected dotnet or face litigation for infringing on many patents. The customers will have a lot invested in dotnet (making a move to java or something else uncomfortable and costlier than ideal), and many will not risk a huge lawsuit on what will be clear violations (since the patent descriptions and actual technology are so similar).

    So anyone trying to move into Microsoft’s market (as Canonical might like to do) while using dotnet/clones will have their work cut out for them in terms of convincing customers to avoid Microsoft. Will Canonical indemnify all of their customers? How much leverage will they yield and how costly will it be to go up against Microsoft on dotnet patents? It’s painful to fight a strong enemy on their terms. The end result you might eventually realize is that you should back off or deal under terms very favorable to them. It’s one thing for a large company to fight off a few patents at a time. It’s another to have potentially thousands to fight off at once and coming at you from many different proxies.

    Of course, the situation improves a lot if software patents lose their legal status.

    Jose_X Reply:

    Mono helps Microsoft.

    Microsoft gets developers to invest in dotnet (or clones) and users to get used to those applications. Microsoft can be persuasive in getting many businesses or other users to move to or to stay on the real MSdotnet. These groups are already used to the apps or have invested lots of code supporting it. Microsoft holds the patent cards. Microsoft’s implementations (besides hiding lockin extensions and bugs) have a lead time in functionality over competitors. Anyone that gets too successful with a competing platform or alternative will have to answer to the piper in some way. “Taxes” of these sort can keep competitors in check and even drive them out of business (especially when combined with other monopoly levers). All dotnet/mono/etc FOSS apps are likely to be extended to work with extra functionality on Windows.

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Basically, growing dotnet makes Microsoft stronger at the cost of whoever else services the competing technologies. And what really counts is relative strength. Time spent on dotnet is time not spent elsewhere.

    When it comes to cloning, Monopolysoft is not like the old UNIX vendors. Monopolysoft is craftier, less tolerant of competition, and has more weapons (eg, software patents).

    So yes, a little proprietary here or there, in order to avoid strengthening Microsoft, is likely a good move. Usually proprietary can be avoided, but before strengthening Monopolysoft’s grip, I’ll accept some select pieces of proprietary from third party sources.

    eet Reply:

    >eet, that was hearsay, but that doesn’t make it false.

    And that is precisely where you go wrong.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> >eet, that was hearsay, but that doesn’t make it false.
    >> And that is precisely where you go wrong.

    We make assumptions all the time. Don’t penalize me over being open about some of the assumptions I am making and why. It’s OK to assume the sun will rise the next day or to trust people that have said they have made some measurements, studied the situation, made heavy calculations, and convinced themselves of the inevitableness of the next sunrise.

    I choose to give value to certain hearsay more than to other, and I’m not claiming I have evidence of an open and shut case.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    It might make sense for Canonical to be aggressive and public about their use of mono…

    What would you like them to do? Hire the Goodyear Blimp? Have “I use Mono!” tattooed on all Canonical employees foreheads? It’s no secret that Mono is widely used, and not just by Canonical.

    Why don’t you guys simply find a distribution that you and Richard Stallman can agree on, and you go your way and Canonical can go theirs?

    By the way, I was present at Richard’s keynote here at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit. The general consensus here that it was a thoroughly shameful display.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> Why don’t you guys simply find a distribution that you and Richard Stallman can agree on

    I don’t think we use the same distro(s), you’ll be disappointed to hear.

    Richard likes a distro he can feud with much more than I do.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Richarddawson.jpg

  11. David "Lefty" Schlesinger said,

    July 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Gravatar

    You would have to ask M Tiemann. I don’t think he or I were claiming to pass on that “specific confirmation”.

    I don’t have to ask anyone anything, you’re the one passing along unsubstantiated rumors, rumors with which you are continuing to waste my time. As for the rest, justify things however you like, but the inconsistencies in the positions being espoused here have gone beyond ludicrous.

    You folks must check under your beds before you turn out the lights to make sure Microsoft isn’t under there.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> I don’t have to ask anyone anything, you’re the one passing along unsubstantiated rumors, rumors with which you are continuing to waste my time.

    Then don’t ask and don’t waste your time. If you decide you care about information someone has related to the topic mentioned above then ask that person. No one is dragging you into court to hear anything by anyone. I presume you view that person to be a liar or confused. That’s fine.

    End of that subthread.

    >> but the inconsistencies in the positions being espoused here have gone beyond ludicrous.

    No need to be specific, of course, since these are your parting words.

    Till next time… different time, different place, but very possibly same topic ( http://boycottnovell.com/2009/06/28/verdict-on-mono-responses/comment-page-1/#comment-68833 ) ..

    >> You folks must check under your beds before you turn out the lights to make sure Microsoft isn’t under there.

    No, I don’t do that, but I would get a kick knowing you turn out the lights every night in your house only after checking for traces of Roy by the fireplace: coal for you again this year for being naughty like Novell.

    JohnD Reply:

    Lol, dude too funny. I’ve thought the same thing many times.

    rene levesque-caline Reply:

    >rumors with which you are continuing to waste my time.

    Please….
    You enjoy wasting my time with your predictable piffle lite and you know what I usually do?
    Scroll over your posts since you have nothing of value to offer.
    You are eet in a different costume. (well, youre not illiterate at least)

    Youre raison d’etre is to come and bitch and whine so if you dont want to waste time, dont.
    But no, you will be back like a bad rash and still waste your time, then you’ll blame someone else for it.
    Sounds like an addiction problem there buddy boy.
    Some people are addicted to meth, some to online porn and I guess you can get addicted to Boycottnovell.com as well.

    RCL

  12. eet said,

    July 6, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Gravatar

    [i]We make assumptions all the time. Don’t penalize me over being open about some of the assumptions I am making and why. It’s OK to assume the sun will rise the next day or to trust people that have said they have made some measurements, studied the situation, made heavy calculations, and convinced themselves of the inevitableness of the next sunrise.

    I choose to give value to certain hearsay more than to other, and I’m not claiming I have evidence of an open and shut case. [/i]
    You don’t make any sense, Jose.

    You are trusting an unknown source because you like what he/she says (‘certain hearsay’); you DO NOT know that sources reliability, you do not even know its identity. And this hasn’t got anything to do with the predictability of natural phenomena (‘It’s OK to assume the sun will rise the next day’)…

    Please stop waisting our time.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> You are trusting an unknown source because you like what he/she says (’certain hearsay’); you DO NOT know that sources reliability, you do not even know its identity.

    I’m familiar with Michael Tiemann (at least through online presence). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Tiemann

    >> And this hasn’t got anything to do with the predictability of natural phenomena

    The sun example was an extreme case to show that we always place some amount of trust in others and in indirect experiences (hearsay).

    eet Reply:

    >I’m familiar with Michael Tiemann (at least through online >presence). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Tiemann

    Are you deliberately playing dumb ? Michael Tiemann is not your source but he’s only saying he knows something through an unknown source.

  13. Jose_X said,

    July 6, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Gravatar

    We now have this to work with: http://port25.technet.com/archive/2009/07/06/the-ecma-c-and-cli-standards.aspx

    >> I have some good news to announce: Microsoft will be applying the Community Promise to the ECMA 334 and ECMA 335 specs.

    Shane Coyle Reply:

    Well, it’s 5:30AM and I’m just checking some feeds before leaving for work – but this looks like good news, no?

    Under the Community Promise, Microsoft provides assurance that it will not assert its Necessary Claims against anyone who makes, uses, sells, offers for sale, imports, or distributes any Covered Implementation under any type of development or distribution model, including open-source licensing models such as the LGPL or GPL.

    I’m sure there will be bickering and nitpicking about defining ‘covered implementations’ or whatever, but perhaps all the noise reverberating around the community over this for some time actually had a positive outcome.

    Perhaps.

    Roy Bixler Reply:

    This does sound like a good first step but I suspect, as with all legal matters, that the devil is in the details. For example, what is the definition of a “covered implementation” and does Mono meet that definition? If not, is there a subset of it which is “covered” and how significant are the non-covered bits?

    Shane Coyle Reply:

    From Miguel’s blog:

    Astute readers will point out that Mono contains much more than the ECMA standards, and they will be correct.

    In the next few months we will be working towards splitting the jumbo Mono source code that includes ECMA + A lot more into two separate source code distributions. One will be ECMA, the other will contain our implementation of ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Winforms and others.

    Shane Coyle Reply:

    My lingering questions would be where is HP in this, and also what were the terms prior to this announcement?

    Miguel pointed to this zdnet article as the prior terms, but I can’t believe he just skimmed over the section that explained just how incompatible with the GPL they were.

    Sub-licensing is the stipulation that enrages open-source advocates. If an open-source developer agrees to the license, the resulting implementation cannot be re-licensed under something like the General Public License (GPL). According to Herman, “the field of use (you get a license only to implement the standard for the purpose of conformance) and the prohibition on sub-licensing are inconsistent with the requirements of Sec. 7 of the GPL. Sec. 7 of the GPL says that if you do not have the rights to distribute the code as required under the GPL then you do not have the right to distribute at all. The GPL says you must have the rights to sublicense and to freely modify outside the field of use limitation.

    JohnD Reply:

    With all due respect Shane, the majority of posts on this site regarding Mono have been with regard to M$ being able to sue for patent infringement. I can’t even remember a post where someone questioned downstream licensing. They finally put the IP infringement issue to bed and you have to quibble over people not being able to put their Mono code under the GPL. Honestly who cares? If a developer wants to put his/her code in the public domain then they can use a different tool.
    I firmly believe that Mono project is headed in the right direction. As I’ve posted elsewhere: Easy app dev is one of the biggest reasons MS was able to dethrone Netware. Mono gives Windows developers a familiar tool to start developing on the Linux platform. Now they don’t have to go out an learn a whole new tool set . The issue then becomes what’s the most cost effective dev and deployment on Linux or Windows? That’s how Linux will gain market share in corporations.

    Shane Coyle Reply:

    I have indeed in the past expressed my concern about precisely these aspects of the issue, especially downstream licensing, if it doesn’t interest you fine – I couldn’t give a fig about anyone’s market share, for instance.

    I’ve said before that I believe Mono has always been Free Software that seemed to go further than the ECMA spec, which (until just now) no one knew for sure what the RAND-RF terms were, and I specifically inquired about the ability to comply with the GPL and MS’ unknown terms (which I thought most of Mono has been distributed under for all this time, am I wrong?).

    I also don’t really care what MS’ terms are, just that they are publicly known, I’m not a license snob and I don’t even hate proprietary software.

    I readily applaud this move, now we have factual info on the licensing and patent issue in regards to the ECMA specs. You can implement exactly the spec, no more no less, and you’re covered. Fine, just want to know the rules.

    But, it’s also instructive that no one really knew the rules before today. Or, at least, I find that part interesting.

    JohnD Reply:

    From what I’ve read it seems that what Miguel has been saying about Mono all along has been true, the only thing that has changed is that someone from MS finally came out and said it.
    While I would be the first to ask for clarification on anything dealing with MS, I’ve never seen Mono as the path to the darkside as Roy has portrayed it. It would seem that Roy’s assumption of doom is no longer correct, yet he remains silent on the subject. While I realize that he may be otherwise engaged (hopefully with something pleasant) I would expect him to at least acknowledge that Mono didn’t exactly pan out the way he thought it would.
    What I find interesting is that many people read about RAND etc and chose to look for ways that MS work it to it’s advantage instead of taking it at face value.

    Jose_X Reply:

    JohnD, I agree this is apparently an improvement, but it doesn’t begin to address the patent problems you get into once you go beyond the basic apps. See this http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-07-06-026-35-OS-MS-LL-0001 for example. As boycottnovell has quoted from Comes, Microsoft’s strategy going as far back as a decade, when dotnet was very fresh or not even out, was to get people to adopt their standards, where patents would be used afterwards to protect areas beyond the standardized components.

    Microsoft does not need patents to abuse the market. They already benefit from dotnet/mono adoption by leading the charge on dotnet and running a closed source feature-rich monopoly where their undocumented extensions and bugs create interop issues for challengers. They “should” yield on patents everywhere. http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-07-06-026-35-OS-MS-LL-0003 and http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10280924-16.html .

    The new announcement also doesn’t address the patent trolls who buy Microsoft’s dotnet patents. We know two major players from Microsoft’s recent past are major patent trolls. And to repeat, we know Microsoft looks towards patents as a means to fight off FOSS and Linux. They gain by creating as many API/interfaces/specs that infringe on their patents. Third party trolls provide a way around all of these promises of them not to sue.

    It also doesn’t address that the mono devs can’t deviate from the required elements of the spec (while keeping the patent pledges) if they thought a different path from the spec (and in conflict with it) would result in a superior approach.

    As a special case of not covering extensions, their pledges don’t cover future versions of the ECMA standards, either.

    All of these issues are repeatedly brought up on this site. In fact, almost always when I talk about patent issues, I consider that core mono might already be quasi-protected or outright protected through some sort of promise.

    With so many weapons accessible, one might think that it is the company’s paranoia (the famous mentality Gates has talked about) which would be responsible for them not having made this move earlier.

    And note one more thing. Microsoft’s move (though I still think it is unofficial at this point in time) comes on the heels of people reacting badly to Ubuntu’s mono moves. Eg, http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2009070400635OSUB . Ubuntu has the potential to help mono spread, but only if Microsoft cooperates enough to pacify many developers and people who help Ubuntu spread. Maybe this is just coincidence (I doubt it). Maybe it is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Who knows?

    >> What I find interesting is that many people read about RAND etc and chose to look for ways that MS work it to it’s advantage instead of taking it at face value.

    I find it interesting that you find this normal behavior interesting.

    What does face value mean? If there is one thing Microsoft and its multiple armies of lawyers have done in the past is to exploit loopholes very well. Look at their stock options income tax benefit exploitation/mastery ( http://www.billparish.com/msftfraudfacts.html ). Look at how Gates avoided paying taxes when realizing huge profits from MSFT (near its high point) as he moved it to a vehicle he controls and uses to noticeably help his pharm and software investments (the B&M Foundation) while preserving his principal. Look at what Microsoft did to Spyglass with what was to become Internet Explorer (what loophole! it’s allowed by the contract). Look at how they turned an academic environment that works almost exclusively through full consensus (ISO) into a laughing stock institution shown to be extremely vulnerable to vote stuffing. The list of times and ways in which Microsoft has exploited loopholes or outsmarted their adversaries is very long.

    It’s not just Microsoft that takes advantage of loopholes, of course, but they do that quite a bit and quite nicely if they think they will benefit overall. Many would simply call this smart. I mean, if the contract allows it, why not? Even if it is unexpected or was likely to have been overlooked. Even if it is “unethical”, right? [This is a mentality some use routinely to conduct business -- it's especially true of those that feel safe from prosecution or losing market share or sales.]

    Hey, didn’t at least one Microsoft exec say that their licensing of the ECMA specs was not compatible with the GPL or something like that?

    JohnD, if you cannot figure out why we would not give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, you should watch out because you are ripe for exploitation.

  14. David "Lefty" Schlesinger said,

    July 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Sounds as though the rug’s been pulled out from under you folks. Guess Roy’s going to have to find a new hobby. There’s always exposing the Illuminati, or Fu Manchu, or something, I suppose.

    rene levesque-caline Reply:

    >There’s always exposing the Illuminati, or Fu Manchu, or >something, I suppose. \

    And you’ll be right there moaning and bitching because you are what you are.

  15. JohnD said,

    July 6, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Gravatar

    Hmm, no site updates in a while, maybe Roy has a new friend that’s keeping him from his work.

    eet Reply:

    Without a doubt he had to put in an extra hour or two of truth-twisting and fact-bending after learning the news.

    JohnD Reply:

    It looks like he stopped posting well before the news came out. I guess someone is really rocking his world. I’m hoping that Miguel’s decision to split Mono apart will help convince people that he’s trying to make Mono a tool for getting people to develop on Linux instead of Windows.

  16. Jose_X said,

    July 8, 2009 at 1:02 am

    Gravatar

    Maybe I should have posted this down here as a general reply.

    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/07/01/mono-poll-on-rms/comment-page-1/#comment-69143

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    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  5. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  6. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  7. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  8. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  9. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  10. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  11. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  12. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  14. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  15. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  16. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  17. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)



  18. Systems Can Crash and People Can Die by Changing Language (Even in Parameter and Function Space) to Appease Activists

    It seems clear that Intel takes the lead in trying to change Linux not in technical means but purely social means; even when (and where) that can compromise the robustness of the kernel (Intel is nowadays known for profoundly defective chips with back doors)



  19. António Campinos Should Speak to Peasants, Not Litigation Lawyers

    Mr. Campinos does not work for campinos but against campinos; he represents the people who sue or threaten them using ludicrous patents that should never have been granted (e.g. in Ethiopia)



  20. Christine Lambrecht (German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection) Ignores the Fact That Even Patent Experts Reject the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The debacle single-handedly caused by and attributable to Christine Lambrecht, who is eager to appease litigation lawyers, is made yet worse by the fact that people in this domain/profession reject what she's trying to ram down people's throats



  21. [Humour] The Linux Foundation is Not Even Using Linux

    The Linux Foundation does not support Linux except in name; it is important to remember that



  22. Microsoft Loves Power

    An explanation of why Microsoft says it loves this and that; Microsoft lacks the capacity to love or to express empathy as it's always about self gratification or coercion, nothing else



  23. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 04, 2020



  24. Indoors Society, Shut the Windows

    Times are changing in all sorts of ways; it seems like GNU/Linux and other Free/libre operating systems may emerge as winners when the 'dust settles'



  25. Allegation That Microsoft Adopted the Mentality of Suicide Bombers Against Linux, Leaks Reveal

    Looking at leaked E-mails from around the time Microsoft used Cyanogen as a 'proxy', we're finding some stunning admissions or speculation about the real motivations



  26. [Humour] A Union in Whose Interests?

    The union-busting 'yellow union' (the one that helped Benoît Battistelli marginalise SUEPO) is unable to represent staff any longer



  27. FFPE EPO Has Rendered Itself Obsolete by Liaising With Benoît Battistelli

    FFPE EPO has been left out of staff representation, demonstrating that liaising with the oppressor is a self-deprecating move which must be avoided (the only remaining potent union is SUEPO)



  28. Links 4/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 'Personal Edition', Atari VCS Coming Soon

    Links for the day



  29. [Humour/Meme] The 'New' Edge (Chrome Copycat) is Already Dead, So Microsoft is Trying to Just Kill the Competition

    Edge market share is so minuscule that it doesn’t even make it into this chart (it’s in “other”); no wonder Microsoft now bullies Windows users into using it, for users reject it even after months of endless advertising/AstroTurfing and aggressive exploitation/appropriation



  30. Fourth of July in the United Kingdom and the United States

    In these bizarre times Independence Day is still being celebrated, even as so many people are out of work, running out of hope and being fed xenophobia in social control media with a racist 'celebrity' president (the "user in chief")


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