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07.09.09

Reader’s Article: Microsoft’s Empty “Community Promise” (Mono) is a Sham

Posted in ECMA, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 3:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

…or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Look at the Wookie.

Misdirection is a curious thing, and in the hands of Microsoft “evangelists” (such as Miguel de Icaza), it’s positively dangerous.

Apparently, de Icaza is slavering [1] over Microsoft’s recent announcement [2] that they “will be applying the Community
Promise [3] to the ECMA 334 and ECMA 335 specs”.

That’s nice.

So now the pro-MONOpolists have three things to cheer about:

1. Poisoning Free Software with Microsoft’s IP (and paradigm)
2. The ECMA RAND /price/ guarantee
3. Microsoft’s misleading “covenant”

Let’s look at these in more detail.

First, if we naively assume there are in fact zero “IP” risks involved in implementing C#/CLI, that still leaves the question of why should the Free Software community help spread Microsoft’s standards, regardless of how “safe” any of those standards might be?

After all, Microsoft is the self-declared enemy of Free Software, they think it’s “a cancer”, and that GNU/Linux is “Microsoft’s number one competitor”. Their criminal and unethical behaviour alone, over the last three decades, should be sufficient reason to not want to help them, but given the very obvious conflicts of interest here, I’d say it’s patently obvious there must be a catch. Microsoft is not the sort of company that helps its competitors … ever, not unless it can work some nefarious angle (embrace, extend, and extinguish).

Historically, and still to this day (OOXML), Microsoft uses its proprietary, reinvented “standards” to try to squash all competition, by tying those “standards” to software that’s bundled with nearly all PCs, by OEMs, under financial coercion [4] [5].

Bear in mind that this devious “standards” tactic is the key weapon Microsoft uses to protect its monopoly.

Is this something we should be helping them with?

“Microsoft is not the sort of company that helps its competitors … ever, not unless it can work some nefarious angle (embrace, extend, and extinguish).”The second point, and I’ll make it brief since there’s very little to discuss about it, is that the ECMA RAND is only a guarantee of fair price (parity). It has nothing whatsoever to do with Microsoft’s rights to sue you for patent violation. A classic misdirection used by the pro-MONOpolists.

The final, and most pertinent point, is that Microsoft’s so-called “Community Promise” is just another misdirection, because its “truths” are incomplete, in some cases questionable, and in yet other cases wholly irrelevant (essentially non sequitur).

Here’s a simple analysis:

The “covenant” (and the RAND) do not apply to large portions of .NET (e.g. ASP.NET, ADO.NET and Winforms). This is significant because it means .NET programs which utilise these components will not be (legally) interoperable with systems running Mono. This means there will be great disparity between C# programs on Windows and their ports on GNU/Linux, and this fact will be abused by Microsoft to promote Windows as the “better” system. It will also have the effect of attracting Mono developers over to Windows, who may subsequently abandon GNU/Linux. It may even represent an actual “IP” risk, if de Icaza and friends are not entirely vigilant (or possibly if they’re complicit with Microsoft’s anti-Free Software agenda. At this point, anything’s possible).

The “covenant” conveniently ignores these essential details.

Microsoft also makes a big deal out of its claim that this “covenant” is “legally binding”. Well, is it? Not really. It’s not legally binding in the sense that an actual patent grant is, since that is an explicit contract with a named party. It may become legally binding … if used as a challenge in court. But of course it does actually need to be tested in court /first/. If you were, for example, Red Hat, would you want to be the guinea pig? Oh how Microsoft would love the opportunity to squash that piggy.

In fact, it’s debatable whether they’d even be covered by this “covenant” at all, since (in Microsoft’s own words) “The CP applies only if the implementation conforms fully to required portions of the specification. Partial implementations are not covered” … and “The Community Promise applies to all existing versions of the specifications”. So this raises the questions what is covered, and exactly how feasible is it to implement this “full specification” under Mono (or DotGNU, or any other unlicensed implementation)? Even more importantly, what will not be covered in the future, as and when the specifications change?

Oh yes, Microsoft also make a big deal about their claim that these rights are “irrevocable”, but they fail to clarify that these
“irrevocable rights” only apply to the standard as it stands today. And we all know how Microsoft loves to “extend” things, don’t we?

So in summary, Microsoft’s “promise” is worthless, irrelevant, and entirely misleading. I’m sure it’ll bring a brief moment of euphoria to the pro-MONOpolists, who will now believe they have a new argument to support their aspirations to poison Free Software with Microsoft’s toxin, but in the long term it amounts to nothing. Nothing but trouble, at least.
____
[1] http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2009/Jul-06.html
[2] http://port25.technet.com/archive/2009/07/06/the…
[3] http://www.microsoft.com/interop/cp/default.mspx
[4] http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200…
[5] http://www.birdhouse.org/beos/byte/30-boot…

Analysis by Slated

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today among human creatures.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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45 Comments

  1. eet said,

    July 9, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Gravatar

    >their aspirations to poison Free Software with Microsoft’s toxin

    You really are a piece of SHIT, talking about free software developers like that. What have YOU ever coded for the community?

    Drop dead, scum.

    Marcus Koze Reply:

    I’d rather hope nobody drops dead, eet. Although i’ve been warned not to feed the trolls, i’ve felt the need to react to your statement above …

    You laugh when people call you “troll” and so on, yet the determination with which you defend this child of Novell (and by alliance, Micro&Soft’s nephew) that Mono is, makes me think twice before talking about your moral integrity.

    Think like this: if you don’t agree with whatever article you comment on, post your point of view, but not “wishing” people to drop dead and such. You behave as childish (if not more) than you said i and some others were when calling novell and micro&soft various ways.

    if there’s anyone to drop dead, that’s micro&soft and the zombies that lurk around them (“drop dead” refering to the businesses and their credibility, not the actual people in there). At least that’s my point of view.

    Waiting for your reply with the deepest interest, regarding me calling them “zombies” and all :)

    eet Reply:

    At times, I am just too fed up with the low-mindedness encouraged by and flowering in this blog. People like this ‘Slated’ guy – and of course Roy Schlechtowitz himself – have not done _anything_ for the community that could deserve respect, yet they act all high and mighty by living out their own paranoia in the pose of the religiously righteous and enlightened. Never before have I seen such lowly narcicists sow that much strife unpunished in the Linux community. All common sense seems to fail them and those who condone what they are doing. When are we going to wake up and throw them out on their asses?

    twitter Reply:

    Common sense fails RMS? Don’t confuse your ignorant opinion with anything useful, let alone useful.

  2. Robert Millan said,

    July 9, 2009 at 5:35 am

    Gravatar

    Hi,

    I don’t know if there are hidden tricks in the Community Promise text. It’s perfectly possible that there could be, but I will base my opinion on that on what the SFLC says.

    A number of points in this article are off-topic. We have this news that something might have changed (we still don’t know, but it might), and I think it doesn’t help to talk about other problems associated with Mono. Still, most of the article is focused on that.

    We know winforms et al are not covered. Assuming that being covered by the CP really means something, the key question is: how are the non-ECMA parts going to evolve? Are they going to be completely split into a separate product, which will have a status very similar to Wine, and henceforth ignored by the Mono development crowd?

    I don’t care that much about the patent status of Wine, it’s only a tool aimed at helping people who’re stuck with proprietary software, and are migrating away from it. Sort of a staging area, and it should be discouraged anyway. The more split are the two parts that conform Mono today, the more similar Winforms etc will look to Wine.

    Lyle Howard Seave Reply:

    Bradley M. Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center gives his opinion on their blog about this topic:
    http://www.softwarefreedom.org/blog/

    You can also listen to the SFLC’s podcast at:
    http://www.softwarefreedom.org/podcast/
    July 7, 2009 – The Software Freedom Law Show: Ep. 0×11: Patented Languages

    LHS

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There is more from them coming. They will respond to the CP.

  3. reece said,

    July 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Gravatar

    Some interesting things about Microsoft’s response and promise are:

    1. It only applies to implementations (core & libraries) that are complete implementations of the ECMA spec. What is not certain is what determines this. Are there tests that Microsoft have for .NET/C# for determining this? They are likely to have these to check their own implementation, but they are not (as far as I am aware) available to other implementations like Mono.

    2. The wording says that extensions are not allowed (invalidating this). Does that mean adding new libraries (in which case Gtk# would make it non-conforming). I suspect that this applies to core functionality and support libraries (in which case Mono.SIMD may apply here – Miguel is keen on Extending the C#/.NET platform after embracing it).

    3. What about people using versions of Mono before it splits out? They are clearly not covered.

    4. What about people using development snapshots? These are not covered as they are incomplete!

    5. What happens when a new version of the spec is released (the current implementation will not be conforming to that)?

    6. IIUC, there are differences between the spec and the native .NET runtime that fail to make a conforming implementation run bytecode compiled for MS .NET.

    7. There are interop hooks on the native side that are not covered in the spec. How much of the mscoree, COMInterop and DllImport logic is specified?

    8. It clearly rules against WinForms and other tech like ASP.NET. Does anyone know if the GDI+ C#/.NET bindings are in the spec?

    9. It is not clear about Moonlight, if there is any tech there. Note that Moonlight implements the silverlight v1 spec (what about v2?), which is not covered here IIUC.

    This promise strikes me as cleaver marketing to convince the masses (“look, there is no problem here”) while being interesting in the details.

  4. Jose_X said,

    July 9, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Gravatar

    Watch the protections fizzle:

    You discover that a Microsoft patent covers your new software music player that uses xml. The patent only applies for apps that fulfill other requirements as well, requirements that are a part of core (“safe”) mono and hence of your new mono app.

    Since you really want to use the xml standard (or need to) and want a music player, you study and find that you can avoid the patent by changing some object class or other of core mono. Unfortunately, changing these classes to break the patent claim requirements breaks the spec as well (surprise of surprises!!!!!).

    So now you have the option: (a) follow the mono ecma spec completely but violate the one higher level patent and deal with that, or (b) avoid that patent by changing the mono ecma class but then get no protection against a large number of core mono patents that would now come into effect and would still apply to other parts of that app.

    In either case, you would be lucky to at least have this choice if you come across the mono xml music patent early on before you have gotten too committed to too many mono apps or evolved that one app too far.

    Also want to point to this comment: http://blogs.computerworld.com/stop_piling_on_mono_already#comment-149143
    and related ones:
    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/07/01/mono-poll-on-rms/comment-page-1/#comment-69143
    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-07-06-026-35-OS-MS-LL-0001

    twitter Reply:

    SJVN’s little article is a smear. No one is really excited or taking this personally except the mono people who want to shove their stuff in free software distributions. The rest of us are rationally pointing out the pitfalls of using a M$ language and patent trap.

    Like all M$ stuff, it’s a non free dead end. A nifty ap or two no more merit making it a default part of Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora than a nifty application is a good reason to use Windows itself. Distributions that fall for M$’s little trap will regret it. Fedora and Debian have both been smart enough to avoid the problem. Mono is only important if M$ is the center of your universe. I don’t need Silverlight, mono or even Samba for that matter. There are just better ways of doing things and, as SJVN himself points out, M$ will always move the goal posts and waste your time.

  5. JohnD said,

    July 9, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Gravatar

    I was reading an article in a Linux mag about Boo and how you can set it up using monodevelop. As a part of the article it mentions that Ruby, Python, and Java all have .Net implementations.
    Explain to me how a Ruby .Net implementation would be free of the issues you feel surround Mono.

    reece Reply:

    The Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR — http://dlr.codeplex.com/) is used to implement IronPython and IronRuby that provide .NET bindings for Python and Ruby respectively.

    The DLR makes use of the System.Runtime.InteropServices, System/Microsoft.Linq.Expressions (depending on whether CODEPLEX_40 is defined or not — whatever that means) and other namespaces that are not available in the ECMA core library. As a result, the DLR and the languages built on top of it are not covered.

    Jose_X Reply:

    So, to apply the point mentioned above, if (or when) we find a patent that applies to these ruby apps, we might be able to avoid infringing that patent by changing some aspect of the interface (perhaps change some aspect of the DLR). But if we make these changes (or other similar ones that would violate the ECMA stds), we would then lose out on the promise; this means, we would not violate the patent that applies to the ruby app but would still violate many other patents that would no longer be covered by Microsoft’s promise.

    The point is that Microsoft could set things up so that we can only avoid one patent by breaking ECMA compat, thus, pretty much guaranteeing that we then lose protections against a whole other list of patents that currently cover the ECMA spec and mono.

    reece Reply:

    But only the python or ruby applications that are built targetting the .NET runtime. The issue is if people start writing applications that depend on .NET components.

    With IronPython, you cannot use some of the python modules. As a result, you will write programs that use the .NET APIs and thus have a fragmentation of the Python community (as people writing normal Python applications cannot target the .NET libraries).

    This means that Microsoft become closer to their all open source on top of Windows aim.

    Jose_X Reply:

    >> The issue is if people start writing applications that depend on .NET components.

    Another problem is that these alternative re-implementations of python, ruby, etc will vary in behavior from the original. This is even more likely when you consider who is managing these re-implementations.

    EEE of python, ruby, etc, comes to mind.

  6. Jose_X said,

    July 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Gravatar

    This is a more detailed example of how Microsoft can set things up so that, if you rely on mono, then you CANNOT avoid some of their patents if you want certain features. [Related comment is this one: http://boycottnovell.com/2009/07/09/community-promise-sham/comment-page-1/#comment-69178 ]

    Imagine a class in mono/dotnet that serves as a central point for managing all security inquiries and settings.

    Imagine a patent (#1) where one of the invention’s features/requirements is just such a central point for managing all app security inquiries and settings. This invention patent claim covers other things that are not a part of the ecma std.

    Imagine that the ecma standard requires that a conforming application must use that class mentioned above in order to manage security. Or perhaps the ecma std doesn’t require this of conforming applications, but requires that all core classes implement their security through such a centralized mechanism.

    Imagine another patent (#2) over various other parts of ecma mono. Patent #2 is violated by all mono apps (since all mono apps implement the features of this patent because these same features are part of the spec).

    Microsoft now promises not to sue over patent #2 because it applies to what is covered by the ecma std. Microsoft makes no promises over patent #1 because that invention is over something that goes beyond the ecma std.

    You now want to use a mono application that plays music, but it violates patent #1.

    In an effort to work around patent #1, you find that it is difficult to avoid the requirements of that patent that are interesting, like playing music, but that you can definitely avoid the requirement of the centralized security by reworking how security is managed.

    The dilemma then becomes:

    – If I rework security to avoid patent #1, I will no longer be implementing the spec, but, if I don’t implement the spec, I no longer get protection from patent #2.

    – Alternatively, if I implement the spec, I will still be protected from patent #2, but I then won’t be able to avoid patent #1.

    I am stuck. I either must do without this app (or the music feature) or else try to avoid patent #1 and #2 by changing the app so that it dumps mono or at least guts it. In any case, we are talking about a lot of invested time and code going to waste.

    And this pattern can be repeated over and over with other interesting features that I will want but which won’t be protected by being a part of the ecma standard.

    [An unrelated but very important issue is that the promise doesn't prevent patent trolls that buy up these patents Microsoft created from coming after you. Worthless Promise comes to mind.]

    Related links:
    http://blogs.computerworld.com/stop_piling_on_mono_already#comment-149143
    http://boycottnovell.com/2009/07/01/mono-poll-on-rms/comment-page-1/#comment-69143
    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2009-07-06-026-35-OS-MS-LL-0001

    Sabayon User Reply:

    I’m sorry for the offtopic Jose_X, but I was wondering if you ever did get a response from Roy about the Jimmi Hugh thing and the other questions you posed to him in that discussion with David Sleschinger a few weeks ago?

    No response at all?

    Jose_X Reply:

    No, the last comments I put there from June 18th were the last I thought about that topic in any detail.

    I just noticed you had posted there on the 20th:
    >> I commend you for asking them, and I hope that wasn’t resolved privately with instructions for you to drop it or something like that.

    No, I haven’t discussed this with Roy or anyone else in private or public. [I did bring up a link to that thread a few more times, but I don't think I had anything material to contribute further.]

    My last comments from June 18th (and I noticed comments there got closed) iirc mostly back BN…

    >> I already stated that I don’t think it was shown that Jimmi was guilty of anything serious.

    >> I also state that the Jimmi blog piece had/has many correct statements and that Jimmi exercised judgment that happens to have fallen in Bill Gates’ favor.

    So, I think it’s right to remove the particular accusations made, but I don’t find the strike through offensive. The evidence suggests that Jimmi could have taken a different set of reasonable actions in reinstating the material that put Bill G in a bad light. His judgment call (since he knew about the edits) was to keep important information out of the article. I think bad form or bad organization takes a back seat to the inclusion of important content that is backed by reliable sources.

    I’m tempted to actually change that wikipedia article myself, but I don’t have experience editing wikipedia and just haven’t thought too much about this.

    Sabayon User Reply:

    OK, thanks. I figured as much. Just one thing:

    Jimmi exercised judgment that happens to have fallen in Bill Gates’ favor.

    I find your veiled support for that smear rather disheartening. What you and this crowd need to understand is that not everyone in the community or outside of it hold the same set of values or have the same priorities. That someone is not “evangelizing” forcefully (to sort of quote Gordon’s analysis) on Wikipedia to your complete satisfaction is not a terrible crime. And it’s certainly not an excuse to attack people.

    I used to think you were probably one of the more balanced people on Roy’s retinue, but I guess I was wrong. Sorry to have bothered you with this.

    Jose_X Reply:

    Yes, after I wrote that, I wondered if I had been too rude, etc. Did it represent what I felt? I was not in the mood to go back over that long thread. [Keep in mind, "Jimmi Hugh" is not the one appealing. Those that are appealing on his behalf might simply be looking to distract/discredit.]

    Roy believed something. He was wrong in some ways. He edited the article by crossing out.

    In all likelihood someone besides Roy would have taken a different approach. I think this is a judgment call by the author of the blog that edited it. If anything, it would reflect badly on Roy to allow people to see the mistake he made before.

    I think it is common practice to cross things out but not eliminate them entirely.

    This is the second part of what (apparently) Jimmi Hugh wrote: http://boycottnovell.com/2008/12/29/jimmi-hugh-wikipedia-censorship-on-ms/#comment-57242

    I think I had forgotten about the Wikipedia policy of not relying on primary sources + interpretations. I think this means Jimmi (or FreeRangeFrog.. don’t remember who) did the correct thing, whether he was working for Microsoft or for Red Hat. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research

    I think this policy is not followed many times. It’s very possible Jimmi decided to enforce the policy because it was against Bill Gates. [Though Jimmi doesn't mention what company he works for, it's certainly possible it is Novell or a company currently contracted by Microsoft yet which "competes" with Microsoft.] Or maybe not.

    If Roy is doubtful over Jimmi’s role, he probably will leave things as is. If he feels Jimmi was an innocent victim who was wronged through a misunderstanding, then he might add an apology.

    Someone expressed concern that the strike through is done through CSS and that might create problems during searches. I don’t know. I figured people would read the comment of interest using a browser that understands CSS, see the strike through, and realize a mistake was made. OK, is it clear a mistake was made? Maybe it isn’t that clear.

    >> I used to think you were probably one of the more balanced people on Roy’s retinue

    Whatever.

    It helps whenever people point out mistakes. I think I overlooked the primary sources thing the last time I visited this old topic some weeks back. I reviewed what I wrote then and took a position. For this current reply, I read Jimmi Hugh’s second comment on that blog page more carefully (see link above).

    The Jimmi Hugh’s article is probably not one of the better moments of this website, unless learning experiences and clarifications are considered bright spots. If so, then the work might not yet be done.

    Fortunately, Jimmi doesn’t seem too concerned over this website. I get the feeling that we have two opposing sides that are not going to take as much time as they could to reach out to the other side.

    My vote (now) is to add another comment to that page stating in clear terms that Jimmi might have been brought into this wrongly and that a more final statement will be added if/when the blog owner has time to look over the evidence more carefully. Sorry for the partial flip flop. I am only willing to put so much time to try and resolve the details of some of these things related to the Jimmi Hugh old story (eg, I have no experience editing wikipedia). I provided some links above to make things a dash easier for those that also don’t remember the details well. [See also http://boycottnovell.com/2009/06/17/steve-ballmer-crimes-vs-os2/#comment-66993 ]

    Jose_X Reply:

    Yes, after I wrote that, I wondered if I had been too rude, etc. Did it represent what I felt? I was not in the mood to go back over that long thread. [Keep in mind, "Jimmi Hugh" is not the one appealing. Those that are appealing on his behalf might simply be looking to distract/discredit.]

    Roy believed something. He was wrong in some ways. He edited the article by crossing out.

    In all likelihood someone besides Roy would have taken a different approach. I think this is a judgment call by the author of the blog that edited it. If anything, it would reflect badly on Roy to allow people to see the mistake he made before.

    I think it is common practice to cross things out but not eliminate them entirely.

    This is the second part of what (apparently) Jimmi Hugh wrote: http://boycottnovell.com/2008/12/29/jimmi-hugh-wikipedia-censorship-on-ms/#comment-57242

    I think I had forgotten about the Wikipedia policy of not relying on primary sources + interpretations. I think this means Jimmi (or FreeRangeFrog.. don’t remember who) did the correct thing, whether he was working for Microsoft or for Red Hat. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research

    I think this policy is not followed many times. It’s very possible Jimmi decided to enforce the policy because it was against Bill Gates. [Though Jimmi doesn't mention what company he works for, it's certainly possible it is Novell or a company currently contracted by Microsoft yet which "competes" with Microsoft.] Or maybe not.

    If Roy is doubtful over Jimmi’s role, he probably will leave things as is. If he feels Jimmi was an innocent victim who was wronged through a misunderstanding, then he might add an apology.

    Someone expressed concern that the strike through is done through CSS and that might create problems during searches. I don’t know. I figured people would read the comment of interest using a browser that understands CSS, see the strike through, and realize a mistake was made. OK, is it clear a mistake was made? Maybe it isn’t that clear.

    >> I used to think you were probably one of the more balanced people on Roy’s retinue

    Whatever.

    It helps whenever people point out mistakes. I think I overlooked the primary sources thing the last time I visited this old topic some weeks back. I reviewed what I wrote then and took a position. For this current reply, I read Jimmi Hugh’s second comment on that blog page more carefully (see link above).

    The Jimmi Hugh’s article is probably not one of the better moments of this website, unless learning experiences and clarifications are considered bright spots. If so, then the work might not yet be done.

    Fortunately, Jimmi doesn’t seem too concerned over this website. I get the feeling that we have two opposing sides that are not going to take as much time as they could to reach out to the other side.

    My vote (now) is to add another comment to that page stating in clear terms that Jimmi might have been brought into this wrongly and that a more final statement will be added if/when the blog owner has time to look over the evidence more carefully. Sorry for the partial flip flop. I am only willing to put so much time to try and resolve the details of some of these things related to the Jimmi Hugh old story (eg, I have no experience editing wikipedia). I provided some links above to make things a dash easier for those that also don’t remember the details well. [See also http://boycottnovell.com/2009/06/17/steve-ballmer-crimes-vs-os2/#comment-66993 ]

    Jose_X Reply:

    Yes, after I wrote that, I wondered if I had been too rude, etc. Did it represent what I felt? I was not in the mood to go back over that long thread. [Keep in mind, "Jimmi Hugh" is not the one appealing. Those that are appealing on his behalf might simply be looking to distract/discredit.]

    Roy believed something. He was wrong in some ways. He edited the article by crossing out.

    In all likelihood someone besides Roy would have taken a different approach. I think this is a judgment call by the author of the blog that edited it. If anything, it would reflect badly on Roy to allow people to see the mistake he made before.

    I think it is common practice to cross things out but not eliminate them entirely.

    This is the second part of what (apparently) Jimmi Hugh wrote: http://boycottnovell.com/2008/12/29/jimmi-hugh-wikipedia-censorship-on-ms/#comment-57242

    I think I had forgotten about the Wikipedia policy of not relying on primary sources + interpretations. I think this means Jimmi (or FreeRangeFrog.. don’t remember who) did the correct thing, whether he was working for Microsoft or for Red Hat. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research

    I think this policy is not followed many times. It’s very possible Jimmi decided to enforce the policy because it was against Bill Gates. [Though Jimmi doesn't mention what company he works for, it's certainly possible it is Novell or a company currently contracted by Microsoft yet which "competes" with Microsoft.] Or maybe not.

    If Roy is doubtful over Jimmi’s role, he probably will leave things as is. If he feels Jimmi was an innocent victim who was wronged through a misunderstanding, then he might add an apology.

    Someone expressed concern that the strike through is done through CSS and that might create problems during searches. I don’t know. I figured people would read the comment of interest using a browser that understands CSS, see the strike through, and realize a mistake was made. OK, is it clear a mistake was made? Maybe it isn’t that clear.

    >> I used to think you were probably one of the more balanced people on Roy’s retinue

    Whatever.

    It helps whenever people point out mistakes. I think I overlooked the primary sources thing the last time I visited this old topic some weeks back. For my earlier comment here, I reviewed what I wrote then and took a position. For this current reply, I read Jimmi Hugh’s second comment on that blog page more carefully (see link above).

    The Jimmi Hugh’s article is probably not one of the better moments of this website, unless learning experiences and clarifications are considered bright spots. If so, then the work might not yet be done.

    Fortunately, Jimmi doesn’t seem too concerned over this website. I get the feeling that we have two opposing sides that are not going to take as much time as they could to reach out to the other side.

    My vote (now) is to add another comment to that page stating in clear terms that Jimmi might have been brought into this wrongly and that a more final statement will be added if/when the blog owner has time to look over the evidence more carefully. Sorry for the partial flip flop. I am only willing to put so much time to try and resolve the details of some of these things related to the Jimmi Hugh old story (eg, I have no experience editing wikipedia). I provided some links above to make things a dash easier for those that also don’t remember the details well. [See also http://boycottnovell.com/2009/06/17/steve-ballmer-crimes-vs-os2/#comment-66993 ]

    Jose_X Reply:

    Hey, Roy, I posted the same comment (more or less) 3 times because the website was not connecting well I think. You can remove the first two if you want.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    We seem to be having more DDOS issues at the moment.

  7. Monotastic said,

    July 9, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Gravatar

    You whine about Winforms, ADO.NET and ASP.NET but can you name a single Mono app written for Linux that uses them? Secondly, why do you care if Winforms isn’t covered? In what world would a Linux developer be using such a thing over Qt or GTK# (and for Mac OS X Cocoa#)?

    Robert Millan Reply:

    Hi,

    I couldn’t care less about Winforms, but I heard Banshee and F-Spot are using System.Data and SQLite, which aren’t covered by the CP.

    This goes in the same line with what I said above. How is the Mono community going to respond to that? Will Banshee and F-Spot switch to an alternative for their database needs?

    Also, it remains to be seen what’s the actual value of the CP. The SFLC hasn’t made a statement yet, but their preliminary summary doesn’t look good.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Platform compatibility be damned (not just .NET< ->Mono, but also SLE*< ->Ubuntu) and Windows/SUSE be seen as expensive and ‘privileged’. The whole point of making some portions ECMA ‘standards’ (no matter how corrupt ECMA is because that’s a separate story) is this attempt to have Microsoft control the ‘standards’, which are accompanied by patents (liabilities).

    Who other than two Microsoft interviewees/former Microsoft employees wish to turn GNU/Linux into a ‘cheap Windows’? Surely Nat and Miguel. They help their own companies (Ximian/Novell/personal bank account) and former company where they worked or tried to work (Microsoft). How can so many bright people be so blind?

  8. JohnD said,

    July 9, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve been trying to digest all of this post, but one thing has struck me as odd:

    “It will also have the effect of attracting Mono developers over to Windows, who may subsequently abandon GNU/Linux”

    It has been my belief that the purpose of Mono is to encourage Windows developers to start developing on Linux. Am I mistaken? If M$ FUD succeeds in discouraging Linux development via Mono the result would be net zero. Zero converts from Windows to Linux – not the other way around.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You’re reversing the arguments here. Remember who controls .NET.

    JohnD Reply:

    I’m not reversing anything. Your stated concern is:
    “It will also have the effect of attracting Mono developers over to Windows, who may subsequently abandon GNU/Linux”
    I’m stating that there is a high probability that the majority of Mono developers already write code for Windows. In all likelihood they’ve started using Mono because it’s free and it increases the number of platforms their software will run on with minimal development costs.
    While your suspicions about M$ intentions with regard to Mono may be correct, the end result would a loss of Windows developers who would have never written for Linux without Mono. So you’re back to where you were before Mono came along. No big deal. Apps and tools can be removed at anytime. Another thing I think you fail to consider is developer backlash. If Company A expends time and resources to begin supporting their application on Linux in addition to Windows and then M$ comes along and pulls the rug out from under them, they might very well jump from Windows to Linux so they never have to worry about it again.

    woods Reply:

    Under your stated assumption “a high probability that the majority of Mono developers already write code for Windows” this may well be true.

    I think the article was written with the exact opposite scenario in mind (as the preceding sentence “,,,this fact will be abused by Microsoft to promote Windows as the ‘better’ system” shows), ie. non-Windows coders pick up Mono and either shift to coding on Windows (seeing it as a ‘better’ platform for C#/.Net-coding (naturally)) or due to their skill set (C#, possibly Mono-ports of core .Net-technologies) are forced to gain employment as Windows-coders on Windows-platform.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s about FOSS embracing Microsoft, not Microsoft embracing FOSS.

    JohnD Reply:

    A note about “legally binding”
    While I have an intense dislike for M$ in general, I would never categorize them as stupid. Underhanded and devious – yes, stupid – no. I find it hard to believe that they would post a page on their website that stated something was legally binding when they know full well it isn’t. While I think Ballmer is a horse’s ass, he doesn’t like it when his staff does things that make him look like one. I would prefer to withhold judgement on the legal question until it can be reviewed by some industry known legal experts – maybe via Groklaw.

    SubSonica Reply:

    JohnD wrote:
    [QUOTE]I’ve been trying to digest all of this post, but one thing has struck me as odd:

    “It will also have the effect of attracting Mono developers over to Windows, who may subsequently abandon GNU/Linux”[/QUOTE]
    Here you can find the rationale behind that statement:

    http://beranger.org/v3/wordpress/2009/07/07/i-still-believe-this-is-a-victory-for-microsoft/

    Here it is clearly explained how in fact, mono can serve as a way of attracting/wooing young/new GNU/Linux developers to technologies leaded and controlled by Microsoft’s, and making them ready for afterwards developing .Net applications for the enterprise of prospective employers in Windows-only environments.

    JohnD Reply:

    But you’re making the assumption that these young/new developers are growing up as FOSS devs not Windows devs. Given the prevalence of M$ products in the US educational system it’s far more likely that they are growing up as Windows developers.
    Any intelligent developer is going to learn the tools/languages that make him/her the most marketable. Right now there are far more Windows only shops then FOSS only shops – it makes sense for a new developer to learn .NET first and FOSS second. I think Roy has also ignored the fact that the lions share of current FOSS developers probably have no desire to go the .NET route regardless of any CP M$ makes.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Can you back these assertions with verifiable facts? Java, for example, is the market leader and it’s FOSS. Linux skills also pay handsomely (Microsoft skills have declined sharply in value) and they are the bread and butter of shining/rising stars like Google. Red Hat is hiring while Microsoft is firing.

    JohnD Reply:

    Economics backs me up. When supply outstrips demand, prices fall. Windows devs and admins used to command higher salaries because there were so few of them. Now there’s a glut so their salaries have fallen – the same thing happened with Netware devs/admins. Now that there are so few people with Netware skills they can command higher rates. FOSS devs make a bunch of money now because there are relatively few of them. As their numbers increase their salaries will fall too.
    While I agree the Java is a market leader, there are some who would disagree that it’s truly FOSS since it’s owned by SUN/Oracle.
    RedHat may be hiring, while M$ is firing, but that doesn’t mean all of it’s revenue is coming via FOSS development. They don’t split out their JBoss revenue so you can’t get a bead on how much is coming from FOSS or from JBoss. I’m guessing that RH is playing the “bucket game” to hide the fact that their revenue increase is coming from JBoss on Windows and not Linux.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You still did not answer my question (on verifiable facts). You went on a ramble that goes around the question. Let’s get some numbers out.

    JohnD Reply:

    This from the guy who routinely points to his own posts as “proof”.
    Numbers for what Roy? Windows devs versus FOSS devs? Market share? Are you seriously questioning my assumption that there are currently more people developing for Windows than FOSS?
    http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201807072
    This article states some basic info on Windows v Linux market share. I’m sure you will find some fault with the numbers bases upon the author or the publication or…
    The start of this thread was dealing with new/young developers – chances are they don’t have any certifications or even college degrees – so where would they profile in terms of numbers?
    In short I don’t have an exact number that can be verified – nor do you. What I can do is walk down the aisle at a computer store looking at the software on the shelves. There is only one store in the Philadelphia area that even carries FOSS software and that’s MicroCenter in St. Davids. Out of approximately 4 aisles of software there were 3 shelves – mostly empty – that had FOSS software. The rest of the space was taken by M$ apps and a few Apple apps. That’s the only “proof” I require that there are more people writing software for Windows than for FOSS.

    eet Reply:

    Ha, ha; I recall how different people tried to get straight answers from Roy in vain! :D

    Roy’s slippery like a greased otter when he doesn’t want to answer.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    @JohnD:

    You show me an ‘article’ from Alexander Wolfe, who persistently attacked Linux in 2007-08 (everyone noticed) and he quotes all the usual incorrect numbers from firms that measure the wrong things (particular populations based on particular criteria).

    JohnD Reply:

    My man eet. I am well aware that I will be summarily dismissed because I lack “verifiable” numbers. It’s also not lost on me that Roy routinely uses M$ prior acts as his “proof” that they will commit various acts in the future.
    One thing most of these arguments fail to take into account is that the playing field has changed dramatically since M$ was running amok back in the 80′s-90′s. The DOJ extended their oversight period, the EU is crawling up Ballmer’s butt every few months. Everything M$does will be watched precisely because they are a convicted monopolist.
    I also feel that there is a HUGE difference between saying something WILL happen and saying something MIGHT happen.
    I was wondering if you were going to chime in on this thread.

    JohnD Reply:

    @Roy
    I will use that as my “proof” that no matter what numbers I provide you will find fault with them. I’m not sure I’ve ever read one of your posts where you approve of a 3rd party’s numbers. This is why I won’t waste my time searching the net for numbers that meet your approval. I will rely on the market place as my proof. You stated above that “value” of M$ devs has been on the decline and I agree. There are only two major reasons for this to occur: 1. The platform has seen a major loss of market share (i.e. Netware) 2. The amount of competition for jobs has increased greatly.
    I have not seen any evidence that M$ has lost significant market share so I’m going with number 2.
    I am willing to admit that I may be in error, so if you can provide verifiable numbers that prove me wrong, I’d gladly review them.

  9. SR said,

    July 10, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Gravatar

    Easy litmus test for the challenge above – Banshee uses ADO. Any more questions?

  10. contextfree said,

    July 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Gravatar

    “2. The wording says that extensions are not allowed (invalidating this). Does that mean adding new libraries (in which case Gtk# would make it non-conforming).”

    I think it doesn’t say that extensions aren’t allowed, but just that they aren’t covered (so if there’s some other patent that applies to the extension itself, MSFT would still be allowed to sue over it). I guess there’s a question of whether an implementation with extensions would still qualify as “fully conforming”. In the case of libraries the part of the spec that defines the library standard specifically encourages implementers to extend them and add new ones, so I would think library extensions here wouldn’t void the promise. In the case of language extensions I’m not sure.

    By the way, what nobody here seems to be mentioning, I guess because they’re pretty ignorant about .NET in general, is that the ECMA specs only cover versions 1 and 2 of the C# language, and neither version 3 which Mono already implements or version 4 of which MSFT’s implementation is currently in beta have been submitted to any standards body. I think this is a bigger issue than support for some Windows libraries.

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