To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
#1 Install Ubuntu or other distribution to experiment with Linux
If you haven’t already, you could discover the world of free and open source computing by fiddling around with Linux. Within an hour or so, you can download and install Ubuntu, or one of the other thousands of distributions (distros) onto your old PC. You can even test it out before installing anything to your hard drive, using the live CD mode of some distros.
So far, Google has showed itself to be a first-rate development shop with projects like Gears or the Chrome Browser. However, it has been substantially less successful at marketing and monetizing projects. While projects like Google Earth or Street View or even Android attract all sorts of media attention, Google has yet to wean itself away from its dependency on search ads for its main revenue.
Google followed up on Thursday’s announcement of a Linux-based Chrome OS for netbooks by listing nine technology partners that are supporting the open-source platform. Meanwhile, one report claims that Intel, which is not on the list, is collaborating with Google on Chrome OS.
GOOGLE’S MOBILE PHONE operating system called Android has come to the PC in a LiveCD version.
A couple of blokes have recompiled the OS so it’s capable of running on a common x86 platform. This is just in time to see what Android is really like, before Acer, Asus, MSI and others officially release their netbooks with the operating system preloaded on them.
As we shared early on in this article, the Btrfs v0.19 notes mention, “In general, v0.19 is a dramatic speed improvement over v0.18 in almost every workload.” From our Btrfs file-system tests today, this is partially true. We encountered several tests where there were indeed hefty speed-ups in performance with the Serial ATA 2.0 SSD being tested, but in other tests, there was a very evident drop in performance. Specifically, the write performance always seemed to be better, but that was not always the case for the read performance. There was generally a 14~16% drop in performance when this problem occurred. Granted, due to the differing kernels and just not the Btrfs difference, this could be attributed to something else within the Linux kernel, but nevertheless this does show some signs of problems with the newest Linux code.
Not only did I decide to avoid Linksys this time, but the Netgear one made a big deal about running open-source software, and I assume the “L” at the end of the name means that the open-source in question is Linux. Sure, Linksys had a Linux router too (with a penguin!) but let’s face it, they screwed up, so I’m giving the competition a go this time.
As I mentioned last time, I really wish things would calm down. And to _some_ degree they have. In other areas? Not so much.
That said, the single biggest patch here is actually a revert – a removal of the Langwell USB OTG driver that wasn’t ready and needed infrastructure that isn’t going to happen in 2.6.31.
Everyone knows applications drive the HPC boat. It is one thing to run benchmarks and burn-in programs, but when it is time for production work, applications take over. Fortunately, there are many applications that can take advantage of clusters. These applications can be divided into three oversimplified categories.
* Sequential Applications – These applications run on a single core. While they may not be parallel (use multiple cores) the end user may run many copies of the same program with different input parameters. This type of computing is often called parametric processing. These types of programs can be written in any type of computer language.
* Threaded Applications – These applications use multiple cores, but only on one SMP node. Most of these programs are written using C/C++ or Fortran and use pthreads or OpenMP – As core counts increase many HPC users are taking advantage of this approach.
Linux Mint 7 is the latest incarnation of the Ubuntu based distribution. Read on to find out why it might just displace Windows as my primary OS.
I have tried dozens of Linux distributions over the years, and very few have been installed on my system for more than a few days. Once the novelty of a new interface, a new bunch of applications and that warm glow that comes from being just a little bit geekier wears off I find myself facing the same dilemma: Windows worked, and the applications I was used to were mostly Windows based. It’s not that I couldn’t learn to use, or even love, Linux; it’s just that I didn’t have time.
The expectation was that the next LTS version would be 10.04, due for release in April 2010, but in an interview with derStandard.at, Shuttleworth says “The LTS will be either 10.04 or 10.10 – based on a conversation that is going on right now betweeen Debian and Ubuntu”.
Sees good possibility of having a common meta-release cycle with Debian – Not sure if GNOME3 will make the next LTS
In the last few years Ubuntu has emerged as the dominant force in the Linux Deskop field. The distribution is heavily associated with one name: Mark Shuttleworth is not only founder an current boss of Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, he has also been providing the financial resources without which Ubuntu in its current form would not exist. During the recent Gran Canaria Desktop Summit Andreas Proschofsky had the chance to conduct the following interview with Shuttleworth.
Phoenix Technologies announced that its fast-boot “HyperSpace” technology is now “aligned” with the Moblin project and that it will work with Intel to promote the technologies to netbook and nettop OEMs and ODMs. HyperSpace will improve the Linux-based Moblin stack’s already considerable capabilities for fast-boot and power management, says Phoenix.
The Linux based model comes with a 16G solid state drive in place of a hard disk, and sells for $499.
So I remain a Firefox (+ NoScript) guy. In fact, on my Macs, it is pretty much the only browser I use, despite the fact that it does a lousy job at integrating into the operating system features in the same way that Safari (and other Apple software) does. Were there a NoScript for Safari, I’d jump on it. But to my knowledge, there isn’t, so I stick with Firefox—and I feel pretty confident in my browsing security on the Internet.
When a group of European museums joined together to put images of all of their paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos and other artifacts together in a centralized, online collection for the world to view, they turned to open source enterprise search software to make it happen.
Today marks the (soft) launch of a new journal dedicated to Free and Open Source Software legal issues (a “hard” launch with printed copies is happening in London on Wednesday). The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review is an initiative of the freedom taskforce run by FSF Europe. I am on the editorial panel and am also happy to take credit for initially floating the idea of having a journal. I am also happy to praise the enormous effort that has gone into putting the law review together by the other members of the editorial committee and to the sponsors for supporting it.
A new legal journal has been launched that deals specifically with issues around free and open source software. The “International Free and Open Source Software Law Review” (IFOSSLR) is a bi-annual peer reviewed publication. The editorial committee is made up of members of the European Legal Network, a group of legal experts founded by the Free Software Foundation Europe in 2007.
The BBC has begun working on a series of four one-hour documentaries for its BBC Two channel about how the web has, and still is, changing our lives. The current working title for the open and collaborative documentary series is the “Digital Revolution”.
The RepRap design team has followed the Free Software Movement in licensing its design for zero cost under the GNU General Public License. If you want to build one, all the plans are available free on the Web. So, if you fancy making your own wine glasses, there’s nothing stopping you. Just don’t come crying to us when your RepRap becomes self-aware and endlessly replicates itself, driving you from your home.
I’m sure the current OSI board disagrees. It’s not alone. OSI board aspirant Bruce Perens partly based his candidacy to be on the board on the premise that the OSI needs fewer vendors represented and definitely not Microsoft. I doubt Perens will agree with much of what I write here.
Even so, the OSI–and open source more broadly–would do well to incorporate the various, opposing biases that make for real debate…and better results. OSI President Michael Tiemann calls out others’ bias without seeming to recognize just how helpful it would be to have that bias represented at the table.
In his recent post, Mike discussed how there is a two-way street between blogs and newspapers, in which both become aware of stories from each other, and both borrow ideas. Techdirt believes this is part of the free market for ideas, and that nobody can own news, but we contrast this belief with the mainstream media moguls, who rant about how bloggers “poach” the news from the newspapers, offering naught in return. There is a trend of major publishers talking about how they “own” the news they “made”, even when they themselves are just reporting on stories that occurred to other people. If anyone made the news, isn’t it the people involved? But news is really just facts, and nobody can “own” reality.
Norway’s largest Internet provider ‘Telenor’ was dragged to court by the movie and music industries last month, after it refused an earlier request to disable customer access to The Pirate Bay. Today, Telenor explains why it didn’t cave in to the legal pressure and says it wants the courts to rule on the issue instead.
Paul Alan Levy from Public Citizen has a detailed (and somewhat tragic) story of why the site InfomercialScams is no longer in existence, and the domains of the site are now owned by Video Professor, a company notorious for threatening online critics, such as those commenting on sites like InfomercialScams.
So let me get this straight. EMI intends to save money by not selling their CD’s to independent retailers. Instead they want these retailers to go to one stops for their product.
This is an important point, actually. Thanks to some of the press coverage, and the way the industry often tries to frame this debate, you get this picture of evil kids destroying an industry by downloading tons and tons of content. And, there are some folks out there who do download a ton of stuff. But the real issue isn’t with that group of folks, who would never have bought any content in the first place. It’s with the everyday folks, like Stephen Fry, who would just like to access the content in the most convenient way possible — and the industry is failing him. The answer isn’t to go after some kids and fine them millions or throw them in jail. It’s to respond to the market.
If the music industry thinks that file sharing teens are the biggest problem it faces, it had better think again according to a new report into the digital piracy threat.
Speaking at the iTunes Music Festival in London last night, to an audience comprised largely of teenagers, Stephen Fry launched a somewhat surprisingly ferocious attack on how the entertainment industry tries to defend copyright interests in the digital age.
Police in West Yorkshire are facing High Court accusations they illegally cribbed and sold copyright data from a commercial mobile phone forensics application.
Kent-based Forensic Telecommunications Services (FTS) is demanding up to £50,000 from the force for allegedly using material from its software, Hex. The package helps investigators examine mobile phones without a SIM card, allowing them to recover call registeries and deleted texts, as well as identify SIM cards that have been used in the device.
Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 18 (2004)
Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.
“It could be argued that Microsoft’s unethical Technology Evangelism (TE) practices are “old news”—i.e., that Microsoft stopped using these questionable TE practices long ago. This is very unlikely to be the case, for at least three reasons.”
–James Plamondon, former Microsoft shill (aka ‘Technology Evangelist’)
Summary: Microsoft shill Jonathan Wong travels the Web to defend Microsoft
WE RARELY bother to check who is leaving comments in Boycott Novell, but moments ago someone left a comment to police the image of Bing. It took him only a couple of hours to find the post. A quick glance at his blog shows that the about page says absolutely nothing about his job at Microsoft, but a little more sniffing reveals the “evangelist” tag (the blog is all about Microsoft, which is the top tag). Looking deeper inside the posts, we find only this one post from 2008 where Wong writes: “And since Monday, I have started a new and exciting role with Microsoft as part of their Developer and Platform Evangelism Team in Singapore.”
“Neither the blog nor the E-mail address (or even the comments) say anything about his job at Microsoft.”Nice disclosure there, eh?
Neither the blog nor the E-mail address (or even the comments) say anything about his job at Microsoft. In fact, he leaves comments with a GMail address and one common theme among Microsoft “TEs” is that “Google is evil” (Jonathan Wong’s blog shows it too, explicitly). Look at the blog. Look at what he does around the Web (e.g. regarding “Bing” alone). That’s his job as a Microsoft "TE" (another term for AstroTurfers, whose roles are borderline criminal). We wrote about one colleague of his last month because they are policing individual FOSS people and even FOSS companies in that one particular case. Wong calls all this “social media marketing”, but we call it AstroTurfing and there are laws against it.
No wonder people who negatively review Vista 7 get attacked so viciously [1, 2, 3]. They are probably being stalked because they cover particular products to which Microsoft assigns “perception management” [1, 2]. █
“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”
–Microsoft, internal document
Summary: FOSS people fed up with OOXML corruption and Microsoft fronts like Association for Competitive Technology
MOST READERS are probably familiar with the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), which attacked ODF, lobbies for software patents in Europe, fights against Free software adoption in general, and fights regulators so as to dismiss antitrust actions that affect Microsoft. It is not surprising that ACT is simply a Microsoft front group which is disguised as a group representing small businesses. Even the OSI seems to have had enough of ACT and it has just published this post on the subject.
According to Techworld, Jonathan Zuck of the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) has recently accused the European Commission of having a bias in favor of open source. This is an interesting claim for a number of reasons, not least of which is the question “who is the ACT?” and “what are they doing in the halls of the European Commission?”. But the question of reported bias is also an interesting one, and characterizes on of the great philosophical and political challenges of our age.
The great American experiment of democratically electing its government quickly evolved beyond the political sphere. By 1835, when Alexis de Tocqueville published Democracy In America, the effect of democratic choice could be seen affecting wages, religion, attitudes towards war and peace, and even the English language itself.
And so we have an actor, Jonathan Zuck, using lines from a story that confound and abuse any notion of objective truth. By leading with an accusation of bias, it is philosophically impossible to discern what is the proper choice and what is not, because no truth, in that frame, is better than any other. The result: a stagnation of dialogue and the preservation of the status quo.
A couple of weeks ago, Glyn Moody asked for assistance with his push against Microsoft’s OOXML. Pamela Jones (Groklaw) replied as follows: “First, it’s a fact that the EU Commission announced it is investigating that very question of how Microsoft conducted itself. It is not investigating any other company in connection with the OOXML saga. And I suggest Glyn take a look at Groklaw’s ODF/OOXML page, where I believe he can find everything he needs in the way of resources to get up to speed.”
Taken individually, these dubious actions might be dismissed by Microsoft as “minor lapses”, “misunderstandings” or actions of an atypical “rogue” manager – as was done in Sweden, where an offer was made to support partners financially if they attended the key meeting of the national body and voted in favour of OOXML. But taken together they suggest a consistent philosophy of being prepared to use whatever means necessary in order to gain the required number of votes.
Since there are very few laws relevant to this field, I doubt whether Microsoft has broken any with its actions during the ISO standardisation process, either through those already disclosed, or others that may come come to light (although the European Commission may have its own views on this). But as well as the letter of the law, the spirit matters too, and I would be interested to hear to what extent, against a background of skewed committees, misrepresentations and overt pressure, Microsoft thinks it adhered to the spirit of the collegial, consensus-based standards-making process in finally obtaining that much-coveted “win” for OOXML.
According to this, Moody’s “long feature [is] now sent to Microsoft for their reply.”
“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”
–Richard Stallman, June 2008
Summary: SCO and unXis appear almost like the same thing based on new evidence
THE very latest SCO scandals, which we wrote about a few days ago [1, 2], have gotten really ugly. It is possible that Groklaw makes access to information exceptionally restricted due to fear of SCO’s wrath. Now that Darl McBride is under criminal investigation and another little scam (regarding unXis) seems to be cropping up, SCO must be fairly nervous and thus emotional.
It actually gets worse. Many domains of unXis — not just the German one — seem to be pointing back to SCO. From a Groklaw update:
In Italy, the unxis.it domain was purchased by a SCO regional manager on July 9. And unxis.ch was purchased by a SCO distributor, Jutz Josef, too. Why are SCO partners and employees buying up this domain name?
As another unXis domain is found to be SCO’s (a readers of ours found out about
unxis.ch), this cannot be just bad luck. It is a clear pattern and IBM hopefully pays attention. This could lead to the smoking guns they require.
Regarding the criminal charges, here is a report from the court.
Brazell, Norris, Talos Partners, Rama Ramachandran, Darl McBride and Bryan Cave are all listed as defendants.
It is so curious that we find Norris in there. For context about Norris, see:
I see what looks like some duplication, but the final pages of the first PDF are interesting, where SCO lists contracts with money due various folks. This continuation of Exhibit A is in three parts, around a hundred pages in all. The first part of the second PDF is intriguing, in that they didn’t just copy some old lists. There is a note, which to my mind doesn’t seem to support SCO’s trial theories about UNIX and Unixware.
There will be a lot of SCO action later this month in new hearings. █
“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”
–Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO
Summary: New surveys of companies and CIOs show that Vista 7 is poorly received by businesses, even before arrival
SOME months ago we wrote about the high rejection rate of Vista 7 (83% of businesses not to deploy it in 2010). This older survey is now supported by a couple more that are new. The first is being covered by the Inquirer:
Six out of ten firms will skip Windows 7
The firm asked some 1,000 companies about the Windows 7 operating system set for release this year, and found that six in ten have no intention of upgrading to it. If one thousand responses sounds high to you bear in mind that the firm sent out some 20,000 of the time-sucking surveys.
Silicon.com conducted a CIOs survey and reached similar conclusions.
Despite its imminent release, Windows 7 isn’t likely to hit business desktops any time soon.
A recent silicon.com CIO Jury found that many IT chiefs are putting off the migration to Windows 7 until at least 2011 but it’s clear from their comments that this isn’t a rejection of the new OS, but more a question of priorities.
This is why Microsoft is so terribly nervous at the moment and it will sooner or later commission (i.e. pay for) IDC to show the opposite. It usually works this way.
The subtractive approach that Microsoft is using generates plenty of ill will. Someone buys Windows 7 and expects it to have a feature. But no, you got the wrong version. XP-compatibility, for example, does not exist on many versions. This would be a crucial thing to have, especially on the cheaper versions, since people on a budget are more likely to be running old code. So Microsoft has to field support calls about this and people get irked.
The company should pull the plug on this entire scheme ASAP. It was the reason Vista failed. It generates ill-will. It generates suspicion. And it’s stupid. Stop doing it Microsoft!
Don’t stop doing it, Microsoft!
Microsoft is helping GNU/Linux with its own missteps. █
“My initial evaluation of Windows 7 shows that it’s really just Vista with a fresh coat of paint.”
Summary: Carphone Warehouse disguises AstroTurfing as worship on the Web
Boycott Novell has had its encounters with agencies whose job is to plant fake (paid) blog posts. We always snitch on them. See Unruly Media for example. It seems reasonable to bring criminal charges* against such agencies (and those who hire them for services) and then shut them down permanently. We already do all that we can to address this problem [1, 2, 3, 4] and today we hope to help expose Carphone Warehouse, thanks to our reader David Gerard. Here is David’s summary of the incident:
This just arrived and appears genuine. Carphone Warehouse are (a) sending spam (b) to request blog spam. I suggest not dealing with them, cancelling existing contracts with them, and telling them why.
For future reference, a copy of the evidence is appended in the body of this post. Here is another complete copy:
Received: by 10.102.215.10 with SMTP id n10cs431768mug;
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 05:41:07 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by 10.211.195.3 with SMTP id x3mr5020984ebp.28.1247488867684;
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 05:41:07 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from mobiles.co.uk (mail.mobiles.co.uk [126.96.36.199])
by mx.google.com with ESMTP id 5si330642eyh.50.2009.07.13.05.41.07;
Mon, 13 Jul 2009 05:41:07 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of email@example.com designates 188.8.131.52 as permitted sender) client-ip=184.108.40.206;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=pass (google.com: domain of firstname.lastname@example.org designates 220.127.116.11 as permitted sender) email@example.com
Received: from [18.104.22.168] (HELO ds4)
by mobiles.co.uk (CommuniGate Pro SMTP 5.2.14)
with ESMTP id 22484445 for firstname.lastname@example.org; Mon, 13 Jul 2009 13:41:07 +0100
Sender: “=?iso-8859-1?Q?webpartners@mobiles=2Eco=2Euk?=” <email@example.com>
From: “=?iso-8859-1?Q?webpartners@mobiles=2Eco=2Euk?=” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 13:41:05 +0100
To: “=?iso-8859-1?Q?dgerard@gmail=2Ecom?=” <email@example.com>
X-Mailer: JMail 4.3.0 by Dimac
Hello. I`m Chris Conwell, Director at mobiles.co.uk. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Carphone Warehouse Group, we were the UK`s first retail mobile phone website (launched in 1995) and are now the largest web-only mobile phone store in the UK.
I was searching the web for decent potential partners and came across davidgerard.co.uk. I have an idea which I hope you will find useful:-
We would like to have our editorial team research and hand write some content for you to add to a page on davidgerard.co.uk. We will agree a subject with you that is relevant to both of our sites (it won`t be a sales pitch for us!) and will include a single simple text link back to a relevant content page on our site. The content will be uniquely written for you and will not be re-used elsewhere. It should be helpful to your visitors and of course the search engines, as will the presence of a relevant link back to us. Hopefully we will also benefit from the link in the longer term. We are not currently in the position of being able to exchange or return links so we thought this could be a good alternative.
Naturally there are no costs whatsoever for you.
If this isn`t appropriate for you, please accept my sincere apologies for having troubled you.
GETTING A QUICK RESPONSE
I realise you may prefer to simply reply to this email which is no problem and I`ll respond as quickly as I can. However, I have found that email isn`t always as reliable as everyone thinks plus I`m out and about a lot of the time. We have therefore created a simple and quick-to-use response page that provides detailed information and answers to questions on the various options and allows you to send messages to our team . . and lots more.
The page is at http://www.mobiles.co.uk/partner-response.html and we have created an access code for davidgerard.co.uk which is 20090711150119IEQFU.
If you feel I should not have sent you this email, I`m really sorry – please just reply with REMOVE in the subject.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Kind Regards – Chris Conwell
Mobiles.co.uk Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Carphone Warehouse Group PLC
Registered in England no. 3253714 at 1, Portal Way, London W3 6RS
It is not enough only to expose but to also shut down the agencies that do all of this. Lack of complaints means that they can carry on unabated (maybe just humiliated).
It is worth adding that Microsoft steps deeper into Twitter.
As of late Wednesday, the new Microsoft account had three posts — one pointing to a new feature, one to a new product, and another to a positive review of Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
The last time we summarised Microsoft’s activity in Twitter was last month. There are also the following posts to become familiar with because Microsoft hired several agencies to police Twitter:
More information on the subject of Microsoft AstroTurfing is appended below. █
“I’m a huge fan of guerrilla marketing.”
–Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Fan
* The practice is already illegal in Europe (there is actually a good link to a more recent article about the Commission ushering a law around June). The US FTC catches up. People should contact the European Commission and/or the FTC (the World Wide Web has no physical borders). Those who still AstroTurf are essentially breaking the law, which was officially passed over a year ago.
From December 31, when the change becomes law in the UK, they can be named and shamed by trading standards or taken to court.
Summary: Mono-Nono’s opinion on bad treatment of Mono dissenters and Mono resistance from Groklaw
Boycott Novell is far from the only skeptic of Mono. Other skeptics predate Boycott Novell’s existence. Here is a quick look at what other Web sites said about Mono last week (and slightly before that). Will Groklaw be the next victim of smear campaigns? Let’s hope not.
Yesterday we wrote about recyclable smears against Richard Stallman and made a little statement of our own. As Jason puts it, “Many mono apologists like to portray critics as fanatics, aggressively opposed to anything Microsoft-related.”
Jason sets the record straight on Stallman and feminism. Those who regularly read Stallman’s political blog would know very well that he is a promoter of women’s rights (and freedom and equality in general).
So now that we have Stallman painted with the “sexist” brush, I see some people casting glances to the “Death Threat Crazy” and “Nazi” brushes.
Let me clear: I wasn’t at the conference, and I don’t know exactly what Stallman said. It is possible he made an inappropriate remark. Some reasonable people say it was a joke gone bad; stuff like that happens.But, even if it were an honest-to-good malicious sexist remark (unlikely considering Stallman has a long record of supporting women’s rights in his writings and interviews), the character assassination has been totally disproportionate to the event. He may indeed need a word of correction from a trusted friend or even a letter of concern from a respected group. What he doesn’t need or deserve is a pack of snarling jackals lumping him in with lunatics making death threats and freaking Nazis. (Assuming the death threat thing is legit, I haven’t looked it up. I know I got a lot of death threats from owning peeps in Quake, so that junk can be serious business.)
A more polite response to Stallman does exist and it addresses technical issues alone (i.e. no character assassinations, which usually indicate one loses the argument anyway). Mono critics find out very consistently that it’s somewhat of a taboo that evokes backlash. Everyone sees it and nobody is spared; this currently includes Richard Stallman, as we showed earlier.
Jason made many remarks on personal attacks, some of which are being retracted (e.g. the one against me and against Stallman). A Microsoft intern, for example, decided to have not only his own article withdrawn but also those of others. See this from cache: “At the request of the original author, the original post has been removed and replaced with this message (from the original author): Dear FOSS Community, I apologize to Richard Stallman and anyone who may have been offended by my post. It was written in a hurry in a moment of utter frustration and dejection following a day I wouldn’t want to wish upon anyone. I am utterly ignorant about the things I wrote, and I only wish that I can be forgiven and forgotten so I can concentrate on becoming a better programmer and contributing to the community I hurt. I promise to carefully read everything I can about Free Software. I understand that Freedom is more than just the source code, but I don’t understand anything more yet. I will appreciate any advice you can provide to me. I owe so much to the open source community, I’ve gotten advice, feedback, lessons and an overwhelming faith in humanity. It is always my dream to benefit a cause bigger than myself. I want to dedicate myself to my art and give back as much as I can. Thank you”
For those who have not subscribed to Jason’s Web site, maybe it’s time to seriously think about it. He used to contribute to us.
Groklaw wrote not a single article about Mono, but it did write a lot about Mono in “News Picks”. Here is a summary of what was brought up.
Regarding Ubuntu’s apathy towards Mono issues (that they were working on an official position), Pamela Jones at Groklaw wrote: “There are contradictory remarks, highlighted in this article. I take it that the above is the key paragraph, however, and the one that indicates that there isn’t yet any official position, and that one is forthcoming. I interpret that to mean that the issue has escalated above the technical folks and reached the legal, or at least that is my hope. They, at least, will recognize what the legal issues are and can evaluate on behalf of Canonical, the entity that would end up sued, the legal risks. However, I note that SCO ended up suing end users, not vendors, so personally, I remove mono from any distro that I use, as my personal risk analysis is based on a belief that Microsoft intends to sue someday. Remember all the folks who told us that Microsoft would never sue over patents? I told you I thought they would. And they did. I believe they will do so again, and it’s wise to anticipate that chess move with a preventive move of my own to block.”
Groklaw also shows this older post, from which it quotes:
Back in 2006, we put our trust in Mono because we refused, or perhaps disliked, to vilify a project solely because it emulated something created at Microsoft. While Open Source backers generally dislike Microsoft technology, with Mono they had another argument that being a clone it could be affected by a number of patents that Microsoft holds related to the .Net framework. This point often comes up in debates about the “safety” of the Mono project, the defense of Mono being that large parts of the .Net specification are an open, published ECMA standard. I sided with the Mono supporters then, downplaying the risk of patents from Microsoft. But then in November, Microsoft and Novell announced their Patent Agreement, which guarantees patent protection exclusively for users of Novell Linux. The Mono project is largely supported by Novell, and such an agreement is disastrous for a community project like Mono. At this point, the fence-sitters in the Open Source community largely crossed over to the anti-Mono camp. Perhaps, they were justified in doing so. I could no longer defend Mono, and my belief in the framework getting wider acceptance has diminished significantly since then.
It is entirely possible that Mono can suddenly gain acceptance if Microsoft decides to relinquish patent claims regarding the .Net framework. If it happens, .Net and Mono could well become an powerful challenger to the dominance of Java. This is very unlikely, Microsoft’s current strategy seems to be relying strongly on patents and IP to ward off the looming threat from Linux.
For now, we decided to look beyond Mono and C#.
In reference to Richard Dale (a KDE developer whom we mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) and his take on the subject of Mono, Jones writes: “What I think you are supposed to do is not create legal problems for yourself or others, so your software won’t be easily destroyed by an entity making use of a legal system which is very real.”
Citing an old page from Miguel de Icaza, Groklaw quotes the following:
We very much hope that Mono will become the standard development platform that developers are looking for: a platform that makes strong API/ABI commitments, supports older versions of the libraries and supports their products moving forward (in fact, .NET does provide this very functionality in the GAC). It is useful that the .NET 1.0 and 1.1 APIs are set in stone now, because we have a concrete goal to aim for, and developers will know that those APIs will be supported.
Jones adds: “Until they aren’t [APIs will not be supported], something utterly in Microsoft’s control.”
Jones also points to LinkedIn, suggesting that someone in Ubuntu may be an “elephant in the room” (or one among several) because he suggested removing the GIMP in favour of the Mono-based F-spot. Jones writes: “Hmm. I see Rick Spencer, now Engineering Manager, Desktop, at Canonical (since December of 2008) used to work at Microsoft. He was Lead Program Manager at Microsoft (May 2006 — September 2007), User Experience Manager at Microsoft (May 2005 — May 2006), and Usability Engineer, Usability Manager at Microsoft (March 1998 — May 2005). Given the current debate going on at Canonical over Mono, I thought it was worth at least a mention.”
Jones also quotes Ubuntu’s “Mono Position Statement” (from Scott James Remnant), adding: “Here’s my Mono statement: just because others jump off a cliff, there’s no reason why you have to.”
Jones has been giving Ubuntu a hard time this month, but she recommends this comment from GreyGeek (one we cited earlier). It is not about Ubuntu and it says:
“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.”
“Shields has meanwhile realised that Banshee may not make it into the next version of Ubuntu after all.”Jones then responds to the frequently-cited article from Jo Shields (which contains smears against us). She shows that Shields is incorrect, stressing that “Mono *is* mentioned in the Microsoft-Novell deal, so this is misinformation. You can read the Microsoft-Novell FAQ that explained the deal at the time.”
In addition, Jones writes to debunk Shields’ shallow analysis: “The patent agreement itself also mentions clone products, which is defined here. You definitely want to read the comments too after the article by Shields, to get the full flavor of the pro-Mono movement, to paraphrase, as well as the comments on Linux Today, which published the article also, as well as a response from Boycott Novell. And here’s a bit more, Shields on the subject of Moonlight. Finally, here’s an article on the API patent trap that will round out the subject. If Ubuntu is being influenced by Shields, it might explain some recent events.”
Shields has meanwhile realised that Banshee may not make it into the next version of Ubuntu after all. He finds that regretful and he adds:
Remember, kids, competition drives innovation!
“…As long as it’s not gnote,” shrewdly adds a reader of ours.
A similar kind of encumbrance would be if MIT (or Xorg) could retroactively re-license the X11 libraries to something proprietary (note: they cannot), thereby removing the platform upon which all Free Software X11 applications are built; it would be a risk, and given the importance of Free Software, a risk where the expected value of a manifestation is huge.
This isn’t to say there’s not other submarines in the water. We don’t know. Maybe we should. The known submarine should be treated with caution. And the side of caution is to treat C# as a non-Free platform to be avoided.
Notice the following part of the Microsoft CP (as highlighted by Groklaw): “Because the General Public License (GPL) is not universally interpreted the same way by everyone, we can’t give anyone a legal opinion about how our language relates to the GPL or other OSS licenses, but based on feedback from the open source community we believe that a broad audience of developers can implement the specifications.”
Sounds reassuring, right?
Groklaw also links to this paper
[PDF]. Jones writes: “Here’s an article from RedMonk’s Steven O’Grady back in 2004, with a description of Mono, a bit of its history, Novell’s commitment to it, and who else has invested in it, namely Intel and HP.” Intel and H-P are both allies of Microsoft, no matter how hard they try to hide it on occasions. We gave heaps of examples to serve as evidence before.
Regarding this article from Bruce Byfield (titled “Open Source Landmark: Mono Freed at Last?”), Jones writes: “Nope. See rms [Richard Stallman] quote.”
Richard Stallman called Microsoft’s CP inadequate, but Microsoft carries on with “extend” mode now that Silverlight 3 is arriving under Scott Guthrie’s illusion that GNU/Linux is supported (it is not and he knows it).
Microsoft supplies Silverlight for Windows and Intel-based Mac, while the open source Moonlight project is responsible for Linux, though supplemented by media codecs that come directly from Microsoft. Moonlight is still a work in progress. Microsoft’s vice president for the .Net developer platform Scott Guthrie says it is “six to nine months behind”, though that seems optimistic. Moonlight 2.0, the first version with .NET support, is still in preview.
No word on whether the CP covers Moonlight 2.0+ at all. Will it cover future versions too? What about proprietary codecs? █
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