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07.17.09

Video: Stallman Says C# Only for Running Existing Programs (Updated: Ogg)

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, FSF, Mono, Videos at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New video, skip to the last 2 minutes.

[via]

Update: Here is an Ogg Theora version.

Microsoft Reported to the FTC for AstroTurf Marketing

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Marketing, Microsoft at 4:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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 "Technology Evangelist", 2008

Summary: Microsoft’s paid AstroTurf exceeded readers’ patience, so a formal complained is filed

WEEKS AGO we wrote about the FTC planning to put an end to bribed bloggers. We have already filed a complaint about Microsoft's PR department (Waggener Edstrom) which is bribing bloggers and we finally find that New York state fines companies for fake testimonials. But the nature of today’s complaint is different.

“One Microsoft employee even edited our Wiki to insert promotional links.”This complaint is mostly sparked by a Microsoft-employed “Technology Evangelist” that keeps flooding us with Microsoft-promotional comments whilst he tracks the site (for Microsoft, he is just one among many, whose role involves unethical and sometimes illegal practices). It is probable that there are others who do the same thing in this Web site (anonymous or pseudonymous) because there are no disclosures and at least 2 other Microsoft employees commented in our site this week (in defense of Microsoft). One Microsoft employee even edited our Wiki to insert promotional links.

The main Microsoft “Technology Evangelist” at hand refused to add disclosures to his comments after being exposed. He was asked politely and repeatedly (here for example) to append disclosures. He had never offered any disclose before he was exposed and he doing the same thing in other Web sites where people do not know that he is paid by Microsoft to do “Technology Evangelism”. This activity includes Google bashing and Linux bashing, obviously.

Here is the complaint I sent.

Subject: AstroTurf Marketing by Microsoft Corporation, Without Disclosure

To:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
E-mail: antitrust@ftc.gov

It has come to my attention[1] that you are working to end the practice of unethical marketing on the Web. I hereby wish to file a complaint about “Microsoft Corporation”, lodged at address:

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-7329
USA
Tel: (425) 882-8080
Fax: (425) 706-7329

The firm employs people whom it calls “Technology Evangelists”. They travel the World Wide Web and comment in Web logs (blogs) in order to manage perception about Microsoft products, without offering any disclosure. I have the identity of at least one such Microsoft employee, who is littering my Web site with Microsoft promotion and offers no disclosure about his job. This phenomenon is very widespread and I shall produce substantial proof as you require it.

With kind regards,

Roy Schestowitz

_____
[1] http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10269962-38.html

This is not being mailed in vain.

Our complaint to the European Ombudsman, for example, was a great success and we have been sending extensive proof now that they are on the case, exchanging E-mails and phonecalls with us.

Microsoft’s perception management [1, 2] for key products like Bing, Silverlight and Windows 7 [1, 2, 3, 4] must end. It is done in a way that violates the law. Other companies are arguably breaking the law in a similar way, but they do not go quite as far Microsoft [1, 2].

We advise other victims of Microsoft “Technology Evangelism” (AstroTurf marketing) to do the same and report such issues. otherwise it will never stop.

Novell’s Contributions to Linux Drop Sharply

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gulls land

Summary: Novell on the slippery slope of Microsoft versus Linux

THE numbers speak for themselves. It’s down to just 5.9% now (from 8.9%). On the other hand, rather than develop Linux for the Free software community Novell is now developing Mono to help Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. How things change over time. As we noted some months ago, Novell fires Linux developers whilst recruiting .NET/Mono talent. Even Novell’s management has taken some Microsoft executives on board.

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

GPL and Stallman FUD Now Arriving from the Freedom-apathetic or Freedom-hostile

Posted in Apple, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 12:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman young
Richard Stallman (younger days)

Summary: Microsoft, Novell and Apple fanfare proves challenging to GNU/FSF; the OSI may also face a new hurdle

MOMENTS ago we posted an important statement from the FSF, which was long coming. The FSF still advises against C# and Mono. Other new posts about Mono reveal that attack on messengers is the preferred tactic of Microsoft or Mono proponents. Some of them cannot defend what they advocate or do, not on a technical level anyway, let alone the legal. Just watch how Stallman gets attacked [1, 2] following a tactless remark that occupied less than 10 seconds in a 2-hour talk (or thereabouts). People who wish to eliminate Stallman from the discussion would simply accentuate, exaggerate, spin, take out of context, fail to interpret humour (it was a Cult of the Virgin Mary parody), etc. it’s intended to incite against him and capitalise on lack on research. This is not to justify poor stage act from Stallman; au contraire, but to either quote-mine or to ignore a track record of advocacy for women’s rights from Richard Stallman would be foolish at best, if not altogether dishonest.

This post is not so much about the above incident, which was blown out of all reasonable proportions though. It is actually to do with longtime critics of Stallman, who include Apple fans (e.g. Matt Asay — one who ignores the fact that Apple is still attacking Linux phones, harming GNU/Linux desktops and deliberately stifling interoperability with Linux, quite repeatedly in fact) or those who sometimes seek to ‘proprietarise’ GNU and/or Linux. Stallman stands in their way, so by illegitimatising him — along with his message and establishments of course — they can proceed more easily with personal agenda of gain.

First of all, for the record and for those who have no heard yet, Apple is once again attacking Linux devices.

The pettiness of Apple continues… Last month, Apple warned potential buyers of the Palm Pre that it might break that phone’s ability to sync with iTunes. It didn’t take long for Apple to follow through. In an upgrade to iTunes, which Apple claims was for “bug fix” but also to handle “verification” issues, it has blocked the Palm Pre from accessing iTunes.

This rogue behaviour from Apple has even gotten attention from the KDE news site.

One of the things that was touched upon was the recent release of the Palm Pre smartphone which relies on Apple’s iTunes software for synchronising music with a computer. An interesting question asked was what would happen if Apple decided to block the Pre from using iTunes. Now, just over a week later, this is exactly what happened. Apple has indeed blocked the Pre from using iTunes with its latest update.

Unfortunately, this is just business as usual in the world of proprietary software. In the end, Palm will surely find a way around this, but in the meantime, the users are being held hostage. Adding insult to injury, many Palm Pre owners have likely been purchasing music from iTunes to put on their new smartphones, thus becoming Apple customers as well, so in the end this move hurts Apple’s music sales too.

It is with that it mind that people must remember that Apple is hardly a friend of GNU/Linux. Sure, it has its dealings with and handle on CUPS, WebKit and some other projects, but Apple likes harmony and sharing as long as competition like GNU/Linux stays out of the way. Apple too is using patents against Linux and for that matter, FFII’s president told us yesterday that “IBM is the biggest patent troll. They use software patents as a competitive advantage [as in] ‘Come to us, you will be protected.’” We addressed this critical issue before.

Michael TiemannMany people fail to remember that the vast majority of IBM’s and Apple’s application layer is as proprietary as it gets. This includes even Lotus Symphony and Apple’s Web browser, which exploited the work of KDE (KHTML).

It is with great regret that we find Matt Asay, the man who some regard as the reason for Microsoft’s infiltration into the OSI, more or less inviting more of Microsoft into the OSI. This is atrociously naive and fortunately he is no longer in the OSI, but neither is Bruce Perens. At the same time, Asay is dismissing (almost mocking) those who are aware of Microsoft's endless malice, writing them off as extremists. Jason has already responded to this in length.

In the first article Mr. Asay asserts that the Open Source community is “stagnant”, “insular”, full of “group-think”, and the tent needs widening. He also suggests that the community rejects “anything that fails to discuss knighthood and/or sainthood for Richard Stallman”

His solution: include representatives from Microsoft and Oracle on the OSI board.

A better solution would be for Michael Tiemann and the OSI to improve their relationship with the FSF. Now more than ever we know that Microsoft is attacking “open source” by attempting to change it and exploit it for revenue (FOSS hoarding), just like it did with ISO. As Steve Ballmer put it, “I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

As Jason points out, Asay’s convictions are systematic.

Well, I came for the Stallman/Open Source talk, but I stayed for the stupid. I just thought it a bit of interest that the man relases two articles in two days each with a bit of anti-GPL / anti-Free Software / anti-Stallman angle in them.

Here is an excellent long comment from GreyGeek:

EVERYBODY is, or will become, an “extremist” by that logic. Those who attend a specific church or social group. Those who are members of a specific organization. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. Americans. Chinese. The dead, although they keep their opinions to themselves, if psychics are lying.

Matt Asay’s “solution” is what Microsoft is already working as hard as possible to achieve, and it sponsors the most extremist group (in computers) that I am aware of: Technical Evangelists. James Plamondon’s children.

Microsoft also has created or funded several front organizations, which are similar to James Plamondon’s “stacked panel”, because while they appear in public to be neutral they actually work on Microsoft’s behalf and in Microsoft’s interest behind the scenes. The ACT is an example. ACT was created to lobby congress during the DOJ trial in order to paint the DOJ as “punishing success” or “being against” capitalism. When Microsoft ran into trouble in Eruope the ACT suddenly found it necessary to open an office in Switzerland in order to lobby the EU in Microsoft’s behalf. When other computer related US companies had problems in Europe the ACT didn’t find it necessary to lobby the EU on their behalf. Only for Microsoft.

Another Microsoft front organization is the “Initiative for Software Choice”, which always seems to favor proprietary lock-ins over Open Source applications, except for the lip-service.

[...]

According to Asay, they qualify as extremists because they always associate with Microsoft and adopt Microsoft’s attitude and position on each and every topic that would affect Microsoft’s bottom line. Actions by people or government that would be unfavorable to Microsoft’s bottom line would be unfavorable to these proxy organizations — their CEO’s, their sales, their existence DEPENDS on their selling Microsoft’s products. Failing to broaden their market reach they have become part of the most extremist organization ever to infect the computer world.

Using Asay’s definition Microsoft and its proxies are extremists. In fact, they are by any definition. Just be careful you don’t run afoul of another Microsoft front organization, the BSA.

It is astounding to see the same themes recurring. Those who are criticised by Free software folks (people like the above) would often ask, “why don’t they like me?”

“Only by imposing ignorance upon them will they tolerate or even defend such abuse.”The answer is simple: because those companies are taking away people’s freedom and stomping on people’s rights, so no wonder those people don’t like it. What else can be expected? Only by imposing ignorance upon them will they tolerate or even defend such abuse. This includes Apple/Mac enthusiasts at times.

The context of Asay’s remark ought to be understood. He is hoping to change how people perceive open source by weakening the definition and giving up on more essential rights in the process (what Stallman might call “ruinous compromises”). It is further distancing from libre software, so to paraphrase and slightly change something Stallman said about Linus Torvalds, if you care about Freedom in software, don’t follow Asay. This is intended to be said politely, not abrasively. From Asay alone, Stallman bashing or at least critique goes a long way back (before his time in CNET). We found an impressive string of posts criticising the GPL after posting Stallman-hostile essays for several years. Eric Raymond was among the recent inspirers.

Examples of other attacks on the GPL include Black Duck's black box surveys (mentioned briefly in [1, 2]) and a variety of posts that are innocently taking “open source” just where Microsoft wants it to be. Maybe it is not innocent, but these sources will be given the benefit of the doubt.

Microsoft is not trying to hijack only “open source” by the way. We repeatedly warn that Microsoft is trying to control the virtual gateway to servers and in the process it hijacks the virtualisation market leader, apparently by initially colluding with EMC. Here is the latest addition:

VMware bulks up on former Microsoft exec

VMware is starting to look a lot like the good old days at Microsoft, at least in terms of its executive ranks. The Palo Alto, Calif. virtualization company — led by former Microsoft exec Paul Maritz — recently recruited former Google and Microsoft big shot Mark Lucovsky to an unnamed position.

Does the OSI want to end up like VMware? Once you get Microsoft inside the village, experience suggest that it will open up the gates for more Microsoft to enter and occupy what used to a rival.

Dog with a sign

“That would be because we believe in Free Software and doing the right thing (a practice you appear to have given up on). Maybe it is time the term ‘open source’ also did the decent thing and died out with you.”

Alan Cox to Eric Raymond

Microsoft CEO Admits That Vista 7 is Just Vapourware, Opera Complaints About It

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vista 7

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: More bad news for Vista 7, whose prospects as of late have come under heavy scrutiny

SJVN has just published this article about Vista 7. The headline says it all and it relates to Microsoft's very own definition of "vaporware" (leaked by antitrust action). As the quote at the top shows, it is no surprise that Microsoft never talks about Vista anymore; instead it talks about a product that cannot be properly judged because it does not exist yet. In the mean time, all that Vista 7 is gets monitored by “perception management” methods [1, 2]. Punishments and awards are being used to police coverage.

Ballmer says Windows 7 is vaporware

[...]

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, shocked attendees at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner conference in New Orleans yesterday when he announced that while Windows 7 is certainly interesting since it won’t ship until late this year it’s little more than vaporware.

Ballmer continued, to the stunned audience of Microsoft programmers’ amazement, to say that “I don’t know if we can’t make up our mind or what our problem is over here, but the last time I checked, you don’t need two client operating systems. It’s good to have one.”

[...]

Wait. What’s this? Oh, I see! Ballmer was actually talking about Google’s just announced Linux-based Chrome operating system. and Android. Funny that. You see, everything he said about Google and its plans actually applies far more to Microsoft and its way of doing business than it does Google. Interesting isn’t it?

In other interesting news (which mostly repeats what was known), Opera is still dennouncing Vista 7 RC for being anti-competitive by design.

WEB BROWSER outfit Opera, which sparked an EU antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s business practices in Europe, remains dissatisfied with its rival’s move to unbundle Internet Exploder 8 from Windows 7.

Contrary to Microsoft spin from the BBC, it was neither the desire of Opera nor the European Commission to have IE8 stripped from Vista 7. It was Microsoft’s decision, which Opera immediately called “a game”. Here is another report.

Opera Software, the Norwegian browser maker that sparked an antitrust investigation into Microsoft business practices in Europe, remains dissatisfied with its rival’s move to dump IE8 from Windows 7.

It should be clear that Microsoft wants to give the illusion that people actually choose IE (even if OEMs make the choice), that Opera is nasty and whiny, and that the European Commission ruined Vista 7. Microsoft obeyed no demands from Opera or the European Commission. Microsoft used antitrust scrutiny to its advantage by pulling yet another stunt. Then, Microsoft used its front groups (e.g. CompTIA) to spin it in the press. Will Microsoft get away with it again?

“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”

Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark

Free Software Foundation Discourages Dependence on Mono, Dismisses Microsoft Community Promise

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Patents at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last week, Microsoft extended the terms of their Community Promise to implementations of the ECMA 334 and 335 standards. You might think this means it’s safe to write your software in C#. However, this promise is full of loopholes, and it’s nowhere near enough to make C# safe.

Why Worry About C#?

Since we published Richard’s article about Mono last week, some people have been asking us why we’re expressing special concern about free software developers relying on C# and Mono, instead of other languages. Sun probably has patents that cover Java. Maybe IBM has patents that cover C compilers. “Shouldn’t we discourage the use of these too?” they ask.

It’s true that all software patents are a threat to developers—but that doesn’t mean that all software patents are equally threatening. Different companies might have patents that could be used to attack other languages, but if we worried about every patent that could be used against us, we wouldn’t get anything done. Microsoft’s patents are much more dangerous: it’s the only major software company that has declared itself the enemy of GNU/Linux and stated its intention to attack our community with patents. If Microsoft designed a patent trap into C#, that is no more than what it said it would do.

The company has been quite clear about its intentions since late 2006. At a user conference in November that year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, responding to a question about their patent agreement with Novell:

… the fact that [GNU/Linux] uses our patented intellectual property [sic] is a problem for our shareholders. We spend $7 billion a year on R&D, our shareholders expect us to protect or license or get economic benefit from our patented innovations. So how do we somehow get the appropriate economic return for our patented innovation…?

(Seattle Post-Intellegencer, The Microsoft Blog, “Ballmer on Novell, Linux and patents,” November 16, 2006.)

A few days later, an interview with Microsoft President Bob Muglia was published, and he made it clear that they considered C# one of these so-called “patented innovations:”


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

(eWeek.com, “Microsofts Muglia Talks Longhorn, Novell and Java”, November 17, 2006.)

They’ve been turning up the heat ever since. In May 2007, Microsoft followed all this up by announcing in a Fortune magazine interview that they believed GNU/Linux infringed 235 Microsoft patents. And recently they made it very clear that these were not idle threats: the company sued TomTom for using the VFAT filesystem implementation in the kernel Linux without buying a license from it.

All of this can’t simply be brushed aside. These are statements and actions made at the highest executive levels of the company. Using patents to divide and conquer the free software community is a fundamental part of their corporate strategy. Because of that, C# represents a unique threat to us. The language was developed inside Microsoft, so it’s likely they have many patents to cover different aspects of its implementation. That would make free software implementations of C#, like Mono, an easy target for attack.

“The Community Promise does nothing to change any of this.”The Community Promise does nothing to change any of this. Microsoft had an opportunity to take action and demonstrate that it meant us no harm with C#. Instead, they took meaningless half-measures that leave them with plenty of opportunities to hurt us.

Incomplete Standards

The ECMA 334 and 335 specifications describe the core C# language, including information about standard libraries that must be available in any compliant implementation. However, there are several libraries that are included with Mono, and commonly used by applications like Tomboy, that are not required by the standard. And just to be clear, we’re not talking about Windows-specific libraries like ASP.NET and Windows Forms. Instead, we’re talking about libraries under the System namespace that provide common functionality programmers expect in modern programming languages: binary object serialization, regular expressions, XPath and XSLT, and more.

Because these libraries are not defined in the ECMA specifications, they are not protected in any way by Microsoft’s Community Promise. If this were the only problem with the promise, it might be safe to use applications that avoid these libraries, and stick to what’s in the standard. But even the code that’s covered by the promise isn’t completely safe.

Figuring Out What’s Necessary

The Community Promise only extends to claims in Microsoft patents that are necessary to implement the covered specifications. Judging just by the size of its patent portfolio, it’s likely that Microsoft holds patents which a complete standard implementation probably infringes even if it’s not strictly necessary—maybe the patent covers a straightforward speed optimization, or some common way of performing some task. The Community Promise doesn’t say anything about these patents, and so Microsoft can still use them to threaten standard implementations.

Moving the Goalposts

“The Community Promise does not give you any rights to exercise the patented claims.”Let’s say you’ve written an implementation of one of the specifications covered by the Community Promise, and you want to determine whether or not you’ll be sued for infringing a certain Microsoft patent. The necessity question already makes it difficult enough to figure this out. But even if you manage it, you should make sure you check again tomorrow, because the Community Promise might not protect you then.

The Community Promise does not give you any rights to exercise the patented claims. It only says that Microsoft will not sue you over claims in patents that it owns or controls. If Microsoft sells one of those patents, there’s nothing stopping the buyer from suing everyone who uses the software.

The Solution: A Comprehensive Patent License

If Microsoft genuinely wants to reassure free software users that it does not intend to sue them for using Mono, it should grant the public an irrevocable patent license for all of its patents that Mono actually exercises. That would neatly avoid all of the existing problems with the Community Promise: it’s broad enough in scope that we don’t have to figure out what’s covered by the specification or strictly necessary to implement it. And it would still be in force even if Microsoft sold the patents.

This isn’t an unreasonable request, either. GPLv3 requires distributors to provide a similar license when they convey modified versions of covered software, and plenty of companies large and small have had no problem doing that. Certainly one with Microsoft’s resources should be able to manage this, too. If they’re unsure how to go about it, they should get in touch with us; we’d be happy to work with them to make sure it’s satisfactory.

Until that happens, free software developers still should not write software that depends on Mono. C# implementations can still be attacked by Microsoft’s patents: the Community Promise is designed to give the company several outs if it wants them. We don’t want to see developers’ hard work lost to the community if we lose the ability to use Mono, and until we eliminate software patents altogether, using another language is the best way to prevent that from happening.


Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc. Privacy Policy.

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Why the Melco-Microsoft Deal is a Form of Racketeering

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Band on the snow

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Summary: A deeper look at Melco’s deal with Microsoft

IN some ways, the Melco sellout resembles the Brother Industries sellout. Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley wrote about this deal almost gleefully and also suggested that OEMs might be next to sign (i.e. sell out to Microsoft). Does she know anything that others do not? The short story as she tells it goes like this:

On July 15, Microsoft signed a patent-coverage deal with Melco Holdings, the Japanese-based parent company of Buffalo Inc. and Buffalo Group. Buffalo makes network-attached storage (NAS) and routers, including the LinkStation and AirStation products.

It has hardly been covered by the mainstream press so far, and surely not properly. The press is busier covering products that do not exist (e.g. Vista 7). What makes this patent agreement unique is that no patents are specified, no amounts of money are disclosed, but above all, Linux is not even owned by Melco Holdings, yet it has no qualm about injuring its producers for personal convenience. It is usually to be expected from mere exploiters (‘proprietarisers’) of Linux such as TiVo or ACCESS.

“There might be more (unannounced) such deals — ones that rely on this Melco/Microsoft press release to justify the racketeering and suppress Linux adoption.”To put in perspective what Microsoft is doing here, it is a form of racketeering, which makes one wonder if the RICO ACT (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) becomes applicable. What Microsoft is saying goes along the lines of “we have a big gun here and you don’t want us to pull it out on you, so why don’t you pay us some money and we’ll leave you alone permanently?”

Microsoft is also assisted by accomplice front groups (e.g. Jonathan Zuck), who are fraudulently pretending that small businesses [1, 2, 3] want to pass laws that illegalise GNU/Linux or tax it out of the European market. That, unlike the RICO ACT, is something that the European Commission needs to be informed about. To say more about the nature of these dealings, consider this new comment from LinuxToday: “All of these deals are being done in secret. It needs to stop so that we can this BS about Patents that Microsoft keeps using resolved- one way or another.

There might be more (unannounced) such deals — ones that rely on this Melco/Microsoft press release to justify the racketeering and suppress Linux adoption. As Microsoft's earnings fall 32% (partly due to GNU/Linux) Microsoft hopes to make up for it by claiming ownership of Linux and making a cash cow out of it, using software patents. It’s like another SCO and people should report this abuse, at least to the extent possible. It is the latest example in a long series where Microsoft operates more like the mafia than a respectable company.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game. On the other side, if Microsoft is concerned about its intellectual property, there is no one in the free software community that wants to violate anyone’s IP. Disclose the patents and we’ll fix the code. Alternatively, move on.”

Mark Shuttleworth

What Nessus Teaches About Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Statue

Summary: Some Mono analogies, analysis, and news

“THE more things change, the more they stay the same,” claims one of our readers, who prefers to remain anonymous. “Got .Nessus in your country’s infrastructure?” is the question he asks when suggesting that Microsoft is trying to poison the GNU/Linux operating system so as to gain more control over it because Free software takes over at the expense of Microsoft. The reference to Nessus is a mythological one as the reader explains thusly:

Nessus gave a poison cape as a gift.

Fenrir was tricked into letting an ubreakable chain be wrapped around his neck.

Amherst gave blankets from a deadly communicable disease to a population with particular vulnerability to the disease.

[Microsoft people] are on the way out, and like the dying Nessus want to give C# / .NET as a gift to ‘help’.

I’m sure there are other more common examples of poison pills from history and literature.

_______
Nessus’ cape:
[1]
[2]
[3]

Fenrir’s chain:
[4]
[5]

Amherst’s blankets:
[6]

This would be a nice analogy and a valuable reference. To borrow another example from this week’s news, the US military coup in Honduras might be worth a mention. To quote from this new report, “First, we know that the coup was led by Gen. Romeo Vasquez, a graduate of the US Army School of the Americas. As we know very well from history, these “graduates” maintain ties to the US military as they climb the military career ladders in their respective countries. That is a major reason why the US trains these individuals.” The short story is that several decades ago, more radical leaders in the White House worked to ensure that leader who are loyal to them reign southern and central America. Likewise, Microsoft seeks to infiltrate open source, other operating systems, and even standards bodies.

“We already wrote to explain why Microsoft’s community promise is confirmation that this is part of an “extent and extinguish” routine.”Ravi correctly states in his headline: “We will never kill Mono – Says Microsoft”

Of course they will never kill Mono. Well, Mono is good for Microsoft. That it has many issues associated with it is a problem which GNU/Linux is bound to suffer from. Consider this new interview with the developer of GNOME-Do, David Siegel. He explains why he chose Mono and as Tacone points out, “how much he loves c# 3.0 (which is out of standard) and Linq (also out of standard).”

We already wrote to explain why Microsoft's community promise is confirmation that this is part of an "extent and extinguish" routine. Banshee, for example, already uses some of the “uncovered” parts of .NET. This means that only SLED users (customer) can ‘safely’ use it for a few more years.

GNU/Linux users who understand what’s at stake do not want Mono (see comments in LinuxToday for example) and as one person puts it, “Mono is and always was a bad idea. Let Miguel live his Microsoftian dreams in peace but please keep it out of the GNU/Linux reality.

Mono-Nono has this new article about Mono infatuation with Microsoft. As always, it is an excellent analysis from Jason.

I picked this one because I think in 4 short sentences it illustrates most of the points that I see over and over again:

1. It is a representative quote – it’s given as part of an interview, not a twitter, blog entry, or part of a flame war on Slashdot. So it comes across as “official” Team Mono/Novell stuff.
2. It boasts of the “exclusivity” that Novell/Team Mono enjoys with Microsoft. Even if you don’t think this is a problem, I hope you can see how it could be perceived as offensive.
3. It constantly and unconditionally praises the technology. Everything is always “fantastic” or “superb” or “awesome” or “brilliant”. It comes across as worshipful, fanboy stuff.
4. It insults alternatives. Team Mono is not only always singing the praises of Mono/Moonlight/Microsoft, but it is a rare opportunity to degrade an alternative that passes by.
5. It promotes Mono/Moonlight as absolutely the right choice and ready for the most key parts of major projects.

On top of that, running on about Silverlight is a quadruple offense:

1. It has all the negative baggage that Mono has.
2. Plus, there is no ECMA/ISO standard to hide behind.
3. Plus, there is the incredibly offensive and anti-community Covenant.
4. Plus, de Icaza often talks about the exclusive help the Mono Project is getting from Microsoft. So good I mention this one twice.

Now, I’m sure yourself or Mr. de Icaza can justify and explain these sort of quotes – or maybe you don’t see anything wrong with them at all – but from my lights they are pretty close to the “infatuation” side of the relationship chart.

As we showed on a couple of occasions this week, Novell is putting Mono at the centre of its desktop and is integrating that with Moonlight too [1, 2]. Mono advocate Ryan Paul confirms that this is happening.

Banshee developer Aaron Bockover has revealed details about the next major version of the popular open source media player. Banshee will gain photo management capabilities and a custom user interface prototype designed specifically for netbooks.

It is worrying to see Canonical getting dragged into Novell’s desktop (Mono) strategy. From the Ubuntu Web site:

In this week’s Packaging Training Session Jo Shields (directhex), of the Debian/Ubuntu Mono team, will be explaining how to package Mono applications and libraries.

Based on what we learned, Ubuntu derivative gNewSense is looking at removal of Mono.

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