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Mono Roundup: Suppression of Speech, Extension, and Deception

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Playing with clay

Summary: Bits of minor news about Mono

AS our later post will show, Microsoft delivered not 20,000 lines of code but 20,000 lines of GPL compliance. Despite the illusion or bubble of PR bursting, some pro-Microsoft blogs are using this forced compliance (and Mono) to describe Microsoft’s self-serving actions as a “love-fest over open source” for which Microsoft deserves special credit. This spin is also pushed by the business press. At the same time we are seeing personal attacks on those daring to criticise some things like Mono, disdain of Stallman, and trust in Microsoft. Trust needs to be earned (c/f TomTom lawsuit in 2009)

Glyn Moody is able to see the disagreements at play and he has published a post that tells apart “Purists” and “Pragmatists”. It’s an old story and nothing particularly out of the ordinary; tension has always existed at some level.

Now we have a similar situation regarding Mono. The purists are concerned that there may be issues to do with software patents in jurisdictions that recognise them. To them, it seems folly to create what may be tainted code because of the digital sword of Damocles hanging over them through such intellectual monopolies. For the pragmatists, by contrast, Mono is simply a good way of programming that can serve the useful purpose of allowing people to run .Net-based programs on free software. All in all, then, they believe it is to be welcomed as a way of increasing the use of open source.

There is a particular irony in this situation, because this time it is the GNOME project’s use of Mono that is proving unacceptable to the purists, whereas ten years ago, GNOME was the purist solution to the problems with KDE’s pragmatism. If nothing else, this shows how foolish it would be to judge projects on their past alignments rather than present actions.

Despite warnings from the FSF, Novell is replicating Microsoft and it shows no signs of abatement. Taking Banshee for example, it is being further extended into territories which beg for trouble [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Tomboy has many users, but unlike Banshee, Microsoft’s Community Promise covers it for the time being. One of the biggest issues happens to be Moonlight, which was covered in ZDNet UK a few days ago.

Silverlight is based on .NET — the open source implementation of .NET is Mono. Microsoft has assisted Mono development. The open source version of Silverlight is called Moonlight, which is based on Mono, and sponsored by Novell. Moonlight enables Silverlight content to run on Linux.

Microsoft never appeased the concerns raised by the SFLC regarding Moonlight.

What also ought to be added is that David Worthington seems to have been promoting “everything Microsoft” recently (ever since they bought him lunch, but he was in touch with Microsoft for longer than that). Anyway, one of the latest posts from him is once again promoting Mono by deception, even spin and borderline lies. Pascal from the OpenSUSE Board is annoyed by it. He wrote:

This piece of… “art” has to be one of the most factually wrong and ridiculous pseudo-technical articles ever. Because its utterly unqualified author has 3 or 4 desktop applications running on Mono on his desktop, he states that Mono has overtaken Java (and, unlike the title of that article, he actually writes that it’s not only on the desktop).

And even later, Worthington carries on promoting Mono. It must be good for Microsoft, but we already knew that and wrote about it yesterday.

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  1. zatoichi said,

    July 24, 2009 at 5:13 am


    Roy, I’ve just reported your site to littleart.ru for violating its terms of use on artwork. I’d heard that you’d been smacked around for using stock are without permission, and here you are doing precisely that.

    This photo comes from this page on littleart.ru; note that at the bottom of the page, there’s the line

    Copyright ©2008-2009, Littleart.ru. Использование материалов сайта возможно только при наличии прямой ссылки на Littleart.ru

    If you read Russian, you’d be aware that this says, “Copyright © 2008-2009, Littleart.ru. Use of the site’s materials is only possible when there are direct links to Littleart.ru.” I’m not seein’ no direct links, Roy.

    So, the Big Defender of Free Software for the Evil Corporation is a violator of copyright. A thief of the creativity of others . Nice.

    Or maybe you’re just exercising your “freedom” and seeing to it that your neighbor shares his things with you. Whether he wants to or not. Without your asking first.

    For shame, Roy. I’m going to be going through the rest of the artwork on the site, I expect I’ll find more examples, and I’ll report those, too, as I find them, both to their owners and here.

    Those stories were true, weren’t they? Once a thief, always a thief.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The photo is from here:


    Royalty free, see usage options”

    Your only purpose in this site in to silence and intimidate (see the subject of this post). If you carry on, your account will be banned for breaking the commenting policy.

    Dylan McCall Reply:


    “Standard restrictions apply and flaivoloka must be notified and credited when using the photo for any public work.”

    Maybe it’s lost somewhere, but I don’t see the latter end of that being upheld.

  2. zatoichi said,

    July 24, 2009 at 5:32 am


    Don’t blame me, Roy, there had been stories, and the very first photo I check takes me to littlearts.ru; I not the one snagging free photos from dodgy web sites; I either get permission or get my stock from iStockphoto.com…

    That only talks about the royalty you have to pay when you’ve executed a license with the owner of the image. From the sxc.hu “Site Info” (my emphasis):

    “6. Are these images really free?

    Yes, they are free as long as you stick to the rules in the Image license Agreement. Also, in some cases you may need to notify the artists about using the images and sometimes you need to give credit to them. You can see these restrictions under the image previews, right next to the Download button.”

    Also, in section 7, “Legal Information”, they note

    “SXC cannot be held responsible for any copyright violations, and cannot guarantee the legality of the Images stored in its system. If you want to make sure, always contact the photographers. You use the site and the photos at your own risk! ”

    And, as I said, the image in question, as nearly as I can tell, belongs to littleart.ru and is only available under the specified terms. I’ll track down others as I have time, but I won’t bother telling you about it, since it seems to upset you.

    Speaking of “being banned”, I was wondering if you’d had a chance to either collect some links to where I was cursing so much that you had no recourse but to remove me from the site, as well as that list of “what is and what is not a ‘curse’”…? I mean, is “bas**rd” okay? I guess “as***le” is probably over the line, but what about just “a**”?

    Seen verofakto’s time line? Really nice job there, huh?

    zatoichi Reply:

    Oh, and verofakto did that on his or her own: I just offered one additional “incident”–the “tomboy replacement” thread in early 2008–and one clarification, to the work that had already been done. I can pass along any comments you have on this, if you’d like, Roy.

    nachokb Reply:

    And, as I said, the image in question, as nearly as I can tell, belongs to littleart.ru

    zatoichi, I don’t know why you are so sure about that, perhaps you have more information.

    Still, I can’t help but look at the dates, and it just so happens that sxc’s predates the Russian site’s image by more than a year. At least, that’s what it says.

    Anyway, it is ultimately irrelevant: it should be reported (to both of them, without prejudice) and then left aside (if, the real rights holder turns out to be the Russian guy, all that Roy would have to do is remove the image or ask permission).

    You seem to keep insisting that it is somehow Roy’s fault. That’s what makes you look like a zealot.



  3. zatoichi said,

    July 24, 2009 at 5:38 am


    I’m not trying to silence you, Roy. I’m just trying to get you to stop misrepresenting things, and leading this incessant chorus of hatred. I’m afraid you’ll die young if you keep up this sort of thing, it’s not at all healthy for you.

    Of course, to the extent that a lot of stuff on the site is out-and-out misrepresentation, I guess there’d be a lot less stuff, but that’s not the same thing at all.

  4. Needs Sunlight said,

    July 24, 2009 at 6:27 am


    More! This must be spot on if it gets the MSFT boosters so wound up and skipping right to the personal attacks. Fact is, if they have only the attacks that shows there is no basis for the claims that Mono / BOTNet are technically or legally suitable for any given task. Usually MSFT boosters do the attacks when there is some very bad showing in the quarterly figures, some competitors (read: the rest of industry) are getting good press, or

    Fact is the “protections” for Mono are not passed downstream. Only hobby developers are covered. End-users and commercial developers are at risk from racketeering. Building on Mono instead of the original Java or C++ can leave your customers in for a *nasty* surprise later — black hats and lawyers.

    eet Reply:

    Apparently you haven’t been following what’s been going on lately, otherwise you would know who zatoichi is. This here is about far more than your boring Mono-conspiracies; it is about what we want our community to be: A playground for self-indulgent paranoiacs who go around defaming others or a place for people who want to make constructive contributions to a shared vision.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    @EET: it seems you are one who has splinters from the troll-mirror in his eyes or that you seem to think it is opposite day. Anyway, keep up the yammering, but do it elsewhere.

    Mono, aside from performance and security hits, is about locking software into M$ outdated stack.

    Don’t use it in place of Java:

    zatoichi Reply:

    The FSF has their opinion, and the UTB has theirs.

    Why does everyone need to subscribe to the one you say?

  5. Will said,

    July 24, 2009 at 8:24 am


    Unless I missed something:

    “We hereby grant to You a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the Image on the terms and conditions explained in this Agreement and on the Image preview page FREE OF CHARGE.

    You may use the Image

    * In digital format on websites, multimedia presentations, broadcast film and video, cell phones.”

    That is from the terms of use for that photo.

    zatoichi Reply:

    You did indeed miss something. The paragraph where they allow that they don’t check a single solitary thing that’s uploaded for copyright violations, and that it’s on the user to check and make sure that the rights are what the upload says they are.

    This photo is clearly posted at scx.hu illegitimately, as my link to its original location shows. The site that has the rights–littleart.ru–says, as I pointed out, that you can only use it if you link back to their site from it. So, unless Roy makes that photo a link to littleart.ru, he’s in violation of their copyright.

    All he needs to do is make it link appropriately. Is that so hard? It’s a nice photo, why do you and Roy want to deny its creators the credit they deserve?

    But I’ve posted all of this already, right here. Don’t you read before you comment?

    Dylan McCall Reply:

    The truth is, they just want to pretend you don’t exist because you don’t subscribe to their “freedom or die” mentality. If Roy had his way, you would already be an unperson.

    zatoichi Reply:

    I was an unperson, a few times, at least until Roy ran short of reasons, and the energy, to ban me again.

    I though I was dead once. Turned out, I was just in Nebraska.

    —Gene Hackman as “‘Little’ Bill Daggett” in Unforgiven

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