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09.16.09

CodePlex Foundation Loves Software Patents and What MonoTouch Means to Microsoft

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Girl on the phone
Hallllo… Mono?

Summary: One more look at the CodePlex Foundation and what Novell is doing for .NET other than lending a VP to CodePlex

THE news about the CodePlex Foundation previously got covered in:

Here is a second take from Jason at Mono-Nono.

To me, when someone starts heralding Microsoft – it instantly raises astroturf / shill suspicions in my mind. Automatic acceptance and praise not only puts aside natural and justified skepticism, but it also skips right over “wait and see” into fanboy-land. I do not see how that is an intellectually honest position to take.

The criticisms of Andy Updegrove have already reached the press, but here is his original post, which also sheds light on the role of software patents.

Q: What about the CodePlex mission? How does that sound?

A: I had to smile a bit when I listened to the (scripted) interview at the site. The premise seems to be that (a) “some companies” have “culture” problems that keep them out of open source projects, or are “uneasy” with the “intellectual property” rules of open source foundations; (b) that “more companies” would participate “as much as they should” if better practices, and intellectual property tools, were developed; and (c) that a place is needed to bring “such companies” and open source developers together. It’s clear that all of these statements would be true if you substituted “Microsoft” for the phrase, “some companies,” but I haven’t noticed that any of these factors has been a problem for most other software vendors.

This slide from the interview will give you the flavor:

· Commercial software developers currently under-participate in open source projects
– Cultural differences
– Differing development methodologies
– Differing perspectives on copyrights and patents
– Differing perspectives on licensing
· No other foundation is dedicated to changing that situation

The responses to Bruce Byfield on the subject are interesting. Steve Stites claims that “Microsoft also needs to pay compensation for the damage done by their multimillion dollar attack on Open Source.” Others — like Abe — just want Microsoft out of the way.

There are also apologists like Matt Asay, who wrote:

It’s also why I welcome, not reject, Microsoft’s attempts to open itself to open source.

Asay also invited them to OSI where damage to reputation was caused. Need anyone else be shown Microsoft floating anti-GNU/Linux patents for others to sue with [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]? On the other hand, Asay still understands that Microsoft is up to no good with his previous employer, Novell. Separately he writes:

This isn’t to whitewash all that Microsoft has not done well vis-a-vis open source (e.g., I’m not a fan of its patent-licensing arrangements, including the “interoperability” agreement with Novell), but clearly, Microsoft has been actively adopting open source as part of its business strategy.

Novell is so proud of Miguel de Icaza (for helping Microsoft) that its PR department publicises this. Well, de Icaza has also expanded Microsoft's monopoly to the iPhone — something that Novell brags about as well, using promotion-tied budgets. There is a press release bragging about it and it’s titled “Novell Releases First Solution to Build iPhone Applications Using C# and Microsoft .NET Languages.”

Never mind the implications, eh? Here is the Windows/Microsoft de facto press raving about it because it’s big promotion for Windows and .NET, not just Novell and Mono. Longtime Windows authors seem enthusiastic and so are sites which include ITWire, PC World (IDG), Campus Technology, Ars Technica, and others.

Good news for Microsoft; for GNU/Linux? Not so much.

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft Technical Evangelist. From Exhibit 3096; Comes v. Microsoft litigation [PDF]

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