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09.18.09

Fox ‘News’ Brings Microsoft to “Open Source”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Windows at 4:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Bill O'Reilly on Microsoft

Summary: The connotations of “Open Source” carry on changing as Microsoft would like

THIS post needn’t delve into Fox News’ failure at reporting events; this is more to do with MySpace FoxForge, which is Windows-only, .NET, and yet it gets disguised under “GPLv3″. To quote from Heise:

In a posting on the MySpace blog MySpace’s Mike Jones says that “Quizmt is unique because it was developed using C#.NET specifically for Windows platforms”.

What Fox is doing here may only increase confusion, just as Miguel de Icaza and Novell do (see the comments here, including this one from GreyGeek).

For Microsoft, causing all this confusion is part of the plan. And “plan” they sure do.

Microsoft Frees CodePlex: Now What? The Q&A

[...]

A: Yes. Microsoft is a RedMonk customer, and I was prebriefed on this news.

So Microsoft clearly wanted to control what people said about the CodePlex Foundation. Novell does the same thing. How typical. They pre-orchestrate press overage of their announcements and some people still wonder why even journalists are cynical about how the press really operates.

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4 Comments

  1. Nil Einne said,

    September 18, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Gravatar

    While you may have a point about journalism etc, I find your post rather confusing i.e. it just confuses me more rather then clearing up the confusion you are alleging Microsoft is dealing in (not that I doubt Microsoft does deal in confusion). In particularly I don’t get your point about “yet it gets disguised under “GPLv3″”. Is there some dispute that the software is under the GPLv3 license? If not your point seems confusing and irrelevant. Whatever the problems with C# and patents and Windows only, the software is under GPLv3. This means that amongst other things, the source code is available so anyone is free to port it to another platform whether under C# using mono or to rewrite it under as C or whatever (as was done with Gnote and conboy for example). There’s nothing wrong with encouraging developers to think multiplatforms and to choose other programming languages but ultimately developers are entitled to choose whatever OS they want to support and whatever language they want to develop in.

    IMHO if you treat these are not really open source simply because they aren’t multiplatform and choose proprietary and patent encumbered APIs and languages you do a disservice to open source community. Plenty of developers have chosen to develop open source software for Windows, without the involvement of Microsoft and whether you agree with their decisions or not, they have often benefited the opensource community including those of other operating systems.

    A good example would be 7-zip and the associated LZMA algorithm. Another (and favourite of mine) would be the P2P program eMule. Even when they haven’t they may have introduced Windows users and developers alike to the benefits of open source, and why shouldn’t Windows users be entitled to use open source software when they want to?

    Undoubtedly Microsoft would prefer all opensource software to be for Windows only, I think this is self obvious and you don’t need a statement from Microsoft to disprove it. But again, this doesn’t mean developers are wrong for developing open source software for Windows only, it’s their choice and you should be encouraging them to do things differently rather then flaming and mocking them for doing so. (And you should also thank them for at least choosing the opensource route so you can reuse whatever parts of their code and ideas are useful if their software is any good.)

    Incidentally, as someone who prefers FreeBSD to Linux, I would point out that it’s not uncommon that some software is compatible with Linux only. Porting it to other *nix platforms may not be hard, but still has to be done by someone (and I don’t program). In other words, even many Linux open source developers don’t bother to ensure their work is multiplatform, surprise surprise…

    Just to be clear, obviously none of this excuses dodgy practices from Microsoft, or dodgy journalism, or press releases pretending to be news reports. (And I agree journalists tend to be rather poor in their fact checking and writing, although this isn’t exclusive to MS related areas.) But that’s part of the problem. I’m still mystified as to precisely what your complaining about because you raised a number of seemingly unrelated issues (how is CodePlex related to MySpace FoxForge?) including some seemingly irrelevant ones. So I have no idea if you have valid points, or are just going on a random rant because you don’t like Microsoft.

    Nil Einne Reply:

    Okay reading some of your link’s more closely, I have a better idea of why you linked Qizmt and CodePlex. However this just exemplifies the confusion of your post. Why did you call Qizmt FoxForge? The joke may have semiworked on the ZDNet post. It just confuses when you provide no explanation so people have no idea what you’re talking about and how Qizmt related to ‘FoxForge’ or what ‘FoxForge’ even is. Blog posts need to interest people enough to actual read what your linking to (which means they have to know what they’re going to read about), and if your trying to make a point understand your point, rather then confusing the hell out of them so they decide to leave your blog and never return.

    I still don’t get MySpace/Fox is doing here that is causing confusion however… Other then failing to call their product FoxForge so when someone on ZDNet makes a semi-lame joke and the name is quoted by someone in a random blog, people have no idea what’s being discussed.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I think my phrasing of this has caused and led to misunderstanding. The issue is not the project or the licence; I suspect that “FoxForge”, however, might become a bit like CodePlex. It remains to be seen.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    My last comment was in response to the first. Regarding the second: yes, I was referring to Dana’s symbolic name for Qizmt.

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