EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.26.09

Reactions to Microsoft’s Novell Software Inside GNU/Linux

Posted in BSD, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Servers, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This post brings together a variety of thoughts and insights into the impact of Novell’s actions, which promote Microsoft and demote GNU

Microsoft-esque and Microsoft-funded/inspired software (see Wiki pages on Mono and Moonlight) continues to fragment and separate the community of Free software users. Recently we saw hostility towards GNU in GNOME [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It came from the same guy who had started a banner meme to protest against Stallman’s stance on Mono.

Now that the Director of GNOME is a Novell Employee, there are those who believe that if Microsoft decided to buy Novell, it would have even more control over GNOME. From ECT (Linux Insider):

“I [imagine] Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is very pleased with this new direction with Gnome,” wrote Stumbles on Slashdot, for example. “I predict in 5 years, perhaps less, Microsoft will have maneuvered these short sighted individuals to accepting Microsoft to buy Gnome.”

Novell is increasing focus on Mono and its vice president has called developers to program for Microsoft's Silverlight (XAML). He once said that they could “refresh the look and feel of the entire desktop with Moonlight.” He seems to be ignoring the conditions under which access to Moonlight is granted.

Simon Phipps argues that “Microsoft desperately needs a clueful open source leader to fix this stuff.” Put in context:

There is still a strong thread of thought at Microsoft that imagines open source is purely the domain of solitary programmers of private means. This is yet another “covenant” from them that gives no assurance whatsoever to the average FOSS developer. Microsoft desperately needs a clueful open source leader to fix this stuff.

These are unacceptable conditions for Free software users. As one person put it:

Moonlight 2 sounds good but they still need the licensed codecs.

Bernard Swiss writes:

“Covenant” appears to be a marketing term that means:

“If you only do what we say we’ll let you do with our stuff, we think we’ll let you use it. For now, anyways. But we can still take it all back if we happen to change our mind.”

This isn’t a “covenant”; it’s an advert for a “free trial offer”.

Steve Stites agrees with Bernard, whose analogy is a valuable one.

derp sarcastically puts it liks this: “thank you for not suing me. MS decided not to persecute #moonlight users.” Later he wrote to me: “best part is that they can break the agreement any time they want. so nothing matters. except for de icaza”

eWEEK spoke to Novell’s de Icaza, who had interesting things to say (also here).

But de Icaza explained to eWEEK that this model was not so “open-source-y.” Yet, he assured readers that “Microsoft’s intention was to expand the reach of Silverlight, but the original covenant was not a good cultural fit.” And, “The new patent covenant ensures that other third-party distributions can distribute Moonlight without their users fearing … getting sued over patent infringement by Microsoft,” he said.

It is possible treat it like freeware, not Free software, but it’s even worse (and there is an expiry date to worry about). Watch this new article bearing the headline “Download New Moonlight For Free!”

They pretend it’s about price. But Microsoft's “promise” to Moonlight has at least 10 holes in it (some are seeing more). We wrote about it just before Christmas kicked in and Slashdot covered one aspect of it shortly afterwards (the part about MonoDevelop licensing).

rysiek writes “A few days ago, Miguel de Icaza wrote on his blog that the whole of MonoDevelop is now ‘free’ of GPL-licensed code. ‘MonoDevelop code is now LGPLv2 and MIT X11 licensed. We have removed all of the GPL code, allowing addins to use Apache, MS-PL code as well as allowing proprietary add-ins to be used with MonoDevelop (like RemObject’s Oxygene).’”

Boycott Novell apparently brought this to light for more people to see. They begin to realise Novell's ambivalent approach when it comes to the GNU GPL. It’s an important wakeup call.

To say that Microsoft and Novell have a muddy history when it comes to open-source projects and the GPL would be an understatement. Things were looking up, with the release of the open-source implementation of Silverlight, Moonlight 2, last week, but today things took a turn for the worse: Novell has just cut all the open source code from MonoDevelop.

Despite warnings from the FSF, Novell continues to promote C# and servers too are being stuffed with it. Not good. From this week’s news:

Novell stacks Linux and Mono for mainframes

[..]

Novell doesn’t just want mainframe shops to put SLES 11 on their boxes and run Linux workloads, it wants them to take the commercially supported Mono clone of the .NET runtime environment and use that to move Windows workloads over to mainframe boxes. So Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Consolidation Suite (SLECS) bundles roll Linux and Mono software together and provide a single support package for the stack.

Kicking Novell out of the mainframes would be a case of reducing Microsoft’s ammunition. Fred Williams writes about another area that Mono and Moonlight have reached:

Along with Mono, I see Ubuntu including this on the live CD as well. Microsoft writes such good software and has such excellent standards that we should all embrace whatever Microsoft wants. Besides they have never done anything that would harm any potential competitor.
So, people in charge of what gets included in Ubuntu, bring it on.

On the same subject:

Microsoft just doesn’t change. No matter what they say.

As always the best course is to avoid them. There is no longer any real need to use any of their technology. You may try to convince yourself otherwise, but you are just wasting your time. Rather, look forward and embrace the new world that is before you.

Jose_X adds:

Subject: And let’s not forget the Microsoft trolls..

Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold own companies that buy many patents. They are not bound by any Microsoft covenants. Both of these individuals serve their interests today by working to Microsoft’s benefit.

And note the covenant doesn’t apply to old versions. This pressures existing users to stay on the treadmill investing in Microsoft standards over and over to avoid patent problems from Microsoft.

Charles Hixson writes:

I’ve read the analyses of the most recent promise, and it’s not good enough. I don’t care how “nifty” people think this new software is, because with that license/promise I’m never going to even look at it.

P.S.: Miguel was, apparently, recently so proud of removing “all GPL components” from MonoDevelop. Makes me quite glad I removed the installation as soon as I noticed it…and all other mono components with it.

Neko Nata concludes with:

Maybe I should say “good riddance” to him… but that’s not ok.
What is better is that Miguel does what he wants and Linux folks do whatever they want. If that means parting ways, I see it as a good thing for both parties.
I really should say to Miguel “goodbye”. And “thanks for all the fish”.
What if Novell starts selling some kind of *BSD? Maybe they can start selling something without the Linux kernel?

That would be highly unlikely, but if Microsoft bought Novell, then it would at least become a possibility. Several other people brought this up in 2007.

Microsoft apprenticeship

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

6 Comments

  1. Bertrand said,

    December 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Gravatar

    About the “Novell stacks Linux and Mono for mainframes” part :

    How is it “not good” that workloads (probably existing custom enterprise apps) are moved from Windows servers to mainframe servers running Linux ?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m glad you asked. One of the selling point of Mono is that it will move users/developers from Windows to GNU/Linux, but in reality it often achieves exactly the opposite. Mono ratifies Microsoft’s software patents, Visual Studio, C#, .NET, XAML/Silverlight, and Windows.

    To use an analogy, it’s like the promise that invading Iraq will improve security; in reality, it has exactly the opposite effect.

    Bertrand Reply:

    An hyperbolic analogy is like a global nuclear war, it make a lot of noise but… Oh darn !

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Here is a new explanation of what’s happening here.

  2. NotZed said,

    December 27, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Gravatar

    Although i’m probably more ‘thingy’ than most about it, I can’t be the only one finding GNOME increasingly irrelevant. I don’t use it on my own machines since xfce4 basically works the same but much more efficiently (which is why KDE is out of the question for me). Not that xfce4 is really the bees knees, but it’s certainly better for me in all the ways that count.

    I just setup a machine for my mum, and although I initially considered GNOME because of it’s user simplicity I decided against it – it’s so complex internally and there’s too much that can go wrong. It is simply too high a risk.

    And after installing xfce4 (it’s a fairly old machine) I was surprised at how much faster it really is, and about the only feature I need a `desktop environment’ for – automatically mounting USB drives and CD’s, works even better, since it doesn’t bug you with unnecessary prompts. Also dumped PulseAudio for OSS4, and bob’s your uncle, no more sound skipping either.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m assuming these will have on-screen keyboards for text input. The keyboards can be made more flexible (and multi-lingual/personalised) when not limited to a rigid hardware design.

What Else is New


  1. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  2. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  3. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  4. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  5. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  6. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  7. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  8. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  9. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  10. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  11. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  12. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  13. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him



  14. The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

    Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians -- many of whom from Battistelli's home country -- become better informed of the EPO's management fiasco, abuses, and scandals



  15. Operating Systems Usage Based on Technical Site Statistics

    ome numbers to show what goes on in sites that do not share information about their visitors (unlike Windows-centric sites which target non-technical audiences)



  16. Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

    Links for the day



  17. Proprietary Software on Top of Proprietary Software (AV on Windows) Only an Illusion of Security

    Remarks on the recent revelations about code and communication interceptions targeting insecurity firms and Microsoft's claim that 'transparency' alone would be enough to assure security



  18. The EPO's Circus of Nepotism, Corporatism and Gross Abuse is Promoting the Unitary Patent

    The shameful management of the EPO, which Benoît Battistelli constructed based on his nefarious self-serving agenda, keeps pushing forth in a direction that greatly harms European citizens while mistreating the EPO's technical staff (scientists and examiners)



  19. Links 26/6/2015: Ardour 4.1, GNOME 3.17.3 Released

    Links for the day



  20. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Staff in Munich Demonstrated Against EPO Management Yesterday Afternoon

    Earliest coverage of yesterday's protest against EPO corruption and abuses



  21. Microsoft Windows So Insecure That Even Fonts Are Remotely Exploitable

    Windows userbase is once again under serious threat and high risk because something as simple as fonts (rendering of text/pixels on the screen) isn't done securely in Windows



  22. Microsoft is 'Buying' the Media Ahead of Vista 10 Launch

    Signs serve to indicate that Microsoft is already tightening its grip on technology news sites, ensuring that they give Microsoft disproportionate levels of coverage



  23. DockerCon 2015 Infiltrated by Microsoft

    DockerCon gives room to Microsoft propagandists who want to divert the audience's attention from secure GNU/Linux focus to proprietary Windows with back doors and surveillance



  24. Links 25/6/2015: Docker Focus, NVIDIA Opening Slightly

    Links for the day



  25. The Lie or the Fiction of Microsoft Tolerating GNU/Linux

    The 'Microsoft loves Linux' nonsense cannot be put to rest, as that tired old lie keeps resurfacing in the media



  26. Microsoft is Again Demonstrating That It is Not Interested in Making Windows Secure

    Microsoft decides to leave Windows with flaws in it, claiming that fixing the flaws would not be worth Microsoft's resources



  27. Not Only is Vista 10 Not Free, It is Getting More Expensive, According to the Taiwanese Press

    More proof that Microsoft charges quite a lot for Vista 10 (at OEM level), despite the perpetual deception about costs



  28. EPO Protest in Munich and Growing Unpopularity of EPO Management, Media Manipulation by the Management

    Poll shows that the European Patent Office (EPO) comes under fire for its media strategy which involves wasting taxpayers' money on fake/organic media coverage that glorifies the EPO



  29. Links 24/6/2015: Meizu MX4, Red Hat and Samsung Partner, Women in Open Source Awards

    Links for the day



  30. Links 23/6/2015: Cinnamon 2.6.9, Red Hat Summit

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts