02.09.10

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More Mono and Patent Poison from Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gorilla bondage

Summary: “Pinta” comes from Novell staff and software patents tax (on SLE*) comes from Microsoft in the form of vouchers

YESTERDAY’S LONG post about Ubuntu has led to some reactions that include this rant about “Microsoft, Ubuntu, Canonical, Novell, and Mono”:

I was reading Goblin’s latest post at OpenBytes. He had some interesting points, but I thought he was missing a few things. At point I hit four paragraphs in response, I decided to answer him here instead, because I kept on thinking of more things to say. Goblin’s concern is that Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu family of GNU/Linux operating systems, is bringing out a new product called Ubuntu One, and they are going to make a Windows version as well as a Linux version.

Goblin’s is right – Canonical seems to be moving closer to Microsoft, both in supplying a Windows version of Ubuntu One, and because of Canonical’s new search deal with Yahoo. Since Yahoo has a search deal with Microsoft, Canonical is in effect delivering Microsoft Bing search results to GNU/Linux users.

[...]

Yes, Microsoft is trying to use it’s monopoly to force everyone else out of the market. They’ve bought several companies recently who produced products for multiple operating systems, and then proceeded to make them Windows only. So sorry, we don’t make a Unix version anymore… The only problem with this sort of action, is that those customers who used the Unix version now know what Microsoft thinks of their business. Nothing. So they aren’t going to buy more Microsoft product. There’s no gain for Microsoft. Oh, strictly Microsoft shops might buy a bit more, but they are becoming rarer, as the advantages of GNU/Linux servers become more evident.

[...]

Microsoft can limit competition in the marketplace for a short period of time only. This combined with the damage that Microsoft has done to their brand by releasing failures like Windows Vista, which limits the amount of money they can spend on monopolistic practises means that we are probably only five-ten years from seeing a collapse of the company, driven partly by their own incompetence, and partly by the negative image that the Microsoft brand has gained over the last five years. For example Novell made a deal with Microsoft, and Microsoft’s bad reputation has affected Novell’s reputation, to the point where a lot of techs, even those who had used a lot of Novell in the past, will not recommend Novell products anymore. Another example is the migration under way from Yahoo to Google, because of Yahoo’s pending deal with Microsoft.

[...]

But Gnome may no longer matter. There are rumours around the net about a ‘New Desktop Foundation.’ The rumour I heard was that this would be a fork of the Gnome desktop, removing all Mono and C# packages. There are enough people who are upset at Ubuntu, Gnome, and Miguel de Icaza (one of the founders of Gnome, and founder of the Mono project, and a Microsoft MVP) that it could possibly be true. I was also told that the use of ‘New’ was deliberate, since in English the pronunciation is the same as the pronunciation of ‘Gnu’.

OpenBytes has meanwhile done some digging into the project called “Pinta” (it was also mentioned yesterday). Guess what? This Mono project is developed by a Novell employee. Here are the details:

I’ve often made the point that if Mono is so great, where is the killer app for it? Where is the app that everyone MUST have? Whatever coders think about Mono and whatever they create, its the end-user who will decide on its future and I challenge anyone to show me a FOSS project that continues to run when nobody wants to use it.

Over at http://jpobst.blogspot.com/2010/02/over-holiday-break-i-stumbled-upon-this.html where the Pinta project has a blog, the authors description says:

…I’m Jonathan Pobst and I am a full-time open source hacker for Novell. I work on Mono, specifically on Mono Tools for Visual Studio.

and he certainly has “great” aspirations for this software. Full time open source hacker? You mean employee then? Implying that he is inspired by Paint.net. Inspired by Paint.net eh?…..moving swiftly on….

[...]

If I had seen a mass of Mono apps being released to “hungry” end users I may have seen the need, but when Novell is seemingly trying to create its own killer apps to promote its own implementation of a Microsoft framework then I really can’t see the point of this “gift to the world”.

In the case of Mono and its associated “wares” the most important person is not the coder(s) behind the projects, but the end-user – YOU. The success or failure of such projects will solely depend on if they are taken up by the “average desktop user” who outnumber enterprise/advocates/coders many times over. Ask yourself did you move to Linux for a “FOSS” implementation of a Microsoft technology which is headed up by Microsoft MVP Mr De Icazza or did you (like me) move because you were tired of inhibiting licenses, crashes, bloated software and the blame being placed at the feet of anyone but Microsoft? Were you fed up of the ethos of “everything has a price” or the takeaway menu style purchasing of Microsoft products? – I’ll let you decide.

We didn’t know that Novell staff had made this Mono program. It’s tempting to say that “Embrace and Extend” with Mono would potentially work here. If there was enough of Microsoft inside GNU/Linux, then maybe it would be ripe for adoption by Microsoft. It’s almost as though Microsoft is brewing and fortifying a GNU/Linux is can recommend, with software patents tax, .NET, and all the rest of the stuff.

As our reader Goblin put it last night, “It seems if people won’t use Mono to make apps, Novell will have to do it for them……so much for this “gift to the world”… I think its a “gift to the world” in the same way the atom bomb was.”

To another reader he said: “I’d like to give it back….Marty do you have the receipt? we can get a refund! ;) … Stand by for the “Mono hater” or “Killing the FOSS” comments because I dare to give MY opinion on Mono.”

The Mono team often bullies those who disagree.

In other news, an article which was mentioned in last week's post (and some prior posts [1, 2]) is attempting to portray Microsoft as a GNU/Linux vendor. This portrayal is accentuated by this article, which is just a lot of spin. The comments in Linux Today complement it.

Rainer Weikusat writes: “According the article, Microsoft is the third-largest Linux vendor in the USA. That’s something to remember for the next round of ‘”Linux” is low-quality hobbyist’s software’ …”

Jose X is being more realistic and Bernard Swiss says: “Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I have grave doubts that in this case, the word “sold” means what I would usually take it to mean.”

A lot of people miss the point that what Microsoft sells here is not GNU/Linux, let alone support. It sells licences to software patents it would not disclose. Matt Asay has connections with his former employer Novell and based on his conversations with old colleagues he said that he had “heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”,” so it means that they are selling patents, and mostly profiting at the expense of Red Hat. Another comment says that “What Microsoft has done here is keep Windows on all those computers by selling a support license for Linux installed in a virtual machine on a Windows host computer.

“Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I have grave doubts that in this case, the word “sold” means what I would usually take it to mean.”
      –Bernard Swiss
“So where companies where going to put Linux on the hardware, Microsoft keeps selling another copy of Windows and they still rule the system.

“Why else would they pay so much for so little? Just more protectionism and keeping keeping customers from really knowing what they are missing staying on Windows.”

It’s the same with Mono and the CodePlex Foundation. It’s about putting Microsoft in charge. Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza will soon be joined by Hunter [1, 2, 3], a Microsoft employee [1, 2] whose role is to help Microsoft fight against Free software and GNU/Linux for the sake of Windows, DRM, software patent racketeering and the usual criminal activities that Microsoft still specialises in. eWEEK has an unintentionally deceiving headline that says: “Canonical, CodePlex Foundation Announce New Leadership”

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