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02.10.10

Microsoft’s Touch of Death

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée

Summary: Microsoft continues to ruin companies that it is getting in contact with

WHENEVER Microsoft touches something, that something usually perishes at the end. A few months ago, a Microsoft insider/partner warned everyone that Microsoft “destroys” partners. We have given many examples of companies that lost their GNU/Linux focus after Microsoft deals and the latest one is FAST. Another example would be Yahoo!, which Microsoft has been harassing for 2 years now (it started in February 2008). Watch Yahoo! as it shuts down yet another part of its business.

This is the latest in a long list of properties Yahoo has shut down over the last year, including GeoCities, Jumpcut and Farechase. A Yahoo spokeswoman says that the company decided no longer to maintain a standalone tech site because it is “increasing investment in some areas while scaling back in others” as part of its effort “to build products and services that deliver the best possible experiences for consumers.”

Considering all the talented employees who fled Yahoo! because of Microsoft, it is safe to attribute this gradual destruction/implosion to Microsoft’s “touch of death”. It poisons everything. With the help of its MVP and board member (at the CodePlex Foundation), Microsoft is also poisoning GNU/Linux, putting inside it Mono and Moonlight so as to disseminate Microsoft’s standards-hostile APIs. Miguel de Icaza is doing a lot of the heavy lifting and we were amused to discover that people at FOSDEM 2010 put up a sign on the wall which says “leave it [Mono] in the hallway!” This has nothing to do with us, but it does show that Mono unrest is widespread (correction: it turns out to have been a joke which our informant did not understand). In fact, one of the big proponents of Ubuntu, who also deploys it in products for a living, is so upset by Ubuntu’s inclusion of Mono that he resorted to comparing Canonical to Microsoft. This rant of his is counter-productive as it only serves Microsoft’s agenda of poisoning good projects. But anyway, here are the concerns about Ubuntu (which Canonical can hopefully address):

I am not trying to incite riots or wars in the halls of residence or corridors of power but Canonical/Ubuntu is starting to catch more “bad karma” than is healthy for it IMHO.

* Let’s start with Mono. Yep. It’s been a prickly thorn for many and the concerns expressed are not going away. There’s no point in raking over the old ground; it is just one of the bad-karma attractants in a growing list.
* Then we have Ubuntu One. Proprietary, closed, caused much debate and friction when announced and now the possibility of a Windows version too.
* Next comes dumping GIMP, OOo and other much-loved applications from the default installation of versions of the forthcoming distribution.
* Then the discussion about what closed/proprietary applications should be made available in the Ubuntu repositories.
* Then we have the change of the default search engine from Google to Microsoft Yahoo.
* Then Matt Asay joins as COO which should be, and probably is, good news. Matt is well known, respected and experienced, yet some of his prodigious public commentary tugs at the heartstrings of many a Freedom Fighter.

Earlier this week we wrote about a Mono project called Pinta, which turns out to be developed by a Novell employee. Here is what Jan from Red Hat told me about it yesterday: “as expected and just in time for ubuntu – the mono based paint app http://pinta-project.com/” (developed by the guy who was porting Paint.NET).

“Later this year, the GIMP will be released with a single-window option, which ought to appease those who complain about the user interface.”Our reader Pawel has just shown us this new article about Pinta, calling it “another .NET-infected app” and adding that “idiots even released this under MIT X11 license” (just like Banshee, which is also a Mono application from Novell that only SLED users can safely deploy).

Well, to be fair, there is no indication that Ubuntu will adopt Pinta, but either way, polls in Ubuntu Forums indicate that most people want the GIMP back. Later this year, the GIMP will be released with a single-window option, which ought to appease those who complain about the user interface. As for disk space, a lot can be saved by removing Mono runtime. That would also save memory and remove the patent problem that Jeremy Allison warned about [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. I love Ubuntu and I want it to succeed. These criticisms are defensive and hopefully constructive.

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7 Comments

  1. Bertrand said,

    February 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Gravatar

    About the “Leave it in the hallway sign” :
    It was in fact in the Mono room for the whole day, right next to the projector screen, and was printed and put there by the room organizers themselves.

    Here’s another picture, that shows the whole thing :
    http://bit.ly/bNjnEU

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The person who showed me this described the sign as one that protests against mono. Let me correct the text.

    Thanks.

    your_friend Reply:

    Oh, I see. More of the “I’m not afraid of code” rhetoric. How vacuous. Their trust in Microsoft to not sue mono users is an act of faith that makes the majority of the world’s cults look reasonable. They fail to reason or convince.

  2. Robotron 2084 said,

    February 11, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Gravatar

    The sign is great. I think it serves to show how obsessed some people have become when a simple sign can be misconstrued into some kind of mass protest. While distasteful, I think it’s natural for people to project themselves as being a part of something larger than they really are.

    I also love the flip from “this article is bad and helps Microsoft” to “anyway, here it is.” I’m glad it was included because a great comment can be found on The Open Sourcerer:

    “Extreme FOSS (that is demanding everything be free and open source) is as virulent and damaging to Ubuntu and its community as fascistly locking everything down (like Apple seems to want to do on some of its products). While FOSS is a great model for well known reasons, it’s impractical to think that all the best-of-class software can be open source, at least in the short-to-intermediate term.”

    Jose_X Reply:

    Mono, however, isn’t about “everything being free”. In a world where software patents have meaning, cloning and promoting the spreading of Monopolysoft’s APIs and protocols is more than just a tad foolish.

    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2010-02-11-001-35-NW-MS-SW-0002

    Supporting mono and some other things pays Novell’s bills. That is why they do it. It was a business decision — nothing personal. It is all Monopolysoft sanctioned, of course, since Monopolysoft benefits from the growth in mindshare towards their proprietary platform and from the embedding of their patented stuff in the FOSS world (eg, “replacing” FOSS software).

    Not Novell or anyone else I have heard about is focused on using “mono” as a short-term band-aid tool to help give Linux existing Windows-only MSdotnet apps. There is a large interoperability gap. In fact, when mono started, there weren’t that many quality Windows only MSdotnet apps. Instead Novell and mono supporters have not stopped promoting the spread of mono/dotnet and other Monopolysoft created and patented interfaces. If nothing else, the OOXML example should have shamed them, but, again, since advancing these things (without even sensible interop) pays their bill, they have no choice in the matter.

    BTW, the licensing of some of these “open source” thingies is intended to help them spread as much as possible as well as to avoid weakening Microsoft’s hand. At least with BSD OSs, Apache servers and Java, X and Kerberos, and some other liberally licensed software, these came before the proprietary versions and were not clones of a heavily patented set of specs created by a growing and ambitious monopolist.

    Anyway, I’d rather not make any of this personal or hound individuals. People can have doubts or make compromises for personal reasons or be “in love” or otherwise “stuck” with various interfaces or whatever. However, on a very impersonal basis, I think FOSS supporters (the rest of us) should avoid these software as much as possible. There is much work to be done on Linux and better tools to be used to do it. There is no need to help Microsoft embrace, extend, and extinguish (or sufficiently marginalize) Linux+FOSS.

    Robotron 2084 Reply:

    Your reply is simply too long (remember, I’m not part of the choir), but the last paragraph was worth reading. If everyone in the FOSS community simply used the tools that made them happy, that would be just fine. However, for some, too much of their time is spent telling others what to do or what to be afraid of rather than doing something more productive…. like actually contributing real code to projects.

    Let those who want to use Mono do so. Let those who want to use something else go their way. If you value the freedom you preach about so much, allow others to exercise their own choices. However, I think the nature of humanity dictates that even on a ship that embraces “freedom and openness”, few can fight the selfish desire to grab the wheel and lead people “their way”.

    your_friend Reply:

    You act as if mono was spreading by merit rather than Microsoft bribery. That’s almost as funny as a professional troll telling someone to be more productive or any of the other personal insults you use as a substitute for rational discussion. The language is inferior and people only use .NET when they are paid to. Everyone knows that it is a dead end and waste of time.

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