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What Apple Teaches Us About Mono and Moonlight

Posted in Apple, Interoperability, Mail, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Protocol at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new story of migration to Microsoft (due to Apple’s reliance on Microsoft) offers an important lesson about the purpose of Novell’s Mono and Moonlight

AS we have shown before, Microsoft’s supine friends at Apple have helped OOXML and continues doing this. Based on the news about “Office for Mac 2011″ [1, 2], Mac OS X will accommodate more promotion of monoculture the Microsoft way. Matt Asay, for example, is a Mac user who extols the virtues of Microsoft Office and openly mocks OpenOffice.org. That’s apparently what Apple enthusiasts are for. Ironically enough, Canonical has made him a COO (a decision that we criticised in [1, 2, 3, 4]). COO rhymes with coup.

As one of our readers has said repeatedly, Microsoft inserts its APIs and non-standards into the competitors’ products and once that’s ‘injected’ they can proceed to infiltrating the server/desktop side interchangeably. As a specific example, this reader gave Office for Mac OS X (or Entourage). Based on the following new example from Internode, he was right. Internode is moving from FOSS to Microsoft Exchange and here is its explanation:

So what changed?

Snow Leopard was the key.


Apple delivered a huge corporate software upgrade in Snow Leopard, by tightly integrating Exchange client functionality into the operating system – in Apple Mail, iCal, and Contacts.

Now watch this discussion at Linux Today. “The lockin begins at internode,” says Petem. Rainer Weikusat reconstructs the arguments and starts with: “I have rarely seen such an amazing amount of BS in a single text.” Someone from Citadel writes: “Just wait until the first time Exchange blows itself up. That always happens eventually.” And one person says: “To pick this apart. All of your staff needs to have access to configure your filtering? Wow!!! Just plain WOW!!!”

“I have rarely seen such an amazing amount of BS in a single text.”
      –Rainer Weikusat
So anyway, what Microsoft did here is simple. It used proprietary integration with something it controls not to facilitate interoperability but to upsell Microsoft products/stacks. It is the same with Mono and Moonlight. In more or less the same ways, Mono and Moonlight are ramps to Visual Studio, Windows, and other proprietary Microsoft products.

Why are Novell and Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza promoting these? We venture to guess that for selfish gain, some people promote this inside GNU/Linux. If their new interests are rewarded by Microsoft, then they would do anything. Stephane Rodriguez told us a couple of years ago: “So far, Microsoft has got all the marketing PR they wanted from “open-source” groups that are remarkably compatible with Microsoft minds. Again, I think those guys are just Microsoft persons who take a pride not to be on their payroll. (DeIcaza told me in the past that he’s rich). [...] DeIcaza took the role of [Microsoft's] Brian Jones, the technical person. (technical person who concentrates on never answering the good questions)…”

Here is Moonlight being used in what seems like a sort of Microsoft advert. Meanwhile we learn from a reader of ours that “Someone made Ada for .NET? (A#)”. Embrace and extend much?

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  1. mjasay said,

    February 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm


    Correction, Roy. I’m now an Ubuntu (9.10) user. The Mac has been retired, though I continue to appreciate Apple’s design aesthetic (and, yes, continue to believe both that OO.org must significantly improve and that it is chasing a 21st Century computing experience).

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 17, 2010 at 3:52 am


    Oh. I ought to have used the past tense there. I just didn’t see any indication in your blog that you had moved to GNU/Linux, but I am delighted to hear it! I’ve read all your posts for 4 years

    It’s not that I am disturbed/upset by the use of something other than GNU/Linux, but it’s important to set an example, which is why Richard Stallman, for example, would never use non-Free software. There is nothing more embarrassing to Apple than an Apple executive using Windows (or a Mac-using Windows developer).

    As for OO.org, I really think it fulfills the needs of 80% of more of the users out there. Where it’s lacking usually involves opening some opaque format that Microsoft is complicating on purpose, giving the impression that its competition “fails” to work.

    “In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.

    “Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

    Bill Gates [PDF]

  3. mjasay said,

    February 17, 2010 at 11:15 am


    No worries, just trying to give myself credit. :-)

    I’ve used Linux off and on since 2000, and I’m impressed by how “boring” it is now. It just works. I experienced that this morning: needed to make a VOIP call and didn’t have time to install drivers or anything like that. Guess what? I didn’t need to. Everything just worked, out of the box.

    So, the real question now is not “can we make a viable desktop?” but rather, how can we change the nature of the desktop in a way that is even easier for end users and that favors open source?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, I too have used it since 2000 when there were many perils like multimedia on the Web (proprietary codecs) and an IE monoculture that prevented access to some sites.

    GNU/Linux already succeeds in many areas (as MWC 2010 shows best), but the adoption is similar to that of phones, where very rigid products like tablets and sub-notebooks come prepackaged as though they are proprietary (Chrome OS, Android, maybe MeeGo too).

    In LCA 2010, Allison spoke about how Microsoft is trying to use software patents against all these devices that contain Linux. We need to do more to disrupt patenting of software (Microsoft is still trying to officially bring them to Europe). At the same time, it is worth being prudent when it comes to Microsoft Trojan horses like Mono and Moonlight. Groklaw too has repeatedly criticised Canonical for adoption those (it is based on evidence, not speculation).

  4. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 17, 2010 at 11:54 am


    Matt, I see your work the last years has been to weaken the position of FLOSS and Open Standards, but in your new job at Canonical I would urge you to reconsider.

    Ubuntu got to where it is, even in the face a long-standing OEM monopoly, by making choices in the direction of Free Software and Open Standards. It would would be a very different matter if either the OEM monopoly went away or it were held by Ubuntu instead of Bill.

    With 10.04 as it stands this moment, Ubuntu has stepped way off the path it has taken to success, way off the path of community spirit, and done a 180. It is no longer competing where it is strong, but instead following Jo and Miguel in their Microsoft worship. If people want Microsoft, they have no shortage of places to get it. If they want a computer that works and performs well, then they have to look elsewhere. One of the places, they could turn, prior to 10.04 was Ubuntu.

    Microsoft can get away with making crappy products and overcharging because of illegal, anti-competitive and predatory marketing. That includes the OEM monopoly that Ubuntu doesn’t have. In fact, Ubuntu doesn’t have any reliable OEM. So the idea of joining the race to the bottom does not make strategic sense — if and only if the goal is to benefit Ubuntu. If the goal is, for example, to weaken Ubuntu to buy more time for Microsoft to work politically then that is one scenario where joining the race to the bottom makes sense.

    Personally, and professionally, I would like to see your experience applied to salvage or repair 10.04 before it goes to press.

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