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Canonical Learned Nothing from Novell

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Search, Ubuntu at 4:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.” –Jim Allchin, Microsoft

Black board

Summary: Microsoft hugs “open source” in order to change what it actually is and Matt Asay, a former Noveller who came to Canonical, denounces Microsoft critics and defends engagement with Microsoft

YESTERDAY we mentioned de Icaza’s latest boosting of Microsoft. He helps Microsoft promote OData. Here is what The Source has to say.

Mr. de Icaza continues to fawn over / promote Microsoft technologies. I find it amusing and revealing at the same time that his infatuation isn’t simply with COM or C# or .NET or Silverlight, but has over time come to be more and more fanboy-like.

I don’t recall any big blogs or tweets from Mr. de Icaza about gData – but I’m sure I just missed them. But when it comes to Microsoft’s .NET-based knock-off, well then boy howdy that’s an exciting topic for Team Mono!

This “Team Mono” admires everything from Microsoft, which is why it spends its time mimicking Microsoft with Mono and Moonlight. It’s about money and about the people whom Novell hired in recent years. Novell pays their wage (and Microsoft pays Novell), so their admiration of Microsoft doesn’t come cheap. Novell continues to spread the illusion that there is something “open” about .NET and Silver Lie.

“Canonical hires people from Microsoft and Novell, thus making the most fundamental human resource mistake and not surprisingly the company is suddenly willing to put Microsoft behind its back.”Pointing to this ACT/Microsoft lobbying event (see the original page at EuropeanVoice.com), one reader tells us that Microsoft is faking "open source" again, even when it comes to Silver Lie. “Open Source on top of Silverlight and other MS technologies” is what our reader calls it. He also shows that Microsoft promotes these lies, whereby bogus claims of “open source” neglect to mention prerequisites. See the Twitter page where Microsoft lists some familiar crooks from the OOXML fiasco in the side picture.

We are genuinely concerned about what Microsoft is doing to “open source” because it’s no accident that Microsoft causes harm to it. First of all, Microsoft is controlling the debate with former Microsoft employees like Mr. Walli, who still try to tell open source people how to do business.

Then, there’s more nonsense from former pseudo-journalists who spin Microsoft’s work as “communicators” on the company’s payroll [1, 2]. They won’t admit that it’s about harming Free software (GPL) and GNU/Linux, undermining the foundations that “Open Source” initially relied upon. It’s as though Microsoft wants to change its opposition party from the inside, essentially taking control of it or changing its nature so as to weaken and assimilate it.

Watch another former Microsoft employee (who occasionally promotes Mono) pushing into Linux news sites his story which is titled “Should Ubuntu Have Been Created?”

Microsoft knows damn well that you need to get behind someone… before you stab that someone in the back. Canonical hires people from Microsoft and Novell, thus making the most fundamental human resource mistake and not surprisingly the company is suddenly willing to put Microsoft behind its back.

What will Canonical’s COO Matt Asay say about those remarks from former Microsoft employees? Well, based on this new post, he is willing to reconcile with Microsoft, maybe conditionally (well, if only Microsoft stopped attacking with software patents, lawsuits by proxy, smears, et cetera). The sad thing is that Asay daemonises Microsoft skeptics who merely interpret the company’s present actions, not just its history of endless abuse. The Source responds to this post from Asay by saying:

People that do want want Microsoft baked into every level of their Linux experience are not “spewing invectives”: Perhaps they see no need to rely on a court-convicted abusive monopolist. Perhaps, having finally broke free of Microsoft lock-in, they hesitate to expose themselves again. Perhaps they see how far Linux has come despite Microsoft’s best efforts, and see no margin in changing.

People that have moral, ethical and philosophical objections to the restriction of user freedoms are not “spewing invectives” – they are simply attempting to live a life in harmony with their beliefs.

Stop trying to paint all criticism as “invectives” or “zealotry” or whatever derogatory and dismissive label you would rather apply than actually deal with the substance of the criticism.


I do agree with Mr. Asay that “it gets old”. Which is why I honestly don’t understand those who intentionally fire things up by promoting Microsoft technology. You know it will be controversial. You know it will cause problems. That is obvious, inarguable and proven time and time again.

So, why do it? And, then having done this thing you knew would be divisive, pretend to be suprised and against divisiveness?

That’s what gets old to me.

This is why we still generally distrust Asay. Microsoft has been trying to suck up to him for several years in order to soften Alfresco (Microsoft had meals with him) and now to weaken Ubuntu, which already uses Mono and Microsoft for search (via Yahoo!) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Let’s not forget what Microsoft did to Yahoo! It ought to give Asay a clue. Yahoo! is a wreck after Microsoft crashed the company and Yahoo’s chief technologist is the latest person to quit. Given Canonical’s flirts with Microsoft, it treads on some very shaky ground and simply refuses to see this because, as Allchin once put it when he spoke about Novell:

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Platform Group Vice President

Asay should really get his eyes open. Canonical is listed as a risk factor in Microsoft’s filings for investors. Microsoft wants Canonical destroyed or deformed such that it serves Microsoft like Novell does.

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  1. Charles Oliver said,

    March 24, 2010 at 6:59 am


    Do you think maybe it’s possible that while Microsoft are lauding open source whilst running a programme to extort businesses using it, Matt Assay is competent enough to know that some lines of communication have to be left open for areas in which Microsoft and Canonical policy coincide (like cheap access to bandwidth). If he went around stomping about effing and blinding about Microsoft at every turn, might he not cause Canonical more problems?

    Personally I think Microsoft should be trusted with a ten foot pole and a bio-hazard suit but I doubt I’d say that if I were in his position.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    This video says it all really.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    @Charles: Yes, just look at all the seminars and other marketing from Microsoft partners. Microsoft partners are out there in droves pounding the Software Patents drum and blowing the Binary Blob horn. FUD on a large scale, spread between some naive or ignorant FOSS speakers that don’ t realize that they’re being used as bait and to try to lend an air of legitimacy to the Microsoft proxy’s message.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 24, 2010 at 7:52 am


    Roy, your assumptions might be wrong. You seem to write from the idea that Assay is there to help FOSS rather than help pave the way for Microsoft into Ubuntu. He’s been an antagonist of FOSS for many years and his recent trolling shows that nothing has changed on his part.

    He sure has the Microsoft Talking Points ™ down. What’s the threshold of following and promoting the One Microsoft Way party line to class him as official?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Needs Sunlight,

    I kindly disagree with you. I have read almost every post from Asay since 2006 and I think he is clever. He also used to advocate GPL. I think that somewhere along the way those many meals he has had with particular people have changed his mind (he did change his mind). It’s akin to lobbying.

    Let’s be clear here; like many managers, Asay is working for Asay. We need leaders who are truly advocates of Free software, not worshippers of Apple.

  3. Gizmo said,

    March 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm



    I kindly disagree with you. I have read almost every post from Icaza since 2000 and I think he is clever. He also used to advocate GPL. I think that somewhere along the way those many meals he has had with particular people have changed his mind (he did change his mind). It’s akin to lobbying.

    Let’s be clear here; like many managers, Icaza is working for Icaza. We need leaders who are truly advocates of Free software, not worshippers of Apple.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    That’s very clever, Mr. @Hotmail.

  4. Gizmo said,

    March 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm


    I simply think that Mark Shuttleworth, just like De Icaza are sold outs. Actually, he became a sold out about 3 years ago when he said that he didnt think that anyone could make money from the Linux desktop. That was a clear message to Ballmer that he was ready for some more money. Just like Mr.Gates, he is a business man. Assay is simply a way for Shuttlework to keep his name clear. Why do you think their is so much mono into Ubuntu? Microsoft went after the best linux distro: Suse. Next was Ubuntu.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Mark made that statement about a year ago, not 3 (unless he said it several times).

    I agree that SuSE was the best distro at the time (I was biased though, I also used Ubuntu 4.10 alongside SuSE 8.1).

  5. Gizmo said,

    March 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm


    Yet, I have just read from Mark’s blog: “This is not the end of capitalism”

    The other option, quite unlikely according to the world we live in, is that the is on a Microsoft assassination program. He is playing friend with M$ (or playing with fire if you like) to get some slack. He is taking money from them so that they like trust him as any other sold out. Microsoft is already in the technological spiral of death. He could be waiting for his hour to give them a taste of their own tricks. That would make him a clever strategist… knowing fully that he is allowed to fail. Ubuntu is only a distro. Microsoft on the other END is not allowed failure. Is he in for the battle of the money?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s not as simple as you put it; Microsoft’s problem is KDE, GNOME, X, Linux, Apache, Java, OOo, etc. (not Ubuntu, which is one among many that wrap them together).

    I worry not for GNU/Linux; I worry about Ubuntu. I’ve used it since the first version and now it’s in the hands of people whom I don’t trust.

  6. Gizmo said,

    March 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm


    And M$ has attacked every single component of your list. The way I see it right on, is that M$ strategy is to do to free software what free software had done to M$: great “open source” software for free that run on windows. They want people to get addicted to mono software on Ubuntu “being the no1 distro”. After a while, they will drop the patent bomb on mono and say: “hey folks! you know, you can still get all those great softwares on Windows 36!”.
    Mark could be playing the game, waiting for M$ to get weaker to drop mono and other M$ traps. Yet, just like me, he could not cares about what happens to Ubuntu. Thats just a linux distro… he can afford to loose.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Java and C++ programs already run on Windows (or can be built to run on it), so I don’t think Mono is about the users getting “addicted”; rather, it’s the developers. Microsoft would offer them Visual Studio, Silverlight, and .NET (which are better compared to Novell’s copycats that are akin to “trial version” or “Microsoft for children”).

    Bear in mind that Microsoft already can pull the rug from beneath Canonical’s feet. Ubuntu knowingly stands on Microsoft’s carpet and Groklaw cannot excuse them for it.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    “Bear in mind that Microsoft already can pull the rug from beneath Canonical’s feet. Ubuntu knowingly stands on Microsoft’s carpet and Groklaw cannot excuse them for it.”
    Well, I think Ubuntu can easily switch to alternatives should anyone attack Mono with software patents.
    “Java and C++ programs already run on Windows (or can be built to run on it), so I don’t think Mono is about the users getting “addicted”; rather, it’s the developers.”
    So the way Ubuntu is dependent on Mono, this is not that much of a problem for users. The developer of the Mono programs would be more at risk for this.

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