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12.15.10

.NET is Microsoft’s Patent Poison Pill Inside Any GNU/Linux Distribution With Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Summary: Mono is still a major patent trap based on any rational analysis of the MCP and today’s distributions of GNU/Linux

PROJECT Mono is co-developed by Microsoft and AttachMSFT, which had many of its software patents passed to Microsoft. It takes extreme discipline to be blind to this problem, especially given that Microsoft is turning into a patent troll and suing companies that sell Linux. Fortunately to Microsoft, advocates of irrational appeasement are determined to plant Microsoft’s trap right inside all GNU/Linux distributions and even Microsoft booster Thom Holwerda covered the facts as presented by Jason, who for the sake of confirmation also spoke to Jo Shields, the man who pushes Mono into GNU/Linux distributions.

So, it appears that there are non-ECMA bits even in the “most basic” Mono library. At this point, I was pretty sure we could reject the claim.

However, even in my freetarded factfinding frenzy I wanted to be sure, so I did something absolutely insane: I asked Jo Shields about it. (In case you don’t know, Mr. Shields packages Mono for Debian and Ubuntu.)

Mr. Shields was kind enough to respond, and here’s the summarized deal:

1. ECMA/non-ECMA is not a consideration in packaging Mono.
2. No distribution ships Mono with ECMA-only components.
3. It is not possible to do so without “deep surgery”.
4. Splitting along ECMA/non-ECMA lines is not a priority.

So, we can reject the claim that distribution packagers are splitting Mono into ECMA/non-ECMA components.

“Even most basic Mono bits contain non-ECMA bits,” wrote gnufreex in response to it, “Jo Shields confirms but launches ad hominem at me and @schestowitz”

Yes, that’s typical Shields. We have been presenting the facts for years and all the likes of him could only launch personal attacks to distract from the message. Many of these personal attacks came from Novell employees, some of whom also worked on helping Silver Lie adoption with Moonlight. Now that Vista Phony 7 [sic] is failing in the market, it seems likely that Silver Lie will die altogether, not just on the Web. Microsoft MVP and Novell VP Miguel de Icaza refuses to accept this:

Silverlight is supported on Windows, Macintosh, and Windows Phone. Novell, meanwhile, has offered a Linux version of Silverlight called Moonlight. Goldfarb expressed optimism that there would be a version of Moonlight with Silverlight 5 capabilities. Novell’s Miguel de Icaza, who has headed up Moonlight development, said Attachmate’s acquisition of Novell would not impact future releases of Moonlight.

Mind the Banshee lie which continues to live on around sites like Twitter (we first noticed it originating from Shields a few weeks ago). Jason has produced a good record of the lie being repeated over and over again:

More Mono Misinformation Meticulously Dematerialized

[...]

Of course, those who are paying attention in class already know the problem, but I’ll point it out here for anyone just joining us:

* Banshee is not covered, in any sense.
* All of the non-ECMA components were not removed.
* That commit doesn’t remove all the non-ECMA components.

3 tweets, every one of which is totally, 100% wrong presented as casually as you like without disclaimer, explainer or retainer.

Let me also note there is also an important distinction to be made between “Banshee is covered” and “Mono is covered”. If applications were directly being covered, then we wouldn’t care if Mono or Logo or Any Other Language were being used. But the Community Promise is applied to the C#/CLI implementation, which means it is Mono that the application developer is relying on to be safe within the confines of the Microsoft Community Promise.

In effect, the Mono project and its promoters are making a promise to application developers and users: “Use Mono to develop your applications, it’s useful and safe. Microsoft has made a promise.” The implication is that developers and users need not be concerned with verifying they are remaining withing the boundaries of Microsoft’s promise. But, this sort of Mono Apologist violates that trust by not only implementing things they know are not covered by the promise, but also by obfuscating which bits are “safe” and “unsafe” and then lying about it.

[...]

I am supremely confident that we will never again hear another argument from a Mono Apologist suggesting otherwise. I also fully expect those very vocal Mono Apologists who manage to appear in every thread to defend Mono and may have stated or implied different, to go back and correct themselves so they don’t continue to mislead others. After all, I know factual accuracy is of the highest concern.

The Mono project — just like Microsoft — is based on many big lies. Will more people notice and also react, despite systematic bullying and daemonisation from Mono proponents? Discouragement of truth is vile act.

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2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    December 15, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Gravatar

    Mono should be moved to non-free. The package maintainer has admitted to not caring about what parts are patent encumbered and which parts are not because it is impossible to separate the parts and make useful software. Shields has compared Mono patent problems to patent problems in mp3 and other software, but it seems that useful things can be done with the parts of mp3 that are not patented. We should always be suspicious of people who defend something by claiming, “everything else sucks too”. So, on closer inspection, both of the major arguments for ignoring Microsoft’s obvious threats fall away. The least Debian can do for users is to move mono to non free.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Jeremy Allison suggested this a year ago.

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