“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: The latest example of Microsoft openwashing, courtesy of confidants of Microsoft and those who got bamboozled by them
“Apparently,” lirodon wrote in IRC yesterday, “the commercial iOS/Android Mono forks are now open source (MIT)” (
#techrights IRC channel)
MinceR responded with, “do they have an accompanying patent license?”
“I think it falls under this,” lirodon replied, “apparently Microsoft also shifted stewardship of Mono to the .NET Foundation” (as if it hasn’t already happened).
“Xamarin and Miguel de Icaza before Xamarin was formed have played a role in this deception, pretending that .NET is somehow a ‘universal’ platform which is ‘cross-platform’ and also ‘open’.”MinceR immediately responded with: “to avoid having the copyright holder own the patents they’ll sue for, no doubt; that’s just a “promise not to sue” and afaict doesn’t cover all of mono (“but excluding all other functionality in the Windows Presentation Foundation component of .NET Framework.”)” (this can be used behind closed doors for patent extortion, as we shall cover in the next post as this strategy is alive and well).
MinceR added: “also, if there’s a company that should be required to make their terms clear and explicit, it’s Microsoft; they have too much of a history of abuse” (including patent abuse).
The main problem I personally have with this announcement is that it basically gets characterised as a lot more than it really is, putting patents aside. Microsoft has been trying for quite some time to associate Visual Studio with Open Source (e.g. by talking about its editor alone) and with GNU/Linux, even though it’s not available outside of Microsoft Windows. Xamarin and Miguel de Icaza before Xamarin was formed have played a role in this deception, pretending that .NET is somehow a ‘universal’ platform which is ‘cross-platform’ and also ‘open’. It’s everything BUT those things. It’s just Microsoft’s proprietary lock-in. It preys on gullible developers who might simply not know better (or lack access to relevant information about it when they get started developing).
“So a few components that get one STUCK inside Microsoft LOCK-IN are being painted “open”.”Consider the articles from Microsoft’s Mouth and from Tim Anderson, another old friend of Microsoft. One easily gets the impression that this is big news that’s unforeseen, but it’s not. It’s almost old news reannounced, then soon covered by many Microsoft boosters [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. Even an article by Michael Larabel soon enough came out, stating that: “One of the main announcements so far is the formal unveiling of their open.xamarin.com portal. From this open-source portal is where you can fetch Xamarin.IOS for writing mobile apps targeting iOS/OSX Apple devices, Xamarin.Android for writing native mobile apps for Android devices, and Xamarin.Forms as native UIs for iOS/Android/Windows from a single code-base. The code for these projects were opened up in the past few days via GitHub.”
So a few components that get one STUCK inside Microsoft LOCK-IN are being painted “open”. Big bloody deal… and what about the patents? We shall deal with this topic in our next post. █
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Microsoft a serial killer of FOSS
Summary: Microsoft has just killed yet another FOSS project (using money to shut down competitors) — one that was helping Android and Java
THE headline “Embrace, extend – and kill. Microsoft discontinues RoboVM” says it all really. Several people in our IRC channels noticed this original story (from the original statement) rather quickly and later on in the day some people told me about it privately, so it obviously wasn’t overlooked at all.
“Nice,” Lirodon wrote in the afternoon, “and now Microsoft has killed RoboVM dead. It was already dead when they became non-free.”
“Microsoft,” MinceR responded, “where projects go to die [...] just like they killed entire video game developer companies (Terminal Reality and Ensemble Studios)” (we covered this years ago).
Microsoft is just the same old evil company, there is no ‘ new’ Microsoft. Microsoft will try this against GNU/Linux if it can. It’s its classic modus operandi, but taking on a project as big as these (to “extinguish”) is a monumental task.
What Techrights wrote about RoboVM when it was first “embraced” [1, 2, 3] turns out to be true. We foresaw exactly what Microsoft would do about RoboVM once it’s payday (yet again!) for Miguel de Icaza.
Some people still wonder, what exactly happened to RoboVM? Here it is in their own words: “Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with the teams at Xamarin and Microsoft to assess the technology and business conditions of RoboVM to determine the path forward for the products. After looking at the complete landscape for mobile development with Java, the decision has been made to wind down development of RoboVM.”
After they had made it proprietary (shortly before Xamarin stepped in formally), essentially stabbing the whole community in the back, the Microsoft people (all of them are Microsoft staff now) did this:
For any fools out there who still think Microsoft doesn’t do E.E.E. against FOSS, here we go again. What would it take to wake people up? How many more companies need to die? How could RoboVM not know that Xamarin was an evil proxy of Microsoft? It was common knowledge as it wasn’t hard to see where Xamarin’s money had come from (Microsoft veterans).
Microsoft is now essentially shutting down another pillar of Java, so this is classic E.E.E. via Xamarin. As one person put it to us, “and today Microsoft ordered RoboVM to wind down operation” (linking to the original announcement).
A lot of the utter rubbish about Microsoft “loving Linux” is a villainous lie. It’s the best lie money can buy as it’s clear that Microsoft is still very aggressive; it hates GNU/Linux, it hates Android, and it hates Java. Don’t let the Microsoft-funded media fool you (Microsoft Peter, for instance, moved from the UK to the US to write for Condé Nast, which is paid by Microsoft). Microsoft basically buys articles from various large media networks; it pays networks to tell us that Microsoft has changed, but nothing is changing, it’s only escalating.
The above, says Fernando Cassia, “reminds me of VirtualPC, which was a product of Innotek Gmbh and offerend Windows virtualization under OS/2 hosts….”
He then told me, “guess which product they dropped after being acquired by Microsoft? Yes, Virtual PC for IBM OS/2 :-/”
He further emphasised that “everything Microsoft does is about leveraging its cash cow to hurt competitors or whatever it sees as a menace” and “the war on Java started ten years ago… “Operation Sunblock” never really stopped” (here is the article about “Operation Sunblock”)
“20 years ago,” he added a few hours later, “boy how time flew [...] “+options available…including tools that will help you PORT TO XAMARIN” //Competitor eliminated.Mission accomplished”
When will be the next antitrust probe against Microsoft bribery, racketeering, blackmail, and extortion? Did it get enough lobbyists in all the right places in order to shift any such focus to Google? Remember that Microsoft is still run by the same thugs (only the CEO changed) and they want Android and Linux to be next in the E.E.E. pipeline. Microsoft loves nothing but itself and its own monopoly of lock-in and back doors. New charm offensives try to lull us into sleep and inaction (no defensive/reactionary statements from the community).
As one person told me yesterday: “Remember Microsoft’s charm offensive with Nokia? We all know very well how that ended and what happened to MeeGo & Meltemi.”
We wrote a lot about what Microsoft did to Nokia. How many more Linux and FOSS backers need to die (out of work) before the media acknowledges that Microsoft is a liar and an assassin? █
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Harm offensive or charm offensive? “A campaign of flattery, friendliness, and cajolement designed to achieve the support or agreement of others” –Oxford Dictionary
“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”
–Be’s CEO Jean-Louis Gassée
Credit: unknown (Twitter)
Summary: An analysis of last week’s Microsoft media frenzy, which despite Microsoft’s persistence with and insistence on proprietary software (not to mention its perpetual war on GNU/Linux using software patents) truly succeeded and it looks a great deal like the media strategy championed by Donald Trump
HAVING studied Microsoft and its extensive network of external PR agencies for well over a decade, and having studied the latest PR charm offensive for a whole week (while patiently taking notes along the way), I now feel prepared (on a Sunday when it’s all said and done) to provide my explanation of what happened. In short, it’s a PR campaign. It’s not a new PR campaign; it’s continuation of an existing PR campaign, whose banner is typically “Microsoft loves Linux” (that’s the misleading motto). Those who have followed non-disclosure agreements probably know that Microsoft is still attacking Linux. It’s a demonstration of hatred, not love. The genius of this PR campaign is that it logically reverses what’s true. It’s like BP stating that it loves wind power, the Koch Brothers stating that they love Senator Sanders, and Clinton stating that she loves self-determination.
“The genius of this PR campaign is that it logically reverses what’s true.”At the moment, judging by the reaction of people to this PR campaign, I can see roughly three groups. There are those who are still distrusting Microsoft. There are those who are increasingly confused by what Microsoft is doing, not sure what they’re really up to. The third group is either people who are in the Microsoft camp (profiting from it) or those gullible enough to believe what Microsoft is saying, sometimes even repeating the “Microsoft loves Linux” lie.
In this article we shall break down last week’s ‘news’ into roughly three categories or strands. We are going to show the reality behind all this PR, which was emitted in big quantities (with help from lousy media) and in quick succession. Little time and space were left to respond to the PR.
Microsoft Hates Linux
Dozens of articles, some of which were very long, were published here in 2015 and in 2016 and therein we responded to the “Microsoft loves Linux” lie. We gave actual examples from the news (not old stories) which demonstrate Microsoft’s ongoing campaign of hatred towards GNU/Linux. Microsoft is, as usual (as per its notorious history), using its money in an effort to undermine the competition (GNU/Linux in this case), not just with/through SCO, which it supported financially before dunking money into Novell (Microsoft used Novell to start a campaign of patent litigation and extortion, finally sweeping up Novell’s own patents as a grand finale). We wrote about this a few days ago and also one month ago when media wrongly claimed that it was all over. Here is what FOSS Force has just had to say about it. Don’t be easily fooled. There are no coincidences there. Microsoft-funded Linux kernel lawsuit: 13 years and counting (better headline for this article from Condé Nast) because Microsoft just loves Linux…
“We are going to show the reality behind all this PR, which was emitted in big quantities (with help from lousy media) and in quick succession.”Microsoft hates Linux. It just needs people to believe otherwise whilst attacks go on. Microsoft tries to conceal its real intentions (in the minds of top management, not low-level developers).
Microsoft’s Media Strategy
Last week we explained how the "Tay" story (or non-story) got used as Microsoft opportunism, PR, a distraction, and propaganda. It was the Donald Trump kind of PR strategy. Just mention “Hitler” or something like that and the press will be all over you; and if there’s no such thing as “bad publicity” (as all such publicity can be spun positively given the skilled personnel), then you inevitably win hearts and minds.
“Tay” was not news at all… it was more of a PR stunt. Like the “Microsoft loves Linux” stunt, among other things, as we shall show in a moment. The more shocking the statement, the more press you are guaranteed to receive. Provocation or “rhetoric” is what some call this strategy (in relation to Trump in politics).
“It was the Donald Trump kind of PR strategy.”In a nutshell, all that happened last week was, the media got invited to play a role in a provocative media strategy that baits the reader (including misleading images with hearts in them), someone called Wim ended up being hired by Microsoft because he got offered a higher salary (so he moved from one evil proprietary software giant to another), and finally, as expected, Miguel de Icaza and his colleagues at Microsoft once again openwash .NET. That’s pretty much all that it boils down to. Not much to see here, so why not just move along?
No, Linux (or Ubuntu) Isn’t on Windows
There’s no news here ((2-19] below are headlines we didn’t include in our daily links because they added nothing new), except maybe Vista 10 promotion. It now rides the wave or enjoys the positive publicity of the Linux brand. Some people ‘reviewed’ this supposedly ‘new’ thing [20-24] and some rightly criticised it [25-26].
I personally used Cygwin when I started university more than 15 years ago (one partition of mine ran Windows 98, the last version I ever had). At work and at university I was using GNU/Linux exclusively, so sometimes I needed somewhat of a ‘bridge’.
“The more shocking the statement, the more press you are guaranteed to receive.”Microsoft now claims credit for Cygwin, or sort of claims to have innovated/invented it. What a shame. Did the media not research this properly? Early coverage regarding this came from 3 Microsoft boosters (the night before the actual announcement) and it was highly misleading, probably by design. As we wrote at the time, they’re probably being gamed or fed by Microsoft’s PR agents (if not directly). They published highly misleading ‘teasers’ that set the tone to many misleading articles the following day.
“WSL doesn’t really let you do very much that you couldn’t already do for many years via Cygwin,” one person explained  (a reasonably good journalist), so it was all hype and lies. Some comments said the same: “Does anyone understand how this works? I thought Cygwin worked the same way.”
Microsoft is not really offering anything new, just putting Microsoft’s name on old stuff. This quickly raised questions about GPL compatibility.
“Microsoft is not really offering anything new, just putting Microsoft’s name on old stuff.”As FOSS Force put it: “Then there was the twelve hour scare, when news was leaked that Canonical and its newfound buddy Microsoft were bringing Ubuntu to Windows. At first look, that turned out to be something of a non-story, as the Windows version of the Linux-distro-that-would-be-Windows comes without just about everything you might expect to find in a GNU/Linux distribution. What you get, basically, is access to Ubuntu’s implementation of the Bash shell, which we now might call MS-Linux-DOS.”
Many journalists ended up mischaracterising it as “Ubuntu on Windows 10″ (that’s from today!). It’s not Ubuntu on Windows 10. That’s just a gross oversimplification.
“Mister Linux” Nonsense
“Mister Linux” is Mr. Torvalds. Everyone knows Torvalds, more so than people know or recognise Mr. Stallman. How many people even heard the name Wim Coekaerts? Surely not many. Yet Microsoft propaganda sites now make Wim sound like some kind of a huge celebrity; “Mister Linux” is what some of them dub/call him. Yes, someone who worked for a proprietary software firm that attacks Linux/Android using patents is apparently “Mister Linux”. Poppycock! Judge the total of 7 articles about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and notice how many of them came from Microsoft boosters and/or apologists. Why is it “news” when a company the size of Microsoft hires someone? He’s not even that famous. They make it seem like he is. How convenient. They try to bolster that “Microsoft loves Linux” narrative rather desperately now. They give feet to a myth. What really happened here? Most likely Microsoft offered this man a lot of money. As we noted here over the years, Microsoft offered huge lumps of money to FOSS luminaries, in order for them to join Microsoft. Simon Phipps openly complained about it. Jono Bacon, who managed the Ubuntu community, was among those whom Microsoft offered a lot of money in an effort to poach him. He declined.
Shame on Canonical? No, on Greed and Self Interest.
Canonical is now doing Microsoft’s E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) for Microsoft. It actively helped the E.E.E. The Canonical employee who did this said in his blog that Microsoft had even sponsored him. What does that tell us in light of the situation Bacon was in? OMG Ubuntu was dumb enough to call E.E.E. (not FOSS) “lovefest” (this reminds us of its Mono enthusiasm). A loaded headline, “Nothing To Worry About Microsoft Newly Found Love For Linux”, misleads the reader by reinforcing Microsoft lies amid E.E.E. There’s no love there. Microsoft has accelerated not only E.E.E. tactics. It also accelerated patent strikes against Linux and Android, but one (the former charm offensive) helps distract from the latter.
Microsoft’s Most Notorious Propagandists Come Out as ‘Experts’
“Speed and competition mean that a lot of so-called ‘journalists’ rush to write things based on hearsay and press releases, which typically means Microsoft and its confidants inside the media.”Mary Branscombe, whom we mentioned here recently , has spent many years acting like a Microsoft PR agent in ‘reporter’ clothing, habitually attacking FOSS and openwashing Microsoft. “New Microsoft, new attitude” says her latest puff piece and she is not alone. Well, it’s clear what the strategy (as in media strategy) is because we quickly saw several of Microsoft’s other anti-Linux actors coming out from the shadow, along with Mary. They’re really attacking by pressing on with E.E.E. agenda. Suddenly, for the first time in months if not years, Rob Enderle rears his head regarding FOSS (he is also femmewashing Microsoft, not just openwashing it this/last week) and so does Al Hilwa. For those who don’t know who he is, it’s a Microsoft mouthpiece, previously salaried by Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. Adrian Bridgwater cites and extensively quotes Hilwa without noting that he’s a person from Microsoft pretending to be an “analyst” now (Linux-hostile). Very disappointing level of journalism, that’s for sure. There’s even worse journalism out there, for example this article which is openwashing proprietary software from Microsoft. There’s no new FOSS, just E.E.E. of other people’s work. Some people may occasionally say, give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. How can one do this while Microsoft is attacking (covertly) Linux behind the scenes every week? Selective vision works only because of media omission (e.g. of patent deals). Microsoft has managed to blur the gap between journalism and PR by paying large network to have writers who are de facto Microsoft PR people (we named some of them before) and they game the media by quoting people who are close to Microsoft, shifting the focus of news before it’s even announced, and so on and so forth. This post/article about Microsoft E.E.E. thus focuses not on technical issues but on how Microsoft manipulated the media. Speed and competition mean that a lot of so-called ‘journalists’ rush to write things based on hearsay and press releases, which typically means Microsoft and its confidants inside the media. Those who don’t research are bound to repeat their propaganda. We see a lot of the same stuff as it involves EPO PR people, who bombard journalists with their spin (or ‘prepared’ statements).
Developers, Developers, Developers, Use Our Proprietary Software!
Microsoft wants C++ developers (even those developing for GNU/Linux) to use proprietary software that does not run on GNU/Linux (Microsoft Visual Studio). Here is what Microsoft Gavin wrote about Microsoft’s latest proprietary software ‘gift’ (lock-in, E.E.E., and media manipulation). Watch this article and responses to it, e.g. in Reddit. Watch how Microsoft-friendly sites repeated Microsoft’s own words. It’s all proprietary as pointed out here, but now comes Miguel de Icaza with his misleading/distracting blog post. “Microsoft Mono seems to have chosen a license that allows the ongoing threat of software patents,” iophk told us, linking to this older page about licence choices.
“Going back to Xamarin, it’s mostly openwashing (that’s what Mono did) because Visual Studio remains proprietary and .NET is all promises but still no complete code one can compile from the ground up.”XFaCE, linking to an article about this topic from Wired mocks the use of words like “Delights” and “Freeing” (right there in the headline). “WIRED removed comments I’ve seen,” says XFaCE, so we know that comments that are hostile towards this spin got censored out of existence (standard routine at Condé Nast, which now owns Wired). MinceR was “guessing the koolaid must flow uninhibited,” based on what he wrote in IRC. Condé Nast already has an epidemic of comment censorship in Reddit, Ars Technica and apparently that extends to Wired. What you see there is thus HEAVILY sanitised. And in whose favour? So now we know that Condé Nast not only spreads Microsoft propaganda to aid E.E.E. against Linux but also deletes messages of resistors. Back in the days, before Condé Nast bought Wired magazine, this magazine had actually stood up to Microsoft. Now it has a DEDICATED Microsoft section (PR) and it helps Microsoft silence voices of opposition. Now, that is a media strategy, is it not? Some of Condé Nast’s Web sites, based on what we got told by their managers, were actually launched with Microsoft’s funding (Ars Technica UK for sure).
To give another example of poor reporting/journalism, AOL chose the headline “Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman on getting acquired by Microsoft” (don’t laugh, see our page about Xamarin).
Friedman actually CAME from Microsoft, so that’s like Microsoft buying Elop or an Elop-led Nokia). Speaking of Nokia, today we finally found news about Nokia launching an Android phone (5 years too late). How does Nokia feel (especially the rational people who left after 2011) now that Microsoft basically declares Windows ‘mobile’ dead (ish)? To quote this new article from IDG:
Microsoft puts Windows Phone on hold
Well, now we know why Microsoft’s Windows Phone didn’t appear at Microsoft’s Build keynote on Wednesday: it simply isn’t on Microsoft’s radar screen at the moment.
The question, of course, is whether it will ever be again.
“We’re going to do some cool things with phones, but this year phones are an important part of our family but not the tip of the spear,” Windows chief Terry Myerson told The Verge on Wednesday.
Phones, Myerson added, “is the wrong place for us to lead.”
Going back to Xamarin, it’s mostly openwashing (that’s what Mono did) because Visual Studio remains proprietary and .NET is all promises but still no complete code one can compile from the ground up. Microsoft loves proprietary SQL Server, proprietary Windows, proprietary Visual Studio etc. It wants GNU/Linux users to buy those. That’s how far the “love” goes. For its next act, Microsoft shall probably do something to paint Microsoft Office “open” even when it’s proprietary. Like bribing people in order for ISO to ‘bless’ OOXML.
“The reason “Linux” news get flooded/dominated by Microsoft (again) isn’t that Microsoft is loved or hip. It is just a lot more greased up on the marketing side.”Looking at the media for coverage about this ‘news’, we see that a lot of Microsoft’s boosters wrote about it, with some (few) exceptions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. It’s Microsoft news, it’s not FOSS news. What’s even more laughable is that when a longtime Mono booster and inadvertent GNU/Linux basher (see the latest in [1, 2]) “joined” the latest .NET (i.e. Microsoft lock-in) advocacy the media made it sound like .NET was widely loved. Microsoft-dominated ‘media’, 1105 Media [1, 2], went even further and labelled the whole event “Spotlight on Open Source” (as if something actually got liberated rather than “embraced”, as in E.E.E.). The same media company (highly and tightly connected to Microsoft) said that “Microsoft Adds Support for Linux Bash Shell on Windows” (nothing to do with Ubuntu or Linux and not even news, as we noted above).
The reason “Linux” news get flooded/dominated by Microsoft (again) isn’t that Microsoft is loved or hip. It is just a lot more greased up on the marketing side. Like Donald Trump, it knows how to pull the strings of the media/press — strings which are sometimes already in place (because of financial strings). █
Related/contextual items from the news:
It’s also worth noting that WSL doesn’t really let you do very much that you couldn’t already do for many years via Cygwin, which allows a lot of GNU/Linux apps to run on Windows. Cygwin is not as seamless a solution as WSL, but the end result it provides is basically the same. For that reason, some GNU/Linux fans will probably be left wondering what WSL really changes.
Will Windows eventually work its way into computer science courses anytime soon? Probably not, considering a copy of Ubuntu is free.
I just heard from several sources that Canonical and Microsoft are forming a partnership a marriage if you will between themselves. This unholy matrimony, this putrid partnership is not to bring windows to the Linux operating system, it is to bring ubuntu to the windows operating system.
Kevin Gallo just announced Bash support on Windows.
If you have never had to interact with the Windows Batch language, this might not seem like such a big deal. Surely Batch could not be substantially worse than Bash, right?
Bash: a language that was neither designed, nor evolved. An adequate solution to a problem that has since become orders of magnitude harder. As arcane as it is useful, as dangerous as it is ubiquitous, Bash: the language that asks how much we are willing to give up for convenience’s sake?
Sure, Bash could be worse. But substantially worse? Bash had one value proposition: it was just good enough. It is difficult to imagine that it would have flourished as it has, if that had that not been true.
But the truth is what it is. Batch is substantially worse. And how much worse sort of beggars belief.
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“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”
–LinuxToday Managing Editor
Summary: A longer and more detailed analysis of Microsoft’s official takeover of the Mono team (and by extension a so-called ‘company’, whose finances are secret but are linkable back to Microsoft through Ignition Partners)
THERE is a sense of relief now that Microsoft has ‘collected’ its moles; they’re back home (or at the ‘base’) where they belong. Our latest post on this matter (we covered it shortly after this became publicly known, hence composed in somewhat of a rush) is quite a few days old. That post, which focused on Xamarin‘s role and duties for Microsoft, was a little tongue-in-cheek, and it probably lacked context which those who are unfamiliar with these matters may truly need.
“After Novell had purchased Ximian this move was characterised by a Novell executive as a “red carpet” (to a Microsoft deal).”Techrights has spent nearly a decade writing about Novell, which was the previous incubator or ‘host’ (in a sort of embryonic sense) of Mono (see this Wiki page for a detailed chronology). After Novell had purchased Ximian this move was characterised by a Novell executive as a “red carpet” (to a Microsoft deal). See this complete transcript from 10 years ago. A lot of people don’t remember this; nor do they remember the significant role which Miguel de Icaza personally played in Microsoft and Novell coming to their patent deal — a subject which we wrote about many times before (de Icaza’s role was noted by Novell dissenters almost a decade ago).
Michael Meeks (formerly of Novell) wrote the other day: “Pleased to see Miguel & Nat exit to Microsoft” (direct quote).
“It’s like both of them were engaged to Microsoft for a decade but only officially celebrated in a wedding ceremony (and tied the knot as the saying goes) last week.”Nat had worked for Microsoft before he worked for Novell and Miguel too had visited Microsoft and loved them. For Meeks, as their former colleague (at Novell), it’s easy to sympathise, but did they ever “exit”? They were always there. They have only just made it official. It’s like both of them were engaged to Microsoft for a decade but only officially celebrated in a wedding ceremony (and tied the knot as the saying goes) last week.
The news about Microsoft buying Xamarin was mostly covered by the Microsoft side and Microsoft boosters, not FOSS or GNU/Linux sites. This in itself is rather telling and revealing. Oh, how things have changed! Here’s Microsoft’s Mouth and the Microsoft-friendly Tim Anderson covering this, the latter noting: “Remember the Nokia devices acquisition? That went well. Not”
“Microsoft now intends to use Xamarin to further its E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) agenda inside Android.”Nokia was another case of Microsoft moles, notably Elop. It was designed to tear apart Linux and Nokia.
Microsoft now intends to use Xamarin to further its E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) agenda inside Android. Why? Because other such efforts, including the Cyanogen plan, are evidently failing. There’s no headway. As Anderson put it in a separate article:
Microsoft has officially scrapped its Android to Windows 10 bridge, codenamed Astoria, but is forging ahead with its Objective C Windows compiler and tools for porting iOS applications.
The Android announcement was expected, as the project was apparently abandoned some months back, but the new post from Windows Developer Platform VP Kevin Gallo adds some background.
Right now Microsoft uses Miguel de Icaza to make developers defect to Windows. When Xamarin was its own company, backed by people from Microsoft, it didn’t quite work out. People — and developers in particular — just weren’t foolish enough. “De Icaza told me in the past that he’s rich,” Stephane Rodriguez told us 9 years ago, so we know that Microsoft pays such moles enough to make them do almost anything. Xamarin was an attempt to infiltrate the development world on behalf of Microsoft. Based on lack of press coverage, we very much doubt it was financially sustainable without all the VC money from Microsoft folks, who were understandably trying to keep it afloat.
“Right now Microsoft uses Miguel de Icaza to make developers defect to Windows.”Overlapping the announcement of the Xamarin takeover was this important news covered in articles such as “Microsoft confirms: Android-on-Windows Astoria tech is gone”, “Microsoft’s plan to port Android apps to Windows is dead”, “Microsoft Confirms Android-To-Windows Tool ‘Project Astoria’ Is Dead”, and “Microsoft is ditching Android app ports for Windows Phone”.
Miguel de Icaza was perhaps Microsoft’s Plan B, much like Elop inside Nokia. As one Microsoft apologist put it the other day (in his headline), “Microsoft: Use Xamarin to port Android apps to Windows” (sounds like the same thing as above, except the above just got axed).
“Miguel de Icaza was perhaps Microsoft’s Plan B, much like Elop inside Nokia.”Microsoft propagandists such as Simon Bisson sure are happy for Miguel de Icaza and other Microsoft saboteurs, whose goal wasn’t to help either GNU/Linux or Free software but to advance Microsoft’s interests and financial gain. “Embrace, extend, eat” is how this article from The Register summed it up (in its seminal report about the takeover). “Strangely patents were not mentioned,” iophk wrote to us, alluding to this analogous report from Wired. To quote: “Given the number of startups that have been purchased by larger companies primarily for their engineering talent, not their products—a strategy called “acquihiring”—developers may worry that Xamarin’s technology could go away after this acquisition. Microsoft insists this isn’t the case. “This is definitely not an acquihire,” says Scott Guthrie, the executive vice president of the Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group. “There are more than 300 people on the Xamarin team. We very much view this acquisition as an opportunity to take what they’ve built and make it a core part of our strategy.””
It seems quote possible that Microsoft is just “acquihiring” in this case, as we noted in our first post about it. However, let’s not forget that VC money for Xamarin came from former Microsoft staff (Ignition Partners), so if anyone pockets the money here, then it’s them (that’s like Microsoft giving money back… to Microsoft people). Groomed by Microsoft for over a decade, Xamarin is probably the last incarnation of what was Ximian, then Novell, and later Xamarin. Now it’s called what it really is: Microsoft.
“We were right about Mono, Miguel de Icaza, and Xamarin, just as we were right about Novell and Nokia in the patent sense.”According to this report from the New YoRk Times, “Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it was buying Xamarin, a company that helps software developers write applications for mobile devices. The price was not disclosed, but is believed to be more than $300 million.”
As we often point out here, many of these figures are bogus. They’re more like accounting tricks that make both the buyer and the acquired entity look bigger than they really are; it surely fools an already-gullible media when sometimes all that happens is that shares move from place to place, i.e. no money exchanges hands at all.
“Microsoft came first; what’s why he was pushed away by FOSS people.”All in all, the whole thing proves we were right all along. We were right about Mono, Miguel de Icaza, and Xamarin, just as we were right about Novell and Nokia in the patent sense. Miguel de Icaza has, consistently over the years, served Microsoft’s agenda and now it’s payday again. He hardly ever truly worked for FOSS; Now he’s a Microsoft employee. Miguel de Icaza turned to Microsoft not because FOSS people pushed him away. Microsoft came first; what’s why he was pushed away by FOSS people. Bruce Byfield, a longtime Novell (and Mono) apologist, gets it all in reverse in his analysis which begins thusly:
Just before I settled down to write today, I read that Microsoft had acquired Xamarin, the company founded by Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman. To many, the news is the logical end to a story that has been unfolding for years now, and if the first cries of, “Traitors!” have not appeared on blogs and articles, then I expect they are only a matter of time.
Perhaps Byfield can finally admit that it was us who were right all along, not him. On de Icaza, one person told me the other day: “I remember him back in ‘the day’ on IRC. he was always considered a crazy compromizer.”
“In summary, Miguel gets money from Microsoft. Again.”He was always like that. He didn’t just magically turn out that way. In fact, a lot of this started when he tried to get hired by Microsoft, way back in the 1990s.
A decent article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) says: “In 2011, Attachmate laid off the Mono team. De Icaza then founded Xamarin with an eventual total of $82-million in venture capital to give it a home.”
“The future of APIs, patents and mobile-centric operating systems is at stake now.”Well, money from Microsoft veterans/retirees (for the most part). It was pretty much back then that Microsoft ‘bought’ de Icaza; it just left him as peripheral/external because it’s easier to use him as a proxy or mole that way.
In summary, Miguel gets money from Microsoft. Again. E.E.E. didn’t work out this time around, but Miguel had his safety net. Now his salaries will come directly from his longtime boss (at Novell too a lot of the money came from Microsoft).
This post is not a personal attack. But since many people out there are too timid to mention names and say things as they see them, someone probably has to. Anything else is self-censorship.
If any of the above is not accurate or not correct, please point out specifically what it is. We welcome an open debate on this. The future of APIs, patents and mobile-centric operating systems is at stake now. █
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So the Microsoft-loving lynch mob will start receiving salaries directly from Microsoft
Miguel de Icaza now officially a Microsoft employee
Summary: Xamarin staff’s Microsoft roots and loyalties now confirmed as Microsoft just bought/recruited them all
THE TROJAN horse strategy of Microsoft can only ever work as long as FOSS developers are naive enough to believe that Microsoft comes with good intentions. We have already seen openwashing of Microsoft lock-in like .NET (there is more of it today from Pierre-Luc Maheu), even though it’s still proprietary lock-in with some open ‘core’. We wrote a lot about this in 2014.
Just as Microsoft uses Cyanogen as a Trojan horse in mobile (Android), Microsoft has used Xamarin as a Trojan horse for a number of years now (not just in mobile).
“Just as Microsoft uses Cyanogen as a Trojan horse in mobile (Android), Microsoft has used Xamarin as a Trojan horse for a number of years now (not just in mobile).”Xamarin’s Mono now becomes Microsoft’s as Miguel de Icaza once again makes a lot of money from Microsoft, after former Microsoft people had dunked lots of money into his efforts (Xamarin’s sources of funding were covered here before).
RoboVM was part of an embrace phase (in E.E.E.); it’s almost as though Microsoft bought a Java/Android company, which it soon took proprietary (extend) and can now use as a Trojan horse for .NET conversions (extinguish) because RoboVM employees all become Microsoft employees, within just a few months. It’s like Nokia all over again and it happened in a nearby country (neighbour of Finland).
Proving Techrights was right all along, earlier today was found this post from Phoronix which said “Xamarin was formed by Miguel de Icaza in 2011 after his earlier Mono-focused company, Ximian, was acquired by Novell but then the Mono developers were let go when Novell was acquired by Attachmate.”
“Right now Mono is officially a Microsoft thing.”We warned about it right from the start. Right now Mono is officially a Microsoft thing. Not just Microsoft copyrights are inside of it. The trademarks too probably become Microsoft’s. “Everybody knew this was coming years ago,” a senior member at Phoronix Forums wrote. Here is the Microsoft angle and Microsoft Peter’s shallow piece. There was some discussion about it in our IRC channel, as Mark said that “de Icaza is practically a closed source advocate… uses Mac OS X over Linux… pumps MS tech whenever possible… Microsoft MVP Awardee in 2010… Apple basically advocates conspicuous consumption which is pretty much the opposite of what I believe in” (expect de Icaza to praise Microsoft even more from now on).
Some, myself included, were relieved by the news because it’s proving us right. “Finally,” XRevan86 wrote. “I was sick of people who were saying Xamarin is not a Microsoft thing. Like Microsoft is bad but Xamarin is okay. You know what’s the most ironic thing? Miguel said that GNU/Linux won’t ever be popular because of compatibility issues after he moved to OS X. The most compatibility messing thing in GNU/Linux is GNOME’s GTK+.”
“The Mono lynch mob is something Microsoft will now be accountable for.”“As part of this commitment I am pleased to announce today that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin,” wrote Microsoft, calling it “a leading platform provider for mobile app development.” [sic]
Leading? How many people even use this thing? Xamarin, in recent years, hired longtime enemies of this site (Techrights) — people who publicly attack me all the time for ‘daring’ not to trust Microsoft and Mono. They even hired Jo Shields, who has been cursing and swearing, sometimes even libeling me. These are Mono boosters who are more like moles inside GNU/Linux. Well, from now on they’ll get their salary directly from Microsoft and any time I see them attacking me online I’d be able to attribute these attacks to Microsoft. I criticise Mono, so they criticise me personally (ad hominem). What a relief it is to know that Microsoft will now bear responsibility for these utterly rude people. The Mono lynch mob is something Microsoft will now be accountable for. █
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via Wikipedia but with the GIMP treatment
Summary: The de facto Microsoft satellite known as Xamarin reveals that it is still little more than a Microsoft mobile division
LAST MONTH we wrote about Xamarin‘s absorption of a FOSS Android tool, which quickly turned proprietary (almost instantaneously while takeover negotiations took place). Xamarin Studio, like a lot of Xamarin’s proprietary software, does nor even run on GNU/Linux. There is hardly any pretence anymore that Miguel de Icaza and his Microsoft-connected ilk even care about FOSS. These traitors show their true colours and disdain for anything FOSS.
“There is hardly any pretence anymore that Miguel de Icaza and his Microsoft-connected ilk even care about FOSS.”According to Microsoft's booster at El Reg (Anderson), the latest release from Xamarin still has no Java, just Microsoft lock-in like .NET, XAML, etc. To quote his piece:
Xamarin releases version 4.0 of its cross-platform mobile developer suite
The company has grown rapidly, since it solves a problem for Microsoft-platform developers who now need to target mobile, especially following the failure of Windows Phone to achieve significant market share. “We have over 10,000 customers, 350 consulting partners and 2,000 integration partners,” Friedman told the Reg.
When will everyone recognise that the real motivation at Xamarin is serving as some kind of Microsoft satellite or proxy? Nothing good has come of Xamarin since Novell dumped (laid off all the employees of) Mono and a firm/VC connected to Microsoft became its sugar daddy. █
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Forking (to turn Android into a Microsoft common carrier), patent litigation (to threaten zero-cost advantage), and takeovers (to annihilate software freedom)
Summary: A glance at the current situation in the mobile market, where Microsoft has virtually no presence, with focus on how Microsoft is trying to intervene and wrestle with the market leader, Android
THE MOBILE market is a very lucrative one. Not only has it outgrown the desktop (and laptop) market but it also thrives — from a business point of view — because of a huge number of applications which many people pay for. There is a lot of money to be made in mobility, both on the software side and hardware side. Microsoft makes money from neither.
Microsoft tried hard to enter the mobile market but since the Windows Mobile days it barely ever succeeded. Nowadays, Microsoft’s mobile platforms continue to be called off and Microsoft tries to rebrand, most latterly with the Vista 10 label.
“There is a lot of money to be made in mobility, both on the software side and hardware side. Microsoft makes money from neither.”As many of the spendings are gradually moving away from the desktops, the revenues reported by Microsoft decline a great deal and Microsoft even reports losses. Then, financial games (or accounting tricks) are used to make up for it. According to Wall Street media, Microsoft now “raises money to repurchase stock and repay existing debt. It sold its longest portion, a 40-year bond, at a yield that was 1.8 percentage points more than comparable government debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. also sold bonds today.”
This is not a sign of health; it’s rather the very opposite. Its due to a rapidly-slipping Windows dominance. Rest assured that Microsoft's force-feeding of Windows will only get worse, as the British media serves to reaffirm, as does the pseudo-British media (US company with co.uk domain and some writers who happen to be British but living abroad). Microsoft’s force-feeding of Vista 10 is painted as quite benign by Microsoft Peter, but most people find it infuriating.
“Microsoft’s force-feeding of Vista 10 is painted as quite benign by Microsoft Peter, but most people find it infuriating.”Going back to the situation in the mobile market, it could, in principle, help Microsoft find reprieve. Apple, for example, isn’t doing so badly, and that’s largely owing to its presence in the mobile market (especially where people have a lot money that they are willing to spend). Microsoft cannot sell mobile devices, hence it is unable to impose its APIs, patents, lock-in etc. on this market. This, in turn, harms Microsoft’s desktop monopoly. Based on new articles such as “Microsoft’s smartphone sales collapse and even Surface feels the pinch” or “Microsoft reports falling revenues, slowing Surface sales in latest quarter”, things won’t change for the better any time soon. To quote one report: “‘Mobile first, cloud first’ is Microsoft’s new mantra, but its fiscal first quarter financial results showed growth in only one of them. Indeed, the mobile hardware business saw its revenues fall by a huge 54% year-on-year, to $1.1bn at constant currency, a sad comedown from the glory days of Nokia, and with gross operating profit of just $100m.”
As readers of ours know by now, Microsoft is now attempting E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) of the leading mobile platform, Android, which is based on Linux. Microsoft tries to turn an open platform into its own proprietary back yard.
The Microsoft booster Tim Anderson now bashes Free software using a case of a company bought by a Microsoft proxy, Xamarin. To be fair to Anderson, maybe it was the editor’s own bait headline, “RoboVM: Open source? Sorry, it’s not working for us” (well, surely it worked well enough until Xamarin decided to take over because the project thrived and then got acquired).
Microsoft and Xamarin appear to be crushing the freedom of Android, one piece at a time, after Xamarin formally took over RoboVM [1, 2]. To quote from Anderson’s article:
The company, which was recently acquired by Xamarin, used to publish its core compiler under the GPL licence. However, users noticed that the latest published version on GitHub was 1.6, while the product itself is at 1.9.
So they turned from copyleft to proprietary. Xamarin sure is a kiss of death to software freedom. As The VAR Guy put it, “RoboVM has made its mobile app development platform closed-source. Previously, the platform was an open source product licensed under the GNU GPL.”
“Xamarin sure is a kiss of death to software freedom.”Quoting further: “So far, the company has not offered details about exactly what went wrong with its open source model. It has only made general statements about how its open code failed to attract many contributions and apparently made life easier for the company’s competitors.
“It’s also unclear to what extent RoboVM’s recent acquisition by Xamarin may have played a role in the decision to close-source the compiler. But we’re betting the timing was more than a coincidence.”
There was also a report from the Microsoft-connected ‘news’ network, 1105 Media, which contains a lot of details. Given this chronology, which probably serves to indicate time overlap between takeover negotiations and the transition to proprietary, there must have been a correlation. To quote: “The six-employee RoboVM last month announced iOS 9 support in a new release, version 1.8, the final release issued under the open source GPL license. Earlier this month, the company announced updated pricing, and shortly after came news of the Xamarin buyout. One disgruntled developer attributed these events to the company’s decision to revert to a proprietary source code model.”
Here are some other interesting parts:
“Cool,” wrote a poster identified as Carsten in reply to Müller’s message. “Now we understand. You were in talks with Xamarin for a while and one of the requirements was an updated price model (no more free stuff!) and closing down the source. Thanks for translating this process into corporate bs-bingo. Attract people for years with an open source model until you attract enough users and are acquired by the next bigger fish. Then we immediately go from open source feel good to updated pricing, closed source. Genius!”
“Complaints also abounded on a Reddit thread, and a couple Google Group discussions have sprung up to investigate interest in forking the project to keep it open source…”
Miguel de Icaza and his mates appear to love money a lot more than they love software freedom, so they squeeze this goose, RoboVM, for some golden eggs. In due course this can kill the project’s popularity. Cui bono?
“In due course this can kill the project’s popularity.”To quote someone who commented in LXer, “I have to admit, I’m a little confused. On one hand, Microsoft open-sources some components of the .NET framework, and on the other hand they closed-source a vital tool for some Android developers. I’m still convinced that Microsoft doesn’t care about FOSS or GNU/Linux, or their communities. They’re simply trying to nip a market trend in the bud… they’re competing in a manner that appears collaborative at first glance.
“I think it’s time we took a moment to re-evaluate how we look at corporate entities that offer open-source software, and if they are susceptible to buyouts, whether their projects are viable for the community to invest precious time and effort into. RoboVM would never have been such a huge loss if it had forked from the very beginning and managed by a non-corporate entity. We’ve already decided not to trust MySQL any more because of what Oracle has done to it. Why should we not apply this same decision to several other company-offered projects?”
Here is another comment:
In order to put this into perspective, it is important to keep in the forefront of our minds that we are not talking about some small company out there trying in earnest to make a go of it with a free-software project. We are talking about MICROSOFT.
Of course, we have seen this pattern repeated time and time again:
Oh my, a small company was taken advantage of by those evil free-software developers.
Well, is this really Microsoft in action or is it Xamarin or is it RoboVM?
We are all supposed to wonder now if a business model involving free-software is really a good idea… Doubt, please doubt, everyone.
blah, blah, blah… I am so bored by all these pattern repetitions.
Judging this based on the article from the Microsoft booster at The Register (especially the headline), there is indeed a lot of FUD right now, leading people to questioning of the Free software business models. Again, cui bono? █
“Gates is trying to make sure that he has a proprietary position in controlling the tools that allow you and me to access information. And that’s profitable by definition. How would you like to own the printing press?”
–PaineWebber Media Analyst Christopher Dixon
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It sure looks like E.E.E.
Miguel de Icaza with his friends from Microsoft
Summary: Further analysis of the news about RoboVM, which got taken over by a Microsoft-connected company (one might say offshoot or proxy), funded in part by Microsoft money
MICROSOFT’S WAR against the Linux-powered Android platform is well under way, currently descending into the 'extend' phase in E.E.E. against Free/libre software and against GNU/Linux. Readers of Microsoft puff pieces don’t agree with what Microsoft is saying and people at LXer recognise this strategy even from a great distance (see for example “Microsoft’s Death Embrace”). Recall what Microsoft did to Nokia and do not assume that a top contributor to Linux (which Nokia once was) will stay this way after Microsoft moles somehow manage to enter. Elop had destroyed companies before he entered Nokia and Miguel de Icaza had derailed Novell before he became a lot more closely connected to Microsoft, even working for Microsoft.
Yesterday we wrote about Xamarin‘s takeover of RoboVM (with money that came in part from Microsoft veterans). Tim Anderson oddly enough suggests that:
It may not be so welcome to Microsoft, if in the long term it dilutes the focus on C#, which has made Xamarin a key partner.
That’s assuming that the RoboVM-derived/produced work (including users of RoboVM’s products) won’t be diverted away to .NET, rather than be preserved in its current (and formerly independent) form. Perhaps it remains to be seen what Xamarin makes of RoboVM, but judging by the track record of de Icaza, the folks at RoboVM, living across the border from Nokia, may have just let in an ‘Elop’.
“It has happened before, so it can happen again; Microsoft takes great in the strategy of befriending the competition in an effort to betray and eventually kill it.”The news of the buyout (copies of the press release aside [1, 2, 3]) was covered mostly by Microsoft boosters, Microsoft-connected ‘news’ sites (multiple copies even), Microsoft apologists, and RoboVM itself. It’s almost as though the only parties interested in this are Microsoft, the acquiring party (with some funds from Microsoft veterans), and the acquired party. These are all the articles I was able to find when searching the Web. The interested parties are clear to see here. Google has absolutely nothing to gain from this.
In Xamarin’s forums Joseph Hill has said in relation to this takeover that “C# is a beautiful, advanced language with an incredibly large and passionate developer base that is continuing to adopt Xamarin in large and growing numbers.” My instinct tells me that this is part of Microsoft’s E.E.E. against Android and other mobile platforms. It has happened before, so it can happen again; Microsoft takes great in the strategy of befriending the competition in an effort to betray and eventually kill it. █
“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
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