The risk of Microsoft’s interjection into Free/Open Source software (FOSS) persists
Summary: Attempts to put Mono in GNOME still exist (Xamarin behind it) and the openwashing of .NET continues months after the Big Lie
MONO has been a thorn in the side of Free software for nearly a decade, shortly after it had been conceived by a Microsoft fan who used it to promote Microsoft APIs with associated patent risk and lock-in. It wasn’t too shocking to see the Microsoft-tied Novell joining in the ‘fun’. We have spent many years fighting back against Mono, which was an embodiment of Microsoft’s interests and an attempt to assimilate FOSS to Microsoft. The Microsoft proxy now known as Xamarin is still threatening to bring Microsoft APIs to GNOME. We thought GNOME had already salvaged itself from this risk, but the risk persists and it needs to be stopped. It was already defeated before (GNOME was close to becoming Mono-dependent whereupon we wrote many articles to create protests).
The unfortunate thing is that Microsoft bamboozled many journalists into stating that .NET is "open source" (it is not) and a Dice site is trolling again using that same old .NET spin. Do not let the lie be spread so easily. Microsoft’s .NET is proprietary and it still is a patent threat that favours Windows and Microsoft, i.e. proprietary software with back doors.
“It is a propaganda campaign just like “Scroogled” and the goal is to crush software freedom, not just companies like Google.”IDG recently hired a longtime Microsoft booster, Mary Branscombe, letting her spread these lies every week or so. She was openwashing Microsoft the other day as well as several times last month. She used to write in the CBS-owned ZDNet (very poor-quality Microsoft ads disguised as ‘articles’), but now she escapes the boundaries of tabloids and is really doing a lot of damage not only to Free software but to truth itself.
This whole ‘movement’ which tries to ‘sell’ Mono to GNU/Linux, promote the notion that .NET is ‘open’ and Microsoft is wonderfully ethical needs to be crushed. It is a propaganda campaign just like “Scroogled” and the goal is to crush software freedom, not just companies like Google. █
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How many clueless or lazy journalists will drink the Kool-Aid?
Summary: The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers
THERE is some propaganda campaign going on right now. Judging by who’s spreading it with love letters to Microsoft, one cannot miss the source and the method of distribution. We must write quickly to counter the marketing, which is basically a load of selective/subjective misinformation and spin.
The biggest disappointment (but not a surprise) comes from Phoronix, which habitually covers Mono (for over 5 years now). One can see the comments (forum) for corrections. Michael Larabel is relaying Microsoft PR without quite checking the facts and so do a few other writers who jump the gun and are spreading to some Linux sites Microsoft’s misinformation. One can expect this from Microsoft-funded networks like GigaOm (Microsoft used to pay Om Malik for Microsoft advertising disguises as articles), so nonsense like this is not too shocking. We sure are expecting lots of Redmond-based and Microsoft-affiliated Web sites to virtually spam the news until the weekend (and even after the the weekend) with false claims that .NET is “open source” even though it’s not. Watch Microsoft press minions like Mary Jo Foley spreading the PR (at least not with a misleading headline). We also expected the likes of Miguel de Icaza to continue to openwash .NET because Microsoft does an “open core” PR publicity stunt (promoting a trap as though it’s “open”). Don’t be fooled by this widely-cited post with a bad headline that is very misleading. Down at the body is says: “There are three components being open sourced: the .NET Framework Libraries, .NET Core Framework Libraries and the RyuJit VM. More details below.”
“Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”.”So that’s not the whole. The headline is sensationalist garbage. It is very misleading as Microsoft is doing an “open core” PR stunt, it is not open-sourcing .NET. Net Friedman and other Microsoft minions (funded by Microsoft veterans to essentially act as moles inside FOSS) repeat these same claims that may actually bamboozle a lot of journalists. Jo Shields and fellow Xamarin puppets of Microsoft, for example, try to mislead similarly while very openly promoting Microsoft’s marketing (they even relay Microsoft staff’s tweets verbatim, showing who they’re rooting for).
Well, taking the actually news into account, no doubt it’s good for Xamarin, but it’s a proprietary software company whose interests intersect with those of Microsoft, not FOSS.
Xamarin’s Nat Friedman and Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman can scream and shout “open source” all they want but merely talking about some components going MIT licence and saying that “Visual Studio Community is now FREE to download” is not the same as .NET becoming “open source”. It’s just ‘free’ proprietary, it’s gratis. It’s tied to pricey malware with back doors.
Microsoft is just so desperate to lock in developers, who are rapidly moving away to FOSS and saying goodbye to Windows because Android/Linux is on the rise. The Linux Foundation’s CEO, Jim Zemlin, has already commented on Microsoft’s openwashing attempt, correctly pointing out that Microsoft is just trying to lure in developers because Windows is no longer dominant.
All in all what we deal with is merely a deceiving charm offense, as Microsoft and its minions already made similar announcements some years ago about some components, never the whole. Anyone who states something like .NET is “going open source” is either a liar or a person with reading comprehension issues. Microsoft sure has antagonism for the truth and its followers can be blinded by greed. Gratis proprietary software or proprietary software which includes components that are not proprietary is of no practical use. This is merely an exercise in marketing and presentation. █
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Summary: Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices
THE COMPANY known as Xamarin more or less acts as a proxy of Microsoft these days. Mono, with Microsoft backing, is now trying to sneak into game frameworks other than Unity. Michael Larabel was one of the very few who helped amplify de Icaza, who wrote:
Today I am happy to introduce Mono for Unreal Engine.
This is a project that allows Unreal Engine users to build their game code in C# or F#.
This is really bad. If Microsoft (through its minions at Xamarin) manages to make games dependent on .NET, then cross-platform is actually put at risk, not aided. What next? Will Xamarin also try to poison Valve’s Steam? █
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A vow till death
Summary: Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced
MICROSOFT’S OFFICIAL partner Xamarin, the Mono company founded by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza with people of Microsoft background, funding from Microsoft-linked sources, Microsoft-copyrighted code with Microsoft licences and Microsoft APIs (all groomed all along by Microsoft and its media moles) is in some headlines again. It all started this morning when my wife told me about “that Microsoft guy” publishing a blog post. It’s Miguel de Icaza who wrote:
We are launching the official .NET Foundation forums to engage with the larger .NET community and to start the flow of ideas on the future of .NET, the community of users of .NET, and the community of contributors to the .NET ecosystem.
Michael Larabel later covered this:
Miguel de Icaza of GNOME/Mono fame who is heading Xamarin to push .NET software for multiple platforms using Mono, passed along some .NET Foundation news. In particular, the .NET Foundation Forums have been established for allowing the .NET community to collaborate and “start the flow of ideas on the future of .NET”, according to Miguel. Those forums are part of DotNetFoundation.org.
“Mono may be fine for Microsoft; it’s an utter disaster and a dangerous trap for everyone else.”This is just more openwashing of .NET and Miguel de Icaza, as always, helps it. Mono is not just promotion of proprietary software; it is promotion of Microsoft APIs, Microsoft patents, generally poor technology, and a Microsoft Trojan horse in the technical world. Based on some new figures just released by Unity3D (which turns out to be secretly spyware), very few GNU/Linux users are foolish enough to install Mono (and Unity3D). They measure that at 0.1% of the whole!
Mono may be fine for Microsoft; it’s an utter disaster and a dangerous trap for everyone else. A quick smell test of the capital (money) and where it comes from (Microsoft-linked VC or Microsoft-funded Novell) should serve as a clue; only Microsoft benefits. █
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Summary: A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software
Why do so many FOSS sites cover VMware and VMWorld when all it’s about is proprietary software and EEE (embrace and extend) against FOSS? Remember that it was Paul Maritz, Vice President at Microsoft who later became the CEO of VMware, saying that he wanted to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” VMware is not a friend of FOSS and it is also a GPL violator, based on strong evidence that was never quite revisited in recent years. VMware is about exploiting FOSS while giving nothing in return.
Maritz and his influence linger on because, as even a Microsoft-friendly site put it, this is “embrace and extend” all over again. It looks like VMware is ‘embracing’ FOSS, but it’s embracing it like a python embraces a lamb. From the summary:
VMware’s VMworld announcements are a case study in the “embrace and extend” approach used so well by Microsoft. The big difference is VMware doesn’t want to and couldn’t add the “extinguish” to the cloud (hybrid or otherwise).
Larry Dignan is wrong in that last part. Having been an involuntary user of VMware in some places at work, it seems clear that VMware and their effect on VMs is similar to that of Oracle in databases. Many who insist on FOSS compromise for proprietary software and if the openwashing PR works (many thing of Oracle and VMware as ‘Linux-friendly’ due to marketing), then better options like PostgreSQL or MySQL (and KVM) get ignored or only scarcely explored.
VMware should generally be considered a proprietary software snake crawling inside the FOSS yard, offering nothing more than back doors at hypervisor level (remember that VMware and RSA, the NSA’s back door ally, are owned by the same company). Watch this new article titled “VMware CEO details offensive strategy for containers, open source”.
In other news, Sonatype, which has a consistent track record of FOSS licensing FUD, uses its spun credentials to make itself seem like FOSS while bashing FOSS in the FOSS-hostile IDG. Sonatype should spend more time explaining to the public the grave dangers posed by proprietary software EULAs and licensing costs, not to mention gangsters/lobbyists such as the BSA.
Lastly, but not leastly (no, it’s not really a word), watch this coverage of a Mono release. This article does not cover the issues around patents, Microsoft and a lot more. Instead it quotes the Microsoft boosters from Xamarin as follows:
The developers are saying that “Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. A growing family of solutions and an active and enthusiastic contributing community are helping position Mono to become the leading choice for development of cross platform applications.”
Mono is a great example of a FOSS mole. Mono and the company behind it are basically a Microsoft Trojan horse inside FOSS. The goal of Xamarin and of Mono is to make Microsoft richer, more dominant, more omnipresent, and in great control over all software. Xamarin hardly even cares for free/libre operating systems. It’s all about C# and other proprietary, heavily-patented Microsoft frameworks. Follow the money to better understand what drives Xamarin and what its true goals are. Look at who the company hires and what its staff says.
Writing about Microsoft’s pretense of embracing FOSS (like a wolf guarding the hen house), Jim Lynch cited us calling this whole thing “digital imperialism” the other day. He wrote: “I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn’t now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.
“I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it’s easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media. ”
All that Microsoft can offer Munich is the return to blue screens of death, surveillance (espionage against Germany), a higher overall bill (in the long run), and fewer German jobs. Last week we noted that the one man who caused all the commotion in Munich (a self-professed Windows fan) was potentially a mole. People like John Dvorak are currently trying to exploit this deception to provoke and perhaps even troll GNU/Linux users. █
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Summary: Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin
The most notoriously foul-mouthed Mono booster is joining Xamarin, which is funded by Microsoft-linked sources and enjoying an alliance with Microsoft, trying to spread Microsoft to everything.
As put by Mr. Shields himself, he got “a job offer 3 months ago from my long-time friend in Open Source, Miguel de Icaza. Monday morning, I fly out to Xamarin’s main office in Boston, for just over a week of induction and face time with my new co workers, as I take on the title of Release Engineer.”
Enjoy a job funded by Microsoft veterans, to promote Microsoft software, and be managed by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza. Now it’s “pay day” for your years of harassing Mono sceptics. █
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Summary: Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell
Last week we were asked about Attachmate, which we no longer keep track of because Novell is pretty much dead and SUSE is not doing well. They are going extinct. The Xandros Web site is no longer even accessible and when it comes to SUSE, the community in particular, it is going down the same route. Well, judging by the declining volume of activity in OpenSUSE News, Greg K-H’s move to the Linux Foundation, the fact that community manager left (he works for ownCloud now) and now the departure of the chairman of the OpenSUSE board (more on that here), we think it is safe to treat SUSE as irrelevant, or not relevant enough for us to track. Here is the latest:
The openSUSE Board announced this morning that Vincent Untz has stepped down as the openSUSE Board Chairman.
Several days ago I spent some time looking at years’ worth of Novell news, Attachmate news, and SUSE news (I am still subscribed to dozens of feeds related to all those). This was done after a discussion in IRC. I am reluctant to bother with any of them because 1) there is not much news at all and 2) the news hardly relates to FOSS. Novell will go down the same route as Corel and SUSE will end up like Xandros. As for Xamarin, which was created after Novell/Attachmate had abandoned Mono, it is mostly an extension of Microsoft now (a bit like SUSE, which shows up in Microsoft sites because their goal is to tax GNU/Linux servers).
SUSE and Novell pretty much became what we foresaw and feared. Novell’s patents are in Microsoft’s hands now, SUSE serves no purpose other than taxing GNU/Linux for Microsoft, and Novell was not allowed to truly complete with Microsoft. AttachMSFT ensures that much of Novell’s proprietary portfolio is a dying breed. Mono became more closely tied and entangled with Microsoft. █
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Summary: M-Cam’s assessment of Microsoft’s bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul “abstract” software patents
China, reacting rationally to the threat of proprietary software from another sovereign nation, has done much to punish and marginalise Microsoft (e.g. banning Windows and Office in the public sector) due to Microsoft’s strong ties with the NSA. When it comes to patents, China also did what it could to stop Microsoft's extortion racket, causing real damage to Microsoft's "divide-and-conquer" approach. This is working out quite well because M-Cam, which we mentioned here before (it analyses patents) says that many of these patents are quite likely invalid, with or without the latest ruling from SCOTUS (prior art — not just triviality — can invalidate them). As SJVN put it: “China revealed exactly what patents Microsoft has in its Android patent portfolio. After examining these patents, M-Cam doubts the validity of many of Microsoft’s Android claims.”
Meanwhile, however, Microsoft’s proxies are trying to put more patents inside Android and other Linux-based platforms. It’s not just Xamarin which is doing this anymore. Remember that Mono has Microsoft copyrights in it, not just Microsoft software licences and patents. Now that there is something called MonoTizen (mentioned here back in May) we should really watch out. Based on this new post, a company called Kitsilano Software is behind it, run by Bob Summerwill who has been working with Unity3D (a poster child for Xamarin/Mono). Something happened some days ago:
Kitsilano Software released MonoTizen-1.0.0 today, 10th July 2014, to coincide with Tizen Developer Summit Russia 2014
Anything that brings these Microsoft patents close to Linux should be treated as a threat, especially now that Microsoft is struggling to make patent claims and derive fees from Linux. Microsoft does not always attack directly; as Nokia and others have taught us, Microsoft likes to shift patents to trolls, such as MOSAID. “70% of troll suits use patents from real companies,” says this new article, “Will “license-on-transfer” fix things?””
While Microsoft is trying hard to portray itself as "in peace" with FOSS (this is fiction, but one that Microsoft fights hard to push into the media), the truth of the matter is that it feeds patent trolls who attack FOSS. Giving them ammunition by putting Microsoft code (with patents on it) inside Linux is a dire error. Stuff like MonoTizen enables Microsoft to expand the bundle of extortion which is sends over to companies under NDA. █
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