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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Nasty DRM pipeline
Summary: Putting DRM on GNU/Linux, and especially DRM that Microsoft controls, is a very bad idea
Microsoft tried to break the Web with Silverlight, turning the Web into a bunch of binaries or cryptic blobs that will be run by proprietary software on the user’s computer/client’s end (probably not spiders, except for Microsoft’s). It is worse than Flash and more like DRM, which Silverlight was used to promote. When Silverlight died its key proponent Netflix had to go infect HTML. This is even worse because it means that the Web itself starts requiring proprietary blobs. One site said this is “Good news for folks tired of installing Microsoft Silverlight just so they can stream videos from Netflix: The company now has an HTML5 media player which works without any plugins.
“Here’s the bad news (for now): While Netflix is rolling out its HTML5 player to another platform, you still have to jump through some hoops to install Silverlight if you want to watch Netflix on a computer running GNU/Linux.”
Well, this is about DRM in HTML, which is even worse and has put Mozilla to shame. Mozilla also got a little close to Mono, which does not invite much support.
Now, using the Mono-based Moonlight one could almost get this DRM going, but it helped Microsoft get a foothold on the Web. One project remains which still tries to achieve this. It received coverage in some FOSS sites, which is unfortunate. One site said: “Pipelight is a wrapper for Windows NPAPI plugins such as Silverlight, Widevine or Flash (the Windows version) which allows you to use these plugins in native Linux web browsers and thus, use services that aren’t officially supported on Linux, such as Netflix (Silverlight), HBO Go (Widevine) and so on.”
Another bit of coverage said:
Pipelight is the interesting open-source project to support Windows browser plug-ins within native Linux browsers. Pipelight serves as a wrapper for Windows plug-ins in Linux browsers using Wine and for browsers supporting NPAPI plug-ins. This software, which allows Silverlight and Netflix to work on Linux, is out with a big update.
This is about DRM and it should be rejected or worked around by breaking DRM, not by bringing DRM to GNU and Linux.
The fight here is not just against Microsoft but against DRM. What Pipeline does helps create the perception that GNU/Linux is now compatible with DRM. Some copyright maximalists can use that to impose DRM everywhere. A Slackware-oriented site, writing about a similar issue, noted that support is lacking, so it really is only the illusion of compatibility.
The version 35 of Chromium has a major side effect that many people are not going to like. The support for browser plugins that use Mozilla’s NPAPI protocol to communicate with the browser has been removed and only Google’s own PPAPI protocol is supported as of now (MS Windows users still have a bit of time before the same happens to their Chrome browser – removal of NPAPI support in Windows is scheduled for the end of 2014). This step was of course announced long time ago and many reminders were posted, but if you need Java support in your browser, or want to watch Netflix using pipelight, then you are out of luck. PPAPI versions for these browser plugins do not exist and in the case of pipelight, are very hard to create.
Anything that requires running a blob for access to data/information should be rejected, especially on the Web. We are entering a dangerous era where FOSS become fundamentally incompatible with data. Unless of course we fight back… █
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API trap and dependency
Summary: Amid openwashing of .NET there are yet more attempts to make mobile Linux dependent on Microsoft’s APIs
The peripheral Microsoft Corporation (allies/staff at companies such as
Xamarin) continues to push Mono into all sorts of Linux-centric projects such as MeeGo (we covered this in prior years) and now its successor Tizen is at risk. “Kitsilano Software are bringing C# to Tizen, in the form of the MonoTizen project,” says this article. This is part of the openwashing of .NET and also the intrusion of patented/copyrighted Microsoft APIs, not to mention code (Mono is partly written by Microsoft, with Microsoft copyrights and Microsoft licences). Serdar Yegulalp continues to contribute to this issue (lots of .NET openwashing this month [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]). Several expected sites aid a perception management campaign of Microsoft by painting .NET as “open”, including folks over at IDG, whose bias is now further revealed because the ‘former Computerworld editor” (top IDG site) calls FOSS vendors “losers”.
Watch this other Microsoft-friendly (.NET-boosting) site openwashing .NET from another angle:
JetBrains recently open sourced Nitra, a set of tooling for working with programming languages on the CLR.
The CLR is proprietary; hence, this Nitra thing is incompatible with the promise of FOSS. But that is the type of nonsense promotes by CodePlex and other Microsoft openwashing proxies. It is not about FOSS; rather, it is about looking kind of like FOSS, deceiving people and luring them into lock-in or spyware.
.NET APIs are a dangerous threat especially after the CAFC's decision in Oracle vs. Google.
One story that we have ignored in recent days (it’s not in daily links) is about Mono. There has been a lot of media coverage of Unity3D because of a new release (days ago). Almost nobody who reported on bother to say it was Mono-plagued. Some FOSS sites gave it positive coverage, making the risk more alluring. █
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Summary: Now that a relatively high court in the US views APIs as a recognised monopoly we face new risks and Mono is on very shaky ground
The other day when we wrote about patents as an issue with huge implications to FOSS we took note of Microsoft- and Oracle-backed tools such as CPTN (Novell’s patents), which OIN is quite pointless against. OIN is wrongly assuming a particular strategy of patent litigation will develop, even though companies like In Microsoft and Nokia dodge to proxies like MOSAID. Here is a new piece about OIN which focuses on hardware:
The next big intellectual property battle has been forming over hardwired and programmable chips made for mobile devices that leverage Linux code. However, the Open Invention Network has strategically deployed forces to keep Linux-powered smartphones, tablets and other computer technologies out of harm’s way. Its goal is to create a patent litigation no-fly zone around embedded Linux.
OIN does not appear too have done much — if anything at all — to stop litigation of this kind. To make matters worse, look what members like Oracle have been doing, leveraging copyright to attack other OIN members.
Here is Glyn Moody’s new take on this matter. He writes:
Last week, that “idea/expression dichotomy” was dealt a serious blow by a US court. Significantly, it is the same court – the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) – that is largely responsible for the software patent mess in the US.
Indeed, CAFC has been quite notorious for this. It is worse than even SCOTUS. Well, citing this older article, Mike Masnick explains that we should all be “recognizing that APIs shouldn’t be covered by copyright…as it makes people programming on your platform more valuable since they have more options and more flexibility. The big companies who don’t like this are being short-sighted. They’re trying to lock in developers, by forcing them to only develop for their platform, but in doing so, are inherently making their own platform less valuable.”
Now we are stuck in a mess of copyrights APIs, Jose warned us about such stuff years ago, in relation to Mono. Whatever Dalvik means to Java (Oracle) Mono may mean to .NET (Microsoft). We will revisit and expand on this another day. █
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Summary: .NET is proprietary software for Windows, no matter what Microsoft-affiliated liars (and those bamboozled by them) try to say
THIS post will quickly address some lies before they go ‘viral’ in the media, most probably through Microsoft moles who pretend to be journalists (they know who they are).
Miguel de Icaza became almost an integral part of Microsoft when his company, Xamarin, accepted money from somewhat of a Microsoft proxy and then announced a deal/partner with Microsoft. Right now he is advertising Microsoft propaganda about .NET supposedly being ‘cross-platform’ (Mono used to serve a similar type of propaganda), spilling into all sorts of blog posts.
.NET is not Open Source and it is definitely not cross-platform. It is proprietary software for Windows, no matter how many self-serving lies we may hear from a Microsoft-linked Xamarin and turncoats like Miguel de Icaza. █
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