Summary: With Microsoft copyrights, patents, and licences in Mono, as well as a CEO who worked for Microsoft and financial backing from Microsoft veterans, it is naive to treat Mono as anything other than an extension of Microsoft
Both Mono and Miguel de Icaza hardly make the news anymore. Perhaps due talk family life, the latter mostly left the public scene and after his new company, Xamarin, received some funding from a Microsoft veterans’ VC, it is safe to assume that Microsoft interests/leadership will inherit more responsibilities over this project. It helps openwash .NET and pretend it is cross-platform. Moonlight did the same for Silverlight. As Richard Hillesley put it earlier this week, Microsoft is now more directly involved. To quote his column: “Microsoft gave a certain level of encouragement to Mono in the knowledge that the project helped to spread the word and bring developers into the Microsoft fold. It is also true that many individuals within Microsoft had a genuine interest in promoting the idea of ‘open source’, usually with strings attached, and Mono gave credibility to Microsoft’s claim that its technologies were multi-platform, accessible to free software developers and a ‘part of the open web’.
“…Mono gave credibility to Microsoft’s claim that its technologies were multi-platform, accessible to free software developers and a ‘part of the open web’.”
–Richard Hillesley“But Microsoft always held back on a full commitment to patent neutrality and the possibility was always open that some aspect of Mono might be patent encumbered. Some elements of Mono were covered by ECMA. Some were not. Even where de Icaza did manage to forge an agreement with Microsoft such as its ‘Covenant to End-Users of Moonlight’, the language was ambivalent and open to reinterpretation.
“As Tom ‘spot’ Callaway, Fedora’s engineering manager noted, the ‘covenant’ was “specifically worded to apply only to end-users, and makes the following noteworthy distinction: ‘an entity or individual cannot qualify both as an End User and a Distributor for use of the same copy of a Moonlight Implementation.’ It grants no patent rights to Distributors, aside from those already granted to Novell in the previous covenant. What it practically means is that once you distribute, you stop being considered an ‘End User’ by Microsoft, and are no longer protected by this ‘covenant’ (unless you’re Novell or Microsoft).” The covenant reserved the right for Microsoft to discontinue the agreement at any time, and didn’t allow the use of “GPLv3 or a similar licence”.
“Most computer users don’t care about the origins of the software they use, but this has never been the case with Linux users and developers. Richard Stallman expressed the opinion of many when he wrote: “I have always supported the development of free platforms for C#, just as I’ve supported the development of free platforms for any language that users use. I also wouldn’t argue that people should not use C# with a free platform for secondary applications… However, making GNOME depend on Mono is running a grave risk, and [is] a grave mistake.””
Recently, FOSS Force asked, “When It Comes To FOSS, Who Don’t You Trust?”
Well, at 38%, Microsoft is a clear leader (123 votes), outpacing Apple and Oracle by a considerable gap. Microsoft is quite unique with its attacks on FOSS and people still recognise this. █
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Summary: ‘Former’ Microsoft staff is shaping opinions, controlling messages, and disseminating its own version of the data about FOSS
Microsoft has been indirectly funding the development of Mono for a number of years. Mono is about promoting .NET, not promoting FOSS (just targeting FOSS developers). Mono is a thing of the past as far as GNU/Linux desktops are concerned. Xamarin will try to spread it to Android, but so far there has been little progress on this. Developers who appreciate FOSS learned to antagonise this Microsoft technology.
Richard Hillesley explains in his new column that in the FOSS world people have ostracised this bit of Trojan horse/infiltration tactic. To quote the ending paragraph which cites Richard Stallman:
According to Stallman, the problem was “not in the C# implementations, but rather in Tomboy and other applications written in C#. If we lose the use of C#, we will lose them too. That doesn’t make them unethical, but it means that writing them and using them is taking a gratuitous risk.”
Juniper, in the mean time, having also become full of Microsoft people (we lost count of how many, but here are some examples [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), has no made Executive VP out of Microsoft’s Bob Muglia, who in turn can infiltrate Microsoft threats. It’s a familiar pattern of conduct. Just see other companies that got hijacked by Microsoft veterans.
In other news, notice how FOSS events which groom Black Duck actually have Microsoft as a top sponsor (these are partners which promote one another), based on the official Web site. It’s not a coincidence. The funding controls these events. They are controlling messages, controlling data, and basically doing what Microsoft wants them to do.
“Resistance to this ongoing assimilation attempt is vital for the survival of FOSS as a meaningful distinguisher.”OpenLogic, which is run by a Microsoft veteran, promotes Azure and openwashes it, giving us yet another example of Microsoft’s infiltrations in FOSS.
Over at the ‘Microsoft press’, the booster Kurt Mackie uses promotional language to characterise the Microsoft-sponsored SUSE and Microsoft proxy "Microsoft Open Technologies Inc."
These are only some of the many examples where Microsoft-affiliated folks try to distort the views of FOSS. Resistance to this ongoing assimilation attempt is vital for the survival of FOSS as a meaningful distinguisher. It’s not about intolerance, it’s about defending ourselves from what Microsoft knows too well to be a charm offence. It’s offensive. █
“There’s no company called Linux, there’s barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it’s free.”
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Miguel de Icaza with his Microsoft buddies
Summary: GNU/Linux gets rid of a turncoat and Samsung shows that Vista 8 is losing to Android in tablets
As part-time Microsoft booster (and at some capacity a Microsoft employee), Miguel de Icaza has been spreading some GNU/Linux FUD. He ridiculed the platform some months ago (reaching CNN for instance) and now he does more of that. Sites which characterise him as a FOSS proponent use that to make GNU/Linux look bad, but the matter of fact is, the FOSS community disowns and distances itself from this man, who started the GNOME project after he had tried to work for Microsoft. Just watch the comments in Phoronix for example. Almost every single one is against de Icaza, and that’s coming from a rather Mono-sympathetic site. Some comments have very strong language, so no link is needed. Mr. Pogson puts it more politely when he says “Good Riddance To Miguel de Icaza” and he tackles the FUD de Icaza was spreading:
Not only is he whining about non-existent FUD, he hits the fragmentation grenade too. My machines suspend and awaken reliably, and I have a bunch of a wide variety. Wireless is solid in my home and I can see all the neighbours doing their thing, too. Video and sound work too. I use Debian GNU/Linux with XFCE4. It’s solid even with the latest stable kernel.
The real news is, de Icaza, who has used Mac OS X for a while, is now planning to use more of it. Why not Windows? Probably because it is a train wreck now. A side-by-side Vista versus Vista 8 comparison shows the latter doing far, far worse than the former. As SJVN put it:
Windows fans will whine, but Net Applications’ desktop operating systems numbers don’t lie. Windows 8′s pathetic user adoption numbers can’t even keep up with Vista’s lousy numbers.
Now, watch how even Microsoft’s partner, Samsung, dumps Vista 8:
Samsung has confirmed to German tech news site Heise that it no longer plans to offer its Windows RT tablet, the ATIV Tab, in Germany and some “other European countries.” The decision was reportedly made after the Korean conglomerate surveyed retailers and found there was little demand for Samsung Windows RT products. Today’s news echoes Samsung’s decision to not offer the Ativ Tab in the US.
Vista 8 has been a massive failure. Not even a Microsoft MVP like Miguel de Icaza is willing to embrace it. Samsung is bailing out, too. █
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The openwashing strategy advances
Summary: How Microsoft is characterising as “Open Source” code which is actually an addendum to proprietary systems
Our many articles about Xamarin explained just how close this firm really is to Microsoft. It is simple to show this by following public data on money and employment.
Michael Larabel writes about what is effectively rebranding of MonoDevelop so as to more closely resemble Microsoft (Xamarin is enhancing and openwashing Visual Studio now, whilst also promoting .NET, C#, and so on).
Supporting Linux though isn’t a primary goal by Xamarin developers but will continue to be supported. “MonoDevelop will also keep working on Linux. There may be some rough edges with MonoDevelop 4.0 on Linux, since for this release we put our focus on Mac and Windows, since that’s what Xamarin’s customers use.”
Again, GNU and Linux do not matter to the Mono guys. It is the Novell mentality. Proprietary platforms are favoured. Speaking of Novell, its gift for Microsoft, the Hyper-V Trojan inside Linux, advances a bit, allowing Microsoft to better control Linux as a ‘slave’ in hypervisors.
The bottom line is, a lot of stuff which Microsoft calls “Open Source” is just promotion of proprietary software such as Office, Windows, SQL Server, etc. Ignore misleading Microsoft whitewash such as this piece from Wired which says:
Microsoft is on a mission to make nice with open source software. That’s no secret.
No, Microsoft just wants to make open source software a component of proprietary lock-in. There is a PR campaign related to this and we oughtn’t be fooled by it. █
“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”
–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO
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Summary: Microsoft gets its money’s worth after Microsoft’s proprietary tools get mentioned in FOSS sites, owing primarily to the openwashing by Xamarin
THE company which former Microsofters are funding, Xamarin, is still openwashing and enhancing Microsoft products. Open Source-centric Web sites fall into the trap of covering proprietary as though it is “open” and to quote this one example:
Xamarin has announced an across-the-board update to its range of products and pricing models designed to establish the company as the de facto bridge between Microsoft C# developers and Android and iOS mobile platforms. Xamarin’s speciality has been working with the Mono toolchain for C# and for mobile development; rather than abstract away platform differences, the company implements a close-as-possible version of the platform’s native APIs in C#.
The news was covered by the Microsoft booster, not a FOSS blogger, at Ars Technica. And that says a lot.
Since 2009, it’s been possible to develop iOS applications using C# and .NET, courtesy of MonoTouch. But one important detail has always been missing. If you wanted to use Visual Studio—the premier C# and .NET development environment, the one that almost every C# developer calls home—you were out of luck.
Xamarin should be treated as a Microsoft ally, extension, and booster, not a FOSS company. It does not even pretend to be about FOSS anymore. █
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Summary: Ubuntu One stops support of Tomboy, a notorious application best known for its pulling of Mono into numerous distributions of GNU/Linux
Based on the news from FOSDEM, Xamarin‘s Mono is rapidly collapsing. In Techrights, a prominent and longtime opponent of Mono, someone recently showed us reports about people losing data due to Ubuntu One-Tomboy connectivity.
This thread is located here and it says “tomboy deleted all my notes after last synchronisation. Something to do with ubuntu one dropping support. I’m mad as hell, somebody should have told us, my last backup was a month ago, I’ve just lost a pile of information.”
The person who brought this to our attention noted, “C# / Mono is garbage. There is also the bad design on top of the bad language which follows from importing the Microsoft mindset.”
The pulling of Tomboy support is also corroborated here:
Ubuntu One discontinues support to Tomboy
In the past I’ve talked about Tomboy, that i was not liking too much to have a Mono application in all my computers, but that Tomboy sync feature was really too good for me, well it seems that someone else has decided that it’s times for me to switch to another Notes program.
Over time we see fewer and fewer cases of support for Mono. █
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Summary: Mono at FOSDEM got cancelled and there is generally almost no Mono coverage these days
Despite funding from Microsoft proxies/veterans, Xamarin is unable to generate buzz around Mono. It is hardly in the news anymore, former Microsoft employees who promote it no longer do, and FOSDEM has no Mono content this year. Based on this tweet from Michel Leunen, Mono at FOSDEM was “cancelled”.
“Activism against Mono has been one of our success stories.”“Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel the Mono Developer Room at FOSDEM 2013. While there was usually a torrent of presentations, this year it seems like everyone was out of ideas,” says this post from Belgium.
Activism against Mono has been one of our success stories. It goes back to 2006. █
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Summary: UEFI, Mono and OOXML recalled along with their role in suppressing GNU and Linux adoption
The other day we named SJVN (Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols) for publishing “Linux on Windows 8 PCs: Some progress, but still a nuisance” and the context was spin that said Microsoft liked Linux while attacking its booting rights. Groklaw‘s Pamela Jones wrote something similar to us: “What’s clear to me is that Microsoft hates Linux, it would like it to die, and it throws tacks in its roadway perpetually at every opportunity.”
“What’s clear to me is that Microsoft hates Linux, it would like it to die, and it throws tacks in its roadway perpetually at every opportunity.”
–Pamela JonesThe media spin which says Microsoft likes Linux often cites or quotes former Novell employees (we will abstain from naming some in order to keep this impersonal), i.e. people who were paid by Microsoft to work on stuff like Hyper-V, Mono, Moonlight, and OOXML.
UEFI is a similar story and former Novell staff maintains it. The same goes for Mono backer Xamarim and some elements of LibreOffice (the Go-OO component, which was made obliged by Microsoft money to promote OOXML). We previously explained how OOXML helped impede FOSS adoption in Germany, e.g. in Freiburg [1, 2, 3].
Behind the scenes in Munich [1, 2, 3] Microsoft worked to lobby against it too, using a study which the The H says is nonsense, based on what Munich itself is saying:
Talking to The H’s associates at heise open, the head of the Press and Information Office at Munich City Hall, Stefan Hauf, said that it was not possible to conduct a thorough analysis of the study based on the published summary and that many of the study’s assumptions could not be verified due to the lack of detail. Hauf said that, for example, the study factors in support costs for 12,000 clients from the start of the project, although the number of clients gradually rose to 13,000 over the duration of the project. Additionally, workplace maintenance and support is only a minor work aspect for the 1,000 IT staff that are listed in the study, he added.
HP’s calculation completely omits hardware costs as the study assumes that Linux and Windows systems have “roughly the same hardware requirements”. Hauf disagrees: this approach ignores “the experience that Linux clients have lower hardware requirements than Windows clients”, he said. The official added that the study does not differentiate between migration and regular life cycle management costs, and that regular updates of the same operating system were rated as migrations.
HP is worth boycotting over this, but since Red Hat relies on HP servers and both are UEFI backers we find those two sharing a bed, more so this week. █
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