10.11.09

Apple’s, Microsoft’s and the Gates Foundation’s Games with Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 10:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rotten apple

Summary: Apple’s software patents harm/distract the Web and Linux; Microsoft’s software patents harm/distract Linux; The Gates Foundation makes more investments in patents

EARLIER THIS year we wrote about Apple's abuse of the Web using software patents (Apple also threatened to sue over Linux devices). What’s troubling is that both Apple and Microsoft have a chair at the HTML Working Group (W3C) and Apple can be quite a bit of a bully, which now leads the W3C to modifying APIs.

The W3C has spent the last three months poring over Apple’s patent on remote updating, and the web standards organization thinks the patent can be avoided by careful wording and tweaking a couple of APIs.

Software should not be patentable in the first place and the above is a waste of the W3C’s time. What is Apple trying to ‘protect’ anyway? It also publicly attacked Ogg.

NewsWeek has this new report which targets the hype behind the iPhone and the reality behind developing for Apple [via].

Seeking fortune and fame, entrepreneurs rushed to create programs for Apple’s App Store. That’s not always what they found.

So basically, there may be no more money contributing to Apple’s ecosystem than there is in helping Free(dom) software. It was similar with Palm OS.

Moving on to some other software patents, our reader Yuhong Bao claims that Microsoft’s loadable module [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], which was originally a GPL violation, completely hid this important item of news about the workaround for Microsoft’s FAT LFN patent. From the summary:

Only hours after Microsoft’s Hyper-V Linux patch, tridge submitted a revised workaround patch for MS’s FAT LFN patents. If you don’t remember, the original patch was in response to MS suing TomTom over these patents. This revised version provides better compatiblity, particularly with Windows 98, portable MP3 players, as well as mtools.

More and more people are becoming uncomfortable with the patent system, which a writer at Information Week is now denouncing. His complaint is summarised as follows:

Let’s remember the original purpose of the patent system: to encourage innovation and its broader benefits, not to make people rich.

As Gates and Microsoft grow closer to bankers, worth noticing is this item in the news about JPMorgan and the Gates Foundation hooking up. The Gates Foundation also does more of its notorious investments in patents (i.e. monopolies).

The Gates Foundation funding is for a global decision facility for patents and how they impact on innovation.

The Gates Foundation also invests heavily in patents on life, patents on agriculture (GM crops/foods), and Gates himself started a patent-hoarding firm.

This relates rather nicely to what we wrote this morning about Mirosoft and swine flu. The following segment of a talk provides more insight into the real impact of patents. Patents are not what people are led to believe they are.

“While I recognize the great value and importance of prescription drugs and strongly support a continued U.S. focus on pharmaceutical research and development, our nation’s seniors cannot be asked to subsidize the drug costs of other wealthy industrialized nations any longer.”

Michael K. Simpson

09.11.09

Cartoon: What Microsoft *Really* Innovates

Posted in GNU/Linux, Humour, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A cartoon on what’s being done at Microsoft (click image for the full sequence)

Ballmer on patents

08.31.09

What People Say About Microsoft’s War on Open Standards

Posted in Formats, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard, TomTom at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[W]e should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”

Microsoft [PDF]

Summary: Bits of analysis of Microsoft’s mistakes on Web and document standards

IT IS no secret that Microsoft dislikes open standards; they are not good for the shareholders. The integrity of the company often comes later than short-term gain, so it is not a wise strategy, either. According to this gem, it has just become apparent that OOXML is nothing more than a reactionary move caused by the advent of ODF. It was known all along but there is new compelling evidence to support such an argument.

James D. Mason says:

I spent 22 years as the chairman of what is now ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34. SC34 is the committee that standardized SGML in the 1980s and now is responsible for both ODF, supported by many open-source products, and OOXML, the XML released by Microsoft in response to ODF. Neither ODF nor OOXML has anything to do with ODA/ODIF, which have been dormant since the turn of the current century but were still under development in the 1990s in a committee that was parallel to the one that became SC34.

Our past analysis: OOXML is a response. Thank you very much for the confirmation. Stronger language from Mason found in this article.

Thanks to Andre for finding this out. In his country, Germany, Microsoft has been using Fraunhofer essentially as a shill for OOXML. In light of the very latest deception form Fraunhofer, Jones wrote at Groklaw (News Picks):

ODF is totally open to the world. So where might the bottleneck be found, class? Did you really, really think that Microsoft intended there to be real interoperability? Some of us recall very well what happened in Germany in the OOXML approval process and the role this institute played. Remember their words, as translated from the German by a Groklaw volunteer? –

“The beginning standardization procedure of Office Open XML as an ISO standard will lead to a technological development of both standards – Office Open XML and ODF 1.0. The constructive comments that have been made alongside the DIN approval from leading experts guide the way in direction of interoperability” says the head of the department e-Government at Fraunhofer FOKUS and head of the DIN work group translation of document formats. “We at Fraunhofer FOKUS e-government-lab will support the procedure effectively and accompany our lab-partner Microsoft as a member of ECMA International with our know-how in implementing our recommendations.”

In relation to the patent assault on Free software, Jones later used the OOXML saga as an example too, remarking that it proves Microsoft never wanted to interoperate. “Like Microsoft will run right out and do that [give up on patent threats]“, she wrote, “because it just spent a fortune building up a patent portfolio, and it doesn’t plan on using them against Linux. Dream on. It’s not about hating any company, but there is enough water under the bridge to be able to predict that Microsoft probably will use those patents aggressively, as they already did in the TomTom case, and as they do in FUDly ways already. And what makes anyone think Microsoft wishes to interoperate, after watching the OOXML saga? Best to be realistic about Microsoft. The Linux Foundation may feel it has to say stuff like that, but I don’t.”

Microsoft has a long history of fighting against standards rather than accepting that they are needed. Eventually, inevitably, Microsoft joined ODF but did so poorly in a way that may only harm ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. And now it may do the same to HTML5. As CNET puts it:

The World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML Working Group had been led by IBM’s Sam Ruby and Microsoft’s Chris Wilson. Wilson has stepped down and is being replaced by two others, Paul Cotton, who manages Microsoft’s Web services standards team, and Maciej Stachowiak, who manages Apple’s WebKit WebApps team, according to an e-mail announcement by W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee.

Why are freedom-hostile companies put in charge of the W3C HTML Working Group? We asked that question a couple of days ago, mystified.

“Jimmy the Geek” from Linux Today writes:

About 4 years ago. I could see that Vista was going to kill any momentum that Microsoft had picked up from XP and I was right. I even called the layoffs happening this year.

Sadly some of my friends are caught up in the whole MS layoff situation, which sucks.

My prediction for the next 5 years? Microsoft is going to do a Novell. They are going to try to keep doing what they have always done, despite losing more and more and more market, until in the end they are forced to adopt open source as their core OS.

Well, until then, Microsoft will suffer financially, quarter after quarter.

08.07.09

A Look at the Microsoft-funded SCO Lawsuit in Light of Newer Anti-Linux Microsoft Lawsuits

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, TomTom, UNIX at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Summary: As the SCO lawsuit falls deeper into oblivion, it is worth relating this to existing new lawsuits (TomTom and Melco, both settled)

YESTERDAY we came across this curious comment about Microsoft, which said: “if/when their revenue get down far enough… i will expect to see more lawsuits being initiated by MS…. when that start to happen.. MS will have officially “jumped the shark” as they say..

Based on Larry Goldfarb’s testimony (under oath), it seems safe to say that Microsoft has at the very least funneled money into SCO. Whether Microsoft is also responsible (in part) for initiating the SCO lawsuit is a separate question which we can only speculate about based on circumstantial evidence.

Apart from that, many reporters seem to have not paid attention to Microsoft’s lawsuits against TomTom and against Melco. Both lawsuits were against Linux and they came directly from Microsoft. They came at a stage when SCO was too deep inside a hole, so its ‘FUD factor’ was pretty much annulled. For those who have not been following the SCO saga as of late, in chronological order we have:

With all these scandals behind, it turns out that unXis will not be allowed to buy SCO’s assets after all. From The Register:

A US judge has blocked SCO’s attempt to sell off part of its business in order to fund its ongoing litigation, and appointed a Chapter 11 trustee to oversee the company’s next moves.

SCO was hoping to sell off some of its assets, in order to fund its court battle against IBM and Novell for claimed Linux licenses. For its part, SCO said it was glad not to be pushed into Chapter 7 – full liquidation of the firm.

[...]

Support from Microsoft added to suspicions that the case was designed to put litigation-wary enterprises off using Linux.

The next stage was this appointment of bankruptcy trustee

In the latest development to emerge from the sordid SCO saga, a bankruptcy judge has blocked SCO’s proposed asset sale while denying Novell’s motion to force the company in to Chapter 7 liquidation. In his decision, the judge says that SCO’s hopes of successful litigation against prominent Linux vendors are like Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot.

The SCO Group attempted to stave off liquidation in June by signing a last minute deal with Gulf Capital Partners and a tech firm called unXis. The terms of the agreement, which were finalized only moments before a court hearing, stipulated that SCO would sell its remaining UNIX assets for $2.4 million—a maneuver that could have potentially made it possible for SCO to continue pursuing its bogus litigation against the open source Linux operating system.

Groklaw was the centre of attention regarding this important development.

The judge in the SCO bankruptcy has ruled at last. SCO’s motion to let it sell to unXis is denied. There could be an auction later. The motions to convert to Chapter 7 by IBM, Novell and the US Trustee’s Office are also denied, but alternative relief is granted, and there will be a Chapter 11 trustee appointed. IBM and Novell agreed that a Chapter 11 Trustee was appropriate if he did not convert to Chapter 7, and that is what he has done. That means presumably that SCO management no longer run this show.

There are over 820 comments on that one (which is a rare number by all means) and Heise covered it too, summarising it thusly:

A Chapter 11 trustee has been commissioned to take over the business affairs of the SCO Group, which is threatened by bankruptcy. The trustee will work to guide the company out of the impending bankruptcy according to Chapter 11 of US bankruptcy code, but can also send the company into liquidation according to Chapter 7 and auction individual company assets to the highest bidder. With this order, the Bankruptcy Court in Delaware has removed SCO’s executive board.

Groklaw has a corresponding transcript.

The bankruptcy judge partly bought it, as you know, although he blocked the sale to unXis, questioning their good faith, which is of course why IBM and anyone would care about a sale to them, but for us, who have followed the SCO litigation so closely for six years now and saw SCO’s malice toward Linux with no evidence on the table the public has ever seen, it’s a wonderful laugh. SCO’s “potent claims”, indeed. What IBM and Novell “have done to SCO”. SCO sued them, actually. And Novell prevailed totally against SCO’s allegations of slander of title, which was what SCO sued Novell over, a claim which SCO humiliatingly lost. SCO is not appealing that claim. Just read it for yourself. Page 2 of SCO’s appeal brief lists the issues on appeal, and SCO’s claim of slander of title is not on the list.

Why doesn’t SCO just give up? Is its goal to win this lawsuit or just to prolong the agony and — along with it — the fear, the uncertainty, and the doubt?

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

06.30.09

More People Say “No” to Mono, Including the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, TomTom, Ubuntu at 4:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More opposition to Mono surfaces, detailed explanations offered

AS we pointed out over the weekend [1, 2], the SFLC and FSF are in alignment with Richard Stallman's views on Mono and so are many others. But Bradley Kuhn has just made it more official with a long essay at the SFLC’s Web site. It’s a recommended read.

In an essay last Friday entitled Why free software shouldn’t depend on Mono or C#, RMS argued a key point that I agree with: the software freedom community should minimize its use of programming language infrastructure that comes primarily from anti-software-freedom companies, notwithstanding FaiF (Free as in Freedom) implementations. I’ve been thinking about an extension of that argument: that language infrastructure created in a community process is likely more resilient against attacks from proprietary software companies.

Here is another new perspective:

I think it is interesting that he thinks that it is the “‘best technology’ Linux camp” that is the camp that offers the greatest threat to Microsoft. I can understand why some may think that this is true since this camp is creating flashy and very useful products and features that increase the appeal of Linux. However, mono is not the only tool that the “‘best technology’ Linux camp” has at its disposal. Many view the use of the Qt toolkit as a better alternative, and one that does not have the risk associated with mono. Furthermore, I do not agree with the thought that “‘best technology’ Linux camp” is the one that Microsoft feels most threatened by. I think Microsoft is only threatened by the combination of both camps.

I view mono as a distraction for FOSS developers. Yes, there are some practical advantages in its use, but there are a lot of questions surrounding it. It has the potential of dividing the two mayor camps of Linux contributors. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this controversy.

Since Nokia’s Qt toolkit is mentioned above, here is what KDE developers say on the subject (mind the good comments) and here is what Jack Wallen thinks about Novell’s role.

If Microsoft is threatening patents against .NET, it would seem to me that the Novell/Microsoft relationship didn’t really work out all that well. And now Microsoft is back to their old tricks. And what should the Linux and open source community do about this? Should another deal with Microsoft be made? Is the seamless communication between Linux and Windows worth making a deal with a partner that is only going to turn around and stab you in the back again and again and again?

The Register on the lessons to be learned from TomTom:

Although Stallman frequently speaks about the dangers of software patents on open-source, trust for Microsoft has run particularly thin recently because of the company’s legal attack on TomTom over a FAT patent dispute.

Stallman urged the community to instead distribute and recommend non-C# applications whenever possible to avoid Redmond lawyers from being able to disable major OS functions on a whim.

Microsoft neither retracted nor backed its accusations against Linux. Horacio Gutierrez from Microsoft said about Linux that “there is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed.” He named not even a single one, but Mono is an easy target and also a very unique one.

GNU/Linux users do not want Mono. Well, maybe with the exception of SUSE and Canonical, whose desktop engineering manager comes from Microsoft. In response to the many discussions stemming from Stallman’s essay, Canonical has published yet another statement about Mono.

The Ubuntu Technical Board has been asked for a position statement on the use of C#, specifically the Mono implementation, by applications in Ubuntu.

These applications, as well as the Mono stack, were proposed for inclusion like any other application and underwent the same review process that all new applications and platforms undergo before being accepted into the archive.

With specific regard to the default installed application set, applications have been reviewed and compared against each other on merit and features. These often take place during the Ubuntu Developer Summits, most recently over the default media player.

For those who prefer Ubuntu (like myself), here is a handy new guide: “How to Completely Remove Mono on Ubuntu”

What Microsoft has
What Microsoft has

What Microsoft wants
What Microsoft wants

06.22.09

Reader’s Article: Mono and (Anti)Trust

Posted in Antitrust, ECMA, Finance, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, TomTom at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Evil monkeys

Summary: Mono suffers from an issue of trust — one must trust Microsoft just like TomTom trusted them

NOVELL, like Mono, is impossible to trust. Would anyone trust a company whose CEO rakes in millions in bonuses despite abysmal performance? Yes, Novell fires GNU/Linux developers (supposedly its business focus) while giving Ron Hovsepian a $6 million bonus. Novell fails to beat its own goals and it had been taking loans while its CEO was essentially robbing the company for personal benefit. Why do so many good reporters fail to see this?

“Whose agenda is actually served by Mono? Microsoft’s of course.”As the treasonous deal with Microsoft demonstrated, Novell is a morally deprived company, with the possibility of imminent financial bankruptcy too, or at least the splitting for sake of survival. Whose agenda is actually served by Mono? Microsoft’s of course. And the more times goes on, the more obvious it becomes. In fact, Novell has begun development which puts Windows in a position of advantage even for Mono [1, 2, 3]. What more compelling proof do proponents of Mono require before the Eureka moment? Some of those Mono proponents are former Microsoft employees and at least one person from the Mono team is working for Microsoft at present.

And with this blunt introduction off my chest, I hand it over to Slated, who equally bluntly wrote the following about what makes Mono so dangerous:


This single, vague yet far reaching example, is as much as I personally have been able to discover.

The ECMA declaration is indeed just a statement of intent.

However, the substantive point is that .NET is Microsoft technology, and as such you can be sure they have it patented up to the hilt, and one way or another Microsoft will use those patents as a weapon against its enemies. It would be extremely naive (in fact dangerous) to assume otherwise, because Microsoft have a violent history of aggression in their crusade to protect their racketeering operation.

“The best case scenario might be that Mono developers find themselves having to abandon whole projects, or at least significant parts of them, in order to “work around” the problem.”The problem is that, outside of Redmond HQ (and presumably UPSTO), nobody has the faintest clue as to what these patents might be, if any, and of course Microsoft have so far remained silent on the issue (much like the infamous “Linux violates 235 Microsoft patents” scandal, except this time the intent is initially somewhat more subtle and subversive, rather than being a more obvious and aggressive FUD attack). This also begs the question of how de Icaza and friends intend to “work around” non-ECMA covered patents, if he doesn’t have the first clue as to what
exactly is, or is not, patented, and by the time he eventually finds out, it may be too late (assuming he isn’t already privy to Microsoft’s darkest secrets).

The best case scenario might be that Mono developers find themselves having to abandon whole projects, or at least significant parts of them, in order to “work around” the problem. The worst case scenario is that Microsoft begins an all-out frontal attack (just like they did with TomTom).

Naturally Microsoft finds this situation very useful, since it enables them to poison Free Software in a subversive fashion, and with little resistance, especially as they have pacified certain key developers with “RAND” assurances. The problem is that the ECMA RAND only pertains to certain parts of the .NET framework, and moreover the “RAND” itself only refers to price (i.e. a fair and reasonable price). This doesn’t actually prevent Microsoft from suing those who implement that technology without a license, and the private (i.e. unofficial) assurances they’ve given regarding “royalty free” are, at this stage, nothing more than hot air (i.e. dependent on implicit trust, rather than being legally binding). To be legally binding, every GNU/Linux distro would require an explicit patent grant from Microsoft, which is not what either the ECMA RAND nor the so-called “covenant” are. Novell presumably has such a grant, as part of their agreement, others don’t. Exactly what sinister implications entering into such an agreement entails, is anyone’s guess, since they are (like everything else Microsoft does) yet another dark secret (Memorandum of Understanding), but you can be sure it isn’t good, or at least it is very good for Microsoft, which means it will inevitably be very bad for everyone else.

IOW it’s all a big mystery, and deliberately so (patent pending).

Then again, maybe not.

After all, this is Microsoft we’re talking about, and there’s very little mystery about their motives, is there? So do we actually even need to know the details? We should all know more than enough about the history of these gangsters, to steer well clear of anything tainted by them.

Here’s a shortlist of things we can safely assume Microsoft considers to be their “enemy”:

. Competing operating systems
. Interoperability (i.e. anything which enables operation on the above)
. Open Standards (ditto)
. Free Software (ditto)
. Any company which distributes or primarily utilises any of the above

And here’s a few key facts about Microsoft:

. They have a global software monopoly
. They abuse that monopoly to suppress competition
. They use highly unethical, and often illegal, tactics in the above
. They are only motivated by power and greed, to attain domination
. They essentially operate like gangsters

Now study those two lists, then give me one good reason why anyone should implicitly trust Microsoft to:

a) Do anything that helps GNU/Linux
b) Keep their legally non-binding “royalty free” promise
c) Keep their “covenant to not sue” promise (hint: TomTom)
d) Not launch a submarine patent attack against Mono projects
e) Not abuse the confusion over Mono as leverage for cross-licensing “deals”, to pervert the GNU/Linux distro landscape into an extension of Microsoft’s portfolio of rotting carcasses

Seems pretty simple to me, but then I am allegedly rather “monochromatic”.

Ultimately, one only needs to ask oneself this single question, to determine whether or not they should have anything to do with Mono, either as users or developers:

Do you trust, and therefore wish to help, the self-declared enemy of Free Software, Microsoft, a company which inhibits all competition using immoral and criminal methods, similar to gangsters running a racketeering operation?

My answer: No.

I really don’t need to know any more.

Case closed.

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

06.02.09

Easy-LTSP Dumps Mono/C#, Rewritten in Python Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, TomTom, Ubuntu at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pyhton jewel
Python is truly a gem

Summary: An exodus away from Mono or just a coincidence? TomTom case still casts a shadow on Mono’s future

THE PREVIOUS post about Gnote showed that an application can be ported from Mono/C# to another programming language in a matter of weeks (depending on scale, developer/s capacity, and complexity).

An anonymous reader has just alerted us about another such migration, but this one is nothing like a fork. From the OpenSUSE Web site (yes, Novell’s own site):

Easy-LTSP was designed to work on any distribution, but unfortunately it is not integrated anywhere other than openSUSE, discussing with the upstream LTSP developers suggested the slight reservation could be due to it being written in C#. We wanted to add new features to the GUI to take care of all the exciting new development we have in KIWI-LTSP so it was felt that the rewrite will be much better option than to extend the current code, as it is anyway being written from scratch why not use something like Python which would be easier to attract more contributors and increase possibility that users of all distributions running LTSP server can benefit from it inclusion in their prefered distro.

There are perfectly valid reasons to steer away from Mono and one of our contributors added to them in his Web site:

One of the common defenses – a “talking point”, if you will – of mono / moonlight apologists goes something like this:

“Software patents are bad, but are not a problem unique to mono. If you worry about patents in mono, you have to worry about patents in general. And, if you do that, you might as well not even develop software at all. So, don’t worry about mono.”

Variations on this theme abound, here’s just one recent example from the Ubuntu Forums:

using mono is the same as using the linux kernel. there is always a risk for patent infringement since it’s the whole patent system is so broken in america.

This defense of mono has been around for a while, Miguel de Icaza uses it back in 2004, with what I guess he thinks is an especially subtle misrepresentation of the concern:

Not using Mono in any shape or form is not a blank waiver against patents.

[...]

Microsoft suing TomTom has made this a bit of a tricky argument for mono apologists – it was once popular to point out how Microsoft only used their patent portfolio defensively – but it still comes up enough to be worth addressing.

I don’t want to go too far afield – I’m trying to stick to one small point per post and this is already too long – but there is a subtler bit of misinformation here: the implication that if there were no patent issues at all, everyone would be welcoming mono with open arms. I guess they think mono is just that fucking awesome. However, there are countless projects that fail to achieve mainstream acceptance for a host of reasons.

I’ll try to deal with some of those reasons later – thanks for reading!

The TomTom debacle is not a done deal yet because OIN stepped in. Regardless, here is where things stand. It seems to be an accurate description.

MS v Linux: Sparks of the Tom Tom Fire stubbornly refuse to die

In course of the last decade, every once in a while Microsoft has been known to have accused Linux of infringing one of its patents or another. Despite the said multiple claims for years that elements of the open-source operating system violate its patents, Microsoft had restricted itself till 2009 to supporting legal action against Linux (for instance, the infamous alleged funneling of money by Microsoft to SCO so as to fuel the latter’s lawsuits against IBM and other Linux-user companies). Simultaneously with such actions, Microsoft has not restricted either its alliances with the said companies, including its partnerships with Novell and Red Hat.

[...]

However, the settlement is far from successful in calming down the much-agitated open-source legal community, with the legal issues involved being still undecided. In effect, this settlement ends one phase of the community’s response to Microsoft patent aggression and begins another.It may be interesting to note that a continuing litigation will have subjected Microsoft’s patent claims to a rigorous ‘prior art’ search to which the company may have been unwilling.

Given the lessons of TomTom (regarding FAT), Mono is an iffy territory, as a few people projected years ago. What is left for Mono’s legacy then? Well, Gnome-Do’s founder has just been hired by one of the companies most receptive to Mono.

05.08.09

Microsoft Moonlight in the News

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, TomTom at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly

Summary: Another look at coverage of Mono and Moonlight

AS WE POINTED out early in the week, Microsoft Moonlight is mostly promoted by the Microsoft crowd [1, 2]. This is predictable and consistent with the evidence. Novell just needs to disseminate its DNA inside GNU/Linux and then come along with Microsoft to claim special ownership of it. But who again is Novell with? Well, Novell’s Vice President is again hanging out with Microsoft friends. He also invites others to do the same.

If you are in the Boston area, come join us for these open source festivities at Microsoft NERD center in Cambridge

Microsoft Moonlight continues to receive coverage from Novell sites and also from the rather SUSE-oriented Heise, which did this a couple of times this week. Ryan Paul always covers Moonlight/Mono stuff, so this this time was no exception. But that’s all we could find.

Here is a comment that may have come from a reader of ours, regarding Microsoft Moonlight:

Im sorry but I find you software purity comment to totally miss a point. A huge point that bothers many, many developers but has never been properly addressed by the Novell/Gnome/Mono crew which surprise, surprise is the same people.

This isnt about whether something is free software or not, it is about the fact that Microsoft cannot be trusted as was shown in the Tom Tom case. Having codecs, standards, formats, platforms, languages and so on controlled by one company has lead….well, Im not gonna give you a history lesson, you know the stories.
There is nothing in the Microsoft promise that cant be rescinded and/or sue people later on. And then what?

You have to remember that Novell signed a deal with Microsoft and that THEIR developers/users are covered by the extortion deal. You remember it right? Its the one where Redmond claims that Linux steals from Microsoft but if you sign here, they will let you slide.
This deal doesnt cover other distros (which is very dangerous since distros really use the same software) and Microsoft is very clear about the legal dangers facing those who dont pay the extortion.

Listen to Ballmer’s words about how Red Hat users (that’s me!) owe Microsoft money because, you know, Linux has stolen from them. Notice that he mentions that Novell is ‘the legit’ ones since they have paid the extortion deal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B0GTYfPoMo

Having worked about a bit on different projects that use Samba, I know fully well the steps Allison, Tridge and the rest of the people on taht project have to go through to be able to see Microsoft (court ordered) specs and not taint the project later on. Novell employees dont do that because THEY are protected. ( and dont bring up the joke that is the �Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer� clause of that deal or the fact that the MS-PL license cant be used in our GPLed projects)
As a Red Hat user and developer, which protection do I have and what dangers to GPLed projects do I bring by using a technology that it tainted (mediocre at best. C##? Really?)?

Microsoft’s word?
Novell’s word?

This isnt an idealogical problem many developers are having but a practical one. By pushing those questions as a problem of ‘purity’, you are missing the big picture trying to ghettoize it as simple ‘zealots’.

And yes, you are right. Microsoft Moonlight (as they call it Ive seen) will always be one step behind.
But its not about the user, it never has been.
Its about Microsoft getting free software developers coming over and working on a platform they control.
Microsoft doenst mind if every open source project would work on their platform because they will have all the power then. Just like they used to before that finnish guy mucked it all up (and let’s not forget that bearded hippie and his ‘cancerous’ license).

We think we know who is bringing Mono into Ubuntu due to pressure from the usual suspects (Banshee is part of a disturbing trend). It’s time to get rid of Mono. As Richard Stallman told me an hour ago, “the TomTom case is likely to hasten the abandonment of FAT format, which is a good thing.” Mono is hardly any different. Microsoft may be giving it time to get absorbed.

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