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Novell and GNOME Help Microsoft and .NET's Fight Against Sun and Java

Microsoft No

It is no secret that Free software has been attracting some highly-skilled and influential developers, who can easily change the programming agenda, set trends, and turn some consistent choices into a de facto standard.

It is also no secret that Microsoft wants to destroy Java (even from the inside), which is soon to be fully GPLv2-licensed and therefore available pre-installed on GNU/Linux distributions (without IcedTea). So how come GNOME has adopted the following policy (if true)?

2. The front page of

There’s no evidence Java was ever on the front page of this site, and I’d love to see someone try to prove it - gtk-web is stored in GNOME’s svn, so you don’t need a cache, the full history is there.

C++, Python and C# are mentioned there. They also are the allowed dependencies in the GNOME desktop set, whereas Java is not.

A reader of ours says (outside this Web site): "If that is true, then there is the smoking gun that C# is being shoehorned into GNOME at the expense of open source material like Java."

Only days ago the following article got published in Dr. Dobb's, which is quite a respected and authoritative source of information on these matters:

I expect in five years time there will be two main languages: Java and C#, closely followed by good-old Visual Basic. There is no new paradigm foreseen.

DDJ: Which languages seem to be losing ground?

PJ: C and C++ are definitely losing ground. There is a simple explanation for this. Languages without automated garbage collection are getting out of fashion.

Can you imagine why Microsoft might want its partner, Novell, which already controls Mono and to a large extent GNOME as well, to demote Java and promote Mono? Microsoft wants to become the standard for programming as we noted several times before. So here you have yet another reason for Sun to be bitter and impatient with Novell, which mocked OpenSolaris quite recently [1, 2, 3].

The story about Microsoft's very malicious sabotage of Java has been told so many times before (even here), so here is just one among the many articles which talk about it with Linux and open source software in mind.

These [Halloween] memos are nothing short of fascinating. In them, the authors freely admit that many Open Source Software products equal or surpass the quality of commercially produced products, such as Microsoft's own Windows NT, and urge that Microsoft itself could benefit by adopting certain aspects of the OSS development environment. The authors warn that OSS products (Linux, in particular) could certainly threaten Microsoft's server market, and even allow that OSS could possibly erode the company's existing desktop dominance -- that is, if OSS is not stifled.

To this end, the authors suggest a number of ways in which the OSS threat might be attacked. Conceding that OSS products themselves are "FUD proof," simply because they obviously have credibility by their very nature, the authors suggest instead that the the OSS production process itself might be brought into question -- a rehash of the old "who you gonna blame if it doesn't work?" argument.


This is an example of Microsoft's infamous "embrace and extend" policy at its worst. Embed Microsoft-proprietary extensions in common Internet protocols hook unsuspecting customers on these look-alike but incompatible tools, and lock those customers into the resulting custom Microsoft solutions -- neatly locking out Open Source Software (and commercial competitors) in the process.

How might this strategy work in practice? For an example, we need look no further than Microsoft's alleged "embrace and extend" treatment of Java, a commercial product developed by competitor Sun Microsystems. To counter the threat that Java might marginalize their Windows products, some at Microsoft have recommended letting Microsoft's "Java [developer tools] space fragment so that 'write once, run anywhere' does not happen" and "eliminate/contain cross-platform Java by growing the polluted Java market."

And in a page that could have been taken directly from the Halloween Memos: "quietly grow [Microsoft's versions of Java] and assume that people will take advantage of our [versions] without ever realizing they are building win32-only java apps."

In case you have time to spare, consider going through some old articles from this long-ago-retired articles archive of Boycott Microsoft. If you find something we can associate with present events, please share. Critics need to make use of the most evidence we have available and identify behavioral patterns, possibly managerial strategies too. So long it has been, yet so little has changed.


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