03.30.08

Invasion Into the Open Source World Continues, Introducing New Obstacles

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Realising they don’t go away, Microsoft seeks to control them

This old and tiresome story about invasion and subversion has not reached its end yet. For quite some now we have kept track of Microsoft’s approach towards a variety of companies/projects (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]) whose presence, prevalence and products empower the remainder of the Free software stack, GNU/Linux included. Needless to say, Microsoft worries about this because it immediately puts at jeopardy two of its cash cows, albeit one only by association.

As we continue to explore and find new stories, we also learn more about the methods with which Microsoft 'charms' the innocent and — dare we say — naive.

Further to the IronPython story, consider this short report.

Microsoft shows Django running on IronPython

[...]

This is a huge step for the team, to be able to run a widely-used framework, such as Django, on a dynamic language running on the .NET Framework. Django is a mature web application framework written for Python and intended to create applications very fast with a clean and pragmatic design. It is a framework developers normally use on Linux or some other platform where Apache and Python are found but this demo showed Django running on Microsoft’s DLR, the IronPython language and SQL Server 2005.

Some observers choose to view this as benign. O’Grady from RedMonk, for example, thinks that this self-serving illusion openness is genuine while also acknowledging that Microsoft is setting up new barriers in the process by warping a rule or two.

As some of the attendees of the Microsoft Technology Summit have noted, Microsoft is making some genuine, good faith efforts to evolve its attitude about and work more effectively with open source. From Apache to Eclipse to Mozilla, Microsoft is working – and working effectively, by most accounts – with some of the more important open source projects on the planet. Projects, notably, that in every case compete directly with Microsoft products.

The point that he misses or perhaps feels comfortable with is that Microsoft simply wants to improve those products so that they run better on Windows (or in turn run only on Windows). It’s a question of optimisation and development focus, not just a simple matter of compatibility. Watch this picture again and remind yourself of how Microsoft views open source projects. It wants them to be the vassals of the monopoly and a small dependable portion of the proprietary Microsoft stack. And that’s not good for anyone, except Microsoft.

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7 Comments

  1. Victor Soliz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Gravatar

    This is actually disgusting, MS is effectively hijacking an OS project to trick it into using a proprietary language and a proprietary database server, this is terrible news. Guess MS will take advantage of these dynamic languages to force .net on apps that did not want that crap.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Gravatar

    We really ought to set of up a list of projects or an index of posts with links to projects that are blindly falling for it. In the same vein, there are many Mono-defendant project that become so dependent without users (sometimes even developers) realising it. I think Cheese is an example of this. I saw an article about it earlier today and it seems to be getting a dominant/de facto Web cam application for GNOME. Also, earlier today I came to discover that Banshee (also Mono-based, not just ‘dependent’) is getting video capabilities.

  3. Victor Soliz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Gravatar

    They are already advertizing banshee as cooler than gnome, in ubuntuforums there was a thread about how great banshee was, I tried to place my complaints about how a bad idea it is to make multimedia depend on MONO, but my post and subsequent reactions eventually got moved out of the banshee advertisement thread.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Gravatar

    Wait until someone like Waugh sneaks in to say that you can remove the media player and install something which is no longer maintained (and therefore GNOME will never depend on Mono). My guess is that we’ll be seeing more of this — a case where everyone boosts the Mono applications at the expense of non-Mono applications. That’s the concern anyway.

  5. Victor Soliz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Gravatar

    They are already advertizing banshee as cooler than gnome

    *totem.

    I am starting to think the problem is not with gnome depending on MONO but rather than they will now target the MONO platform instead of Linux.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, that’s part of the problem. Microsoft wants to make .NET the de facto (or only) platform for development, for the Web, etc.

  7. MarcKark said,

    March 31, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, and that would allow developers (open- and closed-source alike) to easily develop for both Windows and Linux and MacOSX. Horrible idea, isn’t it. Where would the good ole’ OS-Wars go?

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