05.17.08

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Why You Should Reject Novell’s Moonlight

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SUN at 8:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Silverlight puke, barf

Moonlight’s cold reception was mentioned briefly just a couple of days ago, but let’s emphasise again why GNU/Linux users must not accept it; instead, they need to complaint or protest against Webmasters that adopt such ActiveX-like embrace & extend strategies. Don’t let Microsoft journalists lie to developers by saying that there is "Silverlight for Linux" because there isn't. They try to deceive.

GNOME WMVPractical considerations aside, another important issue is that the Web could soon get infected with software patent traps. Web sites and Web-based applications are not like any other program that you can install and later replace or remove. If a site requires Silverlight, which in turn is riddled with patents, then it requires licences too, so that leaves Free software stuck. Microsoft, unlike Adobe or Sun, offers no free lunch. We’ll come to this in a moment.

To those who are led to believe (probably by Novell and Microsoft) that Moonlight is fine and that it’s a great step forward, mind the other side of the story. For example:

See? You can have most of .Net … but you can’t write a GUI because Windows Forms is held back. If you try to port Windows forms to another platform, so that a program originally written in .Net using Windows forms can be easily ported to that other platform … Microsoft would certainly sue.

Absolutely classic Microsoft behaviour, that.

For Silverlight … the piece of that that Microsoft have held back for themselves exclusively is the content creation part.

You can only create Silverlight content on a Windows platform.

Remember what was recently said about Windows forms, as far as software patents are concerned. Also see this from ZDNet:

Something has always bothered me about Novell’s Mono project.

Those feelings came together this week with the release of Moonlight, Novell’s implementation of Microsoft Silverlight for Linux.

It’s actually the comments that you might find more interesting. The ugly truth comes from Goldfarb’s own mouth (Microsoft senior), to which the response was this.

What Mr. Goldfarb is alluding to is Microsoft’s position that because of the MS/Novell patent covenant only users of Novell’s Linux offerings have permission to use Mono. All others (as implied by Mr. Goldfarb’s statements here) are using Mono in violation of MS’ patents.

Novell’s Bruce Lowry sort of confirmed this before (he has actually left the company since then). The above only validates what we already knew and warned about a long time ago, e.g. here. Mono and Moonlight are yet another extortion tool for Microsoft. Moonlight enables Mono — along with its accompanying Microsoft patents burden — to penetrate other desktop environments such as Xfce and KDE. Stop Novell and Mono before they spread too far and have Microsoft knocking on doors.

Mono strings GNOME

Image contributed by Beranger

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9 Comments

  1. AlexH said,

    May 18, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Gravatar

    I hope you will start decrying Flash sometime soon, then.

    Adobe offers no free Flash lunch (it’s available non-free for i386 users – they don’t support x64_64, or PPC), and Gnash and swf-dec aren’t Flash since they’re constantly playing catch-up. Flash is riddled with patents (e.g., the video codec patents) and free software distributions like Debian cannot include support for those patents in their free software codecs.

    If you believe that Moonlight can’t build an entirely free software version of Silverlight without infringing Microsoft patents, then we’re basically screwed because those self-same patents are going to cover Flash, XUL, AIR, Weave, and all sorts of other software.

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    May 18, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Gravatar

    Did anyone notice how “proof by Red Hat” is becoming a common argument?

    Red Hat wouldn’t touch Mono initially because they were concerned there might be legal issues, they’re very careful around these things. That they now happily use Mono is because they are no longer concerned that there are any legal problems.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 18, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Gravatar

    I see lot more “proof by Adobe.” Phone me when Adobe decides to ‘pull an SCO’ on the mythical Linux World. Even Sun…

    Alex, please have a look at this reference which was cited above.

  4. Alex H. said,

    May 18, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Gravatar

    Victor:

    “Proof by Red Hat” doesn’t exist, but “seeing what the experts think” certainly does: Red Hat have a number of extremely savvy lawyers.

    As proof of that – and “evidence” that I’m surprised this site hasn’t started shouting from the rooftops – the Moonlight plugin isn’t allowed in Fedora yet, because Red Hat aren’t happy with it.

    Now, if Red Hat decide that Moonlight cannot go into Fedora until the licensing changes, then I’ll quite happily admit that Moonlight is not free software, and that we can place it in the same category as Flash as being non-free.

    I doubt those on the other side of the argument would make such a commitment. But I’m arguing pro-free software, so it’s very easy to evaluate for me.

    Roy:

    I’ve read that article and other stuff like it. You can say that about any proprietary technology, be it free software or not (e.g., Mozilla’s XUL, Adobe’s Flash, etc.) The fact that the canonical implementation is not free software isn’t that big an issue, it doesn’t stop free software innovating (e.g., Mozilla has plenty of non-W3C standardised technologies within it).

    “Flash can be trusted more than Silverlight” is fanciful nonsense on your part, though. It’s your opinion, it’s not backed up by any fact:

    “Adobe is neither interested in discriminating against operating systems, nor has it got a history that demonstrates this.”

    So, Adobe doesn’t discriminate against non-i386 Linux users?

    This is the same Adobe that had Dmitri Sklyarov arrested in the US for implementing a PDF reader.

    Yeah, very friendly company Roy, Keep bigging them up.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m not advocating Flash at all, but better than devil that we know. We don’t need 4 devils, especially not when one of them rattles a saber.

  6. AlexH said,

    May 19, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Gravatar

    “Better the devil we know”?!

    No, thanks, I’ll take the free software solution over the proprietary one, no matter who develops it. If that’s Moonlight, or JavaFX, I really don’t care, but at the moment I can only download one of those…

  7. John Wilson said,

    May 19, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Gravatar

    There are very simple reasons not to use Mono or any .Net environment not the least of which is that PHP, Ruby and Python do it all much better. Remember that C# is Microsoft’s fork of Java. That said “Windows Forms” are a red herring. Who, exactly is going to use it in the wild? Google? Amazon? Anyone other than closed corporate intranets? I kinda doubt it.

    The only issue around Mono are the tentacles it has all over GNOME, the supposed free software alternative to KDE. (Remember GNOME was built from GNU tools to get around the feared proprietary trap of the QT libraries KDE used before they were open sourced.)

    Silver/Moonlight will be easy to ignore simply because, I expect, this time Microsoft bit off more than it can chew. Adobe isn’t going to stand by while MS tries to take some of the Flash market away and smile. More than likely it will fight back and attempt to ensure that Silverlight gets no traction at all.

    There was a story on Computerworld, I think, that illustrates this which basically says that books in the latter half of 2007 and Q1 of 2008 on Flash and related techologies outsold books on Silverlight by something like 50-1. As book sales are a good indication of developer interest

    Remember too that Adobe has a graphics, video editing, effects, SVG tools etc ecosystem to support Flash. MS has diddly squat. All of these supported by standard tools such as javascript.

    At least part of the reason for Adobe’s recent interest in FLOSS is the realization, belatedly, that the desktop OS is increasingly less relevant in the markets they are interested in than the world where the browser is the most important item there is.

    Linux powers an immense part of that world so it’s in Adobe’s self interest to become more open. I’m not so concerned how they get there in that they do.

    Microsoft, meanwhile, is only interested in protecting their desktop turf and, other than the fantasy that Yahoo will help them online, they seem to be missing the power of the Internet again.

    And in the “world” of the internet Microsoft isn’t the giant. Google is.

    ttfn

    John

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 20, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Gravatar

    Alex,

    No, thanks, I’ll take the free software solution over the proprietary one, no matter who develops it

    From http://www.groklaw.net/newsitems.php :

    [PJ: You might want to read the Microsoft-Novell patent covenant for Moonlight, for example. Who can be sued? When? Under what circumstances?]

    Good luck with your ‘free’ software.

  9. Sampa Mutoku said,

    May 21, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Gravatar

    Stupid boy! You vote for the closed software because you don’t like the company who offers the FREE, OPEN software.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a possible incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

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