05.30.08

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Novell’s Moonlight: Crippled and Defective by Design™

Posted in Audio/Video, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 1:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…Unless you’re a paying customer of Novell (and Microsoft)

Our recent writings about Mono ought to have convincingly shown (well, hopefully they have) why it’s a risk we mustn’t accept. We dealt with Mono, Moonlight and GNOME separately over the past 3 days. Descending to a level that involves more pertinent details might be helpful but not a necessity.

As we stressed about a year ago, Microsoft’s .NET on the Net is intended to turn GNU/Linux into second-class citizens even on the World Wide Web. It can easily make all users of all platforms technically dependent on Microsoft (documentation, distribution, licences, legal threats, etc.) and again… all just as we warned approximately a year ago, so there’s no late realisation. Novell could and should have seen this too (Miguel de Icaza already has). It just probably didn’t mind because it serves its investors well. Never mind if it harms its suppliers (programmers)…

“Adopting Moonlight and Mono is accepting dominance of the Microsoft API. ”Adopting Moonlight and Mono is accepting dominance of the Microsoft API. That’s a helluva lot of power to give Microsoft over its #1 rival, which it is unable to compete against using conventional subversive tactics. It has tried many things to no avail (see the Halloween Documents).

The following short piece from Linux.com contains some interesting and lesser-known bits of information. It shows you just what type of treatment you’ll most likely receive for being independent from Novell (and from Microsoft, by association).

The binary version of Moonlight does not have audio and video support built-in. If you want the audio and video features you have to build Moonlight from source using the instructions on the Mono wiki.

Let us say that you, an experienced 1337 hack3r, managed to properly compile the shebang and have it work the way you like it. Does that make you ‘covered’? No? Can you recall what Groklaw shared the other day, regarding the legal conditions that come with use of Moonlight?

Not afraid yet? “Microsoft will never sue,” you say? What about its patent trolls, such as its buddy from Intellectual Ventures? Watch the pompous man as he speaks at All Things D.

Calacanis had an interesting question: Is IV making an unethical land grab for patents? His answer was that he didn’t know how to answer that question, except that people might complain if he has a lot of success, but no one was going to give him back his money. (Fair enough—B.L.)

Guy from Intel asks if an unintended consequence of IV’s patent action and speculation is that big companies would keep extending patents to protect them. Nathan says it’s BS. Most companies are doing R&D with a little R and a BIG D. They need to put more into the research. If people know they can spin out inventions, like they do divisions, they’ll be more likely to do more research.

“If you’re not doing something that is somewhat threatening to the apple cart, you’re not doing something interesting.”

In other coverages of this session, Nathan Myhrvold [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] made it more clear that he prefers to ‘license’ (nice word for “extortion”) rather than sue. Remember that similar rules apply to OOXML.

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