08.04.08

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Even Microsoft Uses Free Software, So Why Does Novell Harness Microsoft?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 3:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Does Novell send the message that Microsoft trumps Free software?

It need not really be news that Microsoft’s Hotmail might still be running on FOSS. Whether that’s true or not, Microsoft uses a lot of GNU/Linux in-house, but the company is understandably too shy to talk about it. It’s not good for its marketing people (morale and sales pitch), but it’s good for its internal business which cannot rely on Windows.

One reader has pointed out the following old article.

Microsoft Corp., even while mounting a new campaign against open-source software, has quietly been using such free computer code in several major products, as well as on key portions of a popular Web site — despite denying last week that it did so.

Software connected with the FreeBSD open-source operating system is used in several places deep inside several versions of Microsoft’s Windows software, such as in the “TCP/IP” section that arranges all connections to the Internet. The company also uses FreeBSD on numerous “server” computers that manage major functions at its Hotmail free e-mail service, whose registered users exceed 100 million and make it one of the Web’s busiest sites.

Microsoft acknowledged its repeated use of open-source code Friday, in response to questions about the matter. Just two days earlier, it had specifically denied the existence of any such software at Hotmail.

According to all of this, Microsoft truly believes that Free software is capable. It considers it to be the #1 competitor.

Adobe rightly points out that Microsoft does not take GNU/Linux seriously when it comes to fair treatment though. In fact, there will never be a version of Silverlight for GNU/Linux. There is just a poor copycat.

Ludwig [of Adobe] also questioned Microsoft’s commitment to “making it [Silverlight] fully functional across operating systems.” Yet, Microsoft is working with Novell to deliver Silverlight functionality on Linux in a project known as Moonlight.

The original plan was for Moonlight to serve as a second-class Web browser plug-in, but Miguel made it clear last week that he wants to also emulate WPF and make it part of the desktop. In other words, it’s almost as though Novell reverse-engineers everything that Microsoft wants Windows to be. This was discussed in the IRC channel a few days ago.

One person says: “If I want Microsoft I’d use Windows. Thanks but not thanks.” Another issue is raised here.

In its own domain, Mono is reasonably successful, but again, it rides right off the back of everything Microsoft does. It ignores the past twenty five years of history, and totally ignores Novell’s own experience.

A few hours ago, another enlightening comment was posted to explain just why Moonlight is Novell's recognised trap, as well as Microsoft’s. Here is what Microsoft says:

“Moonlight is usable for anyone on any distribution of Linux (redhat, ubuntu, etc.) — it is not limited just to Novell as Mono is.”
-Brian Goldfarb [Microsoft]

There you have it from Silverlight’s lead dev. So clearly MS believes that only Novell via the ‘patent covenant’ can use Mono. So this clearly tells us that since Moonlight depends on Mono libs, it is a potential patent trap.

Does anyone still think that Mono and Moonlight do not belong in the bit bucket? Moonlight requires Mono. A Microsoft senior openly says that Mono is limited just to Novell.

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

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A Single Comment

  1. aeshna23 said,

    August 4, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Gravatar

    My favorite distro is Frugalware–which I had to reinstall today over some unfortuante NVidia issue (the unfortunate part is that I have a NVidia video card). After reinstalling, I started configuring my machine. I noticed a mono service, which I, of course, immediately disabled. I am wondering what a mono service does so that I can explain on the Frugalware forum about why good Linux distros shouldn’t use mono.

    It’s sad that I have to learn about mono just to argue for its death. I guess we have such evil so we can learn dumb things.

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