09.20.08

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Guest Post: Why Not Mono – Part II

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SCO at 9:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In part I, our reader and guest writer was trying to get the underlying ideas about Mono across. There was a car analogy. Here is a more detailed explanation of the picture (metaphorically speaking).


Microsoft is suing someone for not paying Mono rather than paying for Java makes a big difference in the view of the public eye regarding merit and ultimate success. The public understanding of “which side is morally right” would be accompanied for sure by a slew of Microsoft propaganda, that would say: Mono is an intentional direct rewrite of Microsoft IP and enables free rides based on our IP.

It would be hard to convince why Microsoft should not be entitled to collect royalties for such a big chunk of IP, if Novell does pay Microsoft.

“It would be hard to convince why Microsoft should not be entitled to collect royalties for such a big chunk of IP, if Novell does pay Microsoft.”This makes it so much harder for something like Groklaw to counter the propaganda, which is also something Microsoft learned from the SCO-case.

The idea is basically to show that Mono is something like a specially-designed Trojan horse, that masks itself with free-licensing and therefore makes it seem legit and on the same perceived risk-scale than other technologies.

While the original dotnet is genuine (although it borrows and builds on top of a lot of other ideas – just like cars do built on the same old concepts and evolve), Mono is specifically and superficially created, as to incorporate the very same underlying technology – all the blueprints for copying are purposely thrown on the table, and so letting Mono grow fulfills 2 goals:

Goal No. 1

Keep the other numerous car-makers from advancing their technology (which like Java, Python, etc. are also available for free and libre) and therefore prevent the possibility of building useful stuff with other stuff than Microsoft (these are the apps like navigation, car-radios, etc.) Or short: Draining attention away and diverting the landscape so to prepare conquest (divide and conquer). This is done by the license and cannot be debated on why GPL for Java should be good and GPL for Mono should be bad and therefore perceived with more caution.

Goal No. 2

Lure as many developers into building useful apps (or the entire car) with Microsoft-technology.

In my opinion, Microsoft can’t do that by developing Mono itself, if it wants to sue for licensing afterwards, because it gets harder to release stuff intentionally UNDER GPL (as opposed to their usual proprietary licenses) and later prove you didn’t know what your INTENTION was by pretending to not understood the consequences of the GPL (even v2)…

This is the major point Microsoft learned from the SCO-fiasco, as it was hard to prove that when SCO actively was part of UnitedLinux, it didn’t know exactly what it was doing with their “so-called IP” when releasing it under the terms the GPL…

So Microsoft changes and finds the perfect partner to fulfill its goals: Hurt Red Hat as much as possible, and letting Novell only continue develop “Mono” under its protection-racket as to give this project the perception it is legally save for Novell-users. Otherwise, Microsoft would have been forced to stop Novell from developing Mono or start to sue Novell, while with every day passing by, it would have gotten harder to argue that Microsoft stood there so long seeing what Novell was doing (including Mono in Linux), and not to find a “solution” (=cross-patent-licensing) or litigate right away.

Now as Novell is under Microsoft “guided control”, Microsoft can much more easily claim that Novell started building something that mimics Microsoft-technology as close as possible in the past, then talked with Microsoft about this (and other) technology resulting in “covenants not to sue” and others distributors or users who want to use Mono too (which resembles dotnet not only from the outside (the look of the apps: the car’s shape), but also from the inside (the technology or motor)) should clearly see that Microsoft is entitled to demand royalties from costumers who built their stuff by using a copy of Microsoft-technology to get a “free-ride”…

“Someone has to weigh these arguments in, if s/he choses to defend usage of Mono by claiming it is on the same scale as usage of Java.”It is much, much harder to prove such a case and nurture such a claim for MS with regards to using Java (for example), as MS themselves built dotnet on ideas relating to Java, which could then be proven to be mostly prior art. Java-technology would also get defended by a company like Sun (or Google), and MS had to prove the infringing IP of Java resembling dotnet, which would be easy in case of dotnet vs. mono.

So the litigation-scenario IS a major factor for anyone, who tries to compare the risk of possible litigation on the basis of IP-claims between dotnet and Mono and dotnet and Java. Someone has to weigh these arguments in, if s/he choses to defend usage of Mono by claiming it is on the same scale as usage of Java.

From Microsoft’s perspective and the public viewing of such a case, it is clearly not. Even the possible danger from Sun suing over Java is clearly not comparable, because Sun knew what it did when releasing GPL-Java and would have a hard stand to sue anyone not wanting to pay patent-royalties afterwards. If Microsoft would do the same as sun and release an official “Microsoft-certified” dotnet-variant under GPL, later license demanding through litigation would instantly lose a great deal of appeal.

So Microsoft having set up everything in place in its favor with Novell, now sits back and laughs silently as they have found the ONE weak-spot, with they trying to split FLOSS-land: The GPLv2 only and LGPLv2 only, which are poorly designed to such a clever patent-scam-attack. Microsoft weapon is a GPL-tarnished sword called Mono, developed by Novell.

At least, this is how I perceive this whole Microsoft-Novell-nonsense. Now the hard part is to prove this theory other than to wait and let it prove itself. So all we can and should do is make that threat as transparent as possible by exposing its nature to the fullest by just describing it as precisely as possible without making anything up.

Maybe this analogy helps a little to achieve this goal, and raise the awareness to where the difference (and danger) lies.

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

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53 Comments

  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 20, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Just saw this: http://www2.apebox.org/wordpress/linux/51/ posted by a 3rd party (e.g. non-Novell) Mono contributor.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 20, 2008 at 12:22 pm

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    A lot of those who defend Mono have vested interest. I’ll post about it later.

  3. Needs Sunlight said,

    September 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm

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    @Dan: apebox there is off base in key details. Spouts the MS party line there by trying to introduce the undesirable “reasonable and non-discriminatory” clause. That is most definitely *not* part of the EU’s definition of open standards. apebox also fails on grasping the scope of the software patent problem. At this point it is mainly only Europe that is still at liberty, other trade zones have had software patents forced in the backdoor via various trade agreements.

  4. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 20, 2008 at 12:39 pm

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    AFAICT he’s a Debian packager – what’s his vested interest?

    <directhex> i face the usual “zomg noooooooo” resistance as a distro packager
    <Lumpio-> haha
    <directhex> i wonder how much of a stink moonlight packages will cause
    <Lumpio-> Just Do It®
    <directhex> it’s on the TODO, down the line
    * NotJay has quit (Remote closed the connection)
    <directhex> -rwxr-xr-x 1 directhex directhex 1755 2008-08-31 11:01 moon-0.8/debian/rules
    <Lumpio-> Hmm… wonder what the reason behind it all is tbh >_>
    <Lumpio-> Are people afraid of infringing on software patents because American/etc users/developers could potentially suffer?
    <Lumpio-> Or is it just because some people don’t get that they’re null and void in most of the world
    <jeff_> I personally think that it’s because they hate all things microsoft, it’s got nothing to do with patents
    <Lumpio-> hah
    <jeff_> patents is just a convenient whipping boy
    <directhex> jeff_, and i think you’re right
    <directhex> but what THEY think isn’t the FUD they use – so people are lead to believe things who *are* more concerned by patents than microsoft
    <directhex> jeff_, my post is an effort to educate the ignorant. the stupid on the other hand are a lost cause
    <jeff_> nod
    <robertj> I’ve experienced anti-monoism due to this FUD even in countries where software patents are non-existent. So every education effort is appreciated, directhex ;-)
    <jeff_> robertj: that goes a long way toward confirming my theory ;)
    <jeff_> that said, I think that fighting the FUD is a probably a wasted effort. the mud slingers will just step up their attacks and you’ll have to step up your rebuttals ad infinitum. probably better to just make mono more awesome :)
    <LarstiQ> jeff_: then again, I don’t believe people claiming software patents are non-existent here, the patent offices still issue them.
    <directhex> jeff_, educating people who are ignorant but in a position to make a difference is vital
    <jeff_> at the end of the day, awesome software wins out
    <directhex> jeff_, people like those who can say “no mono in my distro. TEH PATENTZ!”
    * vv|food has quit (Read error: 145 (Connection timed out))
    <jeff_> *shrug*
    <jeff_> I suppose, but the mud slingers will just attack you and try to find excuses for why you are defending it
    <jeff_> “he’s a contributor, he’s been brainwashed!”
    <jeff_> it becomes a mess really quickly
    <jeff_> from what I’ve seen, they already resort to such tactics
    <directhex> if microsoft or novell (same thing according to some) want to pay me for doing what i do already – talking about the virtues of kickass software – then absolutely fecking fantastic
    <directhex> ;)
    <jeff_> don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what you are doing – I just don’t want to see you get personally attacked over it
    <zbowling> if I take this offer with this startup, I’ll be leading up all of desktop development… for what they are doing, they liked the idea I pitched to use mono for the core of the desktop client (it works really well for what they are doing)
    * levicc00123 ([snip]) has joined #mono
    <zbowling> maybe a support contract for novell :-)
    <directhex> jeff_, i relish the idea
    <directhex> jeff_, in the words of america’s greatest president, “bring it on”

    This is a snippet of #mono on GimpNET from a few minutes ago. It seems to me that his “vested interest” is fighting FUD and not any sort of financial ties or business reasons.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm

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    Who does he work for and who do you work for? Is he AlternateAlias from Ubuntu Forums?

  6. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 20, 2008 at 2:15 pm

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    Who does who work for? As far as AlternateAlias from Ubuntu Forums, I haven’t the foggiest idea.

    As for who I work for, as I’ve said on numerous occasions: it’s none of your business.

  7. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 20, 2008 at 2:18 pm

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    Ah, I take it you mean directhex. I have no idea.

    I got confused because I lost track of which thread I was replying on (I thought we were talking about Mr. Steadfast who obviously works for Novell currently).

  8. Josh Bell said,

    September 20, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Gravatar

    What does it matter who anyone works for? I didn’t realize you needed to have an approved job with an approved distro to come to this site. Is everyone who comes on this site and uses Suse or Mono a troll? Who do you work for Roy? Are you still just a student?

  9. twitter said,

    September 20, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Gravatar

    There is only one word for people who would like to shrug off patents and chase M$’s tail with Mono, ACTA. Read about it and use any other scripting language to save yourself from an obvious M$ trap.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm

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    Well, since Jeff works for Novell, I guess he’s ‘protected’ and therefore happy to bet his career and work on Mono.

  11. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 20, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Gravatar

    AlexH isn’t Jeff, nor is directhex.

    So how is that related to AlexH’s or directhex’s “vested interests”?

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 20, 2008 at 3:46 pm

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    Who is directhex?

  13. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 20, 2008 at 4:05 pm

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    The guy (or girl?) that posted http://www2.apebox.org/wordpress/linux/51/

    If you didn’t mean of them, who did you mean?

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 20, 2008 at 4:06 pm

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    Never mind. I’m catching up.

  15. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 3:17 am

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    This is just another collection of various mud-slinging and FUD against a free software project. So many of these items have been completely refuted time after time, yet zombie-like they are reposted in an apparent attempt to make people believe they are true by repetition alone.

    In the first couple of paragraphs alone it makes credulous suggestions about someone being sued, Mono being a rewrite, and Novell paying Microsoft for it.

    None of which is true, and which is easily verifiable to anyone who cares to check.

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 3:22 am

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    These views come from a consultant totally independent from this Web site. I guess the whole world is wrong then, AlexH. We should just listen to Novell employees and Mono developers…

  17. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 3:57 am

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    Not necessarily, but having a non-anonymous contributor would help in terms of being able to see what bias the author has.

    Remember, most free software distributions include Mono and Mono applications. So we’re not exactly talking about a minority of people supporting Mono.

  18. aeshna23 said,

    September 21, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Gravatar

    “So Microsoft having set up everything in place in its favor with Novell, now sits back and laughs silently as they have found the ONE weak-spot, with they trying to split FLOSS-land: The GPLv2 only and LGPLv2 only, which are poorly designed to such a clever patent-scam-attack. Microsoft weapon is a GPL-tarnished sword called Mono, developed by Novell.”

    I found this paragraph hard to understand. GPL vs LGPL is suddenly introduced and it results in some vulnerability. What is the author trying to say?

  19. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Gravatar

    aeshna23: It’s just FUD.

    These views come from a consultant totally independent from this Web site. I guess the whole world is wrong then, AlexH.

    There are more people actively using and contributing to Mono (minus Novell-paid developers) than there are people who oppose it.

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Gravatar

    It’s just FUD.

    Baby and bathwater, Dan. You could do better than that.

    Anyway, I got an E-mail from the guy who wrote this. He added:


    The main goal or MS is to bring this message to the public perception:
    If you were a car-maker competing with other car-makers,
    and saw a more-or-less complete functional, exact replica of your top-model driving in masses around the streets
    giving all their “owners” and “passengers” (users) free rides on Linux,
    wouldn’t you want to demand royalties at least from the COMPANIES making money by distributing this IP with Linux?

    Leave aside all those hobby-users (just like in case MS does with regards to pirating their other IP, Windows and Office),
    but predate everyone making money (Red Hat, etc.)

  21. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 11:22 am

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    Nice. The “Mono is like Microsoft pirated IP” meme comes back again.

    Is Jose_X writing these posts? :D

  22. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 11:30 am

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    No, it’s someone whom I hardly know (I don’t think he ever comments here). But I agree with his assessment.

  23. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 11:37 am

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    My previous comment wasn’t entirely serious :)

    I can’t really agree or disagree with it, I can barely understand most of it sadly.

  24. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:18 pm

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    I have to agree with Alex, this “article” is just regurgitating the same unsubstantiated speculatory garbage that you yourself have been spewing. It’s nothing new.

  25. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:39 pm

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    Are you arguing that unless new (more) problems with Mono are raised, then all is alright with it?

  26. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:43 pm

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    Considering all of your arguments have been debunked, yes.

  27. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:47 pm

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    @Roy:

    I think the point is that many of the points that have been raised have been raised before and refuted. You can keep shouting “oh, but patents!” but it doesn’t make it true.

    My main problem with this article is that it’s simply incoherent rambling interspersed with random statements about the GPL and various bizarre legal theories.

  28. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:48 pm

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    Debunked in whose mind? Novell employees don’t count because they have vested interests.

    Has this Novell chap ( http://jeffreystedfast.blogspot.com/2 ) removed a post which claims to have ‘debunked’ me)?

  29. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Gravatar

    How about “debunked in the minds of those who stand to lose the most” – e.g., the companies like Red Hat whose deep pockets would make them an easy and obvious target for legal attack with patents?

    Or are you saying their legal team isn’t sufficiently switched on to realise the threat?

  30. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:55 pm

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    I know more stuff than I can publish here and I believe Red Hat is beginning to understand and recognise this threat (circumstantial evidence mostly), which the Groklaw crowd (many lawyers) understands too.

  31. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:58 pm

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    Roy: I think you provided a bad link. It doesn’t seem to exist.

  32. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 12:59 pm

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    Oops. Slip on the keyboard. Should have been http://jeffreystedfast.blogspot.com/

  33. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Dan, shush.

    Circumstantial evidence has convicted many criminals. I’ve seen it on TV. Perry Mason, mostly.

  34. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Gravatar

    AlexH: Roy thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, including lawyers who actually know and understand law.

    As you proved a few weeks ago, Roy doesn’t even comprehend a simple aspect of copyright law, nevermind something more complicated like patent law.

  35. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, you have more concrete stuff, such as:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/08/15/no-mono-in-fedora-10/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/06/02/fedora-no-moonlight/

  36. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Gravatar

    We know about Moonlight, and that’s fair enough criticism.

    “No Mono in Fedora 10″ is obviously untrue, though. Whether or not it’s on which disc doesn’t seem clear, and even if it’s not in the default install that provides you precisely no legal protection. If it were otherwise, they would ship MP3 support etc.

  37. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:11 pm

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    MP3 is another ‘evil’, but don’t introduce other issues to divert attention.

  38. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Gravatar

    As has been proven in the past whenever you point to Mr. Steadfast’s blog – he backs up his statements with irrefutable facts.

    Just because you dismiss them simply because he works for Novell, doesn’t make his evidence untrue. Especially since any unaffiliated objective person can verify his proof.

    Let’s take a look at history:

    1. He wrote a blog entry about optimizing Mono’s I/O performance and discovered that in that particular case, it was faster than Java.

    You badmouthed him saying that he was a liar. AlexH and Miles ran the tests and concluded that the numbers Mr. Steadfast gave were accurate.

    Meanwhile, you refused to run the tests yourself, insisting that they were wrong and that anyone who ran the tests and found the data to be accurate were simply biased against Java.

    2. There was another blog post he made about wishing he could have written a new IMAP backend/plugin/whatever for Evolution in C# because it would have saved him time and effort.

    You posted your own article bashing him, GNOME, and Mono saying that Novell was forcing Mono into the core of GNOME.

    Needless to say, you were once again proven to be wrong, not him.

    3. He posted a blog entry debunking the myths about GNOME depending on Mono with factual evidence backing up his statements.

    Once again, you were proven wrong.

    Does anyone else see a pattern, here? Because I certainly do.

    Roy is consistently proven wrong, again and again.

  39. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Gravatar

    Divert attention? Er, no. I’m giving you an example which disproves your inference behind Fedora’s motives.

    If Mono isn’t on the LiveCD I suggest that it’s rather more to do with trimming packages to fit into 660Mb with a variety of locales and languages than any FUD you’re throwing at it.

  40. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:16 pm

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    Maybe, but we don’t know this for sure. What about Moonlight? It’s the SFLC that looked it, remember?

  41. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:17 pm

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    I remember reading that gNewSense also ships Mono and refuse to drop it stating that Mono is no less-safe than other packages they ship.

    (For those not in-the-know, gNewSense is the FSF-sponsored GNU/Linux distribution).

  42. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Gravatar

    @Roy: “we don’t know for sure” isn’t license to substitute your own opinion in place of the actual facts.

    “We don’t know for sure” that the core of the moon isn’t cheese.

  43. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Gravatar

    And Monolight [sic]?

  44. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Gravatar

    And that we know for sure because they’ve issued a statement about it: they’re worried about the issues surrounding XAML, which is fair enough. They can always include it later when the worries are worked out.

    Note, though, that where they do have a worry, not only is the package not on discs they provide, but it’s also not in the repos.

  45. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:30 pm

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    The issues still stand.

  46. Dan O'Brian said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:31 pm

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    Which issues? All of your issues have been disproven.

  47. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm

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    Why? Because you said so? Doesn’t wash, really.

  48. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

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    No, because you did not refute the SFLC.

  49. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t see anything that the SFLC has published that relates to Mono. Do you care to offer a link to their opinion on Mono?

  50. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Gravatar

    Sure, here you go.

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080528133529454

  51. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Gravatar

    I asked for Mono, not Moonlight. They’re separate projects, and I already agree with you that Moonlight has problems currently.

  52. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 21, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Gravatar

    Can you please elaborate on that? I ask this because you previously denied it, IIRC.

  53. AlexH said,

    September 21, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Gravatar

    Previously denied what? It would help if you state your question.

    I don’t see what elaboration you’re asking for. SFLC issued a statement about Microsoft’s Moonlight covenant. Mono, for obvious reasons, doesn’t rely on that covenant and actively avoids Microsoft patents. So the statement about the covenant doesn’t tell you anything about SFLC’s opinion on Mono.

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    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  21. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  22. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  23. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  24. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  25. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  26. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  27. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  29. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  30. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation


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