02.03.10

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Microsoft’s Lawsuit Against Google and What It Teaches Us About Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Google Books settlement and how it relates to Microsoft, its dirty tricks, and the gradual pollution of GNU/Linux code pool by Novell and others

CONVICTED MONOPOLIST Microsoft has tried almost everything against Google, without any success (Microsoft’s share in search is said to be further declining globally). Recently we’ve found reports about a lawsuit against Google’s book-scanning endeavours [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], which are exactly what Microsoft was doing until it lost the race and gave up scanning. Microsoft fuels this lawsuit, which shows its sheer hypocrisy. Microsoft even directly sued Google, but not for doing what Microsoft itself used to do, although it’s related.

Here is the FSF jumping to defend Google’s book-scanning (liberating information):

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) filed another objection in court to the proposed amended Google Book Search settlement (The Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc.). The objection notes that proposed amendments which discuss works under free licenses unfairly burden their authors with ensuring license compliance, and urges the court to reject the proposed settlement unless it incorporates terms that better address the needs of authors using free licenses like the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).

Groklaw agrees with the FSF and it brings together Comes vs Microsoft exhibits to show how it also relates to Novell’s Mono. It is a long analysis, so here are some portions:

That’s the dream of more than book publishers. Here’s an exhibit from the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust case of a few years back, Exhibit 3590 [PDF]. It’s a discussion in 1994 with Bill Gates and his executives about the Internet, and it includes an email from Nathan Myhrvold on how Microsoft could in time take over control of the Internet.

[...]

Old-fashioned copyright owners want the Internet to cut it out and be about them feeding us content and we sit back and just consume what they send us. After we pay. And agree to DRM.

Of course, it’s funny, what Myhrvold wrote, in that they totally missed the boat about the Internet, and about Linux, but that’s a good thing. They probably could have killed Linux early on, had they tried. Their arrogance has cost them. It’s too late now, hopefully, to just crush it, not that they haven’t been trying. They’ll have to buy community members to sell out and write their software to run on Windows instead of Linux now one by one, if they can find enough greedy types, and that takes longer even in Microsoft’s best case scenario.

[...]

I hope the EU Commission is reading Groklaw at moments like this. The email is from 1995, but didn’t they do what he suggested? I’m remembering the Microsoft extensions to HTML. I’m also thinking about OOXML. There’s lots more in the exhibit about their browser plans, but are you thinking Silverlight? I am. Here’s a snip from one last exhibit, Exhibit 3589 [PDF], an email thread with a memo shared with the top brass at Microsoft on how to get the Internet away from open standards bit by bit:

I recommend a recipe not unlike the one we’ve used with our TCP/IP efforts: embrace, extend, then innovate.

Phase I (Embrace): all participants need to establish a solid understanding of the infostructure and the community – determine the needs and the trends of the user base. Only then can we effectively enable Microsoft system products to be great Internet systems.

Phase II (Extend): establish relationships with the appropriate organizations and corporations with goals similar to ours. Offer well-integrated tools and services compatible with established and popular standards that have been developed in the Internet community.

Phase 3 (Innovate): move into a leadership role with new Internet standards as appropriate, enable standard off-the-shelf titles with Internet awareness. Change the rules: Windows becomes the next-generation Internet tool of the future.

Are you reading this Apache guys? Ubuntu Mono freaks? In the “Potential Risks” section on page 15:

Microsoft/Internet Culture Clash. – One of the biggest challenges facing Microsoft’s success in the Internet community is acceptance and respect. Although we have an incredible amount of respect in the commercial software business, the Internet has been founded on public domain protocols and products which generally included source availability at no charge. It has been only recently that vendors have suggested profiting from the Internet by selling the browsing tools and technologies, and offering commercial services on the Internet itself. The information and software has been free for 15 years, we need to be careful to embrace the current technologies and community before we attempt to reshape it.

Put ‘Open Source’ everywhere in that snip where it says ‘Internet’ and you have the picture. They pretend to be with you, sharing goals, and then they win. If you are stupid enough to fall for the “let’s be friends” part of their scheme.

Their concept of the Internet is that it’s a strip mall. They want it to be *their* strip mall.

“Ubuntu Mono freaks” is what Pamela Jones calls those who divert Ubuntu users to Microsoft [1, 2]. Yes, it’s no secret that Groklaw too has realised that Mono is a trap (even before the FSF made official statements about it).

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza has this new interview where he speaks about Microsoft software like Mono and Moonlight. GNU/Linux users reject these, so Windows and Mac OS X are increasingly targeted by Miguel and fellow Microsoft boosters. From the interview:

A couple of recent major milestones are:
• Mono for the iPhone: the MonoTouch products, a major effort to simplify iPhone development and bring garbage collection, type safety and all of the features from .NET to iPhone developers.

• We have also just released a plug-in to Visual Studio that allows developers to move their applications from Windows to Linux, create RPM packages from Visual Studio and even use our SUSEStudio.com website to create full appliances from their software projects.

Linux Today has some more comments about it.

A couple of months ago there was a big “copyright assignment” debate promoted by Novell’s Meeks and The Source explains how it may also relate to Mono:

Copyright Assignment is a tricky topic in the FLOSS world.

[...]

The first time copyright assignment drew my attention was in how Novell’s go-oo hypocritically uses it as FUD against Open Office, and – of course – how ignorant and/or malicious mono apologists used it as a talking point.

We wrote about Go-oo in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Oracle will hopefully keep Novell from ruining OpenOffice.org. Sun was certainly angry with Novell at times.

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