Bonum Certa Men Certa

Silverlight and Mono = DRM and Software Patents

A post about Microsoft embracing consuming trying to devour FOSS coming shortly

One of Microsoft's greatest (and very vital) ambitions is to conquer and hold SOA on a short leash, ensuring that Windows maintain a certain advantage in an age of Web-based services. Gates et al. foresaw this threat back in the Netscape era, shortly before they decided to annihilate Netscape and bring back control to the Windows platform over the Web (ActiveX, seriously deficient CSS support, non-compliant Microsoft Office markup/MSHTML, war on Java and so forth). You can still find concrete evidence of this (as E-mails used among court exhibits) in our Comes vs Microsoft section.

“...Silverlight snubs GNU/Linux and it will never be ported to that platform. ”Using Novell's helps (with Mono and Moonlight), Microsoft is still hoping to tighten its grip on the Web and be able to exclude rivals at will. Already, as a matter of fact and principle, Silverlight snubs GNU/Linux and it will never be ported to that platform. Microsoft is targeting -- in a malicious sense of course -- both Flash and PDF format (from Adobe/old-age Macromedia) at the same time. It also hopes to introduce Windows DRM as part of its offerings, too. Recall what was said last week about this fight against Adobe and Free software as the motor of the Web.

We have recently given several examples of practical ways in which Microsoft forces people to use Silverlight, or at least 'punishes' those who cannot use it (hello, Linux users). Consider the Olympic games and some video sites (mind the mentioning of Yahoo also). Given Novell's existing 'advertisements' of Windows Vista, it would be almost predictable for them to put some Silverlight in Novell.com sooner or later ("buy SLED or Novell 'protection' for Moonlight to view this site almost properly").

Here is another new report that combines and revisits several elements or patterns we have come across before: acquisitions, Silverlight, software patents.

LiveStation, which Microsoft Research co-developed with Skinkers, includes a client-based player that runs on top of Silverlight, Microsoft’s rich-media technology.

[...]

Microsoft acquired a minority equity stake in Skinkers in exchange for Skinkers’ use of the Microsoft P2P intellectual property.


It's the same old theme -- to be sure. Microsoft is willing to spend a lot of money (which it no longer has so much of) just to leave its .NET fingerprints all over the Net. It makes another dependency in cyberscape. The solution, by the way, is not Flash. The solution is open standards and preferably an open implementation as well. Mentioned among the previous links digests: Adobe Pushes DRM for Flash

Now Adobe, which controls Flash and Flash Video, is trying to change that with the introduction of DRM restrictions in version 9 of its Flash Player and version 3 of its Flash Media Server software. Instead of an ordinary web download, these programs can use a proprietary, secret Adobe protocol to talk to each other, encrypting the communication and locking out non-Adobe software players and video tools. We imagine that Adobe has no illusions that this will stop copyright infringement -- any more than dozens of other DRM systems have done so -- but the introduction of encryption does give Adobe and its customers a powerful new legal weapon against competitors and ordinary users through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).


The possible Nokia-Microsoft tie-up (and action) versus Ogg and pro DRM (details coming soon) is why we strive to give Ogg versions of videos and audio. For reasons and concerns that we voiced here before, DRM is a big win for Microsoft, which told Forbes Magazine that it likes it -- no matter how much consumers loathe it.

“Remember that Novell's support for OOXML is done using Mono and remember that OOXML embeds DRM capabilities too.”It's not just media companies that love DRM, mainly because DRM makes media application- or platform-specific, augmenting the existing problem of application and data compatibility to form a new class of lock-ins. Simplified example: think along the lines of "your song is only compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista and expires in 2009."

The role of Flash (and Silverlight) is ever more evident when it comes to video. These can be used to build applications as well, but there won't be many takers for a whole bunch of reasons. With videos and binary implementation comes DRM, which brings back to mind the recent discussion about Mono as a "ramp" for WMV, DRM, and the likes of that. It might just be an implementation bridge, a programmers' hook. That, among other reasons, is why Mono worries us. Remember that Novell's support for OOXML is done using Mono and remember that OOXML embeds DRM capabilities too.

The Inquirer is not a publication to be taken too seriously (nor lightly) when it's sarcastic, but Charlie Demerjian, a faithful Linux user, has this bizarre new 'interview' with Miguel de Icaza:

Inq: Why did you name your biggest project after an infectious disease?

Miguel: Because I am Mexican and in Spanish, Mono means monkey.

Inq: Thank you for your time.


It appears more than evident that other sources are growing impatient when it comes to Mono and addressability of the questions surrounding it.

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