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Mono and Moonlight: GNU/Linux Polluters from Microsoft/Novell

Star wars Vader

Illustration prepared by a reader

“They’ll get sort of addicted to Mono applications, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Why is Moonlight dangerous whereas Flash is not? The holder of the patents matters a great deal. GNU/Linux is not a threat to Adobe. It does not compete directly (head-to-head) with an Adobe product and Adobe hasn't a past that's filled with so much abuse, unlike Microsoft. Behavioral patterns matter a great deal too.

Another crucial question is this: will Moonlight include the necessary base classes, or will people have to use non-free ones from Microsoft? The answer to that is Moonlight requires that the user obtains binary codecs from Microsoft, licensed under their own licence. It's important to remind ourselves of this popular post:

Matt Asay makes one crucial observation in Microsoft’s dilemma: The importance of the downstream:

To work within the open-source community… Microsoft must stop polluting the downstream with patent encumbrances.


If Microsoft wants to interoperate with free software at the business level, it could start by removing legal roadblocks to interoperability. The fact that the company continues not to do so leads me to believe that Microsoft doesn’t really want to interoperate with free software at a business level.

As long as the company offers only jingoistic pats on the head to us misguided little hackers laboring part time in our basements with no commercial aspirations, there’s little point in considering anything that comes out of Redmond as useful.

In eight months since Nat Torkington asked Bill Hilf What Will Change at Microsoft with Regard to Patents and F/OSS, nothing interesting has happened. OSCON’s four months away. Maybe Bill Hilf will have a big announcement then — maybe he’ll have set up mail filters. Don’t hold your breath for a sane patent strategy.

A curious new article from the Wintel press poses the question, "will Microsoft build native Mac and Linux [development] tools?"

If the future is in Microsoft's online services why isn't the company building native tools for Mac and Linux developers?

In reality, as it turns out, Microsoft can rely on other people doing its labour. It then makes it possible for Microsoft to slam them for 'stealing' the ideas (Microsoft calls these "innovations") of Microsoft geniuses. Here is you can see the latest push for inclusion of Mono 2.0 in Ubuntu GNU/Linux, by default.

In the mean time, worth taking note of is this article from Heise.

According to the American magazine ComputerWorld, Microsoft has filed a suit with a San Francisco district court in order to have several patents of the Californian service provider WebXchange declared void. The article reports that WebXchange had previously sued computer manufacturer Dell, courier service FedEx and the Allstate insurance company for alleged patent infringements. Although these actions are not aimed at Microsoft, they can be attributed to the fact that the defending companies used Microsoft's Visual Studio development environment to create their web offerings.

We mentioned this a few days ago and last night we published an explanation as to why this is bad news to Mono,


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