Bonum Certa Men Certa

Does The Register Call Novell Opposers 'Idealists'/'Purists'?

Clarification: If opposition to paying for unspecified software patents per GNU/Linux installation (even in countries that forbid software patents) is an ideal/purity, then The Register still misuses terminology

Scott Gilbertson from The Register has just published a review of SLED 11, but he is mixing together terms and ideas, presumably so as to characterise the Novell problem as one of "purity" or "ideals". Whether it's deliberate or not, Gilbertson forgets that very few distributions are considered "pure" in the sense that they comprise truly Free software; the FSF lists less than a dozen such distributions in fact. With Novell, the problem has almost nothing to do with binary versus Free software; it's mostly about patents, formats, and letting Microsoft inherit (share) partial control of its competition.



Here is the bottom line from Gilbertson's short review:

The bottom line? We definitely do not recommend SLED for the casual home user or the free-software purists.


The headline states "SLED 11: a distro for businesses, not idealists."

Adam Williamson (formerly of Mandriva, now of Red Hat) has already corrected Gilbertson in the comments attached to this article. He does not write it on behalf of his employer.

It's not about idealism. That's not the point. The idealists run obscure distros because RMS believes the stock kernel is being evil by including binary firmware or whatever the hell he's on about this week.

The Microsoft / Novell patent deal is fundamentally dangerous to all free software development, because it lends legitimacy to Microsoft's "we own patents on all this stuff and you can't touch it" stance. That has nothing whatsoever to do with idealism.

Please get it right.


Yes, it's about patents. Just a day or so ago, the Utah press announced that Novell had obtained yet another software patent.

Method and apparatus for presenting, searching and viewing directories , patent No. 7,519,575, invented by Michel Shane Simpson and Brett Dee Garrett of Orem, Nathan Blaine Jensen of Spanish Fork and William Donald Peterson III of Provo, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.


This is just part of an endless series of software patents which Novell is collecting. Any promises Novell makes with regard to patents are utterly worthless because Novell is likely to be acquired by someone further down the line and its management can change too. Promises are not legal contracts.

Just look how SUSE is being promoted by the Microsoft crowd. Here's part of a series of posts from Goblin:



In the meantime, he’s blocked Goblin, and I think thats another dubious poster exposed! Ill end on a slightly humorous note, we all know and love Andre Da Costa, another user who decided to block when he couldnt answer questions? It appears even he has had trouble with the Neowin site and its reporters:

“My case was deleted by a Moderator, I have moved on anyway, its in the past. But NeoWin needs to be open to criticism.”


There is a reference there to Andre Da Costa, whom Microsoft bribed with a free laptop because he's promoting the company all around the Web.

As a side note, and speaking of Microsoft promotion, Miguel de Icaza admires Windows, according to one of our readers (maybe he dual-boots). Also, as we noted before, he created some software that runs on Windows only. "90% of what he shares in his Google Reader thing [is] related to Microsoft technologies," says our informant whilst we keep seeing articles about Mono that only serve as marketing material for .NET. Mono is also promoting and spreading ASP now.

I know not everything in ASP.Net 2.0 is working in Mono, but its really satisfying to see that the team working on it have implemented the parts that are most interesting to everyday web developers. I'm looking forward to seeing what cool bits the next release of Mono will bring.


Going back to the comments from Gilbertson's article, we find:

Here're a few hints:

- GNOME was originally developed by Miguel de Icaza

- Miguel de Icaza then turned into a Microsoft fanboi

- Miguel de Icaza started and spearheaded the MONO project

- The MONO project is sponsored in large part by Novell

And as a bonus:

- Miguel de Icaza worked (at least for a while) at Microsoft.

You put it together. The circle is complete.


As far as we know, Miguel de Icaza never ever worked directly for Microsoft, but his colleague Nat Friedman did, and not just "for a while". Miguel really wanted to work for Microsoft (he was not able to, but he tried) and he is a fan and acquaintant of LinuxHater.

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

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