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The 'Conspiracy' of Mono

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Summary: Further analysis of the response to Mono criticism and the abuse directed against those who dissent against Mono

A COUPLE of days ago we joked about how people who 'dare' to criticise Mono and Moonlight are being labeled “conspiracy theorists” (or other such labels). It's an ad hominem attack.



But let's look at the facts; we are not suggesting that there is a 'conspiracy' (mind the scare quotes); rather, there are centres of influence involving people who may benefit from their belief that Mono is acceptable and that Microsoft is benign. We are talking about journalists like David Worthington, who even this week continues promoting Microsoft inside "Open Source" (like the PR effort mentioned some days ago).

Microsoft and its allies are spinning using the usual people, who are simply supportive of their cause. There is nothing new about Worthington's coverage on these subjects [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and the latest highly-publicised incident [1, 2, 3], which Bruce Byfield decided to spin along with Worthington and Microsoft MVP de Icaza, is not exactly surprising. There is some history there, as Sam Varghese rightly points out:

Of Mono, apologists, and missing the news for the spin



[...]

But what is extremely interesting about this whole episode is the way that Bruce Byfield, a self-described computer journalist, has gotten involved and tried to make out that there was nothing newsworthy about De Icaza's comments.

Byfield attempted to turn the focus on the fact that Melton and others had questioned the disappearance of the March 17 article. He lumped a link to my iTWire piece in a portion of his article which had a sub-heading "The Rumor Mill Grinds Coarsely" - though everything reported in my piece was strictly factual - and, for good measure, also took aim at Roy Schestowitz who runs the BoycottNovell website. There is some history between Byfield and Schestowitz.

In other words, Melton, I and Schestowitz comprised the rumour mill. The oracle of truth was apparently Byfield.

[...]

De Icaza begins the March 25 blog post by saying "It seems that David's article on Windows strategy tax on .NET lacked enough context for my actual quotes in there." But, as Melton, who, in truth, shows more of an analytical mind than both Byfield and De Icaza combined, points out, De Icaza had already congratulated Worthington on the article, posting a tweet: "@dcworthington I am in whole agreement with you there; Btw I loved the article, good balance."

Let me echo Melton, who, in a long analysis of the episode, asked: "So did the article lack enough context or was it a good balance?" It surely can't be both!

Byfield, of course, did not bother about minor contradictions like this. He was on a path to uncover the "The Mono Mystery That Wasn't" - that's the headline for his article, which makes it appear to be some kind of fairytale, as indeed it turns out to be.


Basically, Varghese shows that it's extremely unlikely that the article was removed by accident; it looks more like a cover-up and 'damage control'. Byfield is attempting to look professional while using words like "conspiracy" to just smear those whom he and his friends do not agree with. That's just the type of treatment one receives from Mono bullies and Varghese goes further in a newer article by claiming that "Mono apologists drive developers away".

When Hubert Figuiere, a developer who had lost his job with Novell in the first quarter of 2009, released the note-taking application Gnote on April 1 last year, one doubts that he had any idea about the kind of attacks which would be launched on him by Mono advocates and apologists.

[...]

Figuiere's sin? Gnote is a port of the note-taking application Tomboy, which is written in Mono and is an official part of the GNOME Desktop. Gnote is a port of the same code in C++/GTK.

Mono, for those who are unaware, is an attempt by Miguel de Icaza, co-founder of the GNOME desktop project and a vice-president at Novell, to create an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET development environment. Mono has attracted a fair share of controversy as many in FOSS circles fear that it may pose patent problems.


Figuiere received abuse from the pushers of Mono. Eventually he left the project at the hands of Fedora where it's maintained.

As we pointed out a couple of days ago, it is important that people find the courage to speak out against Mono. A lot of influential voices prefer not to be entangled in controversy, even if they know that Mono means trouble. The Source continues to take a careful look at Mono-related issues and a few days ago it also found this interesting new item. It shows what Xen really thinks about "Open Source" after joining Microsoft's Partner of the Year (2008), Citrix.

This is ultimately another “let’s point out a software problem that applies to both Open and Closed Source and pretend like it only applies to Open Source” bit of misdirection.


It sure seems like a lot of entities in the GNU/Linux world -- the Linux Foundation included -- move away from Xen (Citrix) and mostly adopt KVM. Microsoft tends to just ruin projects that it touches.

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