Bonum Certa Men Certa

Miguel de Icaza Was Wrong About Silverlight and .NET


Summary: Poor guidance on the direction of GNU/Linux and what it ought to teach

"We could refresh the look and feel of the entire desktop with Moonlight," Miguel de Icaza once said. Last year he was still drooling over Silverlight, which we now know to be virtually dead for most purposes. For someone who is a Microsoft MVP and not just a Novell VP, being deceived by Microsoft would be understandable. The problem is, de Icaza has been urging other developers (e.g. in GNOME) to embrace Microsoft's way of doing things (including Silverlight) and this is not helping GNU/Linux. Using Moonlight for the desktop would be insane as even Microsoft gave up on the idea of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Why should GNU/Linux be called to rescue Microsoft's dying and patents-riddled proprietary experiment? It makes no sense.

When it comes to .NET -- just like when it comes to Silverlight -- we have already shown that there are serious growing pains; if those pains are not Java (although it is a major component), languages and frameworks like Ruby, Python, and PHP (on GNU/Linux) are definitely a pain to .NET and Azure is not going to change any of that, not if people like Ozzie jump ship [1, 2] and use GNU/Linux as their blogging platform (with WordPress, PHP, MySQL, and so on).

In some ways, .NET already gets neglected by developers, at least parts of .NET which strive to gain Free/open source software developers. Mono has suffered a major slow-down and Schementi, whom we wrote about in posts such as [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], will soon be working more closely with the Mono guy (we are aware of other people who move from Microsoft employment to Mono) because de Icaza et al. are supposed to carry on Microsoft's own projects:

In future, the development of IronPython will be coordinated by Mono's chief programmer, Miguel de Icaza, and by Michael Foord, Jeff Hardy and Schementi. Schementi and de Icaza will also coordinate the continued development of IronRuby. All developers had already previously been involved in the projects. What's different for the community is that it can now make changes to the implementations without Microsoft's influence. Microsoft programmers will at most be involved in the projects on an unofficial basis.

How about the headline "Microsoft is Turning Control of Iron Languages to Miguel de Icaza and Jimmy Schementi" (no pretense anymore)? Why help the company which is suing Linux-selling companies?

In summary, Silverlight is collapsing and .NET too has problems. Despite all of this, one Microsoft MVP and Novell VP insists on bringing these to GNU/Linux. Why take advice from this man? The Free desktop has better visions to aim for.

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