Bonum Certa Men Certa

No, Visual Studio is NOT Open Source and Xamarin Openwashing is NOT News

"I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue"

--Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist



Ballmer with Ximian hat



Summary: The latest example of Microsoft openwashing, courtesy of confidants of Microsoft and those who got bamboozled by them

"Apparently," lirodon wrote in IRC yesterday, "the commercial iOS/Android Mono forks are now open source (MIT)" (#techrights IRC channel)



MinceR responded with, "do they have an accompanying patent license?"

"I think it falls under this," lirodon replied, "apparently Microsoft also shifted stewardship of Mono to the .NET Foundation" (as if it hasn't already happened).

"Xamarin and Miguel de Icaza before Xamarin was formed have played a role in this deception, pretending that .NET is somehow a 'universal' platform which is 'cross-platform' and also 'open'."MinceR immediately responded with: "to avoid having the copyright holder own the patents they'll sue for, no doubt; that's just a "promise not to sue" and afaict doesn't cover all of mono ("but excluding all other functionality in the Windows Presentation Foundation component of .NET Framework.")" (this can be used behind closed doors for patent extortion, as we shall cover in the next post as this strategy is alive and well).

MinceR added: "also, if there's a company that should be required to make their terms clear and explicit, it's Microsoft; they have too much of a history of abuse" (including patent abuse).

The main problem I personally have with this announcement is that it basically gets characterised as a lot more than it really is, putting patents aside. Microsoft has been trying for quite some time to associate Visual Studio with Open Source (e.g. by talking about its editor alone) and with GNU/Linux, even though it's not available outside of Microsoft Windows. Xamarin and Miguel de Icaza before Xamarin was formed have played a role in this deception, pretending that .NET is somehow a 'universal' platform which is 'cross-platform' and also 'open'. It's everything BUT those things. It's just Microsoft's proprietary lock-in. It preys on gullible developers who might simply not know better (or lack access to relevant information about it when they get started developing).

"So a few components that get one STUCK inside Microsoft LOCK-IN are being painted "open"."Consider the articles from Microsoft's Mouth and from Tim Anderson, another old friend of Microsoft. One easily gets the impression that this is big news that's unforeseen, but it's not. It's almost old news reannounced, then soon covered by many Microsoft boosters [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. Even an article by Michael Larabel soon enough came out, stating that: "One of the main announcements so far is the formal unveiling of their open.xamarin.com portal. From this open-source portal is where you can fetch Xamarin.IOS for writing mobile apps targeting iOS/OSX Apple devices, Xamarin.Android for writing native mobile apps for Android devices, and Xamarin.Forms as native UIs for iOS/Android/Windows from a single code-base. The code for these projects were opened up in the past few days via GitHub."

So a few components that get one STUCK inside Microsoft LOCK-IN are being painted "open". Big bloody deal... and what about the patents? We shall deal with this topic in our next post.

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