Exchanging principles for cash?
A Mono (Monkey) in Sheep Clothing
A Linux.com writer is sort of advocating Mono applications again, and without warning about the accompanying dependencies. It ought to become an issue when Novell's software patent poison is treated as though it’s an ordinary thing that needn’t even be flagged in some way. It worries when it’s taken for granted.
It comes at the expense of perfectly good applications that suffer from none of the same issues. Under normal circumstances, it’s best to just ignore (therefore we offer no hyperlink here), but Zonker did this too recently. Later on it was Glyn Moody who innocently linked to this, but again, without a warning that it’s a Mono application, such mistakes are bound to happen. “Avoid and avoid” should be the advice, unless one is a paying customer of Novell.
Writing About GNU/Linux to Later Deter Readers?
Some time ago we saw SourceForge succumbing to the budget of Microsoft Corporation. This is not helpful, no matter how you look at it. On several occasions we also warned that Slashdot appears to be ushering Microsoft’s entrances into the open source universe. It does this in a variety of subtle ways that we explained before [1, 2, 3]
“Microsoft is happy to be serving hot FUD and NewForge is happy to be making more money that way.”All sites are from the same network; so is Linux.com, which lost some credibility when it began embedding large anti-Linux advertisements from Microsoft in its articles which cover GNU/Linux. People were angry about this at the time and the writers, as opposed to publishers, has no control over this.
The excuses that come from writers vary from substanceless to hilarious. The matter of fact is that the Linux-curious would google their way into these article only to find huge graphical ads telling them that “Linux is a Huge Risk” and that “The London Stock Exchange Dumped Linux” (or something along those lines). Microsoft is happy to be serving hot FUD and NewForge is happy to be making more money that way. Writers and readers would be less than happy. This needs to stop.
Rewriting History About Microsoft/Novell Deal
Looking at Linux.com again, it’s unfortunate to find that, at least in the comments, there’s disinformation suggesting that SLED and SLES don’t bring revenue to Microsoft. This is incorrect. Maybe a lie, maybe a denial. The Microsoft/Novell deal was not a case of a “one-time payment,” as some people conveniently put it. We showed this before using Novell’s annual report, in addition to explicit words from Novell and Microsoft.
Novell pays Microsoft based on sales volume. It pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux. They share revenue in a single direction. Microsoft ‘Linux tax’ is real and denying its existence won’t make it magically disappear. It might, on the other hand, lead to dangerous complacency (as in “hush-hush, pass me your earning please because Free software is no longer free”). Remember what Steve Ballmer said last year:
“We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability [...] I do think it [Novell deal] clearly establishes that open source is not free.”
The following comment from Linux.com, which is appended to a recent review of SUSE, is quite telling:
How easily people forget the details of a controversy. The problem with the patent deal is not the payment to Microsoft, nor the interoperability it brings.
The problem with the patent deal was that it eroded the rights granted in the GPLv2 by adding additional restrictions on the code, without tripping any clause in the GPLv2. This is called a loophole. It meant that not every recipient of the GPLv2 code got the same rights, some got more through the “non-aggression treaty” from MS for Novell code. Which is against the spirit of what the GPLv2 was supposed to accomplish.
Novell was cut some slack by the FSF with the GPLv3 by the grandfather clause, but GPL-ed code was never meant to be burdonned with unequal rights through patent promises.
Sometimes people hate and they very well know why. In this case, I don’t think people abhor Novell, but loathe the deal itself.
Disclaimer: I love Linux.com, I have read it for years, so the above is merely feedback from a concerned reader. I also have a project on SourceForge, so there are no hidden/malicious motives. █
“Linux is a very complete and sophisticated operating system. And there is a lot of work being done to improve it in and of itself, particularly to make it easier to use and easier for people to set up on their personal computers.”
–Paul Maritz, Microsoft