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11.25.08

Jose Explains Why Not Mono

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Vista, Windows at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono enthusiasts are already actively pursuing and ensuring that the the next version of Ubuntu will have Mono deep inside its heart. Mono 2.0 that is, with extra Poisonware called WinForms.

It is probably a good time to share the concerns expressed by Jose X, who asked us to post his remarks below.


The “Technical Merits” Red Herring:

Assuming mono has technical merits that impress or you can’t get elsewhere, here is one argument about how there are more important things than technical merit if you are building for the long haul and want to keep costs under control.

And don’t forget this: a subset of the community can fork mono and then maintain or even improve the “technical merits”. The point would be to diverge from the details of Microsoft .NET.

Novell’s “Interop” Fantasy:

“Interop” with Microsoft .NET, where it would really count, is a pipe dream. Microsoft controls what code ships and updates their customers’ systems. They are not beholden to produce bug-free and standards-based .NET code. They are not beholden to limit themselves to the standard without adding undocumented lock-in. Surely they won’t limit themselves and yield ground if they don’t have to. They are not going to give away key items crucial to keeping their monopolies in place. They are also not going to give up the revenue generator that is their hidden source code as it’s secrets change over time. They are not going to give up their option to change the rules or their option not to renew your NDA contract terms after they are up or not to increase the fees, perhaps beyond the breaking point. [See this article]

Gifting Linux to Microsoft While Saving Microsoft Lots of Money:

“Additionally, in the case of a fork, we test Microsoft’s behavior to forks and to code being develop in areas where they have many patents.”By avoiding .NET or perhaps to a lesser degree by forking mono significantly, we lessen patent issues and the ability of Microsoft to EEE (embrace, extend, extinguish) and to leverage their existing huge investments in .NET. Additionally, in the case of a fork, we test Microsoft’s behavior to forks and to code being develop in areas where they have many patents. Better now then later. Better to learn now than later when we could have much more to lose and to recode.

Microsoft already made the huge investments. Giving them extra bang for the buck spent is the exact opposite of what the FOSS community should want. I’m still waiting for Microsoft to open up their core platforms essentially completely. Until that happens, their monopolies, the dollars they spent to fight real FOSS and Linux, etc, all hurt FOSS and open platforms. To fight such a strong, established, and committed enemy of software openness and transparency and of user and developer freedom, you want to see devalued the assets where they have put their dollars. Don’t help grow mind share in .NET or the .NET ecosystem.

Here is a comment titled “It’s so obvious.”

Mono will just improve the situation for Microsoft by making porting Linux applications to Windows a no-brainer.

To which I would add that …

(a) “FOSS” on Windows/Vista is not FOSS any more than HTML running on Internet E is FOSS: in both cases the “open source” completely depends on the lower closed source software layer to function.

(b) Microsoft can more easily and subtly sabotage FOSS running on Windows/Vista than they can closed source apps running there. And sabotage (as well as pre-design of “special” API) will happen as the season dictates a beneficial risk/reward ratio for Microsoft.

“Generally, there will be more and better Windows apps if there are more and better .NET apps.”(c) Apps ported to Windows grow the value of Windows. This more so the better these apps are. Generally, there will be more and better Windows apps if there are more and better .NET apps. The more FOSS ports there are to Windows, the more Microsoft can keep their monopolies entrenched by keeping up with Linux/FOSS. Most users won’t bother to go through the hoops and over the hurdles if they can get most of what they want right where they are.

(d) Exclusivity gives extra value to a platform. There will be more and better exclusive Windows apps if there are more and better mono apps BECAUSE Microsoft can more easily embrace and extend open source mono apps to incorporate into their integrated software. They study the code but hide their extra lock-in sauces (thus saving on perhaps 90%+ of the work required). .NET is where Microsoft has an advantage over everyone else. They have invested the most in .NET. They control the direction of .NET.

(e) Novell is contracted to work for Microsoft. Giving copyrights to Novell or helping improve software and systems key to their business (e.g., OpenSUSE), will be helping Microsoft. Microsoft has a better chance of getting the source code you give Novell but with a special proprietary license instead of the GPL. [Such an automatic pact may already be in place.]

Here is another comment titled “On tactics and the nature of Free Software.”

Let me say something positive for Novell. Assuming .NET becomes well-established and the greater Linux FOSS community and Linux commercial players have already suffered, then Novell might be sitting pretty. They can play the lock-in game against Microsoft, essentially through a fork/extension of .NET. Of course, the best lock-in is closed source. Novell has shown they love and likely prefer closed source (Netware). Not to mention that Novell may even fold or be bought out by Microsoft.

Microsoft has stated they will deal with those serious about licensing. Only to those that are serious will they reveal the patents and other details. If you don’t have it, I can look for a link to a recent interview that revealed no less than this much in very explicit terms.

Before closing the book on this, you may want to consider asking something similar from Linux vendors or other vendors. It’s easier to contrast responses this way. See what Red Hat offers the community, and see what Microsoft offers. Actually, we already know what Red Hat offers and what Microsoft offers, and the differences are plenty.

Just like with the benefits Microsoft gains from so-called ‘piracy’, they gain similar and greater benefits from the spread of .NET clones people will use for no charge.

“Novell and everyone that advocates use of .NET or clones are helping to spread Microsoft’s technological “drugs””Novell and everyone that advocates use of .NET or clones are helping to spread Microsoft’s technological “drugs”; however, in this respect, mono is worse than Windows and Office. The extra damage arising from mono and other clones vs. from user level Microsoft “drugs” is that the former are not end products to themselves but propagate as they are used by developers to create apps. Further, a stronger “addiction”/commitment/dependency results from a complex set of API vs. what most ordinary users have to deal with when they use end products. [Do note that most developers limit themselves to a rather small set of projects, languages, etc, because of the large overhead learning curve.] Spreading .NET or clones is a serious win for Microsoft. The battle for developers is very important.

Without an open source .NET clone, Microsoft’s proprietary offerings would be much less attractive to businesses. Most managers and even some developers have some faith that a “second source” is possible. In any case, risks for using Microsoft .NET are lowered if there is something similar enough in the market that is FOSS; thus, mono has increased the attraction from managers to Microsoft .NET.

Mono apps are easier for Microsoft and for anyone to port to Windows. These ports help Microsoft retain their lock-in and levers through the increased value that accrues to Windows. Additionally, it’s easier for Microsoft to gain control (”manage”) FOSS apps than closed apps.

Mono (and other Novell owned code.. assuming they own mono or have a license to sub-license) is even worse than would be a different .NET clone owned by someone else to the degree Novell is already working very closely and is financially dependent on Microsoft so as to be that much more likely to give special non-GPL licenses to Microsoft. Thus, the GPL only hampers/checks everyone except Microsoft — a very clear gain in advantage for Microsoft over everyone else.

Novell developers are not naive enough to think that interoperability is possible. Enough said.

“They also want to weaken the strategic advantages Sun gains from Java and OO.org, thereby making Microsoft’s path to holding and growing the lock-in that much more secure.”Look at the basic facts, Novell is a mostly proprietary company, helping a very powerful monopolist hold and gain ground. They aren’t fooled by the interoperability spiel they push. Novell is more than willing to participate and agree with Microsoft’s deceptive maneuvers (like the patent scare with customers) to grab extra money from clients.

Novell wants to eliminate Red Hat competition with full battle guns, again, helping to give a very significant strategic gain to Microsoft. They also want to weaken the strategic advantages Sun gains from Java and OO.org, thereby making Microsoft’s path to holding and growing the lock-in that much more secure.

The list can go on and on. I have to expect a lot of the developers defending Novell, e.g., those developers posting here, many of whom have read all of this before, are well aware of the details… yet they continue to defend Novell.

Mono is the devil

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83 Comments

  1. Gentoo User (and proud of it) said,

    November 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm

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    Hey Roy, just a quick note to let you know I finally realized that your little power play was nothing more than a lame way to let everybody know you’re threatened by people who criticize the dishonest things that some of your friends do here and elsewhere, not to mention having the temerity to disagree with the spiel you’re pushing – especially when it’s plain wrong.

    That crap about me not posting from a Gentoo box was nothing more than childish foot stomping, as is your marking all my comments with your lame red text. Gordon emailed me a list of *all* the posts I’ve made to your blog, including the first few I made as “Slashdot User” mentioning your troll pal twitter. Not surprising considering I landed here after reading through one of those endless shill threads he regularly pollutes Slashdot with. But you’re perfectly OK with him promoting your blog over there, right? And yet, of all the people who have had the temerity to mention that little thorn on your side, you decided to go ballistic on me. Because my handle is “Gentoo User”, but I was posting from an XP box at work. Yeah, sure.

    You are a petty, immature child Roy, or at least you behaved like one. You are uncomfortable with people bringing up the disruption that your friends wreak upon other websites, but you’re perfectly OK with them doing that to begin with. And completely outraged when someone does that to yours (if my 12 posts can be considered that). As long as it’s not on your lawn, isn’t it? It’s funny how you guys go on and on about the “SLOG”, but have no problem whatsoever using whatever means necessary to push your line. Sockpuppets? No problem. Inaccuracies and outright lies like the ones you posted yesterday and people forced you to correct? No problem. I hope you’re happy with *your* SLOG.

    And that thing about me posting racist remarks here, that was a nice touch for sure. I saved a copy of all the pages where my comments appeared, and I verified that they still appear in the google cache system, and I forwarded them to a few people, just in case you decide to attack me for that as well.

    Oh and Jose_X: Sorry for the offtopic on your article :)

    Note: comment arrived from a witch hunter that does not even use GNU/Linux.

  2. twitter said,

    November 25, 2008 at 3:29 pm

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    “Gentoo User” says:

    Sorry for the offtopic on your article

    Have you ever posted on topic? Can you provide me a link where you prove yourself a biggot as well as a stalker? Thanks for the usual nothing.

  3. Gentoo User (and proud of it) said,

    November 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm

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    @twitter: As Roy told someone else, do your homework. Google site search is your friend. My two first comments here were posted as “Slashdot User”, if you’re actually interested in ferreting out my evil actions.

    I assume you meant “bigot” there, can you please point me to some example of that? Between this and Roy’s claim I posted some racist comments, I’m beginning to think you two are either completely off the rails or just plain malicious. Bigoted against what, exactly? What do you mean?

    On the other hand, I’ve seen you accuse people of “hating” you and free software (as if) merely for disagreeing with the stuff you post on Slashdot so you’ll forgive me if I’m not surprised at any smear attempts from the likes of you at this point.

    Note: comment arrived from a witch hunter that does not even use GNU/Linux.

  4. twitter said,

    November 25, 2008 at 3:48 pm

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    More of the same, eh? I did not expect more. Here are haters and abuse for you. These are the things losers resort to when they are wrong.

  5. Gentoo User (and proud of it) said,

    November 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm

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    In a way I’m rather grateful that Roy does not delete comments, so your clever grade school cop-outs and obvious desperation are well documented for everyone to ponder. And in any case, my comment was directed at Roy, not you.

    Note: comment arrived from a witch hunter that does not even use GNU/Linux.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm

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    You are encouraged to take your off-topic personal smears where they belong (not here). You have also just made libelous accusations.

  7. Gentoo User (and proud of it) said,

    November 25, 2008 at 4:30 pm

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    On BoycottNovell, being accused of bigotry (without proof) is not a smear, but “hey by the way, this guy has 20 accounts on Slashdot” (which you know very well to be true) is. That’s good to know.

    Note: comment arrived from a witch hunter that does not even use GNU/Linux.

  8. max stirner said,

    November 25, 2008 at 7:28 pm

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    excellent read, thanks.. my ubuntu is mono-cleansed for now, but who knows about the next version. perhaps those debian-purists aren’t so crazy after all

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 25, 2008 at 7:32 pm

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    I’d say realists, not purists.

    I’ve just noticed (but can’t confirm yet) that Fedora steers away from Go-OO too. Its live CD dropped Mono.

  10. G. Michaels said,

    November 25, 2008 at 8:00 pm

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    Just in case he doesn’t check back, I emailed Gentoo User to let him know you clarified that you had not accused him of posting “Nazi” things, if that’s what you’re referring to by “libelous accusations”. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what it is that you’re talking about.

    Other than that though, good job on both you and your nymshifter friend. I shouldn’t have recommended to Gentoo User that he post here again, if I had known you were going to sic your attack drone on him, but unfortunately I did. My point that you are deeply threatened by people who know what your collaborators do outside of here was well founded.

    BTW, proof of Gentoo User’s disruption and trolling of your blog would be welcome. I believe this is the 7th or 8th time I’ve asked. Just so I can compare what you give me to the list of posts I have.

    And as usual, to the readers of this blog, I’d be very cautious about taking comments on linked stories as proof of anything. Roy’s cadre have the habit of descending on articles to push the party line, and one of them is a notorious Slashdot troll that operates more than a dozen shill accounts and primarily advertises this website there. Click on my name for detailed information.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 25, 2008 at 8:05 pm

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    If you have issues with twitter or Slashdot, please take it up with them. It’s mostly me and Shane who run the site. We ask nobody to link to us, so stop mischaracterising it.

    Your only contribution here are baseless smears and the same goes for the nameless chap who goes by the name “Gentoo user”. If you have nothing of substance or truth to contribute, please find other Web sites to harass.

  12. G. Michaels said,

    November 25, 2008 at 8:28 pm

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    Having the temerity (as Gentoo User said) to mention the fact that one of your collaborators maintains 14 accounts on Slashdot and uses them to disrupt, shill and heavily promote your blog is not a smear Roy. Do you want me to post a link to the definition of the word? You seem to like that a lot.

    Maybe you can write up a post debunking all this:

    http://slashdot.org/~SockDisclosure/journal/214377

    Can you? Hell, I’m sure you have time, twitter is your dear friend and you nailed Gentoo User to the wall for mentioning him twice. I’m *sure* that you can take all those links and information and provide a rebuttal for each one. You’re very good at that sort of thing. Wouldn’t that be a great investment of your time? To put all this behind you once and for all. I’m sure that you can even find proof that twitter’s sad saga on Slashdot is the result of direct action by Microsoft, Novell or Cthulhu. As opposed to, you know, operating14 accounts, shilling his own posts and being generally obnoxious to the community.

    Still waiting for proof of Gentoo User’s trolling, smears and disruption, BTW. 12th or 13th time I’ve asked. I forget. Instead of snickering with twitter on IRC about how his “stalker is back, lol”, maybe you could take 10 minutes to do that.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  13. Jose_X said,

    November 25, 2008 at 8:51 pm

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    I want to cross link to a thread on patents and mono.

    I’m trying to see if the scare that begins to be described here http://boycottnovell.com/2008/11/22/protection-for-use-of-mono/#comment-39291 (see also the follow-up replies underneath that comment) is nonsense or has some amount of merit.

    If, as suggested/alleged in that thread, **merely using** some part of mono (or of some other MS protocol) within a larger framework can be and perhaps likely might be a violation of one or more MS patents, then we really don’t want to spread these MS protocols throughout FOSS. [see also http://boycottnovell.com/2008/11/22/protection-for-use-of-mono/#comment-39317 ]

  14. twitter said,

    November 25, 2008 at 9:20 pm

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    My Slashdot activity is best understood here. My writing and contributions speak for themselves, thank you.

    Gentoo User, you are right, Google is my friend but Roy has already written you up. G. Michaels, I don’t think you have ever done anything here but heckle. Looking you up, I find 41 hits. Let’s look and see what we find:

    5/5 posts here twitter stalking.
    2/2 here
    0/2 twitter trolls here but 2/2 insults for Roy. Advising your fellow heckler/nym to “walk away,” droll dude.
    3/3 twitter troll here and a virtual admission of nym shifting.
    1/1 twitter troll here.
    1/1 twitter troll here
    1/2 twitter troll here
    1/2 twitter troll here and you have the nerve to ask for proof of your trolling. I hope this list will satisfy you.
    1/1 twitter troll here where you graciously post on topic by harassing me on a list of M$ harassment.
    1/1 twitter troll here
    1/1 twitter troll here
    1/1 twitter troll here
    1/1 twitter stalking here
    1/1 twitter troll here
    1/1 twitter stalking here, you rhetorically asked why I have more than one account on Slashdot and proposed libelous reasons of your own.
    1/1 twitter stalking here
    1/1 twitter harassment here
    1/1 here
    1/1 here
    1/1 twitter stalking here
    1/1 here
    1/1 here
    1/1 twitter stalking here

    So that’s 28 posts in about as many days, a pretty obsessive record even if you don’t use nyms through a botnet. I could find no other comments by you about anything else. Every thing written by you has been to heckle the site, directly or indirectly by libeling twitter. I think every post you make using this nym should be flagged with a reference to this documentation of your behavior.

  15. G. Michaels said,

    November 25, 2008 at 10:06 pm

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    @twitter: I’ve posted my reply here:

    http://sites.google.com/site/gordymichaels/Home/november-25-2008

    To avoid further disruption (and yes, I am cognizant of that) and spam filters that catch more than a few links on a post.

    I am sorry I couldn’t figure out how to enable comments on that page, apparently it has to do with collaboration settings on Google Sites which I am unable to figure out at this point. That tool is pretty nifty though.

    Note: writer of this comment adds absolutely nothing but stalking and personal attacks against readers, as documented here.

  16. David Gerard said,

    November 26, 2008 at 9:41 am

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    “FOSS” on Windows/Vista is not FOSS any more than HTML running on Internet E is FOSS: in both cases the “open source” completely depends on the lower closed source software layer to function.

    Just a note – although there’s a lot of truth to your statement, I’ve found that people developing FOSS for Win32 are generally very happy to hear from users running it on Wine. To the point where such apps as VirtualDub (a very nice and popular video editor) treat Wine as a supported platform. (Rather than develop a Unix-specific port.)

    At that point it’s more about the developer’s bad taste in APIs ;-)

    The problem then becomes apps that require .NET. You can install Mono or .NET in Wine (though .NET 2.0 still doesn’t work properly once it’s in), but it’s still a non-free stack. Until software patents are killed properly.

  17. Needs Sunlight said,

    November 26, 2008 at 1:27 pm

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    There is one essential point missing from the article above and that is that the whole Mono pox is a bad imitation of Java.

  18. Omar Hafez said,

    November 26, 2008 at 8:15 pm

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    @Needs Sunlight

    I agree..

  19. Omar Hafez said,

    November 26, 2008 at 8:18 pm

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    @ G. Michaels

    You have successfully polluted the page with all your off-topic spam,
    of course with help from your friend Gentoo User.

    Thanks to both of you very much for that..!

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 26, 2008 at 8:21 pm

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    Other than embedding what would seem like promotional links, I can’t figure out how to stress this point about Java over and over again.

    Stop using the Microsoft API, people. You help Microsoft. By helping Microsoft, you harm Free software, which no company explicitly threatens like Microsoft does.

  21. Ilde Giron said,

    November 27, 2008 at 2:27 am

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    Every time I look at the posts attacking Roy I get more and more convinced that the posters are microsofties. Their modus operandi is so standard that it is easily recognizable, no mater who the poster claims to be.
    On the other hand, I think real Linux/Foss developers are well aware of microsoft’s intentions and are surely avoiding Mono –the program– and the other Mono –Miguel–, and that the main contributors to .net on Linux are microsofties in disguise, trying to create traction between programmers.
    Roy deserves all my respect and I know it’s no easy task to deal with all the attacks and defamations he receives in this blog.
    No easy task, but I think It really shows us why it is worth to boycott novell and microsoft.
    Best regards.

  22. makdaver said,

    November 27, 2008 at 2:46 am

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    Well, congratulations to your full-grown paranoia…

  23. Dummy00001 said,

    November 27, 2008 at 6:05 am

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    I understand all the flames against mono.

    But on the opposite site, if you’d ever bother to check, where about lion share of developers work – I mean Windows platform – people are extremely happy that they now can also use Linux to develop for .Net and finally break free from M$ lock-in.

    You are kind of right, but you lack wider view in your Novell bashing. Or “religious bashing” like something often coming from RMS.

    I do not want to sound as I protect shills like De Icaza, yet your bashing is largely groundless. It looks more like you read too much FUD from M$.

  24. AlexH said,

    November 27, 2008 at 7:07 am

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    @Dummy0001: RMS rarely bashes people to be honest – a lot of people seem to think he does, but if you actually listen to the speeches he makes (or at least read transcripts) he’s actually extremely practical. When he criticises someone or some company, it’s for something extremely specific, and when they change he changes his criticism.

  25. Omar Hafez said,

    November 27, 2008 at 8:17 am

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    I completely agree with that.

    And honestly, I must admit that I’m very thankful to Roy Schestowitz for revealing the truths of the Novell-Microsoft relationships and the showing the threats of the Mono project to software freedom around the globe.

    And yes, it’s not a easy job to achieve, but well done Mr. Roy!

  26. Jose_X said,

    November 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Just posted a related comment (about porting to Windows) here http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2008112601835OSBZSW .

    Digium/asterisk seem to (mis)place a high value on keeping their software working well on Windows out of fear Microsoft will replace them. News flash: if Microsoft will use levers to replace you, they only have to be good enough if the platform is Windows.

    We don’t beat Microsoft without attacking the root of their power and winning that battle. [For this argument, I'm implying their OS is the root]

    Dummy00001, I don’t think everyone is happy lappy as you state. One of the reasons many went to Java programming or to web programming was to build apps that could not be held hostage so easily by Microsoft.

    FOSS is Linux’ “secret weapon”. Many people using MSware are rebuilding the wheel and not contributing extensively to the quality of that platform in generally useful ways.

    Many of them will switch when Linux is very good enough. Many will then declare their Microsoft investments as legacy.

    My view is that there might be some use for mono, but the stage for that comes later and is for dealing with “legacy” and not for creating new applications/code, especially, if this code is in tune with what MS is currently pushing as their latest and greatest.

    Don’t confuse goals which serve to crack and dismantle Microsoft’s monopoly grasp by having Linux improve faster, surpass Windows, and keep going (ie, give Linux the app advantage as mentioned in the blog entry), vs. legacy management of existing built Windows-based software (help existing msapps run on Linux).

    The FOSS dotnet “clones” market will develop automatically as one way to deal with legacy dotnet. Think of wine. Is it being used mostly to allow Windows apps to run on Linux or is it being used to create new applications?

    There are many variables. I think FOSS devs should focus on advancing the Linux value proposition as the best way to help level the app playing field. The more focused we do this, the faster Microsoft’s grips can fall. We can overwhelm the Monopolist ecosystem, but not if we help it keep up with our gains.

    Instead of mono, why not support something like http://www.parrot.org, Qt, Java, flash/web, etc, for those that want mostly cross-platform? Dotnet is home to Microsoft’s money and expertise.

  27. ml2mst said,

    November 28, 2008 at 2:59 am

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    Thank you very much for this post Roy and Jose

    I’m writing a post about this issue in AOLU now and hope many people will protest.

    In the meantime I posted a request to drop MONO on Ubuntu Brainstorm:

    http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/16026/

    If Ubuntu chooses to be the second Microsoft SUSE Linux, I will have to quit all my support, like I did with SUSE.

    NOMO!

  28. changturkey said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:56 am

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    @ml2mst
    I would do the same (switch to Fedora).

  29. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2008 at 9:48 am

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    Fedora’s Live CD is Mono-free, but the full installation is not.

  30. changturkey said,

    November 28, 2008 at 12:59 pm

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    So is there any distro that does not have Mono by default?

  31. Jose_X said,

    November 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm

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    [This reply is to add a little balance to the blog entry and to an earlier comment I wrote above yesterday. The focus is more on Windows ports than on mono.]

    Theory meets practice…

    I take the most aggressive stance I can against Microsoft, but to avoid Windows, we have to make sure Linux keeps improving aggressively (“exclusive” apps certainly add to the overall Linux value) and always try to package it well and focus on getting it adopted.

    Even for new installations, some people and groups will benefit significantly more short-term from specifically mono today (despite the existence of similar cross-platform alternatives) and vs. attempting to go with Linux. Also, porting to Windows is something some groups don’t want to risk not doing, even if it adds some hurt to the wider Linux push that would ultimately help them more long-term in most cases. Further, there are some strategic reasons for porting some things. Ex, arguably, firefox and OO.o are best ported (I’m not convinced, but this can be a compromise if we want to accept Linux adoption won’t rise significantly soon no matter what). These two also serve as platforms, allowing Windows users/devs to target them while still on Windows and hence possibly spread FF/OO apis instead of IE/MSO. Another issue is support for legacy Windows vs. say Vista: keep Vista devoid of apps but perhaps help support older OS. OO.o might hurt the MSO cash cow more as a Windows port (?).

    To use an analogy, in fighting a widespread fire, there are reasons for spending resources to fight portions of it that will not contribute heavily to putting out the whole mess (eg, maybe human lives are in near-term danger in this region). Also, it is useless to avoid fighting peripheral portions of it and then also avoid attacking the main source of its fuel aggressively.

    [What was described in the blog entry at the top of the thread would be akin to how one would mostly focus on "cutting off the air supply" of the (Monopolist) fire or getting the main oil, wood, or gas supply neutralized.]

    Giving Novell the benefit of the doubt, I would say through the fire analogy that they are dealing with some near-term dangers to human lives. [This is even more true if we were to include Microsoft.]

    Also, unlike the fire analogy, we can get to the crux of the OS issue without having to work our way in, simply by developing for Linux (ie, we don’t have to first build for Windows and then port to Linux or anything like that.. we can just bypass Windows when we want to improve Linux). And by “Linux”, I mean Linux-like FOSS OS.

    .. In any case, the best move IMO is to improve the Linux proposition with *all hands on deck* and try to get users to make new investments in Linux and not in Windows. Remember that, today (unlike years ago), there are many ways to get users to sample Linux fairly easily (eg, Live distros). If Linux is very good (from user and from dev pov), developers will target it even if they use Windows at home/work and users will plan for it and seek it out.

  32. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Gravatar

    @changturkey: Debian.

  33. AlexH said,

    November 28, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Gravatar

    @Jose: precisely!

    Very few products have ever won customers by making it difficult for them to switch.

  34. Jose_X said,

    November 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Very few products have ever won customers by making it difficult for them to switch.

    I agree, Alex, that is why Linux GUI in many respects resembles what came before. It’s why POSIX is still alive and kicking in the FOSS world. That is also why dotnet and C# reuse so much of what already existed, eg, through Java.

    Mono people could have been working on a product to get people to move off MSdotnet onto something similar enough but different and where them and not Microsoft leads. Java fits that purpose already in many ways (more so in recent years), but maybe the mono people and later Novell wanted something for themselves for business or other reasons.

    Is Novell working to get Silverlight users onto Flash or something else or are they working to make it more likely that Flash users will move to Silverlight?

    What is the deal with Novell’s push for OOXML?

    Is Novell working to facilitate moving from Microsoft or towards Microsoft?

    And from the end user point of view, the underlying technology is immaterial (it’s the L&F and the included functionality that matters), so why build with mono, OOXML, etc, instead of with something else?

    Remember, to EEE, you start by embracing.

    And let’s not forget that switching isn’t only about making it easier since the easiest is simply to stay put. I advocate that we work on Linux to make it really stand out so that users have to switch in order to gain many of they benefits they would want. You need motivations for switching. If most things appear same old same old, the closed source hooks and other lock-in will ultimately mean that everyone will gravitate towards the closed source. How do we maximize the likelihood of Linux being stand out great? We focus on integrating with Linux and on leveraging Linux to the max and not waste time on ports.

    One final issue: patents are certainly not going to be insignificant when it comes to hardware design that would best support these platforms. I’d rather support Sun if I have to pick between them and Microsoft.

  35. Jose_X said,

    November 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Our Killer App

    Linux’ clear advantage and exclusive killer app is source code. To the extent we leverage that maximally in our products, Microsoft will not be able to keep up. We need to do a better job today. I have a plan forward along these lines, and I’m sure many others do as well. Forks will be an important concept. Source will rule over binaries. We will bring source code to the people [which means we will make it easy for most users to tap into source code]. Also, source code not just of software.

  36. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Gravatar

    There’s more to it than just access. Think of it as getting fish versus learning to fish and receiving a rod.

  37. bsd guy said,

    November 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Uh, mind if I ask why the bsd(talk) daemon is used for evil purposes here?

  38. AlexH said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Gravatar

    @Jose: some of these question you’re really asking the wrong person. E.g:

    Is Novell working to get Silverlight users onto Flash or something else or are they working to make it more likely that Flash users will move to Silverlight?

    I imagine part of that is the fact that GNU/Linux is so far only a Flash consumer, which is useless if you actually want to design content. But you should ask Novell. Ditto:

    What is the deal with Novell’s push for OOXML?

    I don’t see them “pushing” for OOXML, only for decent OOXML compatibility.

    It’s as simple as this: OOXML is the default format in the latest version of Office. MS didn’t do that because Novell promised to support it in OpenOffice.org. As the default format, it makes it immediately interesting because people will save to it.

    And in fact, Novell have put very little effort into it. The people coding the OOXML support for OOo aren’t Novell. But those facts aren’t welcome here.

  39. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Don’t be a revisionist, please.

  40. AlexH said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Gravatar

    @Roy: how about “don’t put words into my mouth?”

    I didn’t say they didn’t contribute to OOXML; I said they don’t push it. You can equate the two; I don’t. Novell’s contributions to ODF outweigh those to OOXML.

  41. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Gravatar

    As Microsoft once put it, “we agree to disagree.” I was there watching Novell and OOXML for years. I know what they did.

    By the way, does the word “Superb” strike a nerve?

  42. AlexH said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Gravatar

    @Roy: no, “superb” doesn’t, because I don’t think you understand what Miguel meant by that at all.

    You say you know what they did, yet you don’t accept that you can implement OOXML in free software. Those two positions don’t reconcile.

  43. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Gravatar

    I know the whole sentence in context (I believe that it was first highlighted here in Boycott Novell), but it was just symbolic and Miguel’s attitude — as well as others’, esp. at Novell — truly showed at the time.

    Novell received a lot of money from Microsoft to implement OOXML support. Do you think Microsoft pushed towards something that helps Free software?

  44. AlexH said,

    November 28, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Gravatar

    If Microsoft paid Novell to implement OOXML support – which I’m not particularly convinced they did – they didn’t get very good value for money.

    Novell plugged in the XSLT translator that MS funded and had developed, and did nothing more. The people developing native OOXML support for OpenOffice.org, and which ships in version 3.0, are Sun.

    So perhaps Microsoft should ask Novell for a refund and give the money to Sun.

  45. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 28, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Gravatar

    You’re returning to an old discussion, which possibly you pretend we did not have. Novell implemented OOXML in 2006. Sun resisted it. Novell had given up before the battle started and by doing so it helped Microsoft.

  46. AlexH said,

    November 29, 2008 at 3:50 am

    Gravatar

    As I said before, it wasn’t Novell who implemented it – they just plugged it in. You keep trying to deny that.

    And as for resistance – did Sun make their “no” vote public like IBM did? I didn’t see that…

  47. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 29, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Gravatar

    See Erwin’s blog for example.

  48. esperanz said,

    November 29, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Gravatar

    Alex is right; Novell only coded a quick-and-dirty OOXML-converter that probably no-one ever used – Sun on the other hand developed the generic OOXML-import function for OOo, putting in some serious man-hours. You can hardly call that ‘resistance’; utter rubbish.

  49. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 29, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Gravatar

    When did that happen? Look back at dates.

  50. esperanz said,

    November 29, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Gravatar

    2007

  51. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 29, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Gravatar

    The earliest Sun worked on OOXML-related code, AKAIK, was late 2007 (at the earliest). I think it was early 2008.

  52. AlexH said,

    November 29, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Gravatar

    Early 2008?

    The new xmlfilter project was already releasing code in 2006, and it had been delayed because the existing Word / RTF / etc. filters needed to be refactored into a single code base.

  53. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 29, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Gravatar

    It’s about tokenisation, not OOXML implementation.

  54. AlexH said,

    November 29, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Gravatar

    @Roy: er, no – the tokenizer is the part which just reads bits out of the files. If you look, you’ll see that the important parts – the actual import core – is the shared code part of the filter, which was a new design to incorporate OOXML support.

  55. Jo Shields said,

    November 29, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy is lying? Gasp, shock horror. Never saw THAT coming.

    Boycottnovell is fiction, not fact.

  56. AlexH said,

    November 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Gravatar

    @Jo: I don’t think he’s lying. He’s not a developer, though, and wouldn’t understand jargon like ‘tokenizer’.

  57. Jo Shields said,

    November 29, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Gravatar

    If it’s not lying, then what is it? Saying things which are an expression of dissenting opinion is fine. Saying things which are provably false (and he knows are false) is lying. Roy is a liar. What else could he be?

    Boycottnovell is fiction, not fact.

  58. AlexH said,

    November 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, that’s the point – I don’t think he knows it’s false; he just doesn’t know either way.

    Most people think the OOXML filter in OpenOffice.org is new code – in fact, it mostly isn’t. The way it’s stored on disk is different – XML rather than binary – but the basic data structures are extremely similar to the Word format. OOXML support, then, is just a question of bringing that up-to-date and adding the relatively few new features (in the case of Word).

  59. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Gravatar

    [Belated reply because I've only just gotten back from the gym.] Quick answers: I *am* a developer and the tokeniser facilitated more than just OOXML. Watch the chart.

  60. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 6:58 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: your answer is basically nonsense, because you’re not a developer.

    A tokenizer is a piece of code which parses a file into chunks like “string” and “integer”. OOXML needs no special tokenizer; it’s an XML format.

    The complexity isn’t in pulling data out of the file formats; the complexity is understanding the grammar and structure, which is a much higher level (e.g., the difference between flex and bison).

  61. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Gravatar

    A tokenizer is a piece of code which parses a file into chunks like “string” and “integer”.

    You told me nothing new.

    you’re not a developer.

    Oh,wait. You did tell me something I did now know.

    I actually am a developer.

    The complexity isn’t in pulling data out of the file formats; the complexity is understanding the grammar and structure, which is a much higher level (e.g., the difference between flex and bison).

    I’ve programmed in flex and yacc, but you’re side-stepping the point that Sun facilitates other formats. See RTF.

  62. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Gravatar

    I’m side-stepping the issue?! I don’t think so. You’re focussing on the most trivial part of the OOXML support, because it’s the only piece which is OOXML-specific.

    RTF and .doc support already existed at this point. This work was unnecessary, except to support OOXML.

  63. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Gravatar

    There are more than 2 formats out there. WordPerfect and that Chinese one, for starters.

  64. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Gravatar

    But those two formats don’t use the same importer. OOXML, .doc and RTF do.

    “The Chinese one” is UOF I presume.

  65. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, that makes at least 4.

  66. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Gravatar

    I find it hilarious that you frequently accuse me of side-stepping, and then when we talk about when Sun started OOXML development your response is, “Look! Wordperfect and UOF!”. Completely irrelevant.

    What is also hilarious is that you’re trying to convince people that Sun implemented this OOXML support in less than a year.

  67. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Gravatar

    You can look back at the writings and rebuttals from Rob Weir. You are echoing Microsoft here.

  68. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Gravatar

    I doubt you’ll find that much Rob Weir (IBM) wrote about the subject at hand (Sun and the OOo OOXML filters).

    Keep changing the subject, Roy. I know you find these facts inconvenient. Sadly, they’re true and verifiable.

  69. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft tried to claim OOXML support from OOo (blame Novell) and had the claim rebutted.

  70. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Gravatar

    Roy, we’re talking about when development on the OOXML support started, and I linked to the blog post by the developers who described the model they were using and the announcement of the initial code drop.

    You can claim that was “rebutted” but CVS logs don’t lie, sorry. You can’t revise the history in revision control :D

  71. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Gravatar

    The post was about tokens, not OOXML.

  72. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Gravatar

    Hahahaha :)

    Read it again, Roy:

    This weblog entry will give a brief overview of the new filter for Microsoft Word formats to be used in Writer. It covers the motives for implementing a new filter and the concept used.

    It is a new filter. They’re not talking about “tokens”, they’re talking about how they designed a new import core to work with several tokenizers to support different Word formats simultaneously.

  73. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Filter is not enough to herald support for OOXML, no more than grabbing a kitchen knife to chop some carrots is an act of murder.

  74. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Gravatar

    Er. So what exactly would be required to herald support?

    And why does OOo3.0 claim to support it?

  75. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Gravatar

    Er. So what exactly would be required to herald support?

    Actually implementing OOXML is support. Setting up more elegant frameworks is not.

    And why does OOo3.0 claim to support it?

    Here’s why.

  76. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Haha, ok. There is no OOXML support in OpenOffice.org 3.0, it’s just all a figment of our collective imagination…. ^_^

  77. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Another interesting blog post from August 2007:

    If you read the weekly schedule for Sun’s OpenOffice.org development team [..] then you may have noticed already that it includes OOXML related tasks for months now.

    Months now. So much for early 2008 :D

  78. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m sure you’re ecstatic, Alex.

  79. AlexH said,

    November 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Actually, being able to read those files and re-save them in my preferred format does please me, yes.

  80. oiaohm said,

    November 30, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Gravatar

    Want to stuff Novell up. Attacking them this way really does not do it.

    Suse is a Linux Distribution it has the same weaknesses as every other one.

    Distributions depend on the following to exist.
    Users need of them for configuration software.
    Users need of them for software.

    Linux standard base is almost to the point of breaking the second point.

    Configuration software KDE and Other windows managers are starting to go into the system configuration business. Novell deal with Microsoft could be the best thing for Linux if Novell Distrobutions no longer have any importance. Ie Novell will have to then sell the patented locked stuff to everyone to make money.

    Everything is a double sided sword. Same with video encoding and decoding. ATI Intel VIA and Nvidia are all working on GPU accelerated forms. This reduces the people trying to sell those patents to having to talk and threaten 4 companies. In Microsoft case they are not in a really good bargaining location. Reason if they don’t fold to the GPU companies they don’t get acceleration themselves.

    Double sided sword. Patents are only useful if you have a large market to threaten. Reduce Linux Market size to a limited number of parties to threaten and a lot of problems go by by.

    Killing of the current world Distributions is a requirement.

  81. Tohm De said,

    November 30, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, so much for Sun as ‘defender against (or at least resistance-fighter against) OOXML. ;)

  82. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 30, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Gravatar

    They were fighting, unlike Novell.

  83. Tohm De said,

    November 30, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Gravatar

    Fighting it and implementing it at the same time? I’d say, some individuals withing Sun had a strong ideological stand against OOXML while the company as the whole was realistic enough to do what had to be done.

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