06.19.07

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Novell Helps Microsoft Build Its World Wide Web Fortress of Lockin

Posted in Linspire, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Xandros at 9:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On several occasions in the past we mentioned Silverlight, which is Microsoft’s attempt to hijack by the Web by embedding and incorporating more O/S-specific functionality into Web sites. It’s similar to ActiveX in that respect, but it’s worse. What’s more, it involves heavily-patented technology, which takes us back to the ‘clone’ products debate. Mono and Novell continue their embrace of this worrisome direction, whereby they support Microsoft’s attempt to turn the Net into .NET.

According to Miguel De Icaza, Mono project leader and Novell open-source president, Mono engineers have been working 14-hour days to create an implementation of Silverlight on Linux using Mono, an open-source implementation of Microsoft’s .Net software.

We realise that a lot of dedicated people and labour are involved in making this possible, but would such technology be ‘safe’ if one uses Linux distributions that are not ‘protected’? Red Hat has always avoided Mono for a reason. If there is perceived Linux support for Silverlight, then a nightmare scenario could emerge. Have a look at the following message.

Silverlight is about The Microsoft Web

Silverlight is not about the World Wide Web. It’s about The Microsoft Web. It’s about getting fools to rally around Microsoft. After all of this time and experience with Microsoft, anybody with half a brain will be smart enough to avoid doing that. The last thing you want to be is dependent on Microsoft and set yourself up to be a DIRECT competitor with “Microsoft Cloud Services” down the road. Dumb. Foolish. Stupid. Smart investors won’t invest one dime in your company and might even short your stock.

Remember, it’s Microsoft’s cloud. Microsoft is not investing in huge datacenters all around the world for no reason. And, Microsoft will do whatever it takes, including operating that new online services business at a huge loss, to starve off any smaller competitor that foolishly chose to develop on the Silverlight platform. Microsoft sold $44 BILLION and cleared $18 BILLION profit last year. How many billions did you make last year?

This is apparently something that Novell, being a so-called Linux distributor, is willing to support rather than protest against. The same argument can be applied and used in the context of the ODF-OOXML duel. By supporting technology that benefits a monopoly, you only make that monopoly stronger. Perfectly valid (and cross-platforms/vendor/application) solutions already exist. Even Mark Shuttleworth is not being fooled by this. To quote what he said the other day:

“I have no confidence in Microsoft’s Open XML specification to deliver a vibrant, competitive and healthy market of multiple implementations. I don’t believe that the specifications are good enough, nor that Microsoft will hold itself to the specification when it does not suit the company to do so,” Shuttleworth said.

Novell is a friend bought by Microsoft. As long as it gives power to technologies which literally break compatibility with other Linux distributions, Novell is not a team player in the Linux world. Novell, Xandros, and Linspire should be shunned for taking some money and selling their soul to those who want them destroyed. It is not only them who suffer harm, but those who supplied them with code as well. They took the products they received free of charge for granted.

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3 Comments

  1. gpl1 said,

    June 19, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Microsoft still holds key patents on .NET (though with KSR hopefully they’re much weaker now). YOu might like this Microsoft memo where they say they license them for only “NON-COMMERCIAL” purposes, aka when they released Rotor under FreeBSD, with a BSD license. Sounds like the hobbiest thing again, which was prevelant in the MS-Novell agreement.


    Microsoft’s Response to .NET Patents

    Standards, yes, but licenses required. And they’re nice enough to offer it royalty-free… for now. Somehow this is called going a step further than the standard organizations require. Maybe Jim Miller from Microsoft doesn’t understand that open standards organizations will never charge money for implementing a standard (by definition), yet corporations can change licensing terms at any time. Microsoft already changes license agreements quarterly and each stipulates that users must adhere to any changes in the future or the license is automatically revoked.

    RE: [Dotnet-sscli] Microsoft applies for .Net patent
    From: “Jim Miller \(.NET\)”
    Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 09:57:39 -0800
    Subject: RE: [Dotnet-sscli] Microsoft applies for .Net patent
    To: “Giuseppe Attardi” ,
    List-archive:
    List-help:
    List-id: SSCLI research list
    List-post:
    List-subscribe: ,

    List-unsubscribe: ,

    Thread-index: AcLYFOa5MDhyOAXkQ0ad3orCqQ0qPQAKjk+w
    Thread-topic: [Dotnet-sscli] Microsoft applies for .Net patent

    Beppe,

    As one of the inventors on that patent as well as the person heading up
    the standardization efforts for the CLI, I’d like to explain why I’ve
    never felt the two are in conflict.

    The ECMA process requires that all patents held by member companies that
    are essential for implementing its standards are available under
    “reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms” for the purpose of
    implementing those Standards. This is the normal condition used in all

    International Standards organizations, including both ECMA and ISO.

    But Microsoft (and our co-sponsors, Intel and Hewlett-Packard) went
    further and have agreed that our patents essential to implementing C#
    and CLI will be available on a “royalty-free and otherwise RAND” basis
    for this purpose.

    Furthermore, our release of the Rotor source code base with a specific
    license on its use gives wide use to our patents for a particular
    (non-commercial) purpose, and as we explicitly state we are open to
    additional licenses for other purposes.

    –Jim

    —–Original Message—–

    From: Giuseppe Attardi [mailto:attardi@di.unipi.it]
    Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2003 4:34 AM
    To: dotnet-sscli@di.unipi.it
    Subject: [Dotnet-sscli] Microsoft applies for .Net patent

    News has been published (http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104-984052.html)
    that Microsoft applied last year for a patent that covers .Net:

    http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&
    d=PG01&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=’20030028685′.PGNR.&
    OS=DN/20030028685&RS=DN/20030028685

    This is quite broad claim, including all the architecture, the API, the
    set of types, etc.

    It concludes like this:

    Although the invention has been described in language specific to
    structural ii features and/or methodological acts, it is to be
    understood that the invention defined in the appended claims is not
    necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described. Rather,
    the specific features and acts are disclosed as exemplary forms of
    implementing the claimed invention.

    I feel quite surprised by this news and I would like to hear your
    reactions. I had had the impression that Microsoft wanted to follow the
    path of standardization for .NET as the submission to ECMA seemed to
    prove.

    I have been supportive of the .NET approach, as a means to raise the
    level of support for applications from basic OS primitives to a powerful
    cross-language OO platform.

    I am afraid however that a patent in this area will stifle developments,
    since it will be difficult for researchers to undertake projects whose
    results can only benefit a single, albeit large, company.

    I understand the need for Microsoft to protect their investments in

    .NET, and I was willing to accept patents on specific techniques (e.g.
    the write barrier for GC), but an overall patent for the whole
    architecture seems too broad.

    I would like comments from Microsoft people on this issue and in
    particular how this is going to affect Rotor and other initiatives based
    or related to .NET.

    I am afraid that this initiative might split researchers in two camps,
    and only Microsoft funded projects will attract people working on .NET
    technologies.

    — Beppe

    _______________________________________________
    Dotnet-sscli mailing list
    Dotnet-sscli@di.unipi.it
    http://mailserver.di.unipi.it/mailman/listinfo/dotnet-sscli

    http://www.msversus.org/book/print/1

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 19, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Gravatar

    That is very interesting, gpl1. Here is Grokdoc’s take:

    These standards [ C#/CLI] are burdened with so many patents, claim MS, that only MS can legally distribute an implementation of the .NET framework. However, the Mono developers are adamant that they do not know of any patent that they infringe on.

    Outside of the legallity of reimplementing C#/CLI, is the fact that MS has done the “embrace, extend, extinguish” backwards. As seems to be usual for MS (see the final decision of the EU commision), the published standard is only a subset of MS’ implementation as is discussed

    here on GL. Mono does only implement the official published standards, so MS software will be able to use applications developed on Mono, but not the other way round.

    More writings on the topic are (quite luckily) tagged and therefore grouped.

    http://boycottnovell.com/category/mono/

    I noticed that Novell’s PR blog had posted an item to rave about Moonlight, but it seems rather selfish. They are working with Microsoft against the rest of Linux.

  3. gpl1 said,

    June 20, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Gravatar

    *oops, make that “Microsoft Shared Source Common Language Infrastructure” nstead of BSD, but for FreeBSD and OS X. again non-commercial. Thank you for the grokdoc link, interesting stuff.

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