09.30.09

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Microsoft Might Support Intel’s Moblin to Make GNU/Linux More Microsoft Dependent

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Great slave lake

Summary: The prominent role of Silverlight in the Intel-Microsoft collaboration leads to a new set of questions

MOBLIN AND MONO are both projects which show signs of helping Microsoft in a way. Moblin — like Mono and Moonlight — promotes Silverlight [1, 2] and there are likely to be patent ‘tax’ issues [1, 2]. But on the other hand, there is also evidence suggesting a departure from SUSE at Intel, which would be important if Moblin ever comes to desktops and thus truly expands.

According to the Linux Foundation’s new Web site, Microsoft and Intel actually collaborate on GNU/Linux in the sense that they intend to achieve pseudo-cross-platform by subscribing to a proprietary Microsoft framework. Miguel de Icaza had similar plans when he argued: “We could refresh the look and feel of the entire desktop with Moonlight.” To quote Linux.com:

Also at the forum in September, Intel and Microsoft unveiled plans to team up on Silverlight technology for Moblin, opening up the door to new sorts of cross-platform applications which might–or might not–include office suites.

Why would Microsoft collaborate with Intel here if it were not beneficial to Microsoft? To quote Sam Dean at OStatic, which interprets another post as “Microsoft may be all for an Intel-backed, Linux-based OS”:

Moblin is an early stage OS, though, focused more on targeted mobile tasks than running a full spate of powerful applications, as Windows 7 can. This post argues that Microsoft may be all for an Intel-backed, Linux-based OS that is in fact stripped down and less functional than Windows 7:

“Microsoft can continue to sell more expensive versions of Windows on more expensive computers with a traditional desktop interface without fearing too much the competition from the cheap Moblin powered netbooks: These don’t look like Windows computers and are clearly for a different purpose.”

It is likely that Microsoft supports Intel for other reasons. Regardless of what Intel does, other companies can offer ‘thicker’ clients which do not comply with Microsoft’s wishes. What Intel does with Silverlight probably requires the most careful watch because it can give Microsoft greater control.

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft Technical Evangelist. From Exhibit 3096; Comes v. Microsoft litigation [PDF]

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