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Microsoft Linux

The Mono Mystery That Wasn't 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the context-is-everything dept.
jammag writes "It was shocking news, or so it seemed: Miguel de Icaza, the Mono creator, was switching his opinion about his life's work — he now seemed to agree with the free software partisans who oppose his Mono work and his Microsoft connections. The story flamed across the Internet and even got picked up on Slashdot. But Bruce Byfield reports that 'De Icaza has not changed his opinions.' De Icaza calls the rumors 'a storm in a teacup.' Tracing the misinformation trail, Byfield concludes that 'the FOSS community excels at communication. However, in this instance, that ability was used irresponsibly.'"
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The Mono Mystery That Wasn't

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  • Re:Good News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0d3g33k (102699) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:50AM (#31627240)

    Good news everyone. Icaza is still a whore.

    If you make your living exchanging your talents for money, so are you. So what is your point?

    Stop being so inflammatory. If you have a logical argument to make, make it and we will decide whether the argument is valid based on its merit. Otherwise you just blend into the rest of the noise of modern 'rhetoric' (with apologies to true rhetoric).

  • by DMiax (915735) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:53AM (#31627272)
    I can see the editor thinking "we already know this is fake news, but let's publish: we are missing a good Mono flamewar since forever!"
  • by Voulnet (1630793) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:58AM (#31627342)
    Wow, grow up, guys. So he has Microsoft connections? So what? If open source affiliation is a valid reason to hate somebody, you might start rethinking your life priorities. The Mono project gives Linux developers more choice, especially if they have been working with .NET tech for a long time. Would you forfeit years of .NET training and experience because you want to use a Linux platform? That, or I am missing a bigger picture, in such case maybe someone can elaborate in the implications of said "teacup storm"?
  • Long story short (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:58AM (#31627348)

    Miguel de Icaza still doesn't understand why 99% of us think that pushing .NET is a bad idea.

  • That's a shame. I'd thought that after all this time he was finally wising up and accepting what everyone else on the planet was saying. I guess either he hasn't put his fanatical devotion to his employer aside (does anyone really believe that he didn't get the job he applied for at Microsoft?) or that his boss told him to back down. Either way, too bad. He's a talented guy and I wish he would work on something useful and less poisonous.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:06PM (#31627458) Homepage

    From Miguels blog

    It took Microsoft eight years, a new management and a fresh set of eyes to change some of these mistakes. The veil of threats that existed over the runtime in 2001 was lifted with the Community Promise announcement but it took eight years, and those were eight years of lost opportunity and FUD directed at all things Microsoft.

    So in fact Miguel was lamenting time lost under a previous, less enlightened management. Not current problems with .NET.

    I remember when Mono was first announced. Miguel at the time argued that the free software world had failed to produce any real competitor to Java or .NET style frameworks despite their absolute dominance of mainstream programming. He didn't think one would appear any time soon either. And guess what - he was right. There is no home grown Linux, Apache or Android equivalent to compete with Java or .NET. And whilst Java is now fully open source, it wasn't safe to assume that'd happen back all those years ago.

    So in fact it seems Miguel was right all along - right about the need, right about the solution, right that Microsoft would not attempt to "destroy Linux" by leveraging patents. Instead they specifically promised in writing not to do that. Why? Probably because they don't care about Linux anymore. The world has moved on, what once seemed like a threat to their business no longer is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:06PM (#31627460)

    Wow, grow up, guys. So he has Microsoft connections? So what? If open source affiliation is a valid reason to hate somebody, you might start rethinking your life priorities.

    I don't think it's his "open source affiliations" anyone is worried about, so much as his affiliation with a dangerous monopolist that has been incredibly damaging to the industry and state of the art.

    The Mono project gives Linux developers more choice, especially if they have been working with .NET tech for a long time.

    Yeah, sort of the same way crack dealers give kids more choice of entertainment.

    Would you forfeit years of .NET training and experience because you want to use a Linux platform?

    If I wanted to develop for Linux, I'd absolutely learn new frameworks and tools to do it, but then most people already know multiple languages, tools, and methods of programming.

    at, or I am missing a bigger picture, in such case maybe someone can elaborate in the implications of said "teacup storm"?

    Look up the phrase, "embrace, extend, extinguish". It was MS's strategy and business model to make the Web nonstandard and prevent it from being a viable method of allowing developers and users more choice and functionality instead of being locked into Windows as the only viable way to deliver applications to the majority of users. Now, more than a decade later, if we want to reach the majority of Web users, we're still stuck using most of the same versions of standards as we had then, when MS decided to break the market. .NET is just the same thing over again.

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:07PM (#31627474)

    Miguel doesn't care, because that "99% of us" turns out to be less than 1% of the real "us."

  • Re:Good News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@carp a n e t . net> on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:10PM (#31627544) Homepage

    I never understood whats so immoral or degrading about being a whore. Certainly there are segments of the "sex worker" community that are unsavory and engage in despicable activity (sexual slavery, mental/physical abuse, unfair exploitation) however, there are also those who work freelance and or enjoy their jobs.

    I don't mean to ruin whores for you, I mean, maybe you need to see it as degrading and immoral to get off, your kink is ok I guess. Though, I no more understand that kink than asphyxiation, so it does seem a bit strange to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:17PM (#31627644)

    This is the sort of news that should be picked up by Slashdot: Mono's C# 4.0 compiler released before VS2010. But no, sadly Slashdot is irrevocably biased against Microsoft-created technologies.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:17PM (#31627652) Journal

    If they're injecting patent bombs into FOSS, then I care, regardless of their intentions.

    Besides, it only goes to show the frailty of modern development education. People get hooked on to languages, and not on to versatility. If a platform doesn't support your favorite development tools, then you either avoid the platform or you adapt and use what there is. It's not like Linux doesn't have a ton of languages. I could understand it if your faced with a choice between assembler and K&R C on one side, and .NET on the other, but there's significantly more choice.

    Don't buy into the Microsoft lockin crap. Even if Mono never turns into the timebomb some of us think it is, the way to become a really good programmer is to work in different development platforms.

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:18PM (#31627668)

    How about WPF, then? When are you going to develop it? I know: never. The scope of it is way too large for your team.

    Same about complete WCF, WWF (and other WTFs).

    So in reality, a Mono application will probably work on Windows, but almost none of Windows C# applications will work on Mono.

  • Re:Good News (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:30PM (#31627896)

    no, doing degrading and immoral work for money makes one a whore.

    Interesting...

    I assume we're still both talking about whores as in prostitutes - folks who sell sex for money.

    So... What's so immoral or degrading about that?

    Sure, some folks have moral objections to is. And some folks probably find it degrading. But does that mean that prostitution as a whole is automatically immoral and degrading?

    Wouldn't that make something like bartending immoral as well, since some religions have moral objections to alcohol?

    And wouldn't that make pretty much every job on the planet degrading, because I'm sure there's somebody out there who finds it degrading.

    Sure, if you're forced into prostitution against your will... By financial problems, or addiction, or extortion, or whatever... That's bad. But it would also be bad to be forced into anything else against your will.

    And it's certainly true that the political/legal climate here in the US seems to push sex workers into immoral and degrading situations...

    But in areas where sex work is legal, there are plenty of folks who genuinely enjoy their jobs and don't find it immoral or degrading in the least.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:35PM (#31628024) Homepage

    I'd thought that after all this time he was finally wising up and accepting what everyone else you agree with was saying.

    There, fixed that for ya.

    I know, amazing! Some people might *actually* disagree with you, oh wise and omniscient one!

  • by Timbo (75953) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:41PM (#31628140) Homepage

    ...I'm amazed at how obtuse (and in some cases, downright insulting) the majority of the comments on this story are. I think it's highly likely that if .NET didn't come from Microsoft, nobody would be getting quite so emotional about the whole thing.

    For the record, I'm categorically not Microsoft's greatest fan, but you cannot deny that .NET/C# is a damn good platform. Having a portable version of said good platform is therefore a Good Thing. It doesn't matter if Microsoft decide to fuck Mono over; it's still a good platform and therefore still a Good Thing. If you disagree and you don't like it, then fine; don't use it and stop whining.

  • by Jerry (6400) on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:15PM (#31628770)

    Five months ahead?

    How can you maintain and guarantee compatibility? Divination, or do you actually work hand in hand with Microsoft .NET developers?

    And, has Microsoft added ASP.NET and its other IP to the EMCA 334 & 335 specifications, so that you can legally add them to MONO?

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NETBSDgmail.com minus bsd> on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:16PM (#31628806)

    Don't worry, "headling" still sounds smarter than the whole .NET vs. Mono debate.

  • You thought wrong.

    First parties posting is one of the strengths of the dot.

  • was that Mono would have a lot of competition if it wasn't for the implicit patent threats coming from Microsoft. IOW, he was complaining that JVM technology had come a long way due to open policies from Sun and that .Net runtime engines had not enjoyed the same benefits. I think he is probably right there.

    What I didn't hear him saying was that Mono was a bad project, risked patent infringement claims, etc. There seemed to be some concession on the patent issue but it seemed overblown.

    At the same time this summary, suggesting that the communication was handled "irresponsibly" seems no closer to the mark. I can see why people got the impression they did and I think it was a reasonable one.

    Things could use everyone stepping back and taking a few deep breaths :-)

  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:44PM (#31629330) Homepage Journal

    What's more, Mono is undeniably Free Software, and it follows the grand tradition of GNU software in that it re-implements someone else's proprietary software (while mixing in its own completely Free Software extensions).

    I am by no means a fan of Mono, but I fail to see how it is any different than gcc or the many GNU utilities that are basically work-alikes of any number of proprietary software products. Cloning commercial software products is hardly a new theme in Free Software. What is it, precisely, that makes Mono a special case.

    The difference, apparently, is that Microsoft is especially evil.

    The problem with that, of course, is that Microsoft is not really that particularly evil. Especially compared to AT&T or IBM in their respective heydays. Sure, patents have changed the game somewhat since the early days of UNIX, but Free Software's defense against patents has always been the same. Pretend that they don't exist until threatened, and then write the functionality out of the effected software. Mono is not appreciably more vulnerable to attacks from Microsoft than the Linux kernel, or any other major piece of Free Software.

    So really, why all of the hate?

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday March 26, 2010 @02:04PM (#31629706) Journal

    I think it's highly likely that if .NET didn't come from Microsoft, nobody would be getting quite so emotional about the whole thing.

    As a matter of fact, that'snot true [gnu.org]. The '.net trap' is just another version of the Java trap, only made more dangerous by the fact that Microsoft is known to be hostile to open source.

    If you disagree and you don't like it, then fine; don't use it and stop whining.

    The problem is that mono is included in Gnome, and if it spreads it will get harder and harder to avoid. Some of us would prefer to keep that from happening, because we know what the potential consequences would be.

  • by psbrogna (611644) on Friday March 26, 2010 @02:06PM (#31629744)
    Unfortunately it's not reasonable to expect all of the people who use IT to be able to logically evaluate a strategic choice from among the myriad IT paths available. So many follow the crowd betting that by doing so they'll minimize their chance of making a strategic error. I don't think this is to their discredit, strategic decisions are costly to make if you have to plod through all the variables on your own even when you have the expertise to apply logic.

    The phenomenon can lead to an ugly place when deep pocketed (or near-monopolistic) vendors capture enough market share to get the masses on a bad path and ensuing generations of decision makers continue to follow. It is extremely difficult to make a course correction if nobody notices for 20 years- the cost of switching tracks is often prohibitive.
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Friday March 26, 2010 @03:21PM (#31630886) Homepage

    I think he and his gang along with that pathetic dying company should leave Gnome, Linux alone. No more trickery to insert Mono to Debian, flagship open source Linux which is (was) like a manifesto of open source philosophy until it got that stupid notes app.

    Would they agree on that?

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday March 26, 2010 @03:41PM (#31631200) Journal

    Example: If you take a look at the last major Microsoft conference (MIX10) then you'll see there we no new WPF features added, while a whole bunch of new Silverlight things announced.

    That's because the new things in .NET 4 (which includes WPF 4) were announced a long time ago on PDC. There's no point in hashing them over again on MIX in March, when the final version is going to come out in April, and there has been two public betas and RC already, the latter being feature-complete.

    Here [microsoft.com] is the high-level changelog for WPF 4. As you can see, it contains totally minor and irrelevant features typical of a product being deprecated, such as "the WPF text rendering stack has been completely replaced", or "WPF supports data binding to objects that implement IDynamicMetaObjectProvider" (the latter is a DLR interface that objects written in IronPython, IronRuby, and other similar dynamic language implement to expose their metadata - so it means that you can now bind to Python or Ruby models from WPF views).

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday March 26, 2010 @04:11PM (#31631646) Homepage

    I am by no means a fan of Mono, but I fail to see how it is any different than gcc

    Ah well that makes sense. Here it is in a nutshell:

    Gcc is, as far as anyone is aware, free of all patented technology, in particular patents owned by companies hostile to free software.

    Mono is most definitely encumbered by patents owned by a company that is very hostile towards free software, and has been recently becoming more vocal about alleging patent violations in Linux and threatening legal action.

    Mono is not appreciably more vulnerable to attacks from Microsoft than the Linux kernel, or any other major piece of Free Software.

    Yes it most definitely is! Because the vulnerability is not hypothetical, it is not a made-up FUD tactic. It's plain as day and undeniable that these patents cover things in Mono, and it is not a simple matter of recoding if MS ever becomes aggressive. There are aspects of the framework that simply cannot be implemented to spec without running into these patents.

    Microsoft has no interest in anything cross-platform excepting those that are owned by MS. They have promised not to enforce patents against Mono, but this is not a legally binding promise. The only reason they have to let Mono exist is to waste the time of Linux developers, and to encourage adoption of a framework that is ostensibly cross-platform but can be instantly made Windows-only any time they want.

    Oh and I think you're wrong. MS is just as evil as IBM and AT&T. Main difference is that today MS only controls the software while IBM controlled both.

    This is absolutely a time bomb and MS is just waiting for the right moment to set it off.

  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday March 26, 2010 @05:24PM (#31632736) Homepage Journal

    If the danger to Mono is so obvious, then please point out the patent numbers that Microsoft owns that would apply to Mono (and that don't, at the same time, apply to Free Software tools like OpenJDK, or gcc). Additionally, you should only use patents that don't apply to the ECMA specification.

    What? You don't have access to such a list? Imagine that! My guess is that this is because (to my knowledge) no one has come up with such a list of patents. It is possible that you have access to such a list--in which case your accusations could *potentially* stop being FUD. Until then, however, you have no evidence that Mono is particularly vulnerable to attack from Microsoft.

    Microsoft has already stated that it believes that Linux (for example) violates hundreds of its patents. In fact, it has even signed patent deals that supposedly cover Linux. Patent attacks on Linux are definitely not FUD. Should I stop using Linux as well?

    If Mono is a trap, then it is quite likely to be the stupidest trap in the history of the world. At the very best Microsoft could force the Mono developers to be less compatible with .NET. Since Mono is not particularly compatible with .NET in the first place this is hardly a huge threat.

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