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GNU is Not Unix Microsoft Programming

De Icaza Responds To Stallman 747

Posted by timothy
from the strong-personalities dept.
ndogg writes "It's no secret that Stallman doesn't like Mono. Miguel, however, has been pretty quiet about those criticisms, until now. It seems he'll no longer be quiet. He's responded strongly to an article by Stallman that criticizes Codeplex about its aims due to its origin at Microsoft. Miguel says Stallman is fearmongering, and is missing an opportunity by his criticism."
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De Icaza Responds To Stallman

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  • by Concern (819622) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:41AM (#29656171) Journal

    Microsoft should ask for its money back. de Icaza is a terrible troll.

    Stallman is of course right to point out that he is a Microsoft apologist - he is a notorious one. It is beyond argument that Microsoft spends significant dollars in direct and "personal" attempts to crush free software development projects such as Linux through the most indefensible barratry. It's also widely known that this is only one of a multi-prong strategy that includes coopting competing projects, through many means, including hiring key team members, and PR efforts, including hiring astroturfing firms - some of which patronize this very site, and you will meet some of their employees (or contractors) today. :)

    Miguel must chuckle at himself when he writes things like "Fear mongering is a vibrant industry." It is too rich in irony for him not to know it. Yes, he suggests Microsoft is our "ally." A hilarious notion that, when he writes it, makes it clear what contempt he has for you, the reader.

    If you judge someone by their actions, then there is no need to discuss how we judge Microsoft and their relationship to free software. It is easy to understand the lense through which we see codeplex even if they were to say nothing controversial. But apparently one of their goals is already clear - to throw another line of men at the front of the rhetorical "war" between free as in beer and free as in speech.

    Just keep in mind that this is pure wasted time. RMS correctly points out that the war was won long ago - by a recognition of the value of the GPL and of free software. It's quite easy to understand - most people, when they give away their work, have a common moral compass, and they share certain values about how they would like to see that work go out into the world. i.e. They would rather some 3rd party not get paid for what they did for free. And they would rather others have the freedom to tinker, just as they did. Most ("important, widely used, active") open source software is free software for this reason. Of course, the "debate" will never end, either. But let's just keep it in perspective.

    Ah Miguel. His rant may have virtually zero actual content, but at least he gets points for plugging "The Power of Nightmares." Just a few years too late, alas. From that and his Bush-based name calling, he may lose the conservative portion of the audience he is supposed to be reaching, but as I said, MS should get a refund.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:53AM (#29656317) Journal

      Yes, he suggests Microsoft is our "ally." A hilarious notion that, when he writes it, makes it clear what contempt he has for you, the reader.

      He never said nor suggested that Microsoft as a whole is your ally. A more fair analysis of his blog would be that Microsoft needs to be steered in the right direction and there are some good people on the inside trying to do this. He points out CodePlex as something he feels as a sign of progress. I'm not defending de Icaza's whole message but I think you're putting words into his mouth ... no one in their right mind would say Steve Ballmer is an ally of open source. He may employ people who are proponents of free and open software but he himself is definitely against it. Also keep in mind that people -- and companies -- do change. This isn't the case with Microsoft ... yet.

      Just keep in mind that this is pure wasted time. RMS correctly points out that the war was won long ago - by a recognition of the value of the GPL and of free software.

      If I may state the obvious, RMS is a hardliner with zero tolerance or forgiveness. Fine. This appeals quite well to many people (myself included). Now, de Icaza seems to be more of a bridge builder than a bridge burner and is looking for in roads into Microsoft. Perhaps you can see this as a catalyst to speed up the process to our desired end state or you can view this as aiding the enemy. Either way I think a lot of de Icaza's efforts are great experiments in seeing just how tolerant and truly open Microsoft's standards are. Right now, why don't we all just sit and watch before we become dependent on Moonlight? I appreciate both these people in different ways and it's a shame we got this drama or war of words internal to the open source movement.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by domatic (1128127)

        Moonlight would actually have to be usable on J. Random Moonlight Site before I could even get dependency started.

      • by jhol13 (1087781) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:03AM (#29656451)

        I agree that de Icaza is "bridge builder", but unfortunately "the roads into Microsoft" are all one-way.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ak3ldama (554026)

          I agree that de Icaza is "bridge builder", but unfortunately "the roads into Microsoft" are all one-way.

          This is the essence of what I perceive Miguel is trying to do... He must make every attempt possible to sway community consensus toward an acceptance of Microsoft. If the community does not go along with the open direction that Novell is pursuing with their open source implementation of the .NET/C# standard then all their work is wasted. Miguel's group (which publicly appears to be represented by him) cannot go around saying that Microsoft is malevolent - it would be counter intuitive to the relationship th

        • by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:34AM (#29657761)
          Microsoft's frigging address is One Microsoft Way [mapquest.com]. How much clearer can they make it?
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by dfxm (1586027)
            Apple's address is One Infinite Loop. Does that mean they are poor unit testers?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:06AM (#29656495)

        Now, de Icaza seems to be more of a bridge builder than a bridge burner and is looking for in roads into Microsoft

        Bridges work both ways. Microsoft cannot be trusted, their track record speaks for itself. Even today they'll FUD away or deliberately mislead people with their so-called "open" efforts. They only care about their bottom line and how to destroy competition. One day, they'll pull the rug from under Mono.

        • by AmaDaden (794446) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:13AM (#29657481)

          One day, they'll pull the rug from under Mono.

          When Microsoft owned the market they could do that where ever and when ever they wished. Now that they are losing ground everyday on almost all fronts trying to do something like that would only give another reason for people who were thinking about using .NET to avoid it. In short, it would be suicide. Microsoft knows this and has already started to change their tune by supporting Mono and by making a very small but growing chunk of code open source. As you correctly stated, this was done solely because they know it will help them. The only way it could be more valuable for Microsoft to go back to their old ways would be if they owned the market again. So could they pull the rug out from under Mono? Yes. Would it ever look like a good idea even to the brain damaged 'we hate open source' higher ups? Unless there was a major disaster in the mac, linux AND unix that gave Microsoft unquestionable control over the OS market again. No.

          • by Jeremy Allison - Sam (8157) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:23PM (#29659425) Homepage

            AmaDaden wrote:

            > When Microsoft owned the market they could do that where ever and when ever they wished. Now that they are losing ground everyday on
            > almost all fronts trying to do something like that would only give another reason for people who were thinking about using .NET to avoid it.
            > In short, it would be suicide.

            It didn't stop them in the Tom Tom lawsuit, it wouldn't stop them here. As I've said before, Tom Tom changed *everything*. Microsoft lost the moral high ground (and yes they did at least have that position over patents) of not being a patent aggressor but only using patents for defense, stopped the rhetoric and became a direct patent threat to Free Software/Open Source.

            Since Tom Tom, nothing they say about patents in Mono/.NET can be trusted any more. Only a legally binding non-assert offer can change this now.

            Jeremy.

            • by HiThere (15173) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:20PM (#29661399)

              Actually the Tom Tom case is rather ambiguous. If I didn't already distrust MS, that wouldn't cause me to distrust them. In that case they WERE using the patents in a basically defensive manner. (Tom Tom may not have initiated the lawsuit, but they made clear threats.)

              This, however, does not excuse their actions in many other cases. Before you even THINK about CodePlex, read their agreements...preferably get a lawyer to analyze it for you. It's as bad as any EULA you might encounter.

      • by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:09AM (#29656541)

        He never said nor suggested that Microsoft as a whole is your ally.

        I'm looking this article over top to bottom, and I don't really see him suggesting anything. There's a lot of namecalling, a parable where I'm right thank you very much (shoeless people in Africa? We have Java, as well as Python and various other languages on Linux for the niche Mono wants to fill.)

        Seems to me like RMS gave a principled (and really fairly balanced) assessment of Mono, and Icaza responded by calling RMS a luddite, with absolutely no argument to back it up. Why did this even make Slashdot when Icaza says absolutely nothing to refute Stallman's argument?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by miguel (7116)

          The reason is very simple: I am not responding to RMS's opinions on Mono.

          I am responding to RMS's last post which is pretty much content free, but does contain another personal attack against me.

          • by Zecheus (1072058) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:58AM (#29657229)
            RMS called you an 'apologist'. dictionary.com says :

            apologist: a person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc.

            That's not a personal attack.

            Regards.

            • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:04AM (#29658183) Homepage

              That's not a personal attack.

              "Apologist" often has a negative connotation, especially when paired with a subject that is widely considered not worthy of any such defense.

              And in the target audience of these letters, Microsoft is widely and for very good reason considered unworthy of defending on the subject of Software Freedom (if not everything else).

              RMS knows this, and he intended it as a pejorative. MdI knows this too, which is why he considers himself attacked, and denies the claim.

              But therein lies the end of the argument for me. He simply can't claim Microsoft hasn't been a consistent and ongoing enemy of Free Software, but also claims they're safe to work with. Microsoft threatens Linux with hundreds of imaginary patent violations, but we're going to welcome a bunch of actual MS-patented tech into Linux on purpose and under MS' watchful eye? If you're going to tell me that isn't insanely stupid, you better at least be willing to be an apologist for Microsoft.

          • Cynical Hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Concern (819622) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:29AM (#29657683) Journal

            Such words might be effective against someone who doesn't read both articles, but it seems fairly clear RMS has important content, namely that codeplex's positioning seems designed to add confusion on software freedom issues, which is both dangerous and consistent with Microsoft's notorious predatory policies towards free software and its developers.

            Only those without principles or with friends in perfect agreement all the time have the benefit of never "attacking their friends." Perhaps you are more concerned with relationships than principles.

            If in your own post you pointed out all of the places where codeplex and Microsoft clearly do understand the open source and free software distinction, and make a clear effort to avoid confusion... If you had some possible explanation for Microsoft's massively ugly behavior towards linux, or open document standards bodies, etc...

            But you have none. You seem to find the incidental, but correct observation of your widely-known status as a Microsoft apologist to be the greater issue, and you devote most of your words to denying that, along with some vague name calling, a few appeals to emotion by metaphor, and (probably ill-advised) political sniping.

            It is your own writing that is quite clearly without content, and it's my professional opinion that you know it. Thus, the term "cynical hypocrisy."

            I find your suggestion that Microsoft could be an ally (however much you deny you've made it, or if you even choose to) to be laughable.

          • by Big Hairy Goofy Guy (866523) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:31AM (#29657717) Journal

            >

            I am responding to RMS's last post which is pretty much content free, but does contain another personal attack against me.

            Could you give a reference, please?

            I read the OP, and I'm familiar with many (older) articles and essays written by RMS. I've never seen RMS make a *personal* attack. I have seen people react to his strong but very nuanced perspective on morals as if they were personal attacks. I've started to understand that other, reasonable, people can interpret his statements very personally, so if you feel attacked, I don't hold it against you.

            I have not read anything written by you, so you are establishing a first impression (for me). You say that RMS has "makes up facts" but you link to what is primarily a retraction. Could you be more clear about which facts RMS has made up? I'd like to think that you can forgive a mistake, if it is admitted.

            Lastly, you say that RMS attacks his own community, supporting this claim with a footnote about the distinction between "open source" and "free software" being a non-issue. It seems to me that RMS has been very clear that there is an issue, from his perspective. See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html [gnu.org]

            Now you may have a different perspective, as is your right. But since RMS has his perspective, and his preference is perfectly clear, I'd really hesitate to say that he attacks his own community on this issue. In my mind, his community is made up of the supporters of free software, and doesn't contain those who prefer open source.

            In summary, RMS doesn't make personal attacks on anyone, much less his own community and he doesn't make up facts. If you think differently, I have an open mind, but I need more than your word.

          • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:25AM (#29658481) Homepage Journal

            It is not content free. It points out that CodePlex does not particularly care about freedom, is designed to whitewash a bad company's trojan horse technology, and is harmful to the open-source community.

            Are there personal attacks? Only if you consider an attack on your life's work personal. Some time back (around when we first met at an O'Reilly Convention), you used to be involved in the production of software (like Gnumeric) that was unambiguously good for the community. Ever since you got into Microsoft's Java clone and its reimplementation, your actions have been not-so-clearly-good for the community - you encourage us to adopt patent-risky technologies that break greatly with Unix tradition, you strongarm the GNOME folk into adopting lousy technical decisions (we have a binary registry now? Oy) and continue to push them to making mono a required component of GNOME, and you keep telling us to cozy up with a company that has done its very best to undermine Linux, undermine Free Software, and drop legal and technical obstacles in our way. You want us to be technically just like them, and you want us to like them.

            I don't see any criticism of you in your personal life - these are not personal criticisms, they are criticisms of the way you act in the community. You may have once done good for us, but you're certainly harmful now. For many of us, the best and most clear choice is to continue to try to avoid catching Mono, advocating its removal from our preferred distros and from GNOME, ideally removing you from any influence over GNOME as well. If you would simply go away, you would spare us the trouble.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cyberjessy (444290)

          We have Java, as well as Python and various other languages on Linux for the niche Mono wants to fill

          Actually Mono fills a niche not satisfied by any other language on Linux.
          1. Python - too slow for any processor intensive tasks (I do a lot of python myself.)
          -- not strongly typed, if the project decides to go that route.
          2. Java, the language - No closures, lambdas, generators. Impossible to do any declarative programming. Many, many people hate it.

          C# brings functional programming to the masses, and Mono bri

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:13AM (#29656573)
        It is difficult to be as trusting of Microsoft and their intentions as Miguel obviously is. This is the company that worked to discredit the entire free software movement, and still refuses to acknowledge that there is even such a movement. This is the company that wrote the playbook for break compatibility for everyone else. Microsoft has a habit of poaching developers until their competitors fall apart.

        Why would we ever want to write code for their platform on their terms? I will not have much trust for Microsoft until MS Office is GPLed (v3) and I can get it working on GNU.
      • by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:58AM (#29657233)

        If I may state the obvious, RMS is a hardliner with zero tolerance or forgiveness. Fine. This appeals quite well to many people (myself included). Now, de Icaza seems to be more of a bridge builder than a bridge burner and is looking for in roads into Microsoft.

        The problem there is that, as the GP tried to point out, Microsoft is not an innocent disinterested player succeptable to being steered around. They have made it quite clear that they consider "Open Source Software" a mortal threat, and are going to fight accordingly. Subtle and overt, legal and extra-legal, it is all fair game to them. Appeasement with somebody with that mindset is a fool's game. If anyone is going to be manipulated here, it isn't going to be Microsoft.

      • by moon3 (1530265) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:02AM (#29657311)
        Is there some 'sane' reason to include languages like C# for purpose of installing GNOME and other vital parts of the system ? I could not agree more with RMS here.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iserlohn (49556)

        Really, the question should be - Would Microsoft make any money in addition to the money it's already making if it fully adopted F/OSS principles? A company is only as ethical as their shareholders' restraint of greed allow, and this focus on shareholder value, although useful to drive productivity and efficiency, tend to become a problem when market players are to such a size to which it can exert undue influence in the market.

        With MS being the dominant player in the OS and Office Suite markets, I would ag

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by scharkalvin (72228)

        Years ago I had a brief email exchange with RMS about "GNU/Linux" vs "Linux". His point was that Linux is NOT an operating system, just the kernel of one. But GNU isn't an operating system either, it's just a good set of utilities that an OS needs to be useful. Linux by itself is sorta like a head without a body, but GNU is then a body without a head.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by readthemall (1531267)
      From Miguel's article:

      Two shoe salesmen were sent to Africa in the early 1900's to scout the territory.
      One telegraphed back: "Situation hopeless. Stop. No one wears shoes."
      The other telegraphed: "Business opportunity. Stop. They have no shoes."
      Since we only have a limited time on earth, I have decided to spend my time on earth as much as I can trying to be like the second salesman. Looking at opportunities where others see hopelessness.

      OMG, WTF. The first one thinks with his head, he sees there is no need to wear shoes. The second one avoids thinking and decides to find a way to sell something that nobody needs. How smart, Miguel. The parent said it, you act as a terrible troll.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nstlgc (945418)
        Obviously the idea would be that people think they don't need shoes in Africa, and the business opportunity would be showing them otherwise. You can get some nasty snake bites over there, you know...
      • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:53AM (#29657163) Journal

        The example is particularly ironic, being that there has never been any evidence that shoes are good for peoples feet, and there is ample evidence that shoes are bad for people feet.

        Recently, Nike went to visit the Olympic running teams with bags of shoes in tow, and were sent away because the runners did not want them, nor did the coaches. So, they invented the Nike Free, which is designed to be like not wearing a shoe at all. Makes your mind spin.

        Turns out, the shoes they've been marketing all these years were hurting the people who bought them. Of course, Nike always knew that their product wasn't good for their customers... they spent years trying to find scientific evidence that shoes are good for you in some fashion, without success. So, they made them fashion accessories and kept things quiet.

        http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/ [nymag.com]

        Keep pimping those shoes, Miguel!

    • by naasking (94116) <naasking@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:26AM (#29656735) Homepage

      If you judge someone by their actions, then there is no need to discuss how we judge Microsoft and their relationship to free software.

      But Microsoft is not a "someone", it is an aggregate of "someones", and treating MS like an individual that has already shown its true colours is a mistake, because that is not the nature of the beast. This is why Miguel called this an opportunity, because merely by inserting open source advocates into MS you can alter its aggregate behaviour to a more open source friendly stance. The evidence is already there: MS has already become more open than they used to be, with shared source licenses and CodePlex being the highest profile examples.

      Which isn't to say we shouldn't be cautious, but we should not be openly hostile and accusatory either, as that simply undermines those people working to improve the situation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NickFortune (613926)

        But Microsoft is not a "someone", it is an aggregate of "someones", and treating MS like an individual that has already shown its true colours is a mistake, because that is not the nature of the beast

        I don't think it follows that because Microsoft is not a single human being, it never displays human behavior. In particular, I don't think it's safe to assume that Microsoft will suddenly start playing nice with the rest of the world, if the open source community just stops saying mean things about it.

        merel

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      I hate Microsoft politics. I think .Net is a platform with technical merit (it took me a while to admit it). What does that make me ?

      My boss forces me to work with .Net but thanks to Mono, I was able to share my work with a Linux-only lab and to suggest that maybe we should have a focus on developing Mono-compatible applications.

      Saying that Stallman has a tendency for inflammatory declarations is an understatement. I think this is how it works in (american ?) politics : one needs a figurehead that is an
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jedidiah (1196)

        > I think .Net is a platform with technical merit

        I have yet to see it. Really. All it seems to do accomplish is to make
        your work fit in more with Microsoft and less with the rest of Unix.
        Since Linux is "just another Unix". That is a serious problem that needs
        to be counterbalanced by considerable new benefits.

        Personally I don't see the point of bothering with .NET or getting
        particularly excited about it. Perhaps if you told me I would be
        able to run the next version of Office on any platform of my choosing

      • by Concern (819622) *

        Vilifying RMS is another meme I cannot understand - even despite his outsized personality. The man's strident defense of your freedoms against a cadre of ill-mannered and ignorant fools apparently has earned him your distrust. How, I have no idea. Being polite, shy and retiring in the defense of freedom is not normally considered a requirement...

        What did you want, an eloquent, handsome, personable defender of free software principles? :)

        I've had to use all kinds of MS products, including .Net. It doesn't ma

    • by miguel (7116) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:36AM (#29656887) Homepage

      The allies I refer to are folks like Linus, Eric Raymond, Tim O'Reilly and everyone else that advocates the same ideas, but does not take marching orders from him.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        The allies I refer to are folks like Linus, Eric Raymond, Tim O'Reilly and everyone else that advocates the same ideas, but does not take marching orders from him.

        So your world is divided into "people who agree with me" and "mindless zombies". You and I agree on probably 90% of issues, but I tend to side with RMS on the remaining 10%. That's because I've analyzed the respective arguments and have concluded that his positions are more reasonable. There are a lot of people of that mindset, and it's insulting to them (and your own public perception) to write us off as blind followers taking orders.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cyberjessy (444290)

          So your world is divided into "people who agree with me" and "mindless zombies".

          I read it twice. Miguel was not saying that. Who modded you +5?

        • by tyler_larson (558763) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:44PM (#29659809) Homepage

          So your world is divided into "people who agree with me" and "mindless zombies".

          I think that's a bit of a stretch, don't you?

          Miguel's argument: RMS attacked me, but he's also famously attacked many of the most important players in bringing parts of his ultimate dream to reality. Conclusion: RMS's has an unproductive penchant for attacking people in his speaking and writing, including his own allies, if they don't subscribe to all of his philosophies.

          Your interpretation: People who don't agree with me are mindless zombies.

          A bit of a stretch, you must admit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DAldredge (2353)
      Free software isn't a religion.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by bcmm (768152) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:42AM (#29656175)

    I know that there are great people working for the company, and I know many people inside Microsoft that are steering the company towards being a community citizen. I have blogged about this for the last few years.

    I agree wholeheartedly that it is highly unlikely that Microsoft will seize any opportunity it gets to do annoying things specially to break open projects. Again.

  • by Howard Beale (92386) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:43AM (#29656191)

    Richard - "The first thing we see is that the organization ducks the issue of users' freedom; it uses the term "open source" and does not speak of "free software"."

    Miguel - "The creation of the CodePlex foundation was an internal effort of people that believe in open source at Microsoft. "

    Open source on whose terms?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DAldredge (2353)
      I have trouble supporting someone who thinks I should be punished for doing what I want with my work. ""If programmers deserve to be rewarded for creating innovative programs, by the same token they deserve to be punished if they restrict the use of these programs." RMS
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:44AM (#29656195)

    He and others written a useful, complex and (hopefully) well implemented set of software components through much in the way of blood, seat and tears.

    So of course he's not going to agree that what he did was either a waste of time or evil. I'm not exactly sure which side of this debate I fall on. Doesn't affect me too much as a C programmer...

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:15AM (#29656613) Homepage

      blood, seat and tears.

      What, Ballmer was throwing chairs at him?

    • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:18AM (#29656641)
      I didn't think it affected me either until I put a new copy of debian on a machine and did an "apt-get install gnome" and found a copy of mono being installed on my machine. What I want to know is WTF was debian even thinking when they did that? It's obvious they weren't thinking very well since they back-pedaled [h-online.com] and claimed that mono wasn't in the default install, by which they mean that it's only in the gnome metapackage and not the gnome-core or gnome-desktop. It's also equally obvious that anyone who wants to install gnome will first try apt-get install gnome rather than the non-intuitive gnome-core.

      The point is that Mono is creeping into distributions through packages like Tomboy. I think that things like Mono shouldn't be in default packages or a dialog should be asked for things which are clearly offensive to at least some significant portion of the linux community. You don't see them doing that for NVIDIA drivers, I know the licenses are different and Mono at least claims to be open-source [wikipedia.org] but I guess there's a lot more people who want to avoid MS than people who want to avoid NVIDIA.
  • by mc moss (1163007) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:45AM (#29656229)

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090927151401988 [groklaw.net]

    Here is an article that goes in-depth about the entire situation

  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:46AM (#29656239) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft is pushing software patents and DRM around the world. These are the two main things blocking free software from being compatible, so this is holding back the technical progress and the spread of free software.

    MS's policies are getting worse and worse, so I can't see why helping them is in our interest.

    I've been documenting Microsoft's patent activity [swpat.org], and I fail to see any change for the better.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:47AM (#29656241) Journal

    It's GNU/Fearmongering. Let's at least give credit where credit is due ;)

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:48AM (#29656261) Homepage Journal

    A lot of people dislike Stallman and his positions, but even his biggest detractors have to admit that he's a principled man. You know where RMS stands on issues before he even comments on them because he's had a consistent message for a few decades now.

    De Icaza's position seems to be that short-term convenience wins. Period. I just can't credit him with the same credibility or integrity as RMS. I mean, I guess he's at least consistent with his position, but I'm also consistent in liking the taste of peanut butter, and that doesn't win me any points.

    If I had to pick a side - and I think it's becoming apparent that we do - then I'd have to go with RMS. Some of his conclusions are a bit... out there... but he solidly argues them from solid principles and it's kind of hard to disagree with him. Finally, he has a track record of making some pretty bold predictions that turn out to be dead on many years later. The Right to Read, anyone? When de Icaza has a couple of decades of predictive accuracy behind him, I'll start paying more attention to his words.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by speedtux (1307149)

      A lot of people dislike Stallman and his positions, but even his biggest detractors have to admit that he's a principled man.

      Yes, Stallman is a principled man. The problem with Stallman and Mono, however, is that his objections are based on fear and innuendo, not on principles or reason.

      Stallman has not been able to present a logical argument showing that the legal situation around Mono is any worse than it is around Linux, March, GNU C, or numerous other FOSS projects. In fact, Stallman doesn't even see

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:34AM (#29657765) Homepage

        Stallman has not been able to present a logical argument showing that the legal situation around Mono is any worse than it is around Linux, March, GNU C, or numerous other FOSS projects.

        There most definitely is a logical argument. In a word: patents.

        Unlike GNU C, Linux, etc, which either implement published standards or have been OSS from the very beginning, Mono implements and relies on stuff patented by Microsoft. Patents that Microsoft has shown signs it wants to sell to patent trolls (with an understanding that they'd use those patents to sue). In other words, there's good reason to think MS wants to use Mono as a Trojan Horse to enable lawsuits against OSS organizations such as the FSF, Debian, and Ubuntu.

        MS already tried one legal tack to go after OSS, namely the SCO lawsuit. There's no reason to think they wouldn't try another.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tyler_larson (558763)

          There most definitely is a logical argument. In a word: patents.

          Not really. You're just as likely to run afoul of a MS patent (even one relating to the .NET project) while working with Java or C. While patents are indeed a serious problem, the risk is not any greater using Mono.

          MS already tried one legal tack to go after OSS, namely the SCO lawsuit. There's no reason to think they wouldn't try another.

          The SCO lawsuit was perpetrated by SCO, not Microsoft. While MS was happy to see it happen, they weren't

      • by Nick Ives (317) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:01AM (#29658145)

        Yes, Stallman is a principled man. The problem with Stallman and Mono, however, is that his objections are based on fear and innuendo, not on principles or reason.

        Wrong. Microsoft has offered a patent covenant that covers compatible re-implementations of .Net. If you want to make your own cut down or otherwise incompatible version of .Net - for whatever reason - then MS can still sue you. It also only covers the core .Net libraries and not all the libraries that actual real world .Net applications use.

        Given those facts, it's easy to see how Mono / .Net remain incompatible with the principles of Free Software.

  • He's right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cabjf (710106) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:49AM (#29656269)
    Stallman does seem to only see the world in black and white (or not-free and free in this case). That's why I tend to dismiss most of what I hear from him. His fear mongering is no better that the stuff people complain about companies like Microsoft doing. Microsoft is just a company. They may have many business practices I disagree with. They may even have leadership I more consistently disagree with, but that doesn't mean everything they do is wrong. Just like De Icaza says, "there are great people working for the company, and I know many people inside Microsoft that are steering the company towards being a community citizen." Now I don't personally know people inside Microsoft as De Icaza does, but it's not a stretch to believe that out of those thousands of employees, at least some of them would rather play nice and put out great products. You can't just dismiss everything based on past behavior. Especially for a corporate entity which changes directions more frequently than people do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      Microsoft isn't only a corporation, it's a paradigm. Their memetic tyranny is twofold in attraction of members who have the same beliefs of proprietary software and the indoctrination of new employees to follow the way of the four-color panes.

      There's only so many crimes against humanity anyone can commit before they can no longer be redeemed. In the view of Stallman and many, many others, Microsoft crossed the line long before the world really knew who they were.

      There's no changing the connotation of Micros

      • Re:He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:59AM (#29658113)

        memetic tyranny

        There's only so many crimes against humanity anyone can commit before they can no longer be redeemed.

        Holy shit Batman, do you hear what you are saying?

        They ARE JUST A SOFTWARE COMPANY!

        They can't actually ruin your life. They really can't FORCE you to do anything.

        We're not talking about genocide here, lets keep things in some sort of sane perspective.

        You can end MS "tyranny" very easy. Stop using their products. Period. Really, thats it. You don't actually have to have them to survive.

        You can, in fact, never use a computer and still survive and function.

        You have to be really fucking spoiled to make the comparison you just made, I'd hate to see you having to deal with an actual problem in your life.

        You, from your statements, are completely out of touch with reality, just like Stallman himself. You've elevated crap like 'licensing agreements' to the same level as 'genocide'. You treat Microsoft as if they've detonated a nuclear bomb in the heart of a peaceful city.

        You sir, need a tall glass of perspective and soda.

    • Re:He's right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by domatic (1128127) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:15AM (#29656621)

      The leadership of MS is on record as calling FOSS Un-American, a cancer, and other pejoratives. Their leadership has also been caught red-handed more than once attempting to sabotage FOSS. The recent nastiness with the anti-Linux patent package intended for troll use comes to mind. The actions of MS' leadership are far more relevant than the fact a few coders in cubicles don't bear FOSS any particular ill will. Now I don't hate MS but distrusting MS isn't in the least unreasonable.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @08:58AM (#29656385) Homepage Journal

    RMS is a lot of things his critics accuse him off: he's a radical hippy type who pisses people off and makes the most outlandish predictions. He's also one of the most principled people I know. You can pretty much tell where Stallman will fall on an issue before anyone thinks to ask him - he'll be on whichever side means the most freedom for users. Yeah, a lot of his conclusions initially sound crazy, but he starts with solid principles and makes logical arguments from there. If he follow is reasoning from start to end, it's kind of hard do disagree with him.

    Contrast with de Icaza, whose main principle seems to be "short term convenience wins". Well, by that standard, I have a principled position on liking the taste of peanut butter.

    When de Icaza has a couple of decades of predictive accuracy rivaling RMS's under his belt, I'll start to listen to what he says. Until then, he has no more credibility with me than any other random programmer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TiberSeptm (889423)

      I find it strange that people seem to think it's ok to say something outlandish and crazy if you started with principles and logic. Doesn't that make it all the more lamentable that even though you started with principles and logic you still managed to make it crazy? That seems to suggest a sort of world view that can not be tempered even by logic and principles doesn't it?

      I'm not really commenting on Stallman in particular, just the general idea that doing or saying something nutty is ok if you started

  • by jipn4 (1367823) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:00AM (#29656411)

    When Stallman started the GNU project, the software he was cloning had been created by a big, litigious, evil monopoly called "AT&T". There was a good chance that they were going to shut him down for copyright and patent infringement. He took that risk, and the rest is history.

    The situation surrounding Mono is actually far less serious. Yes, Microsoft is a big, litigious, evil monopoly, but they actually have made a pretty watertight commitment to keeping those portions of .NET that Mono relies on open and free.

    • by urulokion (597607) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:32AM (#29656825)

      When Stallman started the GNU project, the software he was cloning had been created by a big, litigious, evil monopoly called "AT&T". There was a good chance that they were going to shut him down for copyright and patent infringement. He took that risk, and the rest is history.

      The situation surrounding Mono is actually far less serious. Yes, Microsoft is a big, litigious, evil monopoly, but they actually have made a pretty watertight commitment to keeping those portions of .NET that Mono relies on open and free.

      There were no software patents back then. Only copyright and very proprietary (read: expensive) software licenses. RMS started creating work alike and very often superior software. The software was written independent of any of the Unix source code to avoid any chance of it being tainted by that same source code. There was no chance of AT&T shutting down GNU software; because, they didn't have any legal leg to stand on.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by speedtux (1307149)

        There was no chance of AT&T shutting down GNU software; because, they didn't have any legal leg to stand on.

        The legal issues simply hadn't been settled in court, but there was a very real risk that AT&T could have made both patent claims (they had some software patents already) and copyright claims (based on identifier names and interfaces) against the GNU project. Furthermore, many of the people contributing to GNU did have access to UNIX source code in principle, resulting in yet more ways in whi

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:02AM (#29656437) Journal

    Stallman's a fanatic, but on the other hand, Microsoft is Microsoft. Which is to say, it's probably difficult to be too paranoid about their intentions with respect to competition. Stallman's article isn't even particularly paranoid; it boils down to "we've seen similar groups do bad things before, so we should watch this group. Also, we disagree with some of their goals".

    BTW, Miguel, George Bush did not invent "Good vs Evil". And while I've never seen anything that approaches pure Good, there's no shortage of "sufficiently evil".

  • Impedance mismatch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:10AM (#29656547)

    Stallman and de Icaza have completely different goals, as do the larger Free Software and Open Source movements they are part of. There is unfortunately a tendency on the Open Source side to obscure this difference by claiming that Free Software is a subset of Open Source, often through the use of equivocation with the ambiguous English word "free", but Free Software is not a subset of Open Source.

    The Free Software movement's position is essentially ideological, based on the philosophy that closed source is ethically and morally wrong. The Open Source position is essentially pragmatic, based on the theory that closed source (the cathedral) is less efficient than open source (the bazaar). Free Software is an ethical stance; Open Source is a high-level development methodology. The two sides end up shouting over each other's heads more often than not, as they are today, because they are using much of the same terminology to describe completely different things.

    As such, de Icaza is wrong when he says that Stallman is missing an opportunity here. From the perspective of Free Software, especially given Microsoft's well-documented past behavior, cooperation with Microsoft is not an opportunity, it's a trap with a flashing neon TRAP sign above it. Conversely, it might well be an opportunity for Open Source, at least insofar as the literal issue of "open source" is concerned, though probably only in the short term.

    Closed source software vendors ultimately make their money from artificial scarcity. Yes, it is possible to make money with open source, but the kind of money that Microsoft and most of its peers rake in comes only from closed source. To the extent that they are publicly-owned businesses, and therefore exist to make as much money as possible, they will only expend their assets -- including opening some of their source -- if they believe that it will lead to greater profits. Stallman is entirely correct to be wary of Microsoft here. Microsoft views the Free Software and Open Source movements as competitors, just as they view other conventional closed source companies as competitors. To expect them to behave in a genuinely cooperative fashion with groups that are, in an increasing number of areas, eating into their profits is to live in a utopian fantasy world.

    • The Free Software movement's position is essentially ideological, based on the philosophy that closed source is ethically and morally wrong

      When Stallman objects to things based on ethics, morality, or legality, I often agree with him. But Stallman's objection to C# is not based on ethics, morality, or legality; the Mono license and the ECMA C# standard are completely above board in those regards. Stallman's objection to C# is based on his fear of hidden legal dangers. But Stallman has been unable to tran

  • by viralMeme (1461143) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:26AM (#29656739)
    "Since we only have a limited time on earth, I have decided to spend my time on earth as much as I can trying to be like the second salesman. Looking at opportunities where others see hopelessness"

    Which begs the question as to why expend so much energy in duplicating dotNET onto the Linux platform. Isn't whole the MONO effort diverting developers from developing native Linux applications?

    "The creation of the CodePlex foundation was an internal effort of people that believe in open source at Microsoft. They have been working from within the company to change it. Working at CodePlex is a great way of helping steer Microsoft in the right direction"

    What was wrong with SourceForge. If I was cynical and recalling Microsoft's past behaviour, including tthe NovoSOFT trojan .. er covenant, I would suspect this as yet another attempt to co-opt and control a technology they don't own. Why not contribute to SourceForge instead of creating and stacking their own organization. Same with the numerous Microsoft 'open source' licenses. It's very telling that GPL 3 is not one of the supported [codeplex.com] licenses on CodePlex.

    And as an 'open source' supporter I fail to understand how you would recommend something called the LinuxHater's Blog [tirania.org]

    'If you're a freetard, but you need to run Windows at work or something, I've got an idea for a utility that will keep you true to the cause'

    'How many hours do I have to waste wading through the monument of shit known as the debian package repository?'
    • by miguel (7116) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:52AM (#29657139) Homepage

      I work on Mono, because I like it. If you want to learn more about my goals, you can read this old post:

      http://www.mono-project.com/Mailpost:longreply [mono-project.com]

      As for CodePlex: it turns out that there are two entities: CodePlex.ORG (owned by the Foundation) and CodePlex.Com (Owned by Microsoft, and has no affiliation with the foundation).

      It is beyond unfortunate that the Foundation adopted the name from the hosting site. The logic apparently was "It is already a known brand". In my opinion, moving ahead with this name was a terrible decision as it is incredibly confusing, a point that I have raised with the board of directors.

      The CodePlex foundation has no control over the contents of CodePlex.com.

      • by demachina (71715) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @12:48AM (#29666777)

        I often wonder where your real motivations lie Miguel. Between your efforts on Gnome and Mono you seem to be a one man wrecking ball designed to destroy Linux on the desktop. In particular you were a prime mover in creating the fissure between KDE and GNOME, which has so fragmented the Linux desktop world its unlikely to ever compete against Windows and the Mac on the desktop. I've certainly given up on it ever mattering as a desktop OS, Now you are trying to infect Linux and Gnome with Microsoft patented technology which seems to be an even more overt and blatant attempt to wreck Linux to Microsoft's benefit.

        In my attempt to fathom your motivations the only answers I come up with:

        A. You actually think pushing .NET and C# in to Linux is a good idea, and you actually think Microsoft is a nice company. If so you are either naive or just not very bright because Microsoft has always been and still is one of the most ruthless of tech companies and its prime directive is and always has been to destroy all its competitors. Linux is a competitor, not their friend. .NET and C# are quite interesting technologies but no one with any sense would think they are appropriate to introduce as a core technology in Linux.

        or

        B. Sometime ago you actually started working for Microsoft under the table and you have been working to destroy Linux from within, at their behest, by pretending to be a member of the open source community while you've pushed one agenda and then another designed to complete wreck Linux as a desktop OS.

        Now its kind of tin foil hat to go with B) but when you think about it, Microsoft was faced with an existential threat from Linux and they couldn't use the same tactics to destroy it they used on more traditional incorporated competitors. Bill Gates is, if nothing else, smart with a heavy dose of ruthless, and to be honest Miguel, your whole agenda for years seems to be a perfect fit for the role of a mole Microsoft planted in the Linux community to destroy it from within. Planting a high profile mole is, when you think about it, the ideal strategy for a company like Microsoft to use to sabotage a community based threat like Linux.

        Stallman is kind of abrasive and his religious purity can be annoying to no end, but I can be sure he is what he appears to be, his heart and mind are relatively pure and he does have a great track record for spotting snakes in the grass. By contrast I don't think I would ever trust your motives. It is impossible to tell where your heart really is and seem to bear a striking resemblance to one of those snakes in the grass Stallman is so good at spotting.

  • by gravyface (592485) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:27AM (#29656759)
    but was/is there a real need for Mono? Anyone actually using it in a production environment? If so, why?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bsDaemon (87307)
      I'm a sysadmin at a web host, and we are an all-Linux (CentOS and a few 'real' RedHat machines) in server-space. We have a few customers on VPS or Dedicated hosting who have mod_mono installed into Apache so that they could port over ASP.NET code that they had and still wanted to use. They have had varying degrees of success depending on the complexity of what is they're actually trying to pull off.

      It still seems like a hack-job to me, though... and as a regular Perl user and evangelist, that's something
  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:56AM (#29657213) Homepage

    From de Icaza's article: 'To him, ridiculous statements like Linus "does not believe in Freedom" are somewhat normal [1].'

    Isn't that true, though? I always thought Linus came down heavily on the side of open source as an engineering philosophy and against the ideological side of software freedom? I'd have expected Linus to agree with the sentiment RMS is expressing, to be honest, as I believe it matches his real world stance.

    RMS is obnoxious in the things he says or the way he says them sometimes. He also frequently comes across as patronizing in the way he states his beliefs as if they are Truth. But at least the guy is pretty consistent. I'm not sure having a hardliner such as him is as helpful now as it was was but you can at least rely on him to take a fairly consistent take and articulate his principles well, even if you don't believe in them. I respect him, even though he's maddening sometimes.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:00AM (#29657273) Homepage Journal
    The 'embrace' part? Its going to feel lovely, fluffy and warm.
    MS is going to be your best friend forever.
    Then comes the extend part. A few changes, nothing bad.
    The end is like having a few years of your life taken to the mine waste heap and dumped.
    If your such a fan of African history may I suggest the book "King Leopold's Ghost" and understand the true meaning of "Business opportunity" in Africa.
    Empty ships arrive, full ships leave.
    Just like Bill Gates it was all done under the cover of ""philanthropic" care.
  • by Millennium (2451) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:18PM (#29660439) Homepage

    Miguel de Icaza is indeed a Microsoft apologist. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in and of itself, but as far as it goes, Stallman has him pegged.

    As to the article itself, the reasons for the open-source community not to trust Microsoft are many and varied. The attacks they have repeatedly launched on the community are well-documented, with many more that were not actually launched but were known planned. They continue to espouse models which are antithetical to the OSS mindset, often with an eye toward undermining important infrastructure on which the community is built. Their actions speak a lot louder than their words.

    Perhaps someday, Microsoft will prove to my satisfaction (and that of many others in the community) that they can be trusted. It could happen; the small overtures they have made are indeed steps in the right direction, and should be encouraged. But they have a very long way to go, and if de Icaza wants to gain any more traction in the community he is first going to have to accept that Microsoft is not in the position of an accused on trial; it is in the position of an ex-con trying to reintegrate. If de Icaza can start arguing from that position, he might find that he begins to hold more traction.

    As a possible suggestion for a place to start, perhaps he could tell us of his own experiences with beginning to trust Microsoft. How did MS manage to win de Icaza's trust back in 2004?

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