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GNU is Not Unix Microsoft Programming

De Icaza Responds To Stallman 747

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 @09:41AM (#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 Howard Beale ( 92386 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:43AM (#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?

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:44AM (#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 Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:48AM (#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.

  • He's right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cabjf ( 710106 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:49AM (#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.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:53AM (#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.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @09:58AM (#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.

  • by domatic ( 1128127 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:00AM (#29656417)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:01AM (#29656425)

    Or any exec?


    So when it comes down to "strategic" planning to maintain monopoly or playing nice with GPL, which way will the ***company*** go?

    The way these few people want or the way that screws up GPL?

    I mean it's just as valid to say out of all those thousands, there are probably many who believe that the GPL is the spawn of satan and will kill all projects even thought of touching it and therefore RMS is right and Miguel wrong.

  • by readthemall ( 1531267 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:01AM (#29656431)
    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.

  • by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:02AM (#29656441) Journal

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

    "I merely happen to have a different perspective on Microsoft than he has. 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.

    At the end of the day, we both want to see free software succeed. But Richard, instead of opening new fronts to promote his causes, attacks his own allies for not being replicas of himself."

    He suggested that either himself, or Microsoft, or both, was his "ally." If you consider this feeble attempt to construct it in a deniable way to be successful, let's agree to disagree. :)

    RMS is a hardliner with zero tolerance or forgiveness.

    Or "forgiveness?" LOL. You suggest he can do anything other that use harsh language? RMS needs no license to be as free with his words as Microsoft certainly is.

    Also, is Java not "forgiven?" I would think that would rather make the contrary point that RMS is obviously issue driven, rather than "revenge" driven as you seem to imply.

    de Icaza seems to be more of a bridge builder

    de Icaza is a shill. It is impossible to believe he is so big a fool to believe otherwise.

    Microsoft's brand is "incompatible" with open source. They can no more credibly change it now than Volkswagen can pretend to be an American automaker. They made their bed on that through carefully and assiduously lying and suing the shit out of people for many, many years.

    Bridge building? How big of a sucker can you possibly ask us to be?

    (It's a rhetorical question.)

  • by jhol13 ( 1087781 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:03AM (#29656451)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:06AM (#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 FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:09AM (#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?

  • Impedance mismatch (Score:5, Insightful)

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

  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:10AM (#29656553)

    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 seem to understand the relationship between Mono and .NET; he is speaking from technical and legal ignorance.

    Finally, he has a track record of making some pretty bold predictions that turn out to be dead on many years later.

    And he has also made numerous bad predictions. Also, just because he understood the technology 20 years ago doesn't mean he understands today's technologies and their relationships.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:13AM (#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 TiberSeptm ( 889423 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:13AM (#29656575)

    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 somewhere sane and had principles You could extend that rationale to a lot of terrible things throughout history. I think it's more upsetting when someone starts with sound reasoning and principles and, through zeal or intolerance, ends up somewhere very dark and nasty than if they had just been crazy to begin with.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:15AM (#29656609) Homepage Journal

    Stallman has never programmed in either Mono or .NET.

    Neither have I, but I know what they are.

    He has no idea what the relationship between C#, CLR, .NET, and Mono is.

    So you disagree with RMS: fine. But you're doing yourself a grave disservice by dismissing him as someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. Love him or hate him, he's a sharp guy who knows his stuff.

    And he has no idea of what the legal situation is.

    I'm sure the founder of the FSF and the author of the first GPL is wholly ignorant of legal issues in software development.

    Don't be stupid. Again, it's OK to disagree with the man. Just don't do it on the grounds of "he's old and doesn't know anything", because it's possible (in fact, certain) that he knows more about it than you do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:15AM (#29656611)

    I always thought it was hilarious that Senor Miguel's motive for starting GNOME was that the then non-free QT wasnt 'free enough' to his tastes
    and that now that he is on the other side of the equation, he has utter contempt for the people have the same opiinions of him.

    We all become our fathers eventually. Soon Miguel will tell us to get off his lawn.

    Im still waiting to see if .NET will become the framework for GNOME 3 or version 4 like he has promised us.

    Microsoft controlled free software: like a warm bowl of leftover barf.

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

    by domatic ( 1128127 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:15AM (#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.

  • Re:He's right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:21AM (#29656669)

    If you mix black and white you get gray. If you try mixing free and not-free the result is not-free. Thus Free and Not-free don't mix.

  • by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish.infoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:26AM (#29656731) Homepage

    Stallman has never programmed in either Mono or .NET. He has no idea what the relationship between C#, CLR, .NET, and Mono is...

    That's preposterous -- it's like saying someone is in no position to judge whether or not the Nazis were evil... unless he speaks German.

    Stallman's position is that anything built on Mono is built on a foundation of trust in Microsoft, which means a foundation made of sand.

    You don't need to write any Mono code to judge whether or not his contention is true. All you need to know is that, time after time after time, Microsoft have demonstrated that they are not to be trusted.

  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:26AM (#29656745) Journal
    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 extreme zealot in order to make some room for more moderate points of view to develop.

    Like Miguel I think that Microsoft is a really big company that bought many good small companies and that these small guys are still there and wanting to do great projects. Their management dooms most of them unfortunately. Though Mono is one of these things that has not been switched off yet. I think this is a great opportunity as well and we should enjoy it while it lasts. MS lacks subtlety : when they will stop support it, it will be quite clear.
  • Re:He's right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CaseCrash ( 1120869 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:27AM (#29656769)
    Holy shit. I hope this is supposed to be a funny ironic attack on iconoclasts and fundamentalists, because otherwise you're way the fuck out there and you sound like old school communist and fascist orators.
  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:31AM (#29656809)

    Isn't it possible that Microsoft will slowly see benefit from releasing source code?

    I think a big part of Stallman's point was that CodePlex is going to muddy the open source waters, and this question appears to be an example of it.

    Open source is more than just letting people look at the source code. Microsoft can harm OS by geting people to think it's not.

    Also, open source != free software, and -- more importantly -- MS will confuse things by trying to make out like they're equivalent. Free software is the important bit. Open source is one part of that.

    In the bigger picture, Microsoft has repeatedly shown that it cannot be trusted. In the past, it has looked like it might be getting a bit of enlightenment, only to have it turn out that the goal was to coopt and subvert. WIth that track record, I'm not going to trust them an inch until they've established a reasonably different track record.

  • by urulokion ( 597607 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:32AM (#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.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:33AM (#29656839)
    "I'm sick and tired of the attacks on everyone who might go against the juvenile group-think on this website and actually feel some of the things microsoft produce have something to offer the world and would like to extend it."

    Sorry, but after years of trying to undermine and bring an end to the free software and open source software movements, Microsoft needs to make the first move. Thus far, all they have done is contributed some drivers to Linux that make it easier to run Windows in a VM, and made it slightly easier for open source developers to develop software for Windows. Note their emphasis on running Windows. Note that Windows is more proprietary, more shackled than ever before.

    Call me when Windows and/or MS Office have been GPLv3'ed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:34AM (#29656853)
    The issue of "need" has absolutely nothing to do with this. Unsurprisingly you have totally missed the point.
  • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:34AM (#29656855) Journal

    Since the article was prefaced as being about attacks on him (and not MS), it seems most logical that he is referring to himself as being the ally, not MS.

    Personally, I can see how de Icaza may be a shill, and he may not be, but even a shill can build a bridge. Microsoft is a big enough organization that the left hand can have some confusion as to what the right is doing, and there could be a lot of honest intent in the MS Open Source group. It's not foolish to think people or groups can change, to think that they can learn from their mistakes, or to think that a large corporation can have a bit of inconsistency due to management issues.

    Blinding disregarding those possibilities is just as foolish as blindly thinking they aren't possibilities but actual simple truths.

  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:36AM (#29656891) Journal
    Free software isn't a religion.
  • by nstlgc ( 945418 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:38AM (#29656921)
    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 speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:39AM (#29656939)

    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 translate his fear into specific legal scenarios.

    As such, de Icaza is wrong when he says that Stallman is missing an opportunity here.

    But Stallman has already proven that his judgment in areas of technology is weak. It was people like Linus, Icaza, and the founders of the various Linux distributions that really made free software happen. If it had been up to Stallman and his plodding approach, we'd probably still be running GNU Emacs on Solaris.

    Icaza has far more credibility and a much better track record in picking a winner for writing end user applications than Stallman.

  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:49AM (#29657091)

    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 which AT&T could have challenged GNU. At the very least, they could have tied up GNU in legal knots for years. And whether the GPL itself would hold up in court was yet another legal uncertainty.

    The GNU project has always lived under legal clouds and threats; that just comes with the territory.

  • by ak3ldama ( 554026 ) <james_akeldama.yahoo@com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:52AM (#29657129) Homepage Journal

    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 they need to build in order to maintain future development and use of their project.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:56AM (#29657209) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @10:58AM (#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 drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:00AM (#29657257)

    "Open Source" misses the point. Being able to *see* it is of little use if people that receive it are not also able to modify it, release the modified versions, use it for any purpose, and freely copy it.

    This is simply not true. For most developers, probably 90% of the benefits of Open Source come from simply being able to see and modify it. For most users, probably 99% of the benefits come from it being free.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:00AM (#29657273) 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 moon3 ( 1530265 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:02AM (#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.
  • by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:05AM (#29657357) Journal

    This ordering of ideas to suggest something while later being able to deny it is an elementary trick more worthy of a speed seduction practitioner than a software engineer. It is marketing.

    You make my argument for me in your own words as you go on. The whole concept of his article is to suggest that Microsoft is an ally, or if not, a potentially ally if we will only "build bridges" rather than "burn bridges." That, and throwing vague insults at Stallman. Did I mention it is also basically inept, since Miguel so badly misjudges (most of) his audience's intelligence?

    You may choose to read it however you like. I doubt many are fooled.

  • Re:He's right (Score:1, Insightful)

    by AniVisual ( 1373773 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:10AM (#29657445)

    Mod parent up Informative/Interesting. Works for Microsoft != thinks like Microsoft. On another manner of arguing, how many times have you taken up a job that you hate?

    The level of Anti-Microsoft present on Slashdot is really bordering on excessive paranoia.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:12AM (#29657473)

    There are people who sit by the side and whinge about how things should be, and there are people who actually go out and do stuff.

    Miguel - dont waste your time engaging in this conversation. You clearly have more important goals to achieve.

    I think your work is great, and I wish you the best of luck.

  • by AmaDaden ( 794446 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:13AM (#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 c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:13AM (#29657487)
    Good point that has been mentioned before in regard to Mono but is often overlooked. The free software movement itself is based on the act of providing free alternatives to closed systems. That is quite possibly the single most wonderful thing about free (as in freedom) software, in my opinion, beside which every other advantage pales in comparison. The ability to go completely free when necessary rather than being relegated to a switch to a competitor cut from the same cloth is one of the most powerful options FLOSS provides. Viewed in this light, I can't really understand the animosity directed toward Mono, because it offers the very thing that's most valuable to someone trying to exercise their freedom: somewhere to go. The fact that Microsoft is associated somehow seems to blind people to this.
  • by locallyunscene ( 1000523 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:22AM (#29657591)
    No, Stallman's objection to C# is based on history.

    If I open my arms to give you a hug and then, when you get close, slap you, how many times will we repeat this exercise before you stop accepting my "free hugs"?
  • Cynical Hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:29AM (#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 @11:31AM (#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 dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:34AM (#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.

  • by iserlohn ( 49556 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:35AM (#29657781) Homepage

    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 agree with RMS' assessment that MS is a lost cause in that regard, at least in the current market structure. It is simply not profitable for MS to welcome F/OSS models within the company, especially in areas in which they are already dominant. This constant fear that actions by MS reaching out to the FOSS community is a Trojan horse is a reasonable reaction. After all, if FOSS support MS technologies too well, MS can just release a new version of the technology, while FOSS plays catch-up (ie. the Trojan horse scenario, OS/2)

    However, Mono and WINE and other similar projects are important in the sense that it is unreasonable to expect Windows or Office or any other MS technology to disappear overnight. Then the problems becomes how this transition happens, ie. on a technological viewpoint, how FOSS can be a viable alternative while allowing people and organisations to keep their current investment in MS technologies. It's a hard question, and in reality, the only thing that would really make a difference is to handle the demand side of the equation. If big projects and end-users demand cross-system operability and the use of open solutions, then we change the actual environment and ecosystem, and MS would have no choice but to fight or adapt.

    We are already seeing this in government contracts in Europe and it is starting to make a difference. There is a strong argument to build software using F/OSS principles, and the main thrust should be persuading everybody on the merits of it. On the other hand, even though MS compatibility in F/OSS is essential for further adoption, we should always be vigilant. As such, both Miguel and RMS is right.

  • by Nick Ives ( 317 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:52AM (#29658039)

    No, "apologist" in this context is clearly a reference to the fact that Miguel has fairly consistently defended the Microsoft position, that's what that word means. It's only a pejorative if you think Microsoft is bad. If you approve of Microsoft then you really should approve of Microsoft apologists, that's coming from a proud FSF apologist of course!

    Despite all the mud that gets thrown at him, RMS is actually very honest about what he does and doesn't believe and why he believes it; anyone who's used to serious political debate (not what you read in the papers or see on TV) will find it quite easy to digest the polemical style of RMS and won't wind themselves up by reading personal attacks where there are none.

    Also, I find it hilarious that Miguel links to an apology from RMS about an inaccurate claim he made regarding Mac OS X as proof that he "makes up facts". That's a clear show of intellectual dishonesty, and, dare I say, an astonishingly bold use of a classic trolling technique!

  • by cyberjessy ( 444290 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:55AM (#29658069) Homepage

    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?

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

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @11:59AM (#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 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.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:04PM (#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.

  • by tyler_larson ( 558763 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:08PM (#29658227) Homepage

    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 behind it, and contrary to some /. conjecture, weren't funding it.

    Perhaps you're thinking of something else?

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:09PM (#29658235) Journal

    How many times have we seen Microsoft's shills come on out, try to make friends, tell everyone how Microsoft has changed, only to discover we've been lead down the garden path.

    When Microsoft drops its patent growling over Linux, then maybe I'll be inclined to listen to Icaza. Until then, he's just another Microsoft whore.

  • by d'fim ( 132296 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:11PM (#29658267)
    ". . . there could be a lot of honest intent in the MS Open Source group."

    Yet, in the end, they still work for Steve Ballmer. They will ultimately follow Ballmer's "intent", not their own.
  • I didn't have any mod points, but this is EXACTLY what I wanted to say.

    Despite MANY good standards in the open document arena, De Icaza was supporting OOXML, which is an obvious trap by MS to make all other office products incompatible with the "standard" they are trying to ram through.

    No matter WHAT De Icaza has done, this alone cements him as a scum bag. A corporate whore, a liar, and a charlatan. Even if you hate RMS's vitriol, as usual, he is right, and everyone against him is clearly, and most solidly in the wrong.

  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:25PM (#29658473) Homepage Journal

    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.

    That is comically wrong.

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:25PM (#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:Mono guard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:40PM (#29658637) Journal

    As a fellow Debian user, I too am incensed that Debian developers, without consulting the user base have taken a monumental leap away from the projects original stated goals and ideals.

    What leap? Mono isn't DFSG compliant?

    What else do you want from Debian - follow your personal agenda where it doesn't matter whether something is FLOSS or not, but so long as it has any relation to Microsoft, it's automatically evil?

  • by 2short ( 466733 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:54PM (#29658865)
    "He also frequently comes across as patronizing in the way he states his beliefs as if they are Truth."

    You mean when he takes his own set of principles regarding whose freedoms deserve protection by what mechanisms and insists on referring to this collection of ideas as "Freedom"? Yeah, that whole ultimate-arbiter-of-morality-with-respect-to-software thing is perhaps slightly patronizing.

    "I respect him, even though he's maddening sometimes."

    I don't respect him; his cause deserves a better advocate. I actually know what the collection of principles he's advancing are; I substantially agree with much of them, and am probably persuadable on some more. But he won't persuade me, because I won't listen to him, or those who talk like him. If I wanted that, I'd invite the Jehovah's Witnesses in for tea.
  • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:02PM (#29659017)

    Microsoft is a big enough organization that the left hand can have some confusion as to what the right is doing, and there could be a lot of honest intent in the MS Open Source group.

    It's also likely that the MS Open Source group is diligently working without any clue about what their ultimate stategic purpose is. If the top management at Microsoft believes, as they always have up to now, that FOSS is a mortal threat to their business model, then you can bet your booty that the right hand knows very well what the left hand is doing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:10PM (#29659181)
    You are an idiot by claiming (and maybe even believing) that the reason behind the foundation and the hosting company sharing the same name is due to "it is already a known brand". By controlling the hosting site Microsoft in effect controls the availability of the content (where, how, whom to share), which means that ultimately it controls the project. Meanwhile the foundation, which is also controlled by Microsoft, serves only as a public relations faÃade whose objectives is to try to make believe that Microsoft somehow is pro-FLOSS.
  • by otopico ( 32364 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:10PM (#29659183)

    Yeah, and in 1970 there was no iPod.

    What exactly is your point? That at some point in time, businesses didn't fear digital copies and now they do? What was M$ supposed to do? Say 'no, we refuse to implement anything to legally cover our ass when we get sued for facilitating piracy'?

    Yeah, Windows now has drm. That has a lot more to do with media companies demanding it in order to allow their product to work in Windows than M$ inventing it and forcing the masses to its will.

    I won't claim M$ isn't and hasn't been shady as hell, but to blame them for closed source drm evil is as insane as the people that listen to RMS whine about it being 'GNU/Linux' They seem to miss the point that after DECADES, RMS can't get his damn kernel to a point where Linux isn't a better product.

    Blame M$ for the things they have done, not for the things you imagine they will do. In the end, it is just F-ing software, use what you like and get on with your life... nothing to see here.

  • by slashbart ( 316113 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:19PM (#29659337) Homepage

    Incorrect. They've actually helped out quite a few OSS projects including samba, ODF, FireFox, Apache to name but a few. 10 years ago I would have agreed with you, but Microsoft are much more open to interoperbility now than ever before.

    What a load of baloney:
    MS grudgingly gave the Samba people a pile of incomplete documentation, after it was forced to do so by the EU
    MS desperately attacked ODF, came up with its pile of crap MS-OOXML, which it specifically named such that it was easily confused with ODF, and then when they managed to force it through the ISO organization, in the process pretty much destroying that organization, they abandoned the standard because even their own Office program didn't implement it.
    Firefox? You're full of it.
    Apache, they gave money to the Apache foundation. We don't know why yet, maybe to make apache run better on Windows.

  • by Jeremy Allison - Sam ( 8157 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:23PM (#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.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:43PM (#29659795)

    "It is beyond unfortunate that the Foundation adopted the name from the hosting site."

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

    And you are not an apologist? Are you *sure* of that? Who is in control of CodePlex? Not even the name is safe!

    How about explaining why they don't use source forge as the parent requested? Or any other tool in use by open source for that matter?

    I've no doubt that you love managed code, and I've no doubt that having multiple languages run on a common platform can do some serious good. But as far as Microsoft goes, you've got your head so far in your arse that you don't even see what you are writing.

  • by AmaDaden ( 794446 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:44PM (#29659817)
    That is a very different case. I am well aware that Microsoft can not be trusted when they say they will play nice. My point is that they are predictable in there own selfish actions. Attacking Tom Tom validated the argument that 'Linux is dangerous' that Microsoft has been making while not hurting any of it's own interests.

    OTOH if Microsoft attacked Mono it would be basically proving that all the MS haters are right when they say .NET is a language that is only for Windows machines. In a world that is proving again and again to contain more platforms then just windows no developer in their right mind would want to lock them self in with out very good reason. Microsoft knows that killing or even just attacking Mono would result in a exodus from .NET. Less coders means less programs means less reasons to use Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:46PM (#29659857)

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

    Interesting that this statement complaining about FUD ends with FUD.

  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:55PM (#29660025) Homepage

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

    1) A patent on a technology must be filed within a year of publication of that technology.

    2) I have yet to come across one single, actual patent on the .NET codebase. Not a single fucking one. This despite the fact that fearmongers like yourself have brought up this spectre time and time again without a single piece of evidence to back up your claims.

    3) The Microsoft Community Promise prevents MS from enforcing patents on a specific set of the .NET libraries.

    4) Mono is working to repackage their code so that those libraries not covered by the CP will be distributed separately.

    In short, all you have is fear and innuendo. Meanwhile, the reality is that a) there is no evidence MS has actually filed a patent on technologies in the .NET stack, b) even if they have (something which is unproven), they've issued a legally binding statement outlining specific libraries where they will not pursue patent infringement, and c) Mono, in an effort to quiet fearmongering trolls such as yourself, is repackaging their system such that paranoid folks can install only those bits of Mono that are guaranteed safe, and can then use their free software stack to cover the remaining bases (ie, Gtk#, etc).

    Now, if you can find evidence that MS actually has patents out on technology in .NET (patents which don't also cover technologies available in other free software packages), I'd love to see it. I've asked for this *many* times in the past, but no one has yet managed to answer the call. Maybe you'll succeed where they've failed. But I doubt it.

  • by Jeremy Allison - Sam ( 8157 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:07PM (#29660219) Homepage

    aztracker1 wrote:

    > In the past 3-4 years they've shown a much different attitude towards OSS developers..

    This is true, they have. But they've also aggressively sued a company using Free Software over claimed patent violations in Free Software (Tom Tom). This negates all the attitude changes in the world. I actually feel sorry for the pro-Open Source people at Microsoft (and there are many). They're not in control and they are left trying to defend the indefensible from their masters. Hopefully this might change eventually, but I'm adopting a wait and see attitude. Actual lawsuits trump noble promises IMHO.


  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:12PM (#29660295)

    Exactly, Stallman believes in forced sharing, which is not freedom. "Freedom" in his mind is giving one person the right to take the hard work of another person and use it for themselves, regardless of whether or not the original creator wanted to share his work.

    When this philosophy of sharing is volunteer based, it works pretty well. You end up with the open source community we have today, which is strong and happy and one can easilly see the benefits to society as a whole. However, when the philosophy becomes imposed upon people who disagree, the happy system breaks down and becomes a bitter system. If Stallman ever gets his way in regards to forcing all software to be "free", the software landscape will more than likely mirror what happened to Soviet Russia, where the best and brightest may have a future but the average programmer will have little incentive to create their own small innovations. Software in general will suffer greatly for it.

    I encourage RMS to convert as many programmers as he can to open source, but if he is ever allowed to make policy he will fuck up the whole system. Honestly, he's an ass who doesn't care about anybody else's opinions but his own, and he has zero class. This is starting to ramble, but I recently watched the speech he gave after Linus and the Linux Foundation donated something like sixty thousand dollars to the GNU project, and Stallman had the nerve to get up and say Linux wasn't really Linux, it was GNU using the Linux kernel. Technically correct, but that was an asshole thing to say. The kernel just happens to be the most important and most difficult piece, without which you have no operating system. It has been over twenty years since the GNU project started, and the GNU HURD kernel is still not even close to being finished, despite the fact that the rest of GNU was in place after only a few years.

  • FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:17PM (#29660427)

    Regardless of how you feel about "free" software or open source or Microsoft, Stallman's article is very definition of FUD. He speculates about what Codeplex might do, then attacks them as though they had already done it.

  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:18PM (#29660439)

    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?

  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @02:59PM (#29661077)
    You're simply rejecting the obvious and straightforward interpretation, for the more convoluted interpretation which agrees with your preconceptions. They aren't practicing marketing; you're practicing self-deception.
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:05PM (#29661167)

    Given the context, it was supposed to be taken as one.

    The context was Stallman noting it as (when viewed along with the fact that the background of other board members) a basis for wariness about CodePlex, but dismissing it as a basis for concluding that CodePlex's actions will be bad, before going on to focus on specific actions and statements of Microsoft and CodePlex are to point to areas where those statements, rather than the identities of its board members, were reasons for concern.

    The paragraph referring to Icaza as an "apologist" is, in full:

    Many in our community are suspicious of the CodePlex Foundation. With its board of directors dominated by Microsoft employees and ex-employees, plus apologist Miguel de Icaza, there is plenty of reason to be wary of the organization. But that doesn't prove its actions will be bad.

    This is not a pejorative use. It is pointing to a relevant source of bias as a basis for concern that future actions might be tainted by that bias, and then also stating that that bias is not alone a basis for concluding that future actions by the biased actor will be bad.

    It's also the only reference to de Icaza in the article; both Icaza's claim that the article is content free and his claim that it features are personal attack on him ring rather hollow. One might disagree with the importance of the Free Software philosophy that Stallman embraces, and (even if one does not) one might validly disagree with his painting of the particular actions cited in the article as reasons for concerns about Mirosoft/CodePlex's intentions with regard to Free Software, but it is ludicrous to paint the article as content free, and even more ludicrous to paint to the reference to the relationship of board members including Icaza to Microsoft as a "personal attack" on Icaza.

  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:06PM (#29661201)

    Yes, For the most part the goals are not that different. Most of the Anti-Microsoft hatrid come from

    Most of the hatred for MS comes from the fact that they have killed dozens of companies and technologies, and replaced them with inferior ones. The reason for the hate is the multitude of times when they "partner" with some other company, only to stab them in the back. The hatred comes from their repeated breaking of the law and abuse of the monopoly. The hatred comes from the fact that MS actively wants to kill Linux. The hatred for MS is not an irrational feeling, it's based on the actions of MS that has taken place over the course of the years.

    Yet, we are supposed to "trust" Microsoft? Is this the fucking bizarro-world or something where black is white, and Microsoft is trustworthy company with good products?

    Because a lot of it is good, really good, just because you are an open source zealot and don't want to see it doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't have good products.

    I don't consider myself a "zealot": What I consider myself to be is a person capable of rational thinking. Microsoft has a long trail of blood behind them. How about "playsforsure"? A bit later MS stabbed it's partners in the back with a fucking Zune. Sendo would have lots of stories to tell about shenanigans Microsoft pulls, as does Apple. How about DR-DOS? Netscape? i4i? IBM?

    Are we supposed to now think that "oh, THIS TIME it's going to be different! Honest!". Give me a fucking break! Has Microsoft changed in any way? I sure as hell don't see any changes!

    Yes Microsoft would love to see Linux die

    So why exactly should we trust them?

    but they know that won't happen

    No, but MS can push Linux in to a niche, while they keep on dominating.

    Microsoft is very aggressive marketing however they can also be good partners.

    Unless their partner happens to have some interesting technology or they start threatening Windows. Then Microsoft will crush them, it has happened every single time. Sendo had interesting technology, so MS crushed them. i4i had interesting technology, and MS stile it. Netscape started threatening Windows, and had to be killed. DR-DOS offered better product, so it had to be killed. OS/2 threatened Windows so it had to be killed. List goes on.

    And FWIW, the main OS I use these days is OS X.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:09PM (#29661229)

    I certainly do believe that people and the organizations they control can change. I believe that MS can change.

    I also believe that Charles Manson can change. I really do believe it is possible.

    But I wouldn't petition the parole board to have Charles released under my supervision and have him live in my spare bedroom.

    Let me make a little different point a little less drastically.
    My spouse an I have children we care very much about. Like most parents, we occassionally leave our children with a baby-siiter. That may be a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or a teenager down the street.
    If we have a bad experience with a baby-sitter, or a series of small issues with a baby-sitter, we avoid that baby-sitter.
    If we have built up a pool of half a dozen baby-sitter candidates, it is natural to rank them according to the experiences we have had with them as baby-sitters. There is no reason to make an offer to our least-favorite baby-sitter unless all the others are unavailable.
    If we have some horrible experience, like a hospital visit, with a baby-sitter, they would obviously be promptly removed from the list of candidates. We would never invite them again.
    Unless... the only alternatives were worse than our children being hospitalized.

    Now, maybe that one incident was a horrible accident. Or maybe that baby-sitter has changed their ways. Maybe things are better now, and that problem would never happen again.

    It doesn't matter. I still won't invite that baby-sitter back ever as long as their is a better alternative. And missing out on a date with my spouse is a better alternative than that baby-sitter. Taking the children along on the date is a better alternative. Ordering food in an a Redbox rental is a better alternative. Trying out the new teenager that moved in last month is a better alternative.

    That isn't to say that I hate the unfortunate baby-sitter. I just won't ever use them again. And if anyone asks a reference of them, mine will not be an endorsement.

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:15PM (#29661317)

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

    RMS's post neither contains a personal attack on you nor lacks substantive comment. It does mention the fact that the CodePlex board has a number of current and former Microsoft employees and that you are a Microsoft apologist (which is, in fact, true, you are unquestionably a defender of Microsoft against critics in the FOSS community, and someone who defends someone against critics is an apologist) as a reason why people are wary of CodePlex, but also dismisses that as a basis for concluding that CodePlex's actions will be bad. He does that in the first paragraph.

    The rest of the article he spends analyzing specific statements and actions of Microsoft, CodePlex, and the employees of both and making arguments as to why those actions and statements should be worrying to people who share Stallman's Free Software philosophy. Whether one disagrees with either the philosophy or the conclusions, it is ridiculous to dismiss the post as content-free.

    I don't know whether you are clueless enough that you really think your description is accurate, or if you just think so little of your readers here that you expect them to believe it.

  • by Jeremy Allison - Sam ( 8157 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:18PM (#29661351) Homepage

    Your argument that the Mono case is different than the Tom Tom case doesn't stand up I'm afraid. Microsoft only wants developers to develop for Windows. .NET is an attempt to provide an environment so compelling that people continue to use Windows to get access to it. Mono weakens that case for using Windows, so attacking Mono makes perfect sense. Remember, Microsoft loves Open Source code that runs on Windows. Mono isn't designed to run on Windows - Windows already has a perfectly good .NET environment, therefore Mono serves no purpose in Microsoft's eyes. Promoting threats around Mono forces people who want to use .NET to do it on the "One True Platform" (Windows). Attacking Mono forces .NET developers to move to Windows, it doesn't mean an exodus from .NET. Just like in Microsoft's mindset the Linux kernel has no business implementing a Microsoft proprietary technology (FAT32) when people should be buying the Windows implementation instead. The parallels are obvious.


  • by base3 ( 539820 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:18PM (#29661359)
    The first two sentences were my favorite, in which he called RMS' referral to him as a "Microsoft apologist" a "personal attack," then proceeded to launch into his apology for Microsoft.
  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:31PM (#29661503)
    Stallman and the FSF have a history of just making shit up when they decide they don't like something. Look at some of the stuff they've written about trusted computing for examples of this. Miguel is right - the guy plays fast and loose with the facts repeatedly. I see lots of people praising his consistency in this discussion. Well guess what - it's easy to have a consistent position over a long period of time when you flatly refuse to accept factual reality.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:33PM (#29661551)

    "That means that it will also run on MacOS, BeOS, AIX, Solaris and HP/UX given enough interest. If .NET
    can't promise that than it is less interesting than Java or POSIX."

    And once you have those, you only have 91% of the desktop market left.

  • by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:47PM (#29661785)

    The whole concept of his article is to suggest that Microsoft is an ally, or if not, a potentially ally if we will only "build bridges" rather than "burn bridges."

    That's only your interpretation. The only person he calls an ally is Linus. If you really want to read more into it, I guess you could say that people within Microsoft who try to steer MS towards open source are allies too.

    He's wrong of course. Nobody is RMS's ally unless he completely subscribes to every detail of his world view, and believes that only his particular brand of freedom is true freedom. RMS is an extremist. He does think in us-vs-them, and has no tolerance for different opinions.

    Look, I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy, and love free/open source software with all my heart, but in cases like this, Stallman always acts like a complete retard.

  • by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @03:55PM (#29661943) Journal

    The entire point of codeplex, and the entire point of this article, is to trick some more gullible fans of "open source" into believing Microsoft is not their enemy after all - but their "ally" as it were.

    To condense the argument: Let's all have faith. See the softer side of the thug trying to destroy free software with lawsuits and FUD. Be nice to him - give him the benefit of the doubt, or it will just make it harder for him to be nice to you later. See how mean RMS is? Nothing ever makes him happy.

    They know how ridiculous they look trying to claim that Microsoft may be friendly to free software (especially while they work daily to destroy it), so they must insinuate it instead, and deny it when confronted.

    By forcing de Icaza and his fans deny it, I have forced them to undercut their own main thrust today. Richly satisfying to watch, if I do say so myself.

  • by keneng ( 1211114 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @04:55PM (#29662799) Journal

    Mr. Stallman deserves the utmost respect from all developers because he truly wishes to protect the right of all users/developers alike by ensuring we have the freedom to tinker with whatever we buy and by ensuring we have the freedom to adapting whatever we buy to our on-going requirements without having to pay surprise unexpected fees on an ongoing basis.
    Mr. Icaza has his point of view to make some MS stuff work in Linux. The effort he has placed deserves respect also I give him that.

    The problem is that developers need to remember the kind of under-handed tactics MS has done to developers and to users as a whole to make money.
    My favourites are:
    1)When Windows NT Workstation was discovered to be LIMITED with 64 TCP/IP connections, while Linux had no such limitations and the source and binaries were freely available for your perusal. One needs to recall the prices for Windows 95/NT Workstation/NT Server. Both NT Workstation and NT were starting to become highly exclusive(1000$+) while the Win95 was around 99$. Linux 0$-20$ :). This is not to mention the prices for the developer kits entry level MSDN 99$(TECHNET/DEVNET Knowledge BASE), Professional over 500$, and Enterprise over $1500 on a yearly basis. Mind you the value as respectable for the number of CDs/DVD's they send you. The problem is we have only so much time in the day to learn all the api's they created or unveiled to us. DOS, MFC, DIRECTX, DDK, DirectMedia, ODBC, DAO, ODB, VBA, OLE, ACTIVEX, COM, ATL to mention a few. Depending on what level of MSDN subscription you had, the more information they unveiled to you about each of these apis. Sometimes, you wouldn't know an api existed because you didn't have the Enterprise level subscription. The entry-level and Pro level would make no mention of the DirectMedia SDK, Enterprise DATABASE API/Enterprise DATABASE tools available through DevStudio GUI for example. By purchasing the Enterprise level MSDN, you had THE EDGE if you discovered its MSDN's existence. The internet was still in its infancy and not everyone knew what was going on or had money to access Special-Interest-Groups Bulletin-Board-Systems through a modem. Even if you did, the data you received would take forever to get because the average modem then was 56Kbps and the average user/wannabe developer couldn't afford to get the T1 1Mbps connection which was over 500$ a month.
    2)The UNDOCUMENTED DOS/WINDOWS book describing all the different API calls discovered being used by MS software products that no other company previously knew existed. The fact is the undocumented apis gave MS an edge of the competition. Once this was discovered, this created a market for non-microsoft debuggers. The sanctioned MS debugger Nu-Mega Softice was respected, but IDA pro came to fill a necessary void to ensure the developers were getting the whole picture when debugging their software or when trying to understand how other software worked in order to gain inspiration.
    3)Internet Explorer and Netscape web page HTML/javascript code incompatibilities.
    4)Microsoft Java JVM and Sun Java JVM incompatibilities.
    Simply by the existence of incompatibilities, the user didn't know so they would just opt with what was installed by MS, because that was the easy route to take and especially for updates. This in turn greatly hurt Netscape and Sun until they brought Microsoft to court, but the damage was done.
    5)Doublespace. Here's a company that created a disk compression technology that doubled the amount of data your hard drive could hold, but MS put them out of business by adding in a tool to their windows offering that did exactly the same thing. If you bought MS-Dos 6, you would get this disk compression tool from MS. The disk compression product competitor went out of business because MS squeezed them out of the market niche. Note this is similar to what happened to Netscape. Originally Netscape sold their web browser product, but then MS added in their Internet Explorer tool as part of the Windows O

  • by fredrik70 ( 161208 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @06:27PM (#29663881) Homepage

    care to elaborate?
    the patents would be in the code in the libs, not with the actual language as nice as it is, there's tons of prior art to as far as I know all of c# features.
    and if the patents are in the algorithms used, then it doesn't matter what language they're written in.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @07:50PM (#29664643) Homepage

    Oh, I'm pretty sure he's aware of the patent situation. I have never seen him argue that Mono and Moonlight aren't patent encumbered, or that they won't exist merely by the grace of Microsoft. I've only seen him argue that in spite of the Patent Axe looming over head it will All Turn Out Okay. He either sincerely believes this, or sincerely wants us to believe it.

  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Wednesday October 07, 2009 @01:48AM (#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.


    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.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.