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Re: Mono and RAND

Homer wrote:

> As most people in the group probably already know, I am no fan of Mono -
> not for technical reasons (mostly [3]), but simply for political ones.
> Specifically, I'm talking about so-called Software Patents, and even
> more importantly, precisely /who/ owns those patents. In this case, that
> would be Microsoft, a convicted monopolist with a viciously anti-FOSS
> agenda, that employs business methods remarkably similar to that of the
> Mafia.
> IMO the mere fact that .NET/Mono is Microsoft technology should be
> enough to dissuade any Free Software advocate from going anywhere near
> it [1], but there is a large contingent of Mono "fans" out there, lead
> by people like Jeff Waugh and Miguel de Icaza, who (either through
> ignorance; naivety; apathy or even malice) don't seem to give a damn
> about whether or not Mono (or even OOXML) endangers the future of Free
> Software.
> Trying to convince people, and especially distro maintainers, that they
> should stay away from Mono, is therefore extraordinarily difficult, and
> usually goes something like this:
> [P]oint | [C]ounterpoint
> P: Don't use Mono
> C: Why?
> P: Because it is patented
> C: So is a lot of other software
> P: Yes, but this is patented by Microsoft
> C: So?
> P: Microsoft is a convicted monopolist
> C: You're just biased against Microsoft
> P: I believe I am justified given Microsoft's history
> C: What history?
> P: See [1]
> C: What has that got to do with Mono?
> P: Microsoft has a history of abusing their "IP" as a weapon to destroy
>    others, and maintain a monopoly
> C: But how do you know that Microsoft will try to do that to FOSS?
> P: Because they have already made patent allegations against FOSS; have
>    repeatedly expressed their contempt and hatred for FOSS; have
>    established a protection racket for commercial Linux vendors; have
>    admitted that Linux (they mean FOSS) is their number one competitor;
>    and have a sociopathic tendency to violently attack anyone (read:
>    competitor) who threatens Microsoft's monopoly, using the most
>    unethical and underhand methods they think they can get away with
> [At this point, some heavyweight like Waugh enters the debate]
> C: Rubbish. Mono only implements the ECMA parts of the .NET framework,
>    which are covered by a RAND covenant to not sue, so you're whining
>    for no good reason
> P: I don't trust RANDs, especially those underwritten by Microsoft
> C: Why?
> P: Because, define "reasonable" ... and then prove that Microsoft will
>    never revoke their promises. In fact, prove that Microsoft has good
>    intentions in this, or any other endeavour
> [This is usually the end of the discussion, although sometimes it goes
> off on one of the following tangents]
> [Either]
> C: My country doesn't enforce software patents anyway, so I don't care
> P: Maybe some day it will (see [2]). What then?
> [Or]
> C: Probably every piece of software ever written violates /some/ patent
>    or another. If FOSS developers were to abandon packages based on
>    possible patents, then there wouldn't be any Free Software at all
> P: How many of those patent holders have the immoral and aggressive
>    tendencies that Microsoft has? How many of those patent holders would
>    risk losing 30 Billion USD just to strike a blow against FOSS (see
>    Microsoft's recent failed Yahoo takeover bid)? How many of those
>    patent holders are convicted monopolists? How many of those patent
>    holders have made actual infringement claims against Free Software?
>    How many of those patent holders have described Linux as a "cancer"?
>    How many of those patent holders have created a Linux protection
>    racket that attempts to stifle Free Software and line Microsoft's
>    pockets in the process? How many of those patent holders use bribery
>    and corruption as a matter of standard procedure [1]? How many of
>    those patent holders regularly and predictably stab their own
>    customers and partners in the back whenever any given venture results
>    in anything less than market domination (e.g. "PlaysForSure" and
>    others)?
> [And here the debate always ends, but without any resolution]
> Occasionally I might get a parting "you're just being paranoid", from
> those too blind/naive/brainwashed to understand the truth.
> Well I don't know if it'll help, but I recently discovered an article
> that (I believe) exposes RAND for the sham that it really is (quoted in
> full):
> [quote]
> So much quarreling about open standards. Jason Matusow advocates for a
> document format with RAND licensing conditions for the patents. What
> does he mean when he talks about RAND? RAND stands for "reasonable and
> non-discriminatory". But Jason Matusow's company Microsoft lacks honesty
> when it talks about "reasonable and non-discriminatory" conditions.
> We need to be precise about what reasonable and non-discriminatory
> actually means. A restaurant in apartheid South Africa said it allowed
> both Boers and English, so was "not discriminatory". It even let some
> Jews in. However it banned non-whites.
> Reasonable and non-discriminatory in patent licensing means "we apply a
> uniform fee". However with respect to Microsoft's legacy OOXML format,
> one party controls the standard and the associated patents. All market
> players need to license except the patent owner. For dominant standards
> it is a tax on the market. It seems highly unreasonable that such
> standards should become international standards, mandatory for
> government users.
> You may find it unreasonable for an ubiquitous standard. But there is a
> more insidious aspect. RAND patent licensing conditions are a tool to
> ban Free Software, which is entirely incompatible with RAND licensing
> conditions. Now one side of the debate blames it on the patent licensing
> conditions, the other side on the software licensing conditions.
>     "The reason I agree with the statement about patents and Free
> Software not mixing is that there have been terms written into GPL
> licenses that explicitly conflict with software patents. Okay, that is
> the choice of the authors and users of those licenses."
> It sounds a bit like: well, you chose to marry an African woman, so we
> cannot let you into the restaurant. Free choice, right?
> Yes, Matusow calls his standards with RAND conditions "open standards"
> and contradicts the commonly accepted definition of "open standards". We
> should speak about shared standards. These shared standards appear to
> discriminate less, but they still discriminate against the only real
> competitor to Microsoft's hegemony.
> It is true that ISO, driven by simple pragmatism, allows shared
> standards. From the ISO/IEC directives:
>     "14.1 If, in exceptional situations, technical reasons justify such
> a step, there is no objection in principle to preparing an International
> Standard in terms which include the use of items covered by patent
> rights ? defined as patents, utility models and other statutory rights
> based on inventions, including any published applications for any of the
> foregoing ? even if the terms of the standard are such that there are no
> alternative means of compliance."
> Generally international standards and patents are like water and oil,
> and RAND conditions are the soap that allow them to mix. But as the move
> towards Open Standards evolves, shared standards get more and more
> unacceptable. Shared standards do discriminate and do appear to be
> unreasonable.
> It is time to adapt the legal definition of reasonable and
> non-discriminatory to common sense.
> [/quote]
> I would also add that not only are ECMA/.NET patent terms /unreasonable/
> (how can it be an Open Standard if you have to pay a fee?), but the
> non-discriminatory terms have already been broken with Microsoft's
> /exclusive/ agreement with Novell:
> [quote]
> I read the agreement between Xandros and Microsoft, and one of the
> excluded products was Mono, so Microsoft promises to not sue Xandros
> over their distribution but excluding Mono and a few other products,
> i.e. they reserve the right to sue over Mono. I wonder if this is an
> interesting preview of on what basis they want to fight the free world.
> Interestingly, the Novell deal seems to be different, Mono is not
> excluded from the Novell deal. So Microsoft seems to be promising not to
> sue Novell over Mono, but keeps the option open for Xandros. Weird but
> true.
> [/quote]
> http://commandline.org.uk/linux/2007/aug/5/be-careful-who-you-kiss/
> All in all, it is clear that the ECMA/.Net/Mono patent conditions are
> /far/ from either "reasonable" /or/ "non-discriminatory".
> Meanwhile, I stumbled upon some old articles that reminded me of how
> much de Icaza is in love with the Redmond gangsters, and how dearly he'd
> love to mutate Gnome into the bastard son of Windows:
> Gnome to be based on .NET ? de Icaza
> [quote]
> Learn to love The Beast
> By Andrew Orlowski in New York
> Published Friday 1st February 2002 17:56 GMT
> [Interview]
> How much do you love Microsoft's .NET? Enough to trust your Gnome
> applications to its APIs in the future?
> That's what Gnome leader Miguel de Icaza, believes should happen. Miguel
> calls .NET the "natural upgrade" for the Gnome platform, and enthused
> about the technology in an interview with us at LinuxWorld this week.
> Basing Gnome on the .NET APIs will cut development time significantly,
> He also had praise for the new Microsoft security model, dismissed the
> notion that Redmond was employing embrace and extend to its web services
> protocols, and put the message that the community should get over its
> beef with The Beast.
> "I'd like to see Gnome applications written in .NET in version 4.0 - no,
> version 3.0. But Gnome 4.0 should be based on .NET," he told us. "A lot
> of people just see .NET as a fantastic upgrade for the development
> platform from Microsoft.
> [/quote]
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/02/01/gnome_to_be_based/
> Read the whole article, it's most revealing.
> Miguel loves ActiveX too:
> [quote]
> At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very
> interested in it inmediately(sic).
> [/quote]
> http://primates.ximian.com/~miguel/gnome-history.html
> He shows extremely poor taste (in many things).
> [1] For anyone still not convinced of Microsoft's ethical depravity,
> please see the following:
> http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/Dirty_Tricks_history
> http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=2005010107100653
> http://boycottnovell.com/microsoft-critique-resources/
> http://boycottnovell.com/2008/05/25/eu-crackdown-astroturfing/
> http://www.vanwensveen.nl/rants/microsoft/IhateMS.html
> [2] Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement
> http://antitrust.slated.org/censorship/acta-proposal-2007.pdf
> And finally:
> [3] Why did Microsoft invent .NET (I'm assuming they invented it, rather
> than their usual MO of simply assimilating it from another source) when
> there is already Java? To answer this question, you may also like to
> consider why they "(re)invented" OOXML, Moonlight, XPS and other
> "fscking kill <vendor>" technologies.
> Any supposedly Free Software advocate who can still defend or support
> Mono at this point, is clearly either irredeemably corrupt or terminally
> stupid (or possibly both). They are part of the problem, not part of the
> solution. And yes, the "problem" is Microsoft.
> De Icaza, are you listening?

Today... mono and RAND blows in this direction by the pressure from the
forces of Redomnd.... Who knows the direction it will blow tomorrow...

Mono/.net is a wolf in sheeps clothing. For whatever it's worth, do not use
it. If gnome does, then do not use it either.


Jerry McBride (jmcbride@xxxxxxxxxx)

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