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Re: Gnote 0.3.1


Once again, speaking for myself, not for my employer, yada yada yada.

> What makes these patents unique is that without them, there is none of
> that 'interoperability' Microsoft and Novell love raving about. This shows
> that Microsoft sues over the glue which is based on the Microsoft 'standard'.
> In this case it's FAT; in another episode it can be Mono. These patents cannot
> be 'worked around' because of their nature of compatibility assurance. Jose X
> has a good essaythat demonstrates this point.

Well, two things, we do not know if Microsoft just threw everything
they had at TomTom, and that included VFAT and second, we do not know
if those patents can be worked around.

But I see what you are trying to point out, so for the sake of the
argument, let us just assume that Microsoft does have those two
hundred and something patents on Linux.   And that everyone of their
claims is so good that like you say they "cannot be 'worked around'".

So people seem to be facing a few choices:
(a) Ignore the patents, and hope to never become a target.
(b) Avoid any software patented that Microsoft might have a patent on.
(c) Try to work around the patents when possible.
(d) License the patents from Microsoft.
(e) Appeal to Microsoft to give public covenants to patents they own.

(c) is not really an option if you and your friends are so ready to
give up.   I understand though, since none of you actually write
software, this might seem like an impossible situation.

So it seems that you are OK with (a) for most free software, except in
the case of Mono, where you advocate (b).

This is a bit of a double standard in my opinion.   If you are going
to remove Mono on the grounds of patents, you might as well start
removing a lot more software from your system.

But I do not believe that you believe you are being hypocritical.
What I believe is happening is that at the core, you are anti-
Microsoft and you do want to fight anything that comes from them.
Mono is an open source/free software implementation of a technology
from Microsoft.   So the patent discussion about Mono is merely a
weapon against anything-Microsoft, rather than a genuine concern over
Mono's patents being a problem in say, Gnome.

As you are probably aware, Mono as used by Gnome-based applications is
built on top of the ECMA stack and does not use or depend on ASP.NET,
Winforms, WPF, WCF or any of the other non-standard technologies.
We in the Mono universe have created a parallel stack that uses what
is standard on a Linux system.   For example, our GUI toolkit is Gtk#
which is an CIL binding to Gtk+.

I read this story on Ben's book.   A shoe company sends two salesmen
to a rural area in Africa, and after a couple of weeks, he receives a
telegram from one of his sales people, it reads "ABORT MISSION, NOBODY
HERE WEARS SHOES, GOING BACK HOME".    Then he receives a message from
the other sales man and it reads "GREAT BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY, NOBODY

I like the second world, the world of possibility.   A world where we
can help Microsoft become a better open source citizen.  I see a world
where we can grow the pie, instead of a world where we have to divide
the pie, where hackers at every company share knowledge and code.

When your world is a world of hate, fear and impossibilities you give
up early.

I do not believe that I can change your mind, you have too much
invested in hate.

> They spoke behind the scenes, TomTom would not pay, Microsoft sued, TomTom paid
> less than half a million Euro. Microsoft invited TomTom to reveal the details
> 1-2 weeks ago (OIN's CEO said so).

This is speculation, we do not know what happened.

I know some juicy details about another public patent lawsuit (it has
nothing to do with Microsoft, Novell or Linux) and I happen to know
that what has been said publicly by both parties is very far from what
actually happened.    Both parties accused each other over who started
first, but they are both lying by omission.

That is why I do not want to speculate without facts.

In Tom Tom's case in particular, if you followed all the articles, you
will know that there are several gaps in the story.

> I wrote factual things about it. Since you read my site daily I believe you
> have read it to a greater or lesser degree.

The problem with your writing is that it is 10% facts, 90%
speculation.   Or as it is called in journalistic circles, propaganda.

> I don't think the issue of choice is major to this discussion although that too
> is worthy of a separate debate. You lead developers right into Microsoft's
> arms. That's the company that compares Linux to cancer, you know? :-)

Yes, they said "Linux is a cancer" years ago, but they have changed
and they have gone as far as open sourcing key pieces of code, as they
have evolved and understood that they can be a mixed source company.

By not acknowledging that they can change, and by repeating
information that is now outdated (and you know that, but you choose to
not acknowledge it) you are demonizing the enemy.

And once you have demonized your enemy, then it is easy to justify any
course of action, you can brush aside facts or inconvenient details as
anything goes against the great satan.   That is a propaganda tactic.

I googled for "Demonize your enemy" and this is the second match:


      "War posters often portray the enemy as a beast or demon in
order to foster unity
        against the opposing side. People sometimes experience
difficulty generating
        malevolence towards a faceless enemy. By giving the population
visual examples
        of the offensive and immoral actions of the enemy, a strong
sense of nationalism
        is established."

War propaganda posters.   They remind me of some of the artwork you
use on your site.

> Is there a 'new Microsoft'? Do you genuinely believe it?

Of course I do.   As a darwinist at  the core, I believe in evolution
and I believe that companies change.   Or risk becoming irrelevant.

Not only I believe it, but there is a whole industry dedicated to
helping companies cope with change in the market (consulting companies
like Mckenzie) and research done by economists at pretty much every
major university.   There are nice books that explain the basics for
folks in the industry like the "Innovators dilemma", "From Good to
Great" and "Crossing the Chasm".

I have pointed this out on various interview in more detail, but
basically I believe that the media hype around Linux in 1997-2001 was
responsible for Microsoft's reaction towards open source.   Linux was
portrayed as the technology that would destroy Microsoft within
"months".    In the early days few people understood open source, and
Microsoft reaction to the unknown was very negative.

This is common when you do not understand the other side, when
ignorance and fear take over understanding and empathy.   In war, this
is used to ensure that soldiers will do what they are told.   Howard
Zinn discusses this extensively on "Declarations of Independence".

I will take understanding and empathy any day over ignorance and fear.

> He said they might sue, not just threaten. Also see what I wrote about FAT or
> Mono being unique. Please make an effort to make your videos available as Ogg
> by the way, I sometimes can't watch what you post.

Mono and FAT are not unique in any way.

Microsoft practically invented the integrated office suite and
patented everything around it.

They have bought and acquired companies that have had patents on every
corner of the industry for years.

If you really want a list of things that you should remove from your
system because Microsoft has patents that you can not "work around"
you should ask around.


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