Richard Stallman on the Rampage Again – this time against Mono

I was reading Slashdot today and came across an interesting post about the Mono project.  Richard Stallman of GNU/FSF fame is blasting the Mono project.  His argument is that because Mono is developed in C# the project itself is compromised because the threat of future patent litigation.

That is a reasonable concern, but as he points out in his blog post there are other implementations ‘.NET’ framework being developed by GNU.  The point of the Mono project is to create a compatibility with Microsoft’s .NET framework.  If Richard Stallman can bring closer integration without the possibility of infringement then do it!  The Open Source community welcomes the competition. Here is a quote from a July 2009, Stallman post:

Debian’s decision to include Mono in its principal way of installing GNOME, for the sake of Tomboy which is an application written in C#, leads the community in a risky direction. It is dangerous to depend on C#, so we need to discourage its use.

The problem is not unique to Mono; any free implementation of C# would raise the same issue. The danger is that Microsoft is probably planning to force all free C# implementations underground some day using software patents. (See http://swpat.org and http://progfree.org.) This is a serious danger, and only fools would ignore it until the day it actually happens. We need to take precautions now to protect ourselves from this future danger.

Okay, so this is a reasonable opinion.  In a different post he starts making personal attacks against individual developers,

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.

Why rip on Miguel De Icaza?  People like Richard Stallman blast Microsoft for being a closed system, but also blast them as they take baby steps to open up.  Microsoft isn’t evil, they’re just a poorly run company that is dependant on the Windows monopoly.  Even people at Microsoft realize that integration & open standards lower the cost of development and increase customer satisfaction.

True, future patent litigation assaults could come from our friends in Redmond, but to blame a few people for that is asinine.  Miguel De Icaza works for Novell anyway.  Yesterday Miguel responded here is a quote:

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. To him, ridiculous statements like Linus “does not believe in Freedom” are somewhat normal [1].

Richard Stallman and Micheal Moore should team up!  Miguel goes on,

Richard Stallman frequently conjures bogeymen to rally his base. Sometimes it is Microsoft, sometimes he makes up facts and sometimes he even attacks his own community [2]. His language is filled with simple, George W Bush-eque terms like Good vs Evil, Us vs Them.

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

I completely agree bro.  Microsoft is a company that creates software for profit.  If they realize that they can profit from Free Open Source Software, they will.  The sooner they do, the better off they and their investors will be.  But changing the ‘monoply mindset’ will take time and Miguel De Icaza is a developer helping to bridge that gap. To read Miguel’s entire response click here.

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