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,


Microsoft Works Hard to Protect Monoply – at Googles expense

I was reading Slashdot today and came across this post about Microsoft Family Safety Filter.  I wasn’t to surprised to read by this article:

“I saw that part of the brand new Windows Live package is the Family Safety Filter, so I decided to give it a spin. Turned it on, set it to ‘basic filtering’ (their lowest level), and went to Google … oops, it blocks Google! So I logged into the settings and added Google as an exception. Google still wouldn’t come up. Just in case, I turned off the family filter: voila, Google. As we all know, ‘Don’t be evil’ is not part of Microsoft’s motto! Oh yeah — and with the filter on, Microsoft’s own search engine, live.com comes up.”

To read the entire article click here.

I’m not one to buy in to conspiracy theories, but then again when 89% of all desktop computers are running the same Operating System it takes many less people to make a mistake, or even conjure up a devious plot. Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft make some good products, like Viseo for instance. I also like share point a lot.

Still that doesn’t make up for the rampant security holes(most recently conficker.c), back channel patent trolling, product delays or the price of a copy of Vista. All of these reasons are caused(or at least impacted) by protecting the Windows Monopoly. Most monopolies wreck havoc on a free market place. Microsoft has been sued repeatedly since the mid 90’s by the U.S. Attorney General, state and foreign governments. The complaints are that Microsoft are usually the same. Price fixing(via market share), effort to push proprietary software and communication standards, and bundling additional software with Windows to kill off the third party ISV competition.

The truth is though, that Windows OS is not the ‘bread and butter’ of profits.  Office is.  Someday, long after Balmer is gone, some brave executive in Redmond will come to the conclusion that ‘open standards and customer choice’, is the best long term business model.  Someday Microsoft will give up it’s Windows monopoly because they realize that competition will drive them to innovate over litigate.  The hundreds of billions in anti-trust settlements could go back to share holders and consumers.  Since Microsoft makes the most money on it’s office suite anyway, they could still potentially grow there revenues while loosing Operating System market share.  Some day.