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Ximian

Petreley on Ximian and Mono 308

An Anonymous Coward writes: "Bad Ximian. In this week's Infoworld opinion piece Nicholas Petreley points out how Ximian's .Net Clone, Mono, may very well be the "Destroy Open Source" Trojan horse that Microsoft has been desperately seeking. Thanks Nick for the wake up slap. We needed it." I don't understand how Ximian expects to succeed either. Lots of other companies have attempted to co-exist with Microsoft in a similar fashion, and they all lasted right up until the instant Microsoft decided to squash them.
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Petreley on Ximian and Mono

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:24AM (#2186990)
    Ximian may continue to develop and advocate porting the .NET framework to *nix, however the chances of these developments making it into Gnome itself are next to none.

    Anyone who remembers the long technical debate over whether or not to include bonobo (another Ximian technology)in Gnome itself, will tell you that the chances of this making it into the base Gnome package are non-existant.

    Considering that bonobo was a Ximian technology that the main Gnome developers were split about 50/50 in opinion over, and the lead guy at Ximian seems to be the only one who supports Mono, the chances of the main guys at Gnome letting this get into the base are non-existant.

    So, Mono will only be available (by default that is) through the custom Gnome desktop offered by Ximian. Add that to the fact that anyone looking at this situation will tell you that the chances of mono ever even becoming usable are *very* questionable.

    Add *that* to the fact that all most no open-source developer would even consider using Gnome...

    In conclusion, Mono is a very disturbing effort IMO, and maybe the head guy at Ximian needs some sleep. But as for being a threat to open-source? It Won't be installed default on *any* distributions, so people will have to go out of their way to use *Ximian* Gnome (which some/many do), then Ximian will have to foce a large majority of open-source developers to base the technology of their applications on a platform created by everyone's least favorite monopoly...

    And all this is assuming Mono ever becomes usable, Good luck Ximian!
  • hmm - on AMD 800 Mhz, 320MB RAM, KDE CVS from last night...

    $time kmail

    real 0m1.439s
    user 0m0.650s
    sys 0m0.000s

    So KMAIL will be slow if you try to run it when you're loading it from another, non KDE enviroment, it has to load all services.

    The upcoming version of KDE 2.2 should give you at least 30-50% speed boost when starting KDE applications.

  • Someone is making one..

    Anyway, Sun report has been read by the KDE people also and some of the points are being discussed on the mailing list - feel free to look at it at lists.kde.org
  • There is no such thing as "decent" distributed objects infrastructure now, and won't be for quite a while -- the technology isn't advanced enough to provide model that will provide the design that will provide the standard that will provide the implementation, so all we have (COM, DCOM, Java-based stuff,...) amounts to amateurish attempts to do things with no theory or design behind them. I also have a strong suspicion that neither Microsoft nor Sun and especially not Gnome will originate this design.
  • "Well, to be fair, a far larger number of companies have had very lucrative and stable relationships with MS than the converse."

    Not even close. Certainly, you have heard of more companies that live in symbiosis with microsoft, but for every one of those, there are probably ten that got squashed that you never even heard about. Funny how that works.

  • I haven't understood Ximian's strategy from the start. Some important people have already noted that .NET isn't that technically great, that it may or may not be a big security risk, and that it definitely looks like an attempt to kill Java. So why is Ximian so eager to buy into it?

    There may be a lot to .NET, but given that it's a nascent collection of tools, and that it has no foothold in the consumer market (other than hype), wouldn't it be a better strategy to produce a competing free alternative? Tripping the giant always seems better than sleeping with it...

  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @01:50AM (#2186998) Homepage
    But KDE seems hell-bent on making Linux "look" like that standard PC desktop that we all hate.

    Except "we" don't all hate it.

  • Nobody's saying the Samba project was a bad idea. But it would have been a better use of time overall if a better protocol than SMB had been developed in an open manner so that everyone could write equally-workable implementations.

    Yes, and it would be nice if Microsoft simply released .NET under the GPL as well, but that's not going to happen.

    Like it or not, Microsoft controls the desktop, and they will continue to use that leverage to control what technologies are viable on the server. SMB works because it is available on every Microsoft client ever. That means that when the Free Software hackers figure out how to impersonate a Microsoft SMB server we magically gain compatibility with the entire world. This is hard, but it isn't nearly as hard as Microsoft's job of trying to find ways to extend the protocol that don't break backwards compatibility. Once something like Samba exists it basically ties Microsoft's hands. They want desperately to make incompatible changes to the protocol, but they know that if they break any existing applications or clients that their customers might very well get tired of the game and simply switch to Samba.

    Which means that Mono has a golden window of opportunity here. If a useful version of Mono can be developed right now, while Microsoft is still trying to win developers to the .NET cause, it could grab a significant marketshare (especially on the server where Linux has serious traction). Microsoft can't make incompatible changes this early in the game, or they will scare everyone away, and if Mono was actually useable, then it's existence would serve as a deterrent to Microsoft trying to shaft their customers down the road. After all, as long as there is an alternative to their technology Microsoft has to listen to their customers.

  • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:26PM (#2187002) Homepage Journal

    SMB may be crap, but the existence of Samba has opened up the market for Linux file servers. Nowadays most large organizations are using Samba, and even quite a few small organizations have some sort of commodity server running a version of Samba.

    Samba is clearly a case where it was a worthwhile effort to reverse engineer a closed protocol. SMB clients are so ubiquitous that it makes sense to try and figure out how to talk to them.

    .NET should be even easier to reverse engineer. After all, the parts that Ximian is working on duplicating are all soon to be ECMA standards with plenty of documentation. Besides, all of the RPCs are done via SOAP which is basically nothing more than spitting plain text XML out of port 80. Microsoft is going to have a hard time fiddling SOAP so that it's clients still work and Mono clients don't. Especially since even non-guru hackers like myself will be able to open up the RPC packets in the text editor of their choice.

    Remember, the desktop controls the server, not the other way around. Servers can be changed out over a long weekend by any halfway decent sysadmin. Desktops require bargaining with end users who will give up their familiar tools over their dead bodies. SMB became the file transfer protocol of the LAN because it was "good enough" and it was on every single Microsoft client. .NET is soon going to be on every single client as well, and it is cool enough that it will get used. IBM and crew will make sure that we can create .NET compatible services under Linux (they are nearly done now) because they want to continue to sell servers. But unless there is a .NET compatible client Linux will slide even further into the Internet ghetto than it already is. Pretty soon only the hardest of hard core Pro-Linux sites will function 100% on Linux boxes.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • As someone who has read Petreley for the last 6 years or so, off and on... (I usually can't stomach reading an article in it's entirety)

    I can assure you that he is part of the ABM crowd.

    I mean Microsoft, not ballistic missiles.

    But personally I think Microsoft is bankrolling his column, because he provides some of the best reasons to not use Linux. :)
  • That's fascinating because for the longest time vc++ conformed to the C++ standards much moreso than gcc.

    That was until gcc was replaced by egcs with v2.95.
  • "Referring to it as a .NET clone mires it in all this Passport crap"

    As someone who has been following .NET fairly well from a Microsoft perspective, I'm actually very amazed at how easily people have decided to confuse it with just Passport.

    I'm also trying to figure out exactly what the complaint is with Passport, but my mind isn't as creative as someone like Petreley.
  • If there is one universal truth in this world... It is that Microsoft does not like breaking backwards compatibility.

    They are, however, doing this with .Net. They've completely ripped the foundation out from Visual Basic and the migration from VB6 to VB.NET is somewhat painful.

    I highly doubt they'll be doing that again, unless it is to completely scrap the .Net framework and start up something new.
  • by sheldon ( 2322 )
    ".NET isn't that technically great"

    Why do you feel that way? Have you even bothered to look into it.

    .Net has some really smart minds behind it, and technically it's better than Java on paper anyway.
  • I for one would love an HTML object for regular X drawables.

    This does already exist, see this /. discussion about LBX&RX [slashdot.org]. It is included in XFree 4, unfortunately no one uses it.

  • Yes, but you can use QT, but can you use all the KDE/Gnome libraries?
  • How is the API defined? Is there a interface definition language like CORBA IDL?

    I don't know how they describe it in the specification, but there is so-called meta-data in each assembly (the equivalent to a jar). This meta-data describes the classes, methods and so on.

    Microsoft has promised to put C# and the virtual machine through the ECMA process. However, if most C# developers come from the Win32 background and heavily use libraries such as ASP.net, WebForms, ADO.net then how will those applications be portable?

    You see it more from the compatibility-side than I do. I like C#, the CLR concept, the base libraries and that's it. I want some nice KDE-libraries for the CLR so I can write my KDE software in C# and/or Python. The possibility of executing Windows-software is only a side-effect for me. There will probably some company like Ximian doing it if there is a market for it, but I don't care too much about this. If MS starts making incompatible changes that's bad, but doesn't really affect my software.

    You said you rarely need to use pointers yourself. I agree. And when I do, I don't want to do it inside the virtual machine and compromise it's stability or security. For any system programming I will use C.

    But then you have whole categories of software that cannot be run by your VM, for example every piece of software that uses signal processing (video/sound stuff), probably also games. You cant get platform independent if you still have to use native code for 20% of the applications, even if only 1% of their code is native.
    Beside that, using native code does certainly not improve your stability or security as long as it runs in the VM's process. The only secure way is to have it in a single process, and you can have that without native code, too.

    Adaptive optimization of HotSpot really does make a difference in many cases.

    The reason for all the complicated adaptive optimization stuff is the bad design (performance-wise) of the bytecode. Because in OO-software most methods are very small the best way to optimize a program is by inlining. Hotspot does exactly that. But because in Java every method is virtual (unlike CLR) and you can load new classes that override methods from existing ones at every time doing this is dangerous, and you may have to redo the inlining after you load a new class. This is quite a complicated and expensive process, so Sun tries to avoid for most methods it by making it adaptive.
    They created a monster because their bytecode is a little bit too flexible. In the CLR this is not neccessary. You can even pre-compile your assemblies if you want to.

  • You can even pre-compile your assemblies if you want to.


    Some people claim this is what gives C# better performance. I'm not convinced.


    The most important difference is that you cannot load any classes dynamically. AFAIK this is not possible in .net, but maybe I just overlooked it. This can reduce many virtual method invocations (and makes inlining possible).

  • by tjansen ( 2845 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @03:45AM (#2187014) Homepage
    I dont think it is fair to bash .net because only it is from Microsoft. Beside all the political stuff about Microsoft, Gnome and Ximian IMHO, the ideas of .net and at least a large part of the specification are quite nice.

    It solves many problems of the current systems:

    • you have a single API for all programming languages (which admittedly all get quite similar because they all have to support various OO-features, exceptions and so on). Currently it is only theoretical possible to program for Gnome or KDE in a scripting language. In reality you will get only half of the APIs and it means a lot of trouble for the end user. .net also comes with a unified format for things like API documentation (that is written in XML and generated by the compiler itself).
    • You dont have trouble any more if you use a non-x86 platform. This could bring real freedom in the platform choice.
    • Things like buffer overflows will be very rare (they are still possible because you can use pointers, but you rarely have to use them and your code is marked as insecure).
    I think it is desirable to have something like this, and if MS releases the specs for it and you get some interoperability for free this is a good opportunity. Even the design of the CLR (Common language runtime) alone is such a huge effort that the free software community just saves much time by adopting it. And the base library looks very nice, they even have unix-like things in it, for example support for perl-style regular expressions. Something that is still missing in the Java (even if they announced regex support for a future release)... Speaking of Java, I dont think that it is an alternative:
    • It is definitely not more 'free' than the .net stuff (if MS really submits the specs to ECMA)
    • The JavaVM is quite limited to Java as language. Yes, there are other languages for the JavaVM, but the VM isnt really flexible enough and you dont have things like pointers available which you need for system programming.
    • Java's performance sucks because of several design mistakes (ok, they are only mistakes if you see it from a performance point-of-view, you could also argue that Java's design is cleaner). MS got several things right that cause the bad performance of object-oriented Java projects:
      • they do not make every method virtual
      • there is an alternative to heap-allocated and garbage-collected objects (small objects can be allocated on the stack and are passed-by-copy)
      • they made some restriction into their IL (intermediate language) that Java's bytecode doesnt have and result in faster/easier code generation. Both are stack-oriented, but in IL the stack must have the same depth at every jump-point
    Of course, there are also ugly parts in .net. This is basically everything that is not in the core specs, like WebForms, ASP.net, ADO.net and so on. But no one says that you cannot have your own, additional APIs...
  • ...you're loading ALL the KDE/Qt libraries, too, since they don't get loaded when you start your environment.

    Try this: First, start another KDE app (like Konqueror), then start KMail and see how long it takes.
  • This is like saying Standard Oil's monopoly was a good thing because burning oil supplies energy.

    The fact is your business may have done better if there was competition at higher levels.

  • I'd say that it was the residual resentment at Microsoft, and the realisation that the same could happen with any of their other partners, that led them to be so interested in Open Source and Linux: if the software is free and easily portable, then that's more money to be made in hardware and services, and IBM is just 1 massive hardware and services supplier, that has to produce software as a sideline to get the hardware to work.

    So that makes IBM just like Apple, except successful. ;)

  • Ah, no wonder it's slow under pure WM. I installed 2.2 beta 1, but I've never run the desktop. I only installed it for the libraries so that I can run KDE and QT applications. Ditto with Gnome 1.4 for the Gnome and GTK apps, so don't think I'm just a rabid Gnome zealot flaming KDE. :)
  • There are a whole slew of JAX-? APIs coming doing the pike. These cover a whole gamut of functionality. However, only JAX-P is included in J2EE. XML and XSL processing do not constitute, in my opinion, a rich set of APIs for XML.
  • by The Mayor ( 6048 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @11:28AM (#2187024)
    .NET is better equated to Sun ONE. Sun ONE provided Java, SOAP/UDDI/WSDL, and a platform for delivering web services, with strong support for XML. Java, by itself, has limited support for XML (JAXP is the only XML API included in JDK1.4) and does not have any built-in support for SOAP et al. Java is *not* a platform for delivering web services, which is the stated goal of .NET.

    Sun ONE, of course, brings these capabilities to Java. Comparing Java to .NET is not a valid comparison. Comparing Java to C#/IL/CLR is much more valid. Comparing Sun ONE to .NET is also valid. But compring Java to .NET is, indeed, comparing apples to oranges.

    By the way, both Sun and IBM have bought in to the idea of web services enough to make web services a central part of their plans for the future of their companies. Maybe the idea of web services is fundamentally flawed. I don't think so, however. Web services are a natural progression of component-based software development. First we had monolithic applications. Then we had 3rd party APIs. Then we had object oriented class libraries. A natural progression is web services. Whereas OO libraries help programmers reuse code, web services allow corporations to easily integrate 3rd party services into part of a larger, single system. This is not easily doable with existing OO technologies (I'm thinking here of DCOM/CORBA/RMI/EJB/sockets--you can do it, but it's a royal pain in the butt).
  • Yes, as long as you don't intend to connect your computer to the rest of the world and live a blissfull hermit existence.



    My systems are running with no M$ OS, browser or tcp/ip stack. How do you explain my connectivity or even my server being available 24/7/365.25? Keep in mind that M$ borrowed heavily from the *BSD tcp stack for their worldwide connectivity. M$ Netbeui?? Hah, their non-routable ( unless encapsulated) protocol. Even they are dropping it in winXP.



    Although I sometimes think of a hermit like existence as nirvana, my lack of MS OS has nothing to do with achieving peace and quiet.

  • Add *that* to the fact that all most no open-source developer would even consider using Gnome...

    OK, I was going to stay out of this flamefest, but I just can't.

    To begin with, the only connection .NET has to Gnome is that it's initially being developed on Gnome as a platform - there is nothing inherently Gnome:ish to it.

    Second, statements like the one above are rude, inflammatory, and - in this case - patently wrong. I suggest you do a comparison (pool data from Freshmeat and the Gnome and KDE sites), and you will find more applications for Gnome than KDE, and _much_ more apps written using GTK than Qt. I know that checking of facts before posting here at /. seems to be against peoples religion or something...

    /Janne

  • A group of open-source developers have started a project to implement a set of programs and protocols that have been submitted to a standards comittee. Like so many other open-source projects, others are free to use it - or to help developing it - or not as they choose. This is nothing strange; this has happened many times before. So why this sudden outpouring of emotions, and even, in a few cases, hate?

    Well, is it becuse the protocols are under another entities control? No, it can't be that; after all, Java Run Time environments, and GNU:s gcc Java compiler, have not received this reaction, even though Java is not only under the control of a corporation, but isn't even submitted as an open standard.

    Is it because the controlling entity happens to be Microsoft? No, or the SAMBA developers would have been boiled alive a long time ago.

    Are people perhaps afraid that this will giveMicrosoft a foothold to subvert the open-source movement? Maybe, but not likely; the existence of Samba, for instance, have only resulted in more Linux servers being deployed than would have been the case otherwise. It is likely that, by allowing other services to run on Linux, we will increase its prevalence further - and this time on the desktop.

    Is it because it happens to be developed by some of the people that also work on Gnome? Well, it does seem that way, unfortunately. We have not seen the same backlash against FSF for their DotGNU, after all. What seems to be happening here is that some people have taken an ABG (Anything But Gnome) approach to their lives, and will take any opportunity to help their desktop of choice "win". Of course, the same immature personalities exist among Gnome users and among any even remotely divisive application/framework/whatever - just look at how long and bitter the Emacs/Vi flamefests were before a realisation crept in that they can peacefully coexist.

    This would not have blown up like this, of course, had not Petreley written a very inflammatory, factually erroneous piece in Inforworld last week. For those of us who read him every week (I've stopped since that last piece), he has, ever since he started to use KDE, used every opportunity to attck Gnome for any reason he has been able to come up with. He is, in fact, a good example of the ABG crowd that seems incapable of lifting his eyes a bit and realize that the choice of desktop isn't really important (after all, you can run either, both or none without problems).

    To summarize: no, .NET is not a danger; it might be beneficial to Linux; it's not connected to Gnome other than being another Gnome application; even if you hate .NET, don't connect it with GNome; it won't hurt KDE or other desktops; you don't have to use it if you don't want.

    /Janne
  • For all the talk about how Microsoft doesn't innovate, there sure is lack of innovation in the opensource world. I've yet to see it. In fact there has never been a "killer app" for Linux.

    TeX is a "killer app". You may not like it, or use it, but it is certainly a killer app, in fact the main reason I started using Linux was to have a decent TeX system. I'd also call apache a killer app.

    As far as innovation is concerned, I consider Qt to be pretty impressive. I use it a lot from day to day, and it is cleanly designed and a pleasure to work with. It's also making its mark as a solid foundation for KDE.

  • Think strategically...

    M$ is entirely dependent on hardware sales. Unlike Apple they aren't producing any but they're tied (and hamstrung) by the old x86 architecture that is or will soon be interfering with their plans to insinuate themselves into every transaction occurring over the 'net via .NET

    Biometric authentication will force us all off the 32-bit architecture. And Linux is already on the 64-bit and its free, as in no acquisition expense.

    Changing their business model this way only makes sense. They're now a monopoly, damn-near a utility like the electric company, but they are not in control of the demand side.

    The margins are not getting slimmer but the demand is drying up. PC sales are dipping. The rate and their income is going to stabilize at maintenance levels. That's maybe 10% of their halcyon days.

    The difference in revenue is like the difference between a gas-bar which pumps gas versus the income of a General Motors who stir up demand with novelty and styling (and with grudging compliance with safety and fuel economy regulations.)

    Unlike other industries (automobile or appliances, [or even Apple computer,]) which produce a real product which can be made obsolete by a variety of means, M$ produces a product which is already good enough for common business.

    Their claims of adding to the feature set is falling on deaf ears and people who don't need or can't use the features anyway don't have the money to waste.

    EG: My employer used to install NT 4.0 SP5 and the full M$ suite per box on all desktops. They now have ONE machine with M$ access running on it. A lot of the extras that came with even NT 4.0 are being stripped out. We use Lotus Notes (4.6 'cause that all we need.) We are paring, trimming, dropping licensed seats and license fees because we HAVE to. We don't even care if its 'built-in.' Its taking up space we'd rather use for data and taking up administration resources. We didn't upgrade 100 desktop boxes, we upgraded ONE Citrix server.

    Linux is a definite wall in one direction (*nixes are far more reliable for server business,) And its cost of acquisition is $0.00 while its cost of maintenance is the same. If its your company and your money, you'll opt to keep it by buying cheaper.

    M$ wants new markets to exploit. Transaction processing is IT. Even worse, they can predict that their OS won't survive the move to a platform that they themselves would need to make their transformation successful.

    Why do they want to change markets? Even a fraction of a penny per multiplied by trillions of transactions per year will make M$ even richer then before.

    They can leave the OS 'garage' business reality behind to people like the Linux competition and Ximian who's price of entry is much lower (they don't have all that old software to support,) and who are being favored "de jure" if not "de facto" by antitrust investigations of governments world-wide.

    That's what I would do. :-)
  • Excuse me?

    Gphoto2, and every other app that starts with a G and is geared toward the Gnome desktop.

    >"all most no open-source developer would even consider Gnome..."

    Pretty bold statement buddy, did you happen to canvass the developer commuinity or did you come up woth that FUD on your own? or is it your opinion that you twisted to make you sound knowlegable?

    I'll bet a $1000.00 that you didnt do any research and you pulled that statement out of your arse, just like the rest of the whiners and complainers here.

    Mono is a great effort.. The people in our world became great not by sitting in their basement rocking back and forth mumbling.... they rattled the cages of the lions and tigers, You become great by stomping on the toes of giants.

    I applaud them for such a huge undertaking...and I hope they thumb their nose at MS by making it non-compliant... Kinda how Apache isn't compatable with IIS or how TCP/IP wasnt a MS innovation (Thank GOD for that!),I can go on forever comparing Open standards we use every day compared to the MS locked down version.

    If they do it right, they will make MS look stupid, get people using an OPEN standard, and possibly actually turn a profit.

  • by philj ( 13777 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:45AM (#2187037)
    There's a good article [kuro5hin.org] on kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] about this very issue......
  • hey

    look why did microsoft invest a whole bunch of R&D monies in an IL when they could just do "normal compilers" like they had done and could do it very well

    well LIB's and those .so on windows (they call them DLL's on win32) SIMPLE

    thats it

    Microsoft had a nightmare with libs and useing VB and C++ caused a nightmare beacuse of all the old API's so they wanted all langs to have the same libs

    now +COM did not live up to what it had promised and the standard way of delivering it in a standard way

    CORBA on the other hand has this and each Object can interact with others and can use the Corba Component Model (CCM) java 2 has an ORB GNOME has an ORB whats the problem ?

    people think they have a better way just use the simple it works solution IMHO

    sort it out KDE is JUST C++ and thats why they dont get these problems

    regards

    john jones

  • by Skeezix ( 14602 ) <jamin@pubcrawler.org> on Saturday July 28, 2001 @09:44AM (#2187040) Homepage
    Absolutely. .NET is a nice development platform. You can argue whether it's better or worse than other platforms, but that is beside the point--the point is, free software is about freedom. If you don't like .NET, you don't have to use it. But people are developing on .NET already and many many more will be joining them. Users of free operating systems and lovers of free software alike, should also be able (free) to also develop .NET applications.

  • You are, technically, right. But they have a very bad reputation, which they earned through much hard and diligent work.

    Don't trust them behind your back. Don't trust them with their hands out of sight. Etc.

    They are a known multiple-destroyer of companies. Consider them armed and dangerous.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • No. But it might kill Ximian. Or turn it into a slave of MS. It would, perhaps, be better to avoid this outcome.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • The problem is, they are also endeavoring to be a single point of control. The basic design principle is dangerous. I also think that it favors enemies of freedom. A more decentralized design is necessary.

    It's true that AOL is a bit better than MS, mainly because they aren't a large software seller. This could change, however. I think that one could even depend upon it changing once they were victorious. All a battle between giants buys us is a bit more time to find a substitute. It doesn't matter who it is, you don't want someone else controlling your data and your applications. They won't act in your best interests. They couldn't even if they wanted to.


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • And that's your cheerful scenario? You make optimism look pretty bleak. If MS is the only viable OS/Software company, then things are going to be really tough.

    Sorry. I find your "non alarmist" scenario nearly as frightening as the article. And I don't find them mutually exclusive.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Umnh...
    If I go to the Gnome site, it directs me to Ximian for my Gnome installation. I ripped out the last Ximian install I had because of the way that it savaged KDE during a RedCarpet upgrade. I like the Gnome desktop. I like Gnome. I'm not anywhere as sure about Ximian.

    OTOH, the Red Hat install of Gnome is working fine, without the upgrades (except those from Red Hat).

    I'm not sure just how much one should trust the judgement or intentions (I can't decide which) of Ximian. Their installs repeatedly broke KDE though, so one or the other is a bit questionable. (But the KDE betas even have never given me any problem with Gnome.)

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <charleshixsn.earthlink@net> on Saturday July 28, 2001 @06:32PM (#2187046)
    As long as the interface is under the control of one company, then it is a very bad idea to commit to it.

    Given that the company it is under the control of has a long history of destroying companies, it is a stupid idea to commit to it without legally binding and irrevocable commitments to allow outside access. And the binding commitment must include freedom to access without regard to any patents owned by either it or any of its subsidiaries or contractors (or other contractees).

    Now, I don't necessarily say that one needs to insist on total can complete openness for the total product, but rather for all pieces of the product that one wishes to base applications upon. As for the rest, it must be as if they didn't exist at all.

    In particular, the code written must be GPLable, and also must not have any patents that hamper it from being used.

    The problem is, with MS one must be quite careful that the contracts will mean and do what one believes they will. This has been the death of many companies.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.


  • "Lets make Gnome look and feel like Windows." - Gnome, 1996

    "We're not trying to copy Microsoft.." - Gnome, 1998

    "Lets make Gnome look and feel like Windows." - Gnome, 2000

    "We're not trying to copy Microsoft.." - Gnome, 2001.

    Mmmmkay. Glad to see Gnome is sticking to the same ideology that brought such revolutionary advances like "The Foot Menu". I'd be hard pressed to find a bigger waste of effort than to clone .Net...Its the same basic beef i've had with Gnome for years. They steadfastly refuse to do anything new or unique... They just want to play catch-up to everyone else, and thats all Gnome will probably amount to in the end anyway. A self-imposed rule that keeps them second best at everything. The same luke-warm boredom that made all of us flock to Linux in the first place.

    The world is filled with with flea market knock-offs and ultramundane ideas. There are better flags to march under than this one, i'm afraid. If only a fraction of the effort that will be undertaken to make a clone of .Net were put toward researching new ideas [linuxjournal.com] and putting them into use, within 6 months Linux would be leaps and bounds ahead of anything Microsoft could come up with.

    Nobody seems to want to do that anymore.



    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Manager, System 26 GUI Component Stockpile [system26.com]
  • .

    "..It seems to me that KDE is the one that's really been chasing Windows. KDE looks a lot like Windows, and Konqueror's similarity to IE is very disturbing. "

    Which is why both Gnome and KDE will ultimately fail when it comes to grabbing the brass ring in the desktop arena. They both made a very critical mistake early on that falls along the lines of this statement:

    "Lets build our desktop to look like Windows, because thats what people are used to."

    ..Which is a flaming pile of bullshit, logically, because it immediately commits you (and your project) to a life of constantly playing second fiddle..Nobody ever won a marathon by saying "I'm just going to run right behind the leader for the whole race..."

    Rather than try out new ideas, take a few risks here and there, and rethink the ways in which things have always been done, they both followed like puppy dogs into the same bloody mess. Now both are stuck. The defacto standard Linux GUI is now roughly equivalent to a Windows desktop from seven years ago. Clap at your leisure.

    The real solution would have been to take a very radical departure early on, and over time, refine that departure into a stable, usable, likeable model. They didn't do that. Now they're paying the price, and have no one to blame but themselves. Meanwhile, we've been pissing in the wind for so many years, trying desparately to shove a square peg in a round hole.

    There are better places to rest your sympathy.



    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Manager, System 26 GUI Component Stockpile [system26.com]


  • Ahem yourself.

    Color-Reactiveness (and Eckehart Burns code along with it) were removed from the Gnome CVS tree about 6 months later.

    At the time, I emailed the CVS admin asking why it was removed, and never got a reply. Sent an email off to Eckehart himself, he didn't know why it was removed either. Now, do you believe me yet when I tell you GNOME doesn't want to bother with trying new ideas?



    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Manager, System 26 GUI Component Stockpile [system26.com]
  • Some of what you say is true, but the following comment:

    Add *that* to the fact that all most no open-source developer would even consider using Gnome...

    is pure bunk. You might want to check out the size of the [gnome.org]
    Gnome application database before you make ignorant comments like this one. Many people like to think that just because they don't like something means that it's not popular, but unfortunately this is not always the case.
  • The strategy of producing a competing technology has been brought up a hundred times, but it would not work. Competing head-on with Microsoft on their own turf would almost surely be suicide. Hell, even Microsoft realizes that there are some areas where even they can't compete head-on with the current market leaders. So they are working at the periphery, making sure that their products provide easy access to these other technologies.

    I have no idea whether .NET (or Mono) will be successful or not, and I will stay neutral and not firm up my opinion about Ximian Mono until I see further how things are going to play out in the .NET landscape. I'm not saying for certain that .NET is the right place, but perhaps Microsoft in fact needs a dose of their own "embrace and extend".

    Linux has seen a lot of success in the server and net services marketplace over the past few years. Do you really want to see that cool off if .NET becomes a popular platform for net services and it is not available on Linux?

    So many of the posts here seem to be manifestations of peoples' anti-MS, anti-Ximian, and anti-GNOME sentiments when the underlying issue should really be "Should Linux hedge its bets against loosing server market share to MS if .NET turns out to be a popular web services platform by having an implementation available?"

  • Nick Petrely has some good things to say from time to time, and I read his column, but take what he says with a grain of salt.

    If you look at his past connections, it seems that he is really much more anti-MS than pro-open source. He also tends to be somewhat alarmist. Five or Six years ago, he was a HUGE OS/2 booster; OS/2 is as far from open source as is Windows. Then, when OS/2 was going down the tubes, he became an advocate of network computers (anyone remember NCWorldMag.com?), also a tad bit removed from open source. Then, when network computer related mags stopped bringing in the dough, he finally became an open source and Linux fan.

    Clearly, his selection of things to support show much more of a tendency to be the currently hot anti-Microsoft technology du jour than any consistent track record of open source championship.

    Finally, in the last year or two, Nick has been on a heavy anti-GNOME campaign. He obviously doesn't value competetion, having said that all of the GNOME developers should have given up and jumped over to KDE as soon as QT became GPL. Whether you like KDE or GNOME (or XFce or Windowmaker or [...] for that matter), most people feel that choice is good and both projects have benefitted from the generally friendly competion.

    Like another poster said, take a deep breath, and take it with a grain of salt. If open source dies, its demise will not have been because of Ximian and Mono.
  • MS cuts the rope. Making propiertary API changes to explicitly *not work* with any competitors.

    Well, this is always a possibility, except in this case the portions of .NET that are being implemented by the open source project are (or will be) ECMA standards. Now, Microsoft can, of course, attempt to muck with the standards, but their changes will have to be open and incorporated back into the standard. They could also make their own implementation non-standard, but since it is their standard, they will probably think twice about doing this since they would take a LOT of heat for it (not that they haven't taken heat before, of course).

    we as a community should be innovating new alternatives to .NET

    This has been suggested many times, but I think it is doomed to failure. Competing head-on with MS on their turf with a late-coming alternative supported by a small open source project would probably be extremely difficult, especially since it is the PHBs in the corporate community that must be sold on it. Heck, Even Microsoft realizes that there are some areas where even they can't compete head-on with with the leaders in certain areas, so instead they are making their products work easily as access points to these other services. Besides, if we wanted to take this approach, why wouldn't we strengthen an existing technology like Java by adding the .NET features that are missing rather than starting yet a third alternative from scratch just because we don't like MS? The problem here, of course, is that large segments of the free software community balk at Java as well because of its "half-free" license (I disagree with this, by the way, I use Java frequently).

    In any case, as I mentioned previously, implementing .NET on Linux does have a chance of failure, just like any other undertaking, but its probably better than doing nothing and just hoping that the whole of .NET will fail in the marketplace.
  • by GroundBounce ( 20126 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:15PM (#2187055)
    So many of the posts here seem to be manifestations of peoples' anti-MS, anti-Ximian, anti-Miguel, and anti-GNOME sentiments when the underlying issue should really be: "In case .NET turns out to be a popular web services platform, should Linux hedge its bets against loosing server market share to MS by having an implementation of .Net available?"

    Forget that it's Ximian doing it. Forget that it might have some applicability to GNOME. These facts just bring out peoples' emotions that have nothing to do with the real issue. Consider the underlying question.

    Linux has seen a lot of success in the server and net services marketplace over the past few years. Do you really want to see that cool off if .NET becomes a popular platform for net services and it is only available on MS server platforms and not on Linux?

    I have no idea whether .NET (or Mono) will be successful or not, but if it doesn't pan out, Ximian will have lost some money. Big deal. But, OTOH, if .NET is successful and it's not available on Linux, MS will certainly gain server market share at the expense of Linux.
  • by Katravax ( 21568 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:20AM (#2187058)
    First, the South Park "Underwear Gnomes":
    1. Duplicate the .NET Environment
    2.
    3. Profit!

    And secondly, an old cartoon I clipped from Omni Magazine:
    A scientist is proudly displaying his solution to a problem. Complicated mathematical expressions cover a chalk-board, but in the middle is a little section marked "and then a miracle occurs".

    I think Petreley is right. If Ximian doesn't duplicate Passport, and MS changes the interface, the whole thing is useless as a complete open-source alternative. Sort of like what AOL does to the AIM interface every time they want to lock someone out.
  • by johnburton ( 21870 ) <johnb@jbmail.com> on Saturday July 28, 2001 @01:45AM (#2187059) Homepage
    .net is just microsoft's new generation of development tools and run time support. It's lots of serperate thing that have been put together for marketing reasons.

    A summary :-

    New compilers for C++, C#, Javascript and visual basic. These no longer produce native 80x86 code but instead produce a intermediate language. These IL files are then run using a just-in-time compiler when they are run. (OR optionally when they are installed)

    Because they compile to IL, the binaries are in theory platform independent if anyone writes a JIT compiler for that platform.

    All of the languages are compatible at run time so you can mix and match languages in any way you like.

    The common run time library contains classes for just about everything you can think of. It's a replacement for the win32 API and just about every other library microsoft have ever done. And it seems pretty complete and well designed. They really do seem to have just abandonded all of the badly designed stuff they did oin the past with a clean break.

    The common run time works just as weel from all supported languages.

    You can write ASP pages using the supported languages and class library. There are objects for web based controls which automatically generate web pages using whatever is appropriate for the browser being used. For example edit boxes that can validate there contents on the client using javascript on some platforms but will do server side validation when it's not available and without any programmer involvement.

    Plus lots of services are supported like passport (although there is no reason you have to use it for .net applications, it's just easy to do so because it's there)

    It all seems to be very well documented (for microsoft) and much of the system has been opened up for standardisation by ECMA.

    The threat to the open source community is that microsoft do seem to have done a really good job on the technical level here. Copying it certainly has its own risks, but not not doing so means that microsoft could concevably have a better designed environment than anything that exists in open source.
  • See, the thing is, Microsoft is almost CERTAINLY going to encrypt their Passport transactions. Reverse engineer that, and BAM! Microsoft sticks the DMCA right up your hoo-hah. That's bad.
  • From where I'm looking, Mono may actually be a very good thing. If it works, all the problems with language bindings for every feature you want to use from Python or Perl or whatever disappear. Nice. Sure, we can have that today via CORBA but do we? If Mono is dropped, lets replace it with something that solves the same problems.

    Petreley doesn't seem to take into account that open source programmers are programmers. Some extremely good and they have a tendency to open their work to others. Once a (albeit windows reliant) Passport Proxy Service is created that takes an open interface from outside, there is no reliance on the whole system being Windows based and no control granted to MS. They can change their system, but we can change the interface, a much easier task.

    In fact, the point of .Net having SOAP as an open rpc layer makes this a 15 minute task. Its no more complex (probably less so) than using remote Windows only ODBC sources over XML-RPC, and in the worst case, there are closed tools that can bridge that gap and optimise it, no doubt there will be in the future for this problem too. Problems create markets. They don't tend to result in good programmers being sacked for something inherantly fixable. The same is already true of bridging ODBC.

    And if Microsoft did try to pull something like this, the chances are those in government fully mindful of their history will move in once again. They already are over XP (and there they will probably lose) but such a move as Petreley describes is unlikely to be ignored - it is directly and 100% obviously anti-competitive. Not even Judge I. R. Technophobe could miss that and if his prediction of people being sacked happens, it will only add wieght to the actual, individual damage the move has caused. In fact, I'd be surprised if you didn't have a decent shot with a class action against MS if their actions caused you dismissal.

    In the end, I think we're making lots of noise about .Net based on one aspect of it, an aspect that Mono isn't really concerned with anyway. Microsoft's services above and beyond the basic system are their affair. Let makes better, Free ones. "OpenTraveller" has a good ring to it. No one is forced to use Passport.

    The benefits of the project are huge and numerous.

    - A language independent VM
    - fast cross platform applications
    - simple use of libraries without SWIG
    - a 'super OS' layer that gives you more freedom to change OS. Even away from Windows while retaining the same applications.

    The underlying approach of Mono/.Net is good - its what Java should have been in the first place.

    Either we extend Java or simulate the CLR system. If we don't do one or the other, in 5 years time a very large segment of our industry will have less reason to consider open source and that is far more worrying.

    Its easy to be negative, but what does Petreley suggest instead?
  • "anyone OpenSource"?

    What the heck are you talking about? We are programmers and we want choices. Lots of them. In the end we'll have both and will choose what we like thanks.

    From an Open Standard viewpoint, .Net makes a lot more sense than Java. Maybe one day this will change, its just a shame Sun didn't have enough of a clue to do it already. The enemy of your enemy can also be an idiot.
  • Algorithms are not copyrightable, only the implementation. Also I'm assuming that ECMA has some process to ensure the standards it accepts have had patent waivers assured from the submitters.

    But assuming it does happen, so what? We remove the offending aspect and continue. At that point .Net isn't a Microsoft only affair, no more than C++ is. Their extensions there didn't kill open source, they won't here either.
  • If Microsoft changes their implementation of their CLI (the CLR), who cares? Linux will still have a completely open CLI implementation. It's basically a better java without any strings. Microsoft can't do anything about it because it will be a standard.

    Sure, it'll be the 'standard'... but the version in use on most of the world's desktops will be the real standard. The game of taking an established cross-platform standard and changing the Windows implementation is nothing new to Microsoft... maybe doing it to their own code is, though. :)
  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @08:42AM (#2187078) Homepage
    A complete and usable desktop like we've grown acustom to since Macos/Windooz should be the priority.

    Actually this is the problem. Now don't misunderstand me. I'm not talking about thowing out all the past good ideas, and using something that doesn't work, simply because it's new. But one shouldn't blindly reimplement old ideas, including implementing their short comings simply because, that's what people expect.

    Take for instance the start menu. Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the user shouldn't be able to edit the root menu. Sure, you a limited ability to add new items, and then remove your items, but you you're stuck with what Microsoft decided would be "useful". (Run, Shutdown, Programs, Favorites, et cetra.) Don't use Favorites? Don't want it cluttering up your menu? Tough.

    So GNOME and KDE (they both suffer from the same debilitating disease last time I checked) said, "Hey we need a start menu. Afterall Microsoft has one and when the Great Flood comes and Redmond is washed into the sea, [geocities.com] those that the Great Penguin deamed worthy will go forth and claim the land [linuxworld.com] and the people left will be expecting a start menu. Those that don't want a start menu, can remove it. So everyone is happy.

    Not quite. For the would-be deliverers have decided that everyone should have "Programs", "Favorites", "Run", "Applets", "Logout", and "Lock Screen". You mean you would like to edit this? You can't under windows. What do you mean that's not acceptable? That's how Microsoft does it.

    For all the talk about how Microsoft doesn't innovate, there sure is lack of innovation in the opensource world. I've yet to see it. In fact there has never been a "killer app" for Linux.

    Sure someone will bring up something like Gimp, but let's face it. It's Photoshop, only more confusing and without nearly as many useful plugins.
  • A very interesting idea, your colour beacons. I'm not sure how well it would work in practise though -- different applications would map different colours to different ideas. Perhaps a better idea is to generalise the idea slightly, into icons which reflect state. You see this, for instance, when using GetRight on windows - you can minimize each download to an icon in the task bar, which visually represents the progress of the download. You also get icon feedback in KDE: when you load and application, an icon appears on the task bar with a spinning gear, which disappears once the application is loaded (it's amazing how simple feedback like this reduces frustation, and stops people loads 10 copies of a program). Possibly, when you wrote the article, animation of icons would have been too much of a drain on the system.

    From the looks of your article, you were using something like WindowMaker at the time. One of the real disappointments of the last couple of years, for me, is how little progress there has been on GnuStep. Okay, it's a ripoff of an existing system, but one with a much more interesting and coherent architecture than Windows.

    Sadly, coders work on what they want to work on -- and it appears that, despite all the flaming and vitriol aimed at Windows, people really do want to work on a system like it. After all, if there was a real ground swell of opposition to the direction Gnome is headed in, then people would be free to fork the code and move in their own direction. The lack of forks (and the lack of major dissent I see on the Gnome mailing lists), seems to show that you are in the minority.
  • by jonathan_ingram ( 30440 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @01:28AM (#2187082) Homepage
    Interesting that you didn't mention IBM :)

    I was working at IBM when OS/2 Warp came out (and they gave every single employee a free copy, which was a nice supply of extra floppy disks for me :). You won't believe how bitter they were at how their relationship with Microsoft had turned from very close (OS/2 was going to be a MS-IBM joint production, with Windows as a feeder route) to sour backbiting.

    No matter how big a company you are, it's really not a good idea to get IBM mad at you. I'd say that it was the residual resentment at Microsoft, and the realisation that the same could happen with any of their other partners, that led them to be so interested in Open Source and Linux: if the software is free and easily portable, then that's more money to be made in hardware and services, and IBM is just 1 massive hardware and services supplier, that has to produce software as a sideline to get the hardware to work.

    Many companies have lucrative relationships with Microsoft, but that doesn't mean that MS are liked, or respected, or trusted.
  • by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @04:00AM (#2187088)

    Honest, I didn't find this until after I posted my previous comment... I just found this little tidbit on the Washington Post's site:
    • AOL Might Join 'Identity Service' Battle [washtech.com]

      "AOL Time Warner Inc. is considering entering a race against Microsoft Corp. and other technology companies to establish a single Web identity for consumers, attempting to become one of the dominant Internet gatekeepers for a vast array of personal information.

      AOL's project, which it calls Magic Carpet, would allow people to store personal information online to simplify transactions on the Internet, according to an internal AOL document and industry executives. AOL Time Warner would be chasing Microsoft, which has already developed a service called Passport that has more than 160 million accounts. AOL officials declined to comment."

    No mention about access for non-microsoft browsers & operating systems, but this is the company that owns Netscape... and Scott McNealy is involved.
    • "...Magic Carpet, however, is referred to in an AOL strategy document on Microsoft. And at a summit of Internet industry leaders in Carlsbad, Calif., this week, Sun Microsystems Inc. chief executive Scott McNealy said he had talked to Barry Schuler, chief executive of America Online, AOL Time Warner's online unit, about the developing technology."
    It's no secret that Mr. McNealy has no love of Microsoft. I think he'd make the effort to ensure that Netscape/Java works, and on all platforms. He knows how vital it is to his own future to pry Microsoft's fingers away from the Internet's throat.

    It's going to be interesting to see how this all turns out...

  • by Raetsel ( 34442 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:53AM (#2187089)
    Point:
    • Microsoft can change Passport, and thus hurt open source very badly.
    Counterpoint:
    • If they do this, it is very possible they will (again) prove their position as a monopoly... and invite more anti-trust (and other) lawsuits

      • (Counter-counterpoint: Microsoft isn't afraid of lawsuits.)
    Point:
    • If they break open-source .NET, they will cause managers to fire their open-source people and wildly embrace Microsoft's compatible-by-default products.
    Counterpoint:
    • If a company depends for its' lifeblood on a single point of failure, management is sunk already.
    • Management may also take the 180 opposed view, form alliances, and build a competing product against .NET. However, it'd take something the size of AOL/Time Warner to make it happen.
    Point:
    • Nicholas Petreley makes some very lucid and thought provoking points. He points out a very possible future.
    Counterpoint:
    • Microsoft isn't that stupid and mercenary.
    Wait a minute... Yes, they are! So much for that pair of rose-colored glasses.
  • Mono will be poor quality[...]eventually the Mono C# compiler will be as close to the Microsoft c# compiler as gcc is to vc++. I find that its actually a major pain to switch between the two
    So, you are equating quality and duplication of Microsoft features in a compiler?! gcc is an excellent compiler for the C, C++, etc languages, as specified. Its lack of VC++ alikedness is entirely a result of Microsoft's embrace-and-extend approach, and not gcc's quality or lack thereof. They will do the same with C# in reverse (submit the standard, then deviate from it). This makes their product shabby and a poor implementation of the standard, not Ximian's.

    I presume that Mono's C# compiler will be of similar quality, at least after half the planet gets a chance to bug-fix it into the ground.


    --
    Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com)
  • And, for the longest time, CC, from Bell Labs was the only C++ compiler (er, translator). Did you have a point to make about quality, or not?

    --
    Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com)
  • by xeer0 ( 42098 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @02:20AM (#2187096)

    Petreley is fairly entertaining. Unfortunately like all pundits he has a tendency to oversimplify and be "alarmist" some times. In this article he is basically saying...

    "This leads me to suspect that Microsoft is engaged in a bait-and-switch scheme to finally wipe out the threat of open source."

    The question is... so?

    The scheme that he proceeds to lay out, that MS will let Ximian implement some part of the Passport scheme and then break the protocol would not "...wipe out the threat of open source."

    The two things simply do not follow.

    In order to connect them, you have to follow some weird train of logic that, only e-commerce matters, therefore only Passport matters, and that the Open-Source movement will only have one implementation of them that matters and when MS pulls the rug out from under us, we're all going to hell. Most of which doesn't make any sense.

    From the article:

    Ximian's effort reproduces only the development environment in open source. It does nothing to reproduce or replace Passport.

    So then what the hell are we talking about Passport for? What is Ximian actually doing?

    What Ximian is working on implementing and MS has actually submitted to ECMA-TC39-G2/G3 is C# [www.ecma.ch] and the CLI [www.ecma.ch], which Petreley only barely mentions!

    Bottom line whether or not Ximian succeeds at porting .NET and subsequently they or somebody else ports some Ms.Passport.* classes to their platform, it will not sound the death knell for Open-Source software everywhere (Geez, it sounds even more non-sensical when you write it out).

    The drafts of the standards that Ximian is actaully working on can be found here [dotnetexperts.com].

    In the meantime if you want to make up conspiracy theories about e-commerce ask yourself, "What are Visa/Mastercard up to? Aren't almost all e-commerce transactions done with credit cards?"

  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @02:15AM (#2187097)
    Well, to be fair, a far larger number of companies have had very lucrative and stable relationships with MS than the converse.

    ...the major hardware OEMs Compaq, Dell, Gateway and all of the other hundreds of thousands of people around the world who've carved quite a decent living out of the MS umbrella of industry.

    Check your recent history a bit closer. As the Microsoft Anit-trust battle started heating up, more and more whispers of discontent [washingtonpost.com] could be heard from the otherwise closely closed ranks of Microsoft and its allies. Lucrative? Perhapse. Stable? It would seem unlikely.

    Must I remind you that making a profit is the aim of a company?
    Whenever abuse of corporate power is mentioned on Slashdot (whether it include Microsoft as the prime subject or not :), this kind of line often shows up somewhere. Its a gem. Apparently there is no moral limit to one's actions as long as "profit" is the ultimate motive.

    It might suprise some Slashdot readers to find that monetary success isn't an antithesis to Slashdot popularity. The technology industry is full of corporate giants with deep pockets and little critical focus (can't please everyone) by Slashdot readers. Take Cisco Systems and an example.

  • GNOME's just a desktop. It doesn't preclude VI or Emacs (don't get me started...) so I think your comment, "no open-source developer would even consider using Gnome..." to be somewhat uncalled for. After all, highly-paid developers might be able to afford workstations that make GNOME seem fast. ;)

    More to the point, I don't know why anyone would develop with .NET. Sounds like Microsoft's blowing smoke rings up our ass. No one that I listen to has yet said, "Look, here is an example of something cool you can do with .NET". Plenty of people are oooh-aahing over it and the capabilities, but that's meaningless. Think back to the last time MS hocked a developer's product that wasn't an IDE. Oh yeah---ActiveX! We all know how ActiveX changed the world. Except it didn't.

    Passport sounds like a glorified version of PAM to me. Everyone who loves PAM raise your hand. *two people raise hands*

    So the real question is, what Free Software developer is going to choose Mono? One can only hope that it would be a last-ditch effort to use anything besides windows.

    Daniel
  • by RavinDave ( 58826 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @01:14AM (#2187102)
    I don't suppose there's any chance of grabbing Miguel for one of Slashdot's "Ask Miguel de Icaza Your Questions about Mono" feature, is there?
  • Katravax:

    "..It seems to me that KDE is the one that's really been chasing Windows. KDE looks a lot like Windows

    KDE and GNOME both `look like' Windows, MacOS, or any other modern GUI. People think this even more because they use a list box to do things. List boxes were invented before Windows put `start' on one and left it at the bottom on the screen.

    " and Konqueror's similarity to IE is very disturbing. "

    That's because, in terms of architecture at least, IE does things properly. Componentization is the next step in the Unix toolchain concepts thats used for command line apps.

    Bowie:

    Rather than try out new ideas, take a few risks here and there, and rethink the ways in which things have always been done

    * KDEs UI Guidelines firmly abandoned the multiple document interface that Windows popularized some time ago - this can be seen as a pretty radical from current UI thinking. Odly enough, Microsoft have begun doing the same thing in modern times with the newer MS office versions.

    * Konq and GTK dialog boxes combine shell constructs (such as regexps, or even a following shell) with modern GUI concepts.

    * While opening 25 different IE windows in Win2000 makes 25 identical, captionless windows, with no way to differentiate between then, GNOME's taskbar turns this into a list box, and did so before WinXP (which also implements this technique) was heard of. FYI,.KDE 2.2 does this too.

    * GNOME's detachable menus are derivative of previous work but whoever came up with the concept is certainly innovating

    * GNOME was one of the first OS with complete widget theming. Not only does this have aesthetic smarts, but its also handy for disabled users who can customize standard applications whose `themes' can be arbitrary code.
  • Ahem.

    If only a fraction of the effort that will be undertaken to make a clone of .Net were put toward researching new ideas and putting them into use, within 6 months Linux would be leaps and bounds ahead of anything Microsoft could come up with.

    Actually read that page. There's an update:
    Since I first wrote this article, GNOME Developer Eckehart Burns has developed a color-reactive Lamp/Beacon widget to the GNOME UI library which is currently part of the GNOME CVS tree. GNOME application coders now have the ability to incorporate CR into their applications at their discretion.
    There, you happy?

    Barclay family motto:
    Aut agere aut mori.
    (Either action or death.)
  • I don't see where that is on the referenced page(about the code being removed)... But if that's true...

    Well ... I dunno. I won't really comment on GNOME. I much prefer KDE's code, although not the desktop environment.

    All I can say is that Ximian != GNOME; there are some pretty high-profile GNOME hackers working for Ximian, but they don't really control the direction GNOME as a whole goes(not really, anywas - look at the Bonobo thing). Ximian may implement Mono, but whether it will be adopted for use by GNOME, or just bundled with Ximian, we'll have to wait and see.

    Damn, I need coffee.

    Barclay family motto:
    Aut agere aut mori.
    (Either action or death.)
  • by Kerg ( 71582 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @07:59PM (#2187118)
    you have a single API for all programming languages

    How is the API defined? Is there a interface definition language like CORBA IDL?

    Something that is still missing in the Java (even if they announced regex support for a future release

    JRE 1.4 does have a regex library. See here [sun.com].

    It is definitely not more 'free' than the .net stuff (if MS really submits the specs to ECMA)

    It seems to me that it's just a different parts that are being 'free'. For some reason everyone thinks its a big deal to have the language and the virtual machine free. I on the other hand think it is far more important to have free implementation of the libraries that I use to build the applications.

    Java isn't part of ECMA or ISO standardization process. On the other hand, it was Microsoft that said ECMA is only useful for "rubberstamping" standards of a single company.

    Java does have JCP which seems to work rather well. Open Source groups such as Apache, Enhydra and JBoss are represented. All libraries are extremely well documented (they have to be in order to have implementations on all platforms, unless they can be written in 100% Java), and Open Source implementations of those libraries do exist.

    Microsoft has promised to put C# and the virtual machine through the ECMA process. However, if most C# developers come from the Win32 background and heavily use libraries such as ASP.net, WebForms, ADO.net then how will those applications be portable? If you look at the struggles Wine has gone through, it is obvious porting the libraries is far from being trivial. And these libraries have not been submitted to ECMA.

    I have never had a real need to have the Java language or the JVM standardized by ISO or ECMA. If someone wants to make additions to the Java language, they can create their own language, and call it Pizza. They may use the JVM or not, up to them. I've never had a need to go change the JVM implementation either. They have been very stable.

    The libraries however are a different story. Lots of bugs, lots of things I want to change. And it's quite plausible to do so. There are Open Source implementations written for Servlet, JSP, EJB, JDBC, JTA, JavaMail, JDO, etc etc API's. This is far more important to me as an application developer. It directly affects me, where as Java the language or the virtual machine being free has far less effect (because they do work, and do work quite well). Not to mention as an application developer I'm no expert in designing languages, let alone understanding the details of technology like HotSpot.

    So even still, I believe if you need to write cross platform applications (within the next 3-4 years, and more complicated than Hello World), I think .NET is not an option.

    The JavaVM is quite limited to Java as language. Yes, there are other languages for the JavaVM, but the VM isnt really flexible enough and you dont have things like pointers available which you need for system programming.


    You said you rarely need to use pointers yourself. I agree. And when I do, I don't want to do it inside the virtual machine and compromise it's stability or security. For any system programming I will use C. There are plenty of ways to have a C program and a Java virtual machine interoperate. I don't want that interoperability to crash the virtual machine.

    Java's performance sucks because of several design mistakes

    Adaptive optimization of HotSpot really does make a difference in many cases. I haven't seen something like that mentioned for the CLR (is that the correct acronym?)

  • What's the point in using Open Source if no-one else uses it?

    What constitutes a useful program?

    I ran an Amiga for many years when "nobody else used one", not only because there was great software that fit my needs available, but also because it was a great platform for developing some of the custom software I needed.

    I never really gave up using the Amiga, even still today, it just got to the point where most of the new software I needed was on other platforms, so I changed with the times.

    I'm not "locked" into Microsoft by any means. My current day Windows machines might always run Windows until they fall over and die, and my current BSD machine might run BSD until it crumbles into the dust.

    But what future OS I may run will depend on what serves my needs then, and there will be a good chance that if I know where to look I'll find open source software. It may not be popular, and it may not be published by some big company, but if it works ...

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:17AM (#2187123) Homepage
    If corporations implement Gnome/Mono as a part of their IT strategy and suddenly Microsoft decides to strangle Mono to death with Passport, that's a fatal blow to the credibility of Open Source.

    Oh get real!

    So what if every single bloody Linux distribution company goes under? So what if 99.99% of the entire computer industry thinks Open Source software is unsupported rubbish run by college kids?

    So what if the entire corporate world thinks the ONLY OS is a Microsoft OS?

    That's not going to stop some from giving the source code away to a program they write. It's not going to stop someone else from improving upon those ideas, and spreading them out.

    Open Source isn't going anywhere. It's been around much longer than Linux. It's been around much longer than Microsoft. The idea of free software has been around for much longer than most people who use Linux today, and Gnome/Mono are just petty projects in a much more massive movement.

    You can ph33r Microsoft's 1337 455 control of your lives all you want.

    But SOME of us will continue using free software whether it's just a neat little utility for Windows or a full blown operating system.

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • I don't mean to criticize their project, mind you. Lack of documentation is an issue with just about every open source project at one point or another, since it's inevitably done last. It just makes it kind of difficult for folks just starting out in CORBA to use anything they've done without more research than the day job will typically allow.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @07:24AM (#2187134) Homepage Journal
    Would get more shit talking to Orbit. There's a project to get C++ talking to it. Last time I checked they had quite a way to completion and had no documentation. I'm not even sure there is one for Java. I haven't been able to find one anyway.
  • I keep hearing about .net, but still don't know what it is (other than some nebulous concept of 'goodness' involving the internet).

    Same for Passport. It's an authentification service, right? Won't it work with any browser? Or will it take a special client? If the latter case, I assume there's a published API that Ximian will use to implement a Linux client. And I can certainly understand Petreley's fear of relying on something that MS can undermine at any time.

    Is any other reasonably well-known company providing an alternative to Passport? Seems like Sun, IBM, and Oracle would want to be in this business as well.

  • Well, actually, I was just being lazy. But there does seem to be an awfully large amount of publicity for something that's not very well explained.

    But now I'm beginning to see: .Net is Microsoft's answer to Java: A language (or two) that compiles to a binary byte code which is supposed to run everywhere, with lots of libraries to do the useful stuff. Whoohoo.

  • They might do this, but I wouldn't expect all that many consumers to take advantage of it. Why? WinXP has higher CPU/RAM requirements than the older OS's, and most owners are not up to upgrading their own hardware.
  • .NET is better than Java

    Why do people say this ?

    .NET is soooooooo much more than Java.

    Do you mean C# is better than Java ?

    because saying .NET is better than Java is similar to saying "OpenBSD is better than perl"

    Remember, .NET is a platform for distributed computing. Platform/Language neutrality is a key part of that.
  • Whoa... at the risk of feeding some creature, horribly stunted, presumably by a steady diet of mountain dew and ramen noodles

    I don't think anyone would cite the start menu as an example of embrace and extend. That would be taking (well, okay stealing) MacOS concepts and adding to them. It doesn't prevent Mac from still doing it's thing. Similarily, when the people making Konqueror decide to take the traditional browser layout (i.e. back/forward/reload and then location toolbar) and add a button to clear the location bar so that you don't have to deal with X-windows vs Windows cut-and-paste semantics, as well as that neat little eye-candy glyph (the one that has a generic logo for most pages, a local logo for local pages, a slashdot picture for slashdot pages, but sadly no bio-hazard or jolly roger symbol for microsoft.com pages), that's taking and adding.

    Embracing and extending would be if Konqueror added new html extensions, somehow convinced Apache to support them, and then made sure that they wouldn't work on Internet Explorer, but only doing this after enough people have switched to KDE so that this actually makes a difference.

    In short, don't mix two concepts. (And as for the stealing from Mac versus taking from Windows... yeah, there's some room for accusations of hypocrisy, but some differences as well, since copying Mac allowed Microsoft to maintain it's advantages; copying Windows is now seen, sadly, as necessary to convince people to switch, since most people don't want to have to relearn what they're used to)
  • Maybe they should wait with this project. As .NET is a java killer, I heard that MS put the specs up at World Wide Web Consortium [w3c.org]. The .NET platform needs to be an open standard like Java if it is ever going to be successful. Maybe Ximian should wait with Mono until W3C has decided what to do with .NET, collaboration is indeed a dangerous thing. Linus Thorvalds has been offered to put propriaty stuff into the Linux kernel, but he constantly refused this, if Ximian is going to collaborate with MS, refusal will be much harder.

    Perhaps waiting with Mono until end 2001 would be a good thing to do here.
    --

  • >>I was under the impression that no one included OpenOffice because it wasn't ready yet;

    It may not be ready yet exactly but that normally doesnt make a big difference for Debian. Debian tends to include programs that comercial distributions wouldnt if they are interesting enough.

    Personally, Im quite excited about Open Office. In 2-3 years I think it will be considerred one of the most important Linux applications along with mozilla and apache.

  • ok ok... I dont think this is the end of the world or a threat to open source thinking like Nicholas Petreley seems to. But I still think its a little bit silly.

    1) Mono will be poor quality.
    Sure, C# has been submitted to a standards board but that doesnt get you home free. Probably, eventually the Mono C# compiler will be as close to the Microsoft c# compiler as gcc is to vc++. I find that its actually a major pain to switch between the two compilers. For one project I used templated methods a lot throughtout my program and then I found that vc++ did not support this with the version I had (1998). Now vc++ does but fixing it is not a simple "apt-get upgrade."

    You would think that java would be another thing that would be very portable but Debian still does not include Open Office because none of the Free java compilers can run the java parts of it.

    I guess my point is look how well Microsoft support w3c standards. Mono will be different from the Microsoft c# compiler and thus worse. Different == worse.

    2) This is an unpopular idea.
    Remember how depressing it was when slashdot used to post articles about mozilla at around m14 or so. Everytime people would post about how crashy and buggie and slow it was. But the good thing about that was that most people recognized the need for Mozilla and how it was perhaps Linuxs best shot at getting a working web browser.

    Mono I think is less popular than Mozilla and less obviously necesary. Especially when you consider that a lot of gnome programmers are perfectly content programming in c. I dont see them as the type of people who will switch to c# overnight.

    3) This idea wont make any money.
    Isnt Ximian a company? How do they think that this will make them any money? Dont they have more pressing things to do with their time?

    In the end this isnt an idea that I would focus much attention on. If its an idea thats very fun for you personally then by all means keep at it. But dont expect it to be extremely fun of financially rewarding.

  • by acacia ( 101223 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:26AM (#2187157)
    In case you missed it the first time, here it is again for Reference [slashdot.org]

    Putting faith in commercial entities, and backing their initiatives without regard to its license could be the end of our community. As Petrely so clearly stated, The GNU/Linux community has no control of how .NET is implemented, and that leaves us in a vulnerable position.

    I for one don't really care if Ximian does well in the market place. If their stuff works with M$, and plays well, and they enjoy commercial sucess, good for them. Just don't let their commercial concerns taint the GPL'dness of the product. As long what they produce is GPL'd, we are safe. The moment that we become dependent on software with restrictive licensing is the moment that this whole party goes down the toilet.

  • For all the talk about how Microsoft doesn't innovate, there sure is lack of innovation in the opensource world. I've yet to see it.

    Not true, but I can understand why you would say this.

    Before free software can innovate beyond the state of the art, it has to achieve the state of the art. In some areas, free software has been state of the art for years: running tasks on a server, for example. Apache is an extremely popular web server, and it has been around about as long as web servers have; the free software world didn't have to play catch-up, Apache hit the ground running. Compare with the desktop environment. Microsoft introduced Windows in 1984, but it was a joke. It became usable in 1990, good around 1992 (Windows 3.1, can't swear to the exact year) and in 1995, a decade after it first appeared, it was refined and polished and ready. GNOME and KDE both have taken less time to get to where they are now, and they will gain polish quickly now.

    I agree that the menu editor in GNOME sucks. I'm not sure I agree that the root menu should be as customizable as you wish for; I like being able to find things on strange systems. Debian has a balance I like very much: the main GNOME menus you can edit as you like, but there is a "Debian" menu where everything is always in the same place. So on any strange Debian machine, I can still find a web browser and launch it. (But this is free software, and it is very possible for someone to hack the code to give you what you want.)

    I read Linux Weekly News [lwn.net] every week, and I am constantly reading about cool innovations, many of them in the Linux kernel itself but some in user programs. For example, the Tux web server showed how tight integration inside the kernel could speed web access, and now Microsoft is doing web servers that use the same idea; free software was there first. There are lots of little cool hacks being rolled into the kernel all the time, making it ever faster; just this week in LWN I read about a simple patch [lwn.net] that improved the virtual memory manager's performance by 12%!

    The Python [python.org] language, IMHO, blows the doors off of Visual Basic, and it's free software; and the free editor vim [vim.org] is available now with Python compiled in as a macro language. I was excited when I found that one out: my favorite editor, now with a full-powered scripting language! (I guess you had to be there. Or something.)

    In short, there are lots of innovations all around us.

    In fact there has never been a "killer app" for Linux.

    By definition, a "killer app" is something you cannot get anywhere else. When Visicalc first appeared, it sold a ton of Apple II computers: people who worked with numbers would go to computer stores and say "Sell me a Visicalc!" Well, of course they needed an Apple to run it on, so they bought that too. Lotus 1-2-3 was a dramatically more powerful spreadsheet than Visicalc, and had graphing too; in other words, it had valuable features not available anywhere else, so people bought in on the IBM PC platform. Desktop publishing worked on a Mac long before it worked on a PC, and so sold a ton of Macs.

    Now, I'm trying to imagine an application that you can write for free operating systems that is not available anywhere else, and will not quickly appear on Windows and the Mac if you do write it. Nothing comes to mind. I don't think there will be any killer app for free operating systems.

    The free stuff is going to win, though. My definition of winning, in this context, is that normal people will use free software in such large numbers that it will become impossible for Microsoft or anyone else to lock people in with a proprietary product. I will be happy when Microsoft Word flawlessly imports and exports AbiWord documents, because there are so many AbiWord documents out there that Microsoft simply cannot ignore them. That day is coming.

    steveha

  • Here's a scenario for you:

    August 2002, Redhat Inc realizes they are about to collapse unless they can tighten up their offerings and make some dough with a distro that offers as many modern features as WinXX, at a lower price point. This would include .NET interoperability.

    Meanwhile, the archconservative cabal of Gnome developers have forstalled and denied the inclusion of Mono altogether. All of the behavior you mention comes to pass and Mono is shoved aside...

    What on earth shall Redhat do? They need to function as a modern server, and by now some of the shotgun splatter of features introduced by MS have had time to matriculate into Must-Have features... Should Redhat develop their own .NET package from scratch or simply add Mono to Gnome on their own dime to get the ball rolling? The source for all of this will be available, and for a company the size of Redhat, implementation would be trivial.

    So I guess the moral is, if you make it, they will come. Mono has a future, one way or another. With or without the Gnome folks blessing.
  • by Argylengineotis ( 118734 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:44AM (#2187169)


    " ...Lots of other companies have attempted to co-exist with Microsoft...

    Well, to be fair, a far larger number of companies have had very lucrative and stable relationships with MS than the converse. Companies like all the major software houses, particularly the ones that MS directly licenses software from, standards makers like Intel, HP, Apple and NCSA the major hardware OEMs Compaq, Dell, Gateway and all of the other hundreds of thousands of people around the world who've carved quite a decent living out of the MS umbrella of industry.

    I can think of fewer than five examples of MS relationships gone bad in the past (blockstackers, DRDOS, Sun/Java, um... kerberos?) while thousands of companies have made handsome profits. Must I remind you that making a profit is the aim of a company?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @09:35AM (#2187170) Homepage
    Dee Hock is the inventor of Visa, and the author of Birth of the Chaordic Age. [chaordic.org]. He was more successful than anyone in history in getting a huge number of institutions to cooperate. And he didn't have any coercive power; he worked for a little bank in the Pacific Northwest. When thinking about alternatives to Passport, Hock is the one to study.

    Visa International is a very unusual organization. It's a corporation owned collectively by the 22,000 banks that issue Visa cards. Visa International runs the interbank network and sets the standards. All those competing banks agree to comply with Visa's standards. Yet the banks own Visa, so it can't walk all over them. Hock calls this a "chaord".

    Here are Hock's design principles for such organizations:

    • Power and function must be distributive to the maximum degree. No function should be performed by any part of the whole that could reasonably be done by any more peripheral part, and no power vested in any part that might reasonably be exercised by any lesser part.
    • It must be self-organizing. All participants must have the right to organize for self-governance at any time, for any reason, at any scale, with irrevocable rights of participation in governance at any greater scale.
    • Governance must be distributive. No individual, institution, or combination of either or both, particularly management, should be able to dominate deliberations or control decisions at any scale.
    • It must seamlessly blend both cooperation and competition. All parts must be free to compete in unique, independent ways, yet be linked so as to sense the demands of other parts, yield self-interest and cooperate when necessary to the inseparable good of the whole.
    • It must be infinitely malleable, yet extremely durable. It should be capable of constant, self-generated, modification of form or function, without sacrificing its essential purpose, nature or embodied principle, thus releasing human ingenuity and spirit.
    • It must be cooperatively and equitably owned. All relevant and affected parties must be eligible to participate in functions, governance and ownership.

    These principles sound like unrealizible ideals. Yet they created the largest business organization on earth. Anybody thinking about open-source alternatives to Passport needs to understand how Hock pulled this off.

  • by Karma Sucks ( 127136 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @03:40AM (#2187171)
    If it's that's the case, then explain how Eazel got Nautilus into GNOME? This was even before Eazel went out of business and people were able to strip out the crap "services" that were built into GNOME 1.4. Evolution and Red Carpet are no doubt going to be very much centerpieces of the next GNOME. Both of these provide dubitable Ximian "services".

    I think you have a very naive and incorrect view of how GNOME works. Ximian is pretty much in control. You could have observed the situation when they thought they were under threat by Red Hat's Bonobo2/HUB paper.
  • I don't see the relation between the .NET framework and the passport.com babbling here. These are 2 separate things: passport.com CAN be involved in services build ON TOP of .NET. It's not a PART of the .NET framework as submitted to ECMA and as it is distributed with the .NET SDK or VisualStudio.net.

    Please keep these 2 things separated:

    1. The .NET framework which is used by developers to build webservices, which CAN use Passport.com to do authentication services (but don't have to, you can build your own if you like)
    2. The webservices build ON TOP of the .NET framework (like Hailstorm).
    Thank you.
    --
  • by joto ( 134244 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:24AM (#2187176)
    Wake up. One single open source project is not going to kill all other open source projects. The fact that .NET still makes one hell of a development environment remains, whether we will have passport or not. True, passport remains important, but it's not going to be the end of all e-commerce solutions, and even if it is, it's not going to kill all open source (or free software) applications.
  • Actually, it can do harm, with wasted human-hours.

    This is the crucial point at which we should support an open authentication system alternative-- before there is an installed user base.

    Reverse-engineering a closed system is a lot of work, especially if it is a moving target. Wine has taken forever to get usable, MS Word data format is a pain to get right. Samba has to be continually updated, and even the authors say SMB protocol is crap! Think if SMB file sharing died before it became ubiqutous, we wouldn't have to keep chasing microsoft's tail on that one.

    Think if TCP/IP weren't so fully supported, we would all be using NetBEUI 2000 for networking.
  • Remember how depressing it was when slashdot used to post articles about mozilla at around m14 or so. Everytime people would post about how crashy and buggie and slow it was. But the good thing about that was that most people recognized the need for Mozilla and how it was perhaps Linuxs best shot at getting a working web browser.

    So you're saying we should thank the Slashdot trolls for bitching about Mozilla? I think think they have far less to do with Mozilla's current excellence than you think; after all, the Mozilla people have always said things would improve a lot before 1.0.

  • by Drone-X ( 148724 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @04:08AM (#2187186)
    I think Petreley is right. If Ximian doesn't duplicate Passport, and MS changes the interface, the whole thing is useless as a complete open-source alternative. Sort of like what AOL does to the AIM interface every time they want to lock someone out.

    As far as I know anyone can set up a Passport server. There's also an alternative technology [xns.org] already, and it looks very nice IMHO. I'm not sure what the author of that article espects of Ximian, should they spoof the Microsoft passport server perhaps?

    About Mono itself, I honestly just don't see what's wrong with creating technology. We (well, not I :D) have made Wine, Word-compatible word processors and ActiveX support for Konqueror and Mozilla (the latter is for-pay though), and this has done nothing than benifit us. Supporting a technology isn't going to do any harm to us, not supporting something could be desastrous OTOH.

  • by Drone-X ( 148724 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @04:25AM (#2187187)
    I haven't understood Ximian's strategy from the start. Some important people have already noted that .NET isn't that technically great, that it may or may not be a big security risk, and that it definitely looks like an attempt to kill Java. So why is Ximian so eager to buy into it?

    I bet you said the same thing about Java and that hasn't died because you wished so, did it? Face it, .NET is at least as good as Java, supports more languages, is said to have the potential to be faster and has the support of Microsoft. For Java OTOH we have no Free alternatives, unless you're willing to settle for Java1.1.

    There may be a lot to .NET, but given that it's a nascent collection of tools, and that it has no foothold in the consumer market (other than hype), wouldn't it be a better strategy to produce a competing free alternative? Tripping the giant always seems better than sleeping with it...

    Creating a Free alternative from scratch would take a lot of time. By the time that would ever be completed we would already be forced to support .NET.

  • My resume has never seen a word processor; I've told people this, and usually send either plain text or HTML.

    BrassRing.com seems to require MSWord format... why does that betray to me a fundamental failure to get geeks?

    /Brian
  • by spongman ( 182339 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @06:39AM (#2187207)
    If they break open-source .NET, they will cause managers to fire their open-source people and wildly embrace Microsoft's compatible-by-default products.
    If Microsoft changes the .NET APIs too much then existing code that was written to the 'old' specification will work better on the open-source clones. I doubt that Microsoft will want to do anything that will invite developers to move to a competing system.
  • by infiniti99 ( 219973 ) <justin@affinix.com> on Saturday July 28, 2001 @12:48AM (#2187225) Homepage
    As a long-time unix developer, I love the command-line. But I also love KDE. No one says you can't use both at the same time. Konsole is one of the best applications that come with KDE.

    While most of KDE is easy to use without touching the manual, it doesn't mean it is dumbed down. KDE 2.x stays true to its unix roots, and I would consider it essential software (ie a "major part") of any unix workstation.
  • They both made a very critical mistake early on that falls along the lines of this statement:

    "Lets build our desktop to look like Windows, because thats what people are used to."


    Wrong. I can't speak for GNOME, but for KDE let me rephrase:

    "Let's build the best desktop possible for developers (us) and users alike, modeled after both present functionality and new ideas."

    it immediately commits you (and your project) to a life of constantly playing second fiddle..

    Open source projects don't care about taking ideas. They take and they add. KDE has a launch button and task bar, made famous by Win95. It also has a desktop menubar, popularized by MacOS. Minimizing, shading, dockapp swallowing, system tray, desktop icons, multiple desktops. It's all there. Anything cool you've ever used, and then some, is there. Here's a recent scenario: a coder is sitting at his computer wishing he had a sidebar in Konqueror -- you know, something like what is in Internet Explorer 6 and Mozilla. Does he live the rest of his life without such a feature? Making some sort of sacrifice to use Linux? Of course not! He duplicates the feature in Konqueror. The point is that it doesn't matter where the idea comes from. If it is useful, it is added. That's how Open Source projects work.

    Rather than try out new ideas, take a few risks here and there, and rethink the ways in which things have always been done, they both followed like puppy dogs into the same bloody mess. Now both are stuck. The defacto standard Linux GUI is now roughly equivalent to a Windows desktop from seven years ago. Clap at your leisure.

    Right... and could you open a remote file from within the included Windows text editor 7 years ago? And would selecting the "save" option cause it to be uploaded back to the remote location? Did you have a command prompt that supported scrollback and multiple tabbed sessions? Could you disable popup windows, but keep the rest of Javascript in your web browser? Could you log your windowing events to stderr? Can you do any of this with even the latest version of Windows? I think not.

    refine that departure into a stable, usable, likeable model. They didn't do that. Now they're paying the price, and have no one to blame but themselves.

    The KDE libraries are a desktop perfection. I fail to see this price they are paying.

    Proudly posted from Konqueror.

    -Justin
    Psi [jabbercentral.com] - ICQ-like Jabber client
  • First, I posted a rather long post on Hailstorm [kuro5hin.org] over at K5. Feel free to read if interested. But as I submitted it, a thought occurred to me....

    Say that we're right and Hailstorm succeeds for Microsft - they are making decent money with a small market share on transaction 'taxes' via Hailstorm with .NET as the enabler. At the same time Linux is gaining ground because of its stability and robustness... Mono exists but doesn't really use Hailstorm, it has its own auth mechanism because the viral OSS software manged to peer with Hailstorm.

    If the above comes to pass - I would bet its an almost certainty that Microsoft would start to give the PERSONAL/Residential version of Windows away for free. Oh sure, they would develop some license that forced OEMs to pay to install it on PCs they sold - can't give up that revenue stream. But when it comes to users upgrading their desktop - they'd get it for free. Why? Because of call teh cash generating technologies we are beginning to see in Win XP and the potential fee generation of Hailstorm. Allowing users to upgrade to the latest wizbang windows OS from WIN 95 or higher to Win XYZ would only give them MORE market share and ensure their dominance of the customer home PC market. How scary is that? I knwo most people dont' bother upgrading from WIn 9x because it works fine for them and its not worth $100 to bother. But if Microsoft started sending out WIn XYZ upgrade CD ala AOL - you'd be amazed how many people would upgrade - bang instant new users with cash generating capability - a user they WEREN'T getting money from before cause they were happy with WIn 9x and Microsoft Works.

    That's what makes Hailstorm so important to Microsoft and also makes it so scary.

    I may be wrong, but the pit of my stomach tells me it'll happen. The freebies have to be the enabling tehchnologies for the cash generating architectures. IE did it for MSN and other MS websites - just wait till the OS becomes the next freebie to steer customers to Micro$oft's cash register.

  • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Saturday July 28, 2001 @08:22AM (#2187244) Homepage
    The only thing I could make out in the article was that the guy does not know anything much about .NET but is very paranoid about what he does not know.

    Passport and Hailstorm are great things for folk to get paranoid about. But they are only a means of breaking open the AOL Instant Messenger position. Microsoft wants to stop AOL from being able to leverage the IM login as a universal interface.

    .NET is really about Microsoft's entry into the one area of the software industry it does not dominate - enterprise resource planning. Go to SAP or Oracle and they will charge you $10 million plus for a pile of barely implementable crap. Microsoft think they have a better idea and have been hiring and strategising accordingly. The most significant part of .NET is that Microsoft has co-opted IBM as an aly.

    The way to make ERP software pay is for the company that wrote the software to run it as hosted software. This is for several reasons. First the costs of 365x24 support are amortized over hundreds of companies. More importantly however for the customer the company that wrote the software bears the cost of maintenance and the pain of all the unreliability, bugs etc.

    The core of the .NET strategy however is somewhat subtler. Traditional ERP systems force you to rip out your existing installation and replace. SOAP allows you to take existing databases and applications, write a thin layer wrapper around them and have them integrate with other Web Services. Microsoft has a two tier strategy, everything runs SOAP, Windows 2000 however will be the SOAP platform with the most, the most APIs, the most tools, etc. etc. .NET will fail however unless you can run the interface parts of it on other systems - including MVS, VMS, Solaris and of course Linux.

    An open source version of parts of .NET is not a beachead against the open source community, it is denying Microsoft competitors revenue. Sun is already in freefall as UNIX types realise that a low cost Intel box running linux runs faster and more reliably than an overpriced Sun box. So deny Sun the revenues they might gain from selling Web Services boxes.

    Sun, Oracle and Netscape ganged up to stop Bill with the anti-trust lawsuit. The story of how the suit was filled is a pretty disgusting case of special pleading by one group of corporations against another, especially if you don't like Microsoft. What could have been a successful anti-trust case became the explanation of why Netscape did not replace Microsoft.

    .NET is simply Bill's way of getting revenge. However unlike McNealy, Ellison and Clarke Bill is not stupid enough to blab his mouth off in public about the companies he wants to destroy. The fact that he is not talking about Sun or Oracle is an insult to them, he is saying that they are not going to be players in the future of the software industry. Open source on the other hand is the only serious competitor left.

    .NET may be just hype, but hey so is Java. But for Java Sun's lackluster processor performance would have consigned the company to history along with SGI and DEC. Instead Java put Sun right at the center of the Internet boom. Even if you dismiss .NET as meaningless hype, the point is that .NET has captured the airtime and there is none left for Sun or Oracle to launch JavaII or the like.

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins

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