Miguel de Icaza, Microsoft MVP

Samuel Thurston, III sam.thurston at gmail.com
Fri Jan 15 23:52:17 GMT 2010

On Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 4:22 AM, Conrad Knauer <atheoi at gmail.com> wrote:
> http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/01/microsoft_names_ex-rival_mvp.html
> ---
> Microsoft names ex-rival 'MVP'
> Todd Bishop on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 8:16am PST
> Miguel de Icaza, Microsoft MVP?
> Yep, it's true. The open-source rabble-rouser who was prevented from
> hosting a session inside Microsoft's 2005 Professional Developer
> Conference has been accepted into the ranks of the company's "Most
> Valuable Professionals" less than five years later. He announced the
> news on his blog.
> De Icaza is the leader of the open-source Mono project, sponsored by
> Novell, which previously set off alarm bells inside Microsoft for its
> ability to expand Microsoft .NET applications to other platforms,
> including Linux. Relations between de Icaza and Microsoft have warmed
> following the Redmond company's partnership with Novell.
> He's also on the board of the Microsoft-supported CodePlex Foundation,
> Meanwhile, Mono spin-off project Moonlight, an open-source
> implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight interactive technology, has
> won the blessings of the Redmond company.
> De Icaza was accepted as a Microsoft MVP for C#, the .NET programming language.
> "This will be a great opportunity to build more bridges with Windows
> developers and show them that there is an ECMA CLI (Common Language
> Infrastructure) life in the other side of the OS spectrum," he writes
> in his post, adding, "Looking forward to the group picture!"
> ---

While I certainly don't agree with all of Miguel's choices, he's quite
a guy.  He founded the gnome project... the guy deserves professional
kudos from an industry giant.

> A bit of a rant follows below...
> Miguel de Icaza is (and really always has been) chasing rainbows.

I'm not really sure what you mean by this.  He's making another
language and spec work on a platform it was never intended for.  Do
you, by the same token, chastize the WINE guys for what they do?
There's less to complain about with respect to what Miguel does.  It's
not as though mono will ever become part of the core infrastructure of
a linux distro, and if it does it means two things

1) some technology in the windows/silverlight/mono culture fulfills a
need that isn't better served by another technology, and therefore
2) the community has failed to capitalize on opportunities to build
native apps superior to windows/silverlight/mono offerings.

> "when we tell people the right applications which are not unique to
> Windows that doesn’t particularly help Windows. And so we’ll continue
> to see and do things that are standard-based because that’s important.
> And you continue to see us encourage developers to do things that run
> uniquely on the Windows platform. You know, with the new Silverlight,
> you can build Silverlight applications that are flash-like in the
> sense that they run across platform. But you can also do things which
> are even nicer which really narrow down and run only on Windows.  And
> given that Windows is a billion units, you can afford to make
> optimizations as long as they bring value and do your applications
> that are Windows unique." -- Steve Ballmer

I don't see why, if someone wanted to, they couldn't do the same thing
with respect to linux, in the sense of building apps which work
everywhere but have some added value only on the linux platform.

> "So here we are in 2001, and guess what? It's still not possible to
> purchase a dual-boot Win/Linux machine. Doesn't that seem kind of odd?
> With all of the hype Linux has gotten, and with the technical
> simplicity of shipping dual-boot machines, not a single PC OEM is
> shipping such a beast. The technology marketplace is glutted with
> options. Vendors use even the smallest opportunities to trumpet their
> differentiating factors. Linux is free. And yet there are no
> commercially available dual-boot machines on the market. Not one. The
> silence of the marketplace speaks volumes. There is no other way to
> explain this phenomenon other than as a repercussion of the
> confidential Windows License under which every hardware vendor must do
> business."
> ...and realize that now it's 2010 and NOTHING has changed as far as
> that's concerned; Linux has to try and claw its way onto machines
> where it can, mostly used Windows systems for which the hardware was
> not Linux-optimized.

well, hardware has in general become less "windows optimized" over
time (winmodems have gone the way of the dodo), however due to the
monolithic kernel architecture and unstable ABI, most hardware vendors
don't want the hassle of supporting linux drivers or can't due to
contractual obligations.  Sometimes demand results in some ugly hybrid
like the nvidia binary blobs.  But overall, this is an intentional
design feature of the kernel.  They don't want a stabilized ABI
because they don't want closed-source drivers.

> And now getting back to Mono, realize that Microsoft controls the
> show; that ultimately they will steer it in the direction they want
> (to Windows sales) just as they have done with Microsoft Office
> document formats that really only work perfectly in Microsoft Office.

Mono isn't the totality of gnome, or of a distro.  So there will
always be opportunities for the FOSS community to outshine MS and keep
them on their toes.  Again, I see no reason we can't steal a page from
the MS playbook and do some embracing-and-extending of our own.

> If we follow that route, we will only ever be a 'Windows knock-off'.
> We need to take a page from the ODF struggle and refuse to play the
> game by Microsoft's rules.  I really think that collectively we need
> to say no to Mono just as much as if Microsoft wanted us to use Bing
> as Ubuntu's default search engine.

Consider for a moment the prevalence of flash, or java, and where we
would be without those platforms on a linux desktop.  Eclipse? out.
Youtube? forget about it.  Either of these technologies missing from
the linux landscape would make it a non-starter for most people.

Even office formats were once impossible to work with on linux...
there would be very few if not an absolute void of companies and
governments switching to linux without this migration avenue being

making more possibilities on the linux platform is never a bad thing.

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