Miguel de Icaza, Microsoft MVP

Conrad Knauer atheoi at gmail.com
Sat Jan 16 18:55:07 GMT 2010

On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 10:25 AM, Samuel Thurston, III
<sam.thurston at gmail.com> wrote:

> Before I even start, I want to say that it's pretty clear from your
> responses that you're a Stallmanite*, so I want you to understand that
> below are pragmatic statements only, lest I offend your deeply held
> Stallmanian religious beliefs.
> *Follower of RMS, and true believer that there is no software but free software.

I've grown fond of Stallman's goals, but I am not an acolyte.
I do even joke about things from time to time ;)
I DO however follow Groklaw closely and even before that had developed
a loathing for the Microsoft Corporation.
I am proud of the fact that I was finally able to rid myself of Windows in 2006.

>> And yet MS didn't give him the MVP for Gnome...
> No. They didn't exactly give him MVP "for" mono either.

Actually YES, they did.

"Thanks to everyone that participated in the campaign to nominate me
for a C# MVP award, when I got back to Boston I found on my piles of
email that I am now part of the program."


See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C_Sharp_%28programming_language%29

>> I call it chasing rainbows because no matter how close you think you
>> get the rainbow always recedes towards the horizon; Microsoft will
>> never allow real freeing of code (well, as long as Ballmer is in
> Well, in the last 10 years, MS has introduced their own open source
> license, which while not "truly free" is a step closer than we had
> before.

They introduced their own GPL-incompatible licenses in an attempt to
get people to get people back into the Windows flock.

> And they have recently contributed GPL'ed code to the linux
> kernel.  So I don't know about "never."

"Sometimes, some things are just too good to be true. Earlier this
week, Microsoft made a relatively stunning announcement that it would
contribute some 20000 lines of code to the Linux kernel, licensed
under the GPL. Microsoft isn't particularly fond of either Linux or
the GPL, so this was pretty big news. As it turns out, the code drop
was brought on by... A GPL violation."


>>> 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?
>> First I am going to quote Mark Shuttleworth:
>> http://ostatic.com/blog/open-free-functional-and-wrapped-in-a-strong-sense-of-self
> Shuttleworth, the guy who includes both wine and mono in his
> organization's distro?

Wine is NOT included in Ubuntu by default.  Mono is.

>> A while back I realized that all proprietary apps could (and should)
>> basically be thought of as legacy apps since the binaries themselves
>> don't change; they are static... if this is the case, then what you
>> want is basically a viewer for them, much like you might want a GIF
>> file viewer to view some old file on your HD.
> (this is where I figured out that you're an RMS follower. My clue is
> the the irrational separation between "should" and "is")
> That is your opinion and that is fine.   But the fact is, my opinion
> is different.  Sure I would "like" all software to be free, but I also
> like a lot of proprietary software.  Some of us do real work with
> computers and occasionally find that our "legacy app viewer" will need
> to interact with other things.  Some of us like to play games and have
> played out the 2 or 3 free options that we've found worth playing.

Let's say that you want to dual-boot Ubuntu with XP for gaming; that
doesn't hurt my feelings.  But...

> Now, if I want to run a .net app on linux, I can, and that's great. If
> you don't want to, you can remain ideologically pure.  That is your
> choice, and I am thankful to Miguel for offering my choice.

If Mono was sitting in Ubuntu's universe repository and you decided
that you wanted to install it, that's fine by me.  But the problem I
have is that Mono is installed by default.  To quote the LOLcats, 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,
>> The fact that Mono is installed by default in Ubuntu means that has
>> already happened.
> libmono is installed because it's a dependency of F-Spot.  There is
> apparently a push from the release team to replace F-Spot with
> something ideologically pure.  But is there anything that is both as
> easy to use and as full featured as F-Spot from the FOSS community? If
> there is, great include it! and if not, well then, we have mono there
> to fill the void until such time as the purists answer the call.
> But including a library because it facilitates a photo app hardly
> makes it part of the "core infrastructure" of the distro.

In Karmic there's F-Spot and Tomboy.  To fully purce mono you have to run:
sudo apt-get purge libmono* libgdiplus cli-common libsqlite0
libglitz-glx1 libglitz1

> But, let's say that by 10.04 gThumb perfectly does everything that
> f-spot does and it replaces F-Spot.  libmono no longer satisfies any
> dependencies and is removed from the install CD.  What damage has been
> done? Where's the terrible downside to the proprietary gateway drug
> that is Mono?

In Lucid it looks like they're adding gbrainy.  I am worried that Mono
usage is increasing not decreasing.

>> Ubuntu could install proprietary video drivers by default, because
>> they are better (well, better with the hardware; see below), but that
>> is not a good thing for Ubuntu!
> It more or less does install them by default.  After I install ubuntu
> on a machine, a box pops up telling me i'll get better card
> performance if I install this driver, and here are the risks, yadda
> yadda, press the button.

By default it offers to install them, but it doesn't do so without
your permission.  There is a big difference IMHO.

>>> 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.
>> Maybe so, but we are talking here about a scheme set up to support the
>> current near-monopoly of Windows.  It does us no favors to go down
>> that path.
> Again I ask you: at what point did a software library set up to
> facilitate cross platform development become part of an evil scheme
> for world domination?  When did the magical beast known as Microsoft
> convert Miguel from a right-thinking FOSS agent to an evil
> co-consipirator in the great War Against FOSS?

Some of the things he started have turned out nicely, but he has
always had an... exceptional fondness for Microsoft, shall we say;
things went really bad though when Novell signed their patent deal
with Microsoft.

>> Nvidia graphics is actually a really good example of the 'not
>> Linux-optimized hardware' that I was talking about; for Linux to
>> thrive it needs GPL-compatible drivers, NOT proprietary ones.
> Right, after all, it was the open drivers that got microsoft where it is today.

No, but open drivers are what are going to get Linux in general and
Ubuntu specifically where they are tomorrow.

>> The fact that I have to be careful at all when choosing hardware for
>> Ubuntu is an example of how Linux users are at a disadvantage; this is
>> another reason why buying Windows machines to turn into Linux ones is
>> an uphill battle.
> You don't have to be careful.  The closed drivers work fine regardless
> of how you feel about them from an ideological standpoint. This has
> nothing to do with hardware optimization and only to do with ideology.

Not necessarily true and I have a good example of why:


"The 71 and 96 series of proprietary nVidia drivers, as provided by
the nvidia-glx-legacy and nvidia-glx packages in Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, are
not compatible with the X.Org included in Ubuntu 8.10. Users with the
nVidia TNT, TNT2, TNT Ultra, GeForce, GeForce2, GeForce3, and GeForce4
chipsets are affected and will be transitioned on upgrade to the free
nv driver instead. This driver does not support 3D acceleration."

If there was a good open driver for those cards, they could be altered
by the community and still used for 3D acceleration.

If I wanted proprietary, I would use Windows or Mac; one of the joys
of really open software is that it can be fixed by anyone with the
ability to do so.  Proprietary means being forced to rely on the whims
of people who don't have your interests at heart.

Also, what happens if you aren't allowed to redistribute things like
firmware?  Suddenly there's an * next to "closed drivers work fine"
because getting them running becomes increasingly difficult.

If I cannot put an Ubuntu Live CD in a system and have all the
hardware working perfectly without proprietary drivers, I consider
that a real problem, ESPECIALLY when there are good alternatives that
don't need the proprietary component.

> And it's about to be completely moot since 2.6.33 has the new open
> nvidia drivers included.

Ah, but are they as good as the proprietary ones?  Not yet anyway AND
they had to be reverse-engineered; Nvidia would not help with even
documentation as I recall.  Nvidia deserves my purchase why?

> there will always be non-standard crap

And that's why I think RMS is a neat guy, because he will always fight
that when most people would just give up and buy a computer with
Windows preloaded.


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