Saturday, 19 September 2009

Is Miguel De Icaza neutral toward Microsoft ?

As you may or may not know, Miguel De Icaza is a well-known developer who is the head of the Mono project, an open source project which attempt (and succeed, at least partially) to reimplement Microsoft's .NET Framework.

Miguel De Icaza and Novell are helped by Microsoft for Mono development (for example, Microsoft Microsoft's Test suites or specification details, elements that were exclusively given to Novell, and are and will be not released to other developers. Also, Microsoft has declared it would not sue anyone using Mono users for patent infringement, providing they obtained it through Novell. I agree that it's maybe a matter of personal Point of View to judge that these are details, or are important limitations. However, it is also true that no developer could evolve Mono implementation with the same tools and help that Novell has, and even that those who would try to do that may be pursued by Microsoft for patent infringement.

So much for the context. Now Microsoft launched a new open source foundation called the Codeplex foundation. This foundation has many of Microsoft people at its head, but there's also a few non Microsoft people, including Miguel De Icaza himself.

Miguel De Icaza posted an article on his blog to announce this, and also to say that he thought it was a very good move on behalf of Microsoft. Needless to say, there were a lot of comments on this post, some positive, some very negative, even sometimes inflammatory.

I posted a comment myself, which was not inflamatory, but just said that I was still dubious of this move by Microsoft (I did not discuss De Icaza's involvement). Reasons I gave were:

  • At the same time, Microsoft tried to sell patents related to Linux to patent trolls, only luckily these patents could be bought "just in time" by the Open Invention Network.

  • Microsoft gave recently some GPL source code concerning Hyper V (a Windows Server virtualization) drivers, to the Linux kernel, but it appeared soon that this code was buggy to the point of being almost unusable. Also Microsoft does not answer any questions asked by the kernel developers about this code, which may force these developers to drop it from the kernel codebase.

In substance, I said that I trusted acts more than prose and that Microsoft acts still were not Open Source friendly at all.

hmmm my comment was deleted without warning from the blog. Why? I don't now, but this makes me now discussing Miguel De Icaza's involvement with Microsoft (something I did not do before, even in this comment).

Update: Miguel De Icaza just stated the cases where he deletes comments on his blog. Mine does not fall into these categories...