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BETRAYAL! .NET clones and GNOME in the firing line

MS wins when blessed by software libre

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Veteran alt.os pundit Nick Petreley has turned his ire on Miguel de Icaza's Mono project .NET clone, suggesting it will legitimize Microsoft's divide and conquer tactics.

Petreley's chief concern – voiced in two articles at InfoWorld and on his VarLinux weblog is that a groundswell of software libre support for .NET run time will fragment support for Java.

Java isn't open source and comes with strings attached, but Nick argues Microsoft makes for a much more dangerous bedfellow than Sun. There's no promise that Microsoft won't seek to raise a tithe on .NET platforms. That's a point McNealy reiterated today, and it's a case with some merits: as the famous Symbian memos demonstrate, monopolizing a market it itself isn't Gates motivation, but seeking monopoly rent.

It's a point we made here before Mono broke cover, in pretty much the same terms. Cloning .NET is very clever, but possibly a case of too clever by half, we figured.

Petreley broadens his charge of betrayal by taking a swideswipe at the GNOME project in general:-

"KDE ... continues to evolve on a robust foundation that doesn't need the kind of fixing required by Gnome - fixing that may paint the open-source movement into a corner," he writes.

Now, these holy wars flare from time to time, and they're far from good natured. And usually they generate more heat than light, so we leave them well alone.

But in this case, Petreley's comments have unleashed a torrent of opprobrium, as this LinuxToday discussion suggests.

GNOME has consistently lagged behind KDE, but for much of the time had holy aura of being true, GNU-blessed software. Arguably it served its purpose by obliging TrollTech to make its software license more free, and its continued existence divides the desktop. If the Darwinian software development has meant taking the best and trashing the rest, it's a wonder GNOME has continued to be highly regarded for so long.

Meanwhile a unified Linux desktop looks as far away as ever, as developers and OEMs divide their efforts between the two.

With Miguel firmly in the firing line, we've left a message promised him full right of reply. So stay tuned. ®

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