Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Patents

De Icaza Says Microsoft Has Shot .NET Ecosystem In Foot 425

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the starting-with-the-name dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has shot the .NET ecosystem in the foot because of the constant threat of patent infringement that it has cast on the system, Novell vice-president and Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is quoted as telling the website Software Development Times recently."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

De Icaza Says Microsoft Has Shot .NET Ecosystem In Foot

Comments Filter:
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:22AM (#31611148) Journal

    I used to respect that company (NetWare 3.11, NDS, NetWare 5.0, GroupWise, ZenWorks, all top-notch tech, IMHO).

    Now, a tad less.

    • Strange though how he is not listed under http://www.novell.com/company/bios/ [novell.com]

      I used to respect that company (NetWare 3.11, NDS, NetWare 5.0, GroupWise, ZenWorks, all top-notch tech, IMHO).

      Now, a tad less.

      Yeah just like when Mr. Hovsepian took his new seat as CEO he said he would do so much for linux and the linux community. A few months later Novell axe's a bunch of key KDE developers, and later on let go a bunch more of there development teams on SUSE / opensuse.

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:25AM (#31611244) Journal

    Microsoft has shot the .NET ecosystem in the foot

    A head shot would have been clearer. We all know .NET limps already.
    Or is this just the usual Microsoft wobbling instead of making an actual decision?

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:35AM (#31611462)

      Yeah, it limps alright. Just take a look at StackOverflow [stackoverflow.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Filopopulus (604384)
        Yeah! See how hard it is to program in C#? Those guys keep asking more and more questions! ;-)
      • by Foofoobar (318279) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @11:00AM (#31611954)
        Lots of questions means lots of confusion. I think all you proved is a severe lack of documentation or how newbies are confused as hell by it.

        I'd say check the Tiobe index [tiobe.com] for a more accurate record. You'd think that a major corporation like Microsoft could garner more popularity than PHP instead of less than half.
        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @11:18AM (#31612324) Journal

          Lots of questions means lots of confusion. I think all you proved is a severe lack of documentation or how newbies are confused as hell by it.

          Or, maybe, lots of questions just means lots of newbies?

          Or it could even mean that StackOverflow is historically more .NET-centric, so that's where you go to ask .NET questions; and Java ones are asked elsewhere.

          I'd say check the Tiobe index [tiobe.com] for a more accurate record. You'd think that a major corporation like Microsoft could garner more popularity than PHP instead of less than half.

          TIOBE index is extremely unaccurate due to their, ahem, "methodology" [tiobe.com], and they even tell so themselves.

          It is particularly inaccurate with respect to .NET, because you need to extract VB.NET out of all BASIC job offerings, add C#, and then add all positions that just say ".NET" without specifying the language (which isn't even tracked on TIOBE), to get a real figure.

          Then, also, think about what it measures - if you look at what is found by googling for "PHP programming" (which is what TIOBE does, pretty much), it's mostly various tutorials/howtos. So, it effectively measures the amount of learning material available online for a given tech, including any low-quality and duplicate ones. It's no secret that there's a crapload of that for PHP. In fact, by your logic, it would indicate that PHP is so bad, since it needs so much tutorials to teach people to do things, no?

          Instead of TIOBE, why don't you open your nearest job search website, and look at the number of available .NET positions vs Java ones? (the ratio will vary quite a bit by region/country, by the way)

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:36AM (#31611472) Homepage

      Microsoft hasn't shot/killed anything, they just stopped pulling the puppet strings and making the silly squeaky noises that made it look like it was alive in the first place.

    • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:37AM (#31611500)
      Does that mean "gimp" is going to be ported to ".NET"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      No one gives a shit that uses .NET.

      No one does anything of importance and cares about Mono. Unless your app was written to deal with the inadequacies of Mono its unlikely that any non-trivial app will work in Mono. There is no concern by anyone with a non-trivial app about what Mono licensing issues might mean because Mono is incapable of running any app that matters.

      Rant, whine, moan, talk out your ass, lie, cheat and steal to make it sound like MS is the reason Mono isn't taking off ... won't make it so

  • Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Airline_Sickness_Bag (111686) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:25AM (#31611248)

    It took how many years for Miguel de Icaza to realize this? Most of us could have told him that with seconds.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:26AM (#31611258)
    There is hope for him yet!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gmuslera (3436)
      Don't think so. In any moment Bill Gates will tell Miguel "I'm your father" and he will run out of Luke.
  • Wah wah wah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigtomrodney (993427) * on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:27AM (#31611286)
    That's a little rich for De Icaza to be coming out and saying this now. He's spent years shouting down anyone that warned him about the patent scenario with Microsoft's technologies and yet he continued to proselytise. He's worked away on Mono and Silverlight and made sure to get them included wherever he could.

    So is he allowed to be surprised or angry now?
    • Re:Wah wah wah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:47AM (#31611682)
      Kinda like when you tell a female who is having an affair with a married man: "You know he's never going to leave his wife." The reaction is usually denial and false hope. Some day, maybe years later, they realize the truth and move on. They didn't just were not ready to acknowledge it until they are ready.
    • Re:Wah wah wah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:50AM (#31611732) Homepage

      So is he allowed to be surprised or angry now?

      Of course he is.

      And we're allowed to roll our eyes and say "No shit, Sherlock! Welcome to five years ago!"

      I mean sure he's slow on the uptake. Sure it was pretty silly to dismiss the quite plain threat of Microsoft's patents with "Oh but they won't do that!" But hey, at least the "but they won't do that!" turns into "gee, it's looking like that's exactly what they plan to do" eventually.

      Doesn't mean I think he's any smarter than I did yesterday. But sure he's allowed to change his mind, and that's a good thing.

    • Re:Wah wah wah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by miguel (7116) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @01:23PM (#31614758) Homepage

      You are mixing two different things.

      Microsoft claims that they have patents had a chilling effect on Mono adoption.

      That does not mean that I do not stand 100% by our position in the Mono project regarding patents. To begin with, we think it is a bullshit argument, since everything you use is infringing on someone else's patents (Microsoft included).

      Microsoft like any other corporation will do a cost/benefit analysis of suing someone over patents. So far the kernel has been a juicier target than Mono has.

      • Re:Wah wah wah (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bigtomrodney (993427) * on Thursday March 25, 2010 @02:54PM (#31616402)
        Come on Miguel, really. It's not the same thing. It's one thing to go ahead making technical progress and accidentally infringe an obscure patent in someone's portfolio. It's quite another to adopt and adapt someone's technology and hope they won't sue you. This is even more important a distinction when the technology in question belongs to your competitors and they've publicly sword to defeat your cause.

        I know you're getting a hard time in this thread but it has to be taken for what it is.
  • He was a retard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BhaKi (1316335) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:28AM (#31611292)
    for assuming (and advocating to others) that Microsoft won't threaten Linux.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, it looks like he now understands why people had reservations about the Mono project in the first place, and why it wasn't embraced with open arms by the community. Considering that he seems to be quite smart it may feel like a surprise that the learning experience took this long, but frankly I'm just happy that he seems to have learned the lesson. Hopefully this means he will put his considerable skills to better use now that he is starting to see the problems with his original approach.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:31AM (#31611382)

    Taken from Google Cache: http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:LPFDjfqGMRMJ:www.sdtimes.com/link/34203+Does+Windows+cost+Microsoft+opportunities&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    Does Windows cost Microsoft opportunities?
    By David Worthington

    March 17, 2010 —
    The evolution of the .NET Framework has won new users to the platform, and drawn its share of criticism from those who think Microsoft’s stewardship has often been off-target.

    Among the critics is Novell vice president Miguel de Icaza, who said .NET's focus on Windows has come at the expense of opportunities for Microsoft, and its desire to guard its intellectual property is an impediment on the platform.

    "Microsoft has shot the .NET ecosystem in the foot because of the constant threat of patent infringement that they have cast on the ecosystem," he said. "Unlike the Java world that is blossoming with dozens of vibrant Java Virtual Machine implementations, the .NET world has suffered by this meme spread by [Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] that they would come after people that do not license patents from them."

    In practice, the Java community only uses two or three JVMs (IBM's, JRockit, and OpenJDK from Sun), while others are research efforts or smaller-scale open-source projects, said author and consultant Ted Neward. "Virtual machines are not something the open-source community seems to want to experiment with."

    Microsoft submitted the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) specification to ECMA International, which ratified it in 2001. Microsoft built technologies on top of the specification as .NET evolved.

    Microsoft has made an open-source CLI implementation codenamed "Rotor" freely available [microsoft.com], but it has had little or no uptake, Neward noted.

    However, Mono remains the only implementer of the ECMA CLI specification outside of Microsoft, and that is a testament to the legal uncertainty surrounding some aspects of .NET due to Microsoft's statements about open-source software, de Icaza said.

    "[Microsoft] would still be the No. 1 stack, but it would have encouraged an ecosystem that would have innovated extensively around their platform," he added.

    Facebook, Google, Ruby on Rails and Wikipedia could have been built using .NET, de Icaza claimed. "All of those are failed opportunities. Even if the cross-language story was great, the Web integration fantastic, the architecture was the right one to fit whatever flavor of a platform you wanted, people flocked elsewhere."

    "To say that Google could have used .NET is to undervalue both Google and .NET. Google creates value from things like distributed MapReduce and a brand-new system-level programming with concurrent coroutines," said Larry O'Brien, an independent analyst and consultant who writes the Windows & .NET column for SD Times. ".NET creates value from a fantastic IDE, great mainstream languages, and well-executed technologies like Silverlight, LINQ and the DLR [Dynamic Language Runtime]."

    Despite the criticisms, customers are "making bets on .NET" all the time, said Brandon Watson, director of product management for Microsoft's development platforms. "The fact that we didn't get Google—I'll cry a little, but not a lot. I'm not certain that Google wouldn't have taken a bet on philosophy, wanting to beat us."

    Further, developers can build languages on top of .NET 4.0's dynamic language runtime, which supports both Python and Ruby, Watson said. But it's the addition of new technologies on top of the ECMA specification, such as the DLR, that de Icaza believes impedes the CLI's adoption.

    Microsoft's submission to ECMA has remained at a "core level," de Icaza claimed. "I

    • by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Thursday March 25, 2010 @11:09AM (#31612146) Homepage

      "Unlike the Java world that is blossoming with dozens of vibrant Java Virtual Machine implementations, the .NET world has suffered by this meme spread by [Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] that they would come after people that do not license patents from them."

      In practice, the Java community only uses two or three JVMs (IBM's, JRockit, and OpenJDK from Sun), while others are research efforts or smaller-scale open-source projects, said author and consultant Ted Neward. "Virtual machines are not something the open-source community seems to want to experiment with."

      ::Incredibly slow facepalm::

      What the hell kind of rhetorical diversion that was?

      "I love air", de Icaza was quoted as saying. "Breathing oxygen is a wonderful thing. I couldn't get through a single day without oxygen."

      In practice, oxygen only accounts for about 20% of Earth's atmosphere, said author and consultant Ted Neward. "O2 just isn't something that the open source community wants to inhale frequently."

      Tip: Java isn't popular because people work on multiple JVMs (however small in their number they might be). The point de Icaza was making is that Java is popular because there can be multiple JVMs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Microsoft has made an open-source CLI implementation codenamed "Rotor" freely available, but it has had little or no uptake, Neward noted.

      Rotor isn't open source, though. It's "shared source", meaning that you can look at the code, but you can't hack on it and redistribute the result. It's more of a reference implementation for study.

      It's not full-featured, either. It doesn't have the complete set of .NET class libraries, for example; only the basic stuff (what was in Ecma CLI spec, I believe).

      Oh, and it's Windows-only (the first release, which corresponded to .NET 1.1 IIRC, was for Windows and FreeBSD).

  • Oh Noes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff&gmail,com> on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:38AM (#31611506) Homepage Journal

    The sky in Miguel de Icaza's world just turned blue!

  • -- as if nothing like this was ever anticipated or expected.

    Whoosh!

  • O rly. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Gerard (12369) <{ku.oc.draregdivad} {ta} {todhsals}> on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:42AM (#31611568) Homepage

    "He also claimed that Facebook, Google, Ruby on Rails and Wikipedia could have been built using .NET."

    Wikipedia? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. Really, no.

    (Although the WMF Lucene search implementation was done in C# on Mono for a while, when Java wasn't yet sufficiently free software. It ran at half the speed of the Java version.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      I don't see why Wikipedia couldn't have been built with .NET. It's mostly database-driven; you could write the front end in pretty much anything. It's not an especially complex bit of software, the value is in the content. People have written wikis in all sorts of languages and even something as slow as Ruby scales well enough in most cases to keep the bottleneck in the I/O.
    • Re:O rly. (Score:4, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @11:24AM (#31612446) Journal

      Although the WMF Lucene search implementation was done in C# on Mono for a while, when Java wasn't yet sufficiently free software. It ran at half the speed of the Java version.

      Mono runtime (both JIT and GC) sucks, to be honest - compared to both Sun JVM, and MS .NET VM. Any .NET vs Java performance comparison that uses Mono is thus flawed from the get go.

      It's faster than Python, though, I'll grant them that...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chdig (1050302)
      Yes, it was this quote that made me question whether de Icaza has any clue at all.

      .NET was released first in 2002. Wikipedia was released in 2001, Google in the 90's. As for Ruby on Rails -- don't you need Ruby first in order to build a framework on Ruby (incidentally, Microsoft got into IronRuby in 2007)? Facebook, meanwhile, was a classic example of a commercial website done on the cheap, and at the time it was started, LAMP was about the only practical option. Your average group of kids with an ide
      • Re:O rly. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by miguel (7116) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @01:29PM (#31614876) Homepage

        .NET was released in July of 2000.

        And Google uses a mix of languages and tools: different features require different tools and all that. Had there been no legal problems, it would have been a no-brainer to use .NET over other technologies.

        It did not have to be Mono, it could have been a third party .NET implementaion.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cato (8296)

          Google uses a range of technologies but as far as I can tell it doesn't use Windows on its servers, partly because it needs the flexibility to do quite advanced things with Linux to gain performance. The big attraction of .NET is not the CLR but the .NET libraries, which still aren't replicated on Mono - so why would Google choose to use .NET and limit its options to a closed source OS owned by its biggest competitor?

  • All MS is interested in is the bottom line. If they allow free implementations of .NET then as far as they see it they'll lose sales on their .NET compiler and whats more may even lose Windows sales if people port their .NET apps to a-n-other platform.

    I'm not saying they're right but thats probably the way their short term thinking marketing and legal dept see it.

  • So, Miguel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:49AM (#31611716)

    can we get that diseased crap out of GNOME?

  • C# and F# (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:49AM (#31611718)

    Maybe the biggest lamentation I have is regarding C#. I keep on hearing how it's a wonderful improvement on C++, which is my bread-and-butter language. But I'm just not willing to invest time in a language that requires paying a Microsoft tax one way or another.

    Similarly for F# (I have a deep love for functional programming).

    • Re:C# and F# (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:54AM (#31611820) Homepage

      Maybe the biggest lamentation I have is regarding C#. I keep on hearing how it's a wonderful improvement on C++, which is my bread-and-butter language.

      I wouldn't be too sad. C# is really more of an improvement on Java than it is on C++. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume there's a reason you use C++ and not Java, and those reasons would probably still mean you'd use C++ over C#.

    • by ink (4325)

      As a Java and C++ developer, I'm jealous of several language features found in C# -- especially properties.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:52AM (#31611770)

    Miguel was enamored with a lot of the technology behind ".NET", and thought he could outsmart Microsoft, in a sense. He thought he would be pragmatic and non-religious about the technology and adopt it.

    What he never realized, and is maybe now only starting to realize, is that .NET is a *marketing* term. It was brilliantly crafted by Microsoft's marketing people. As smart as their developers are and as cool as Miguel thought their engineering and technology is, their marketing is far and away better and more sophisticated. .NET is a brilliant marketing strategy. Miguel didn't realize that by using the '.NET' term so incessantly, he was basically ensuring that he would be in the position that he's in now.

    Sure, there was C# and the CLR. That was probably 10% of ".NET", which was a overarching strategy for the *Windows* ecosystem at the time that involved extending Windows into the Internet as much as possible, including "tieing" it into all sorts of Microsoft-oriented services that were MSN at the time.

    Think about it. VisualStudio.NET. What the !@#$ does that mean? It's a branding term. Miguel showed his complete lack of understanding of marketing by using that term so regularly and continuously WRT Mono.

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @11:44AM (#31612836) Homepage

      Miguel was enamored with a lot of the technology behind ".NET", and thought he could outsmart Microsoft, in a sense. He thought he would be pragmatic and non-religious about the technology and adopt it.

      I've been saying it for years -- real pragmatism must always include consideration of the practical realities surrounding a tool or technology. Like, who is providing it, what are the terms under which they provide it, could those terms change and how would that affect your use of the tool? Or as you point out, how does the technology you like (C#) fit into the larger strategy being pushed (.NET)?

      Many engineers tend to want to ignore those aspects and focus solely on the qualities of the tool itself. They say they just want something that "does the job", and thus fail to consider how those factors affect the tool's ability to do the job. Because, being technically-minded people, they want the technical factors to be the only ones that matter. They call this "pragmatism" and being "non-religious".

      Which just goes to show how even people who value pragmatism and rationality more than anyone can still be completely irrational. Ignoring the important external factors because you really wish they weren't important is not rational!

      Rationality is simply a useful trick that our mammalian brains have picked up. But at the end of the day we are still emotional animals, and even when expending great effort to force ourselves to think rationally we can't eliminate the effect of our emotions. Much of the time "rationality" is simply a way to justify what we've already decided based on emotion.

      Ergo the worst thing a person who values rationality can do is tell themselves that they are completely rational and uninfluenced by emotion. I think there's an important lesson to be learned here, even for those of us who saw this situation coming from a mile away.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:52AM (#31611774) Homepage Journal

    Everyone else has been saying that forever, but to hear it from you.. I'm impressed.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @10:53AM (#31611808) Homepage

    Put aside the fact that De Icaza is now eating his own words about the patent issue and look at the issue itself. Microsoft simply has not accepted how things have begun to change. Developers rarely need them the way that they used to need them in the business space. Most large enterprise apps can now be entirely built in Java, Ruby, Python, Perl or PHP for the backend and JavaScript with a toolkit like jQuery or ExtJs for the front end. There is not a single need for Microsoft in that whole space.

    Microsoft needs to realize that developers have options now and their threats are empty. Most developers would laugh at their attempts to control things now and simply say "have fun with that" as they switch to some pure open source approach or one built around a hybrid of open and closed source from various projects and vendors.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Developers rarely need them the way that they used to need them in the business space. Most large enterprise apps can now be entirely built in Java, Ruby, Python, Perl or PHP for the backend and JavaScript with a toolkit like jQuery or ExtJs for the front end. There is not a single need for Microsoft in that whole space.

      There were always alternatives to MS developer tools, going back over a decade. On DOS, Turbo Pascal was awesome. On early Windows versions, Delphi ate everyone's launch (VB was originally released by and large in response to Delphi). On the web, PHP and Java have been around before ASP, much less ASP.NET, got there.

      That never stopped Microsoft from making a profit on selling developer tools, and from people buying them. There are various reasons for that, but one of them is that what we offer today is a si

  • The harm is done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Windwraith (932426) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @11:03AM (#31612004)

    He already pushed Mono into a lot of parts of Gnome...harm is already done De Icaza, you had to realize before pushing it into one of the most widely used Linux desktop enviroments.

  • so what, Miguel? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @11:10AM (#31612166) Homepage

    Snakes bite, buddy, that's why we don't play with them.

    I don't know why you keep thinking that Microsoft wants some sort of "ecosystem". They want control, but they're always willing to use a useful idiot.

  • by mugnyte (203225) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @12:07PM (#31613236) Journal

    Some of the strongest minds in computer science have built out .NET, and continue to do so. There are some practicality gaps, but today the majority of the corporate world is powered by .NET devs, for better or worse.

      However, this many years into the platform, it's starting to show it's age. From .NET 1.0 applications, laden with crude pinvokes to Win32 API's, GDI+ silliness, messy ADO.NET integration, through 2.0, 3.5, 4.0, the "Enterprise" helper classes, the "Foundation Extensions", the integration of pseudo-SQL declarative syntax with LINQ, Entity Relation classes, Unity, security, contracts, plus all of the layers of ASP.NET tools .... don't VS's forget code analysis, test suites, code coverage, profiling, generated documentation... there are many more but you get the point... ...all this is shaping up to be a very MS-centric view of the .NET universe. Which is a mistake, De Icaza seems to imply. I wholeheartedly agree. While the computing world abandons PCs for most tasks (gaming, editing information aside) and info consumption is done via smaller devices, on a variety of hardware & OS's, MS has bound .NET to their OS deployments - and there will be many other OS's talking in that space.

        This is Microsoft's biggest gamble with .NET: That as the OS lives or dies, so does this platform. Really, it could be bigger than Windows. If MS shipping a full (even licensed) 4.0+ framework for use on Linux & Apple, it would inject a massive growth spurt in both those platforms but a huge and lasting foothold on the MS-based app development.

  • by miguel (7116) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @01:17PM (#31614618) Homepage

    I provided some context to the SD times article on my blog today:

    http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2010/Mar-25.html [tirania.org]

    Miguel.

  • No Santa Claus (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @02:12PM (#31615646) Homepage Journal

    I feel kind of bad for Miguel, he sounds like a kid, who just realized that there is no Santa Claus. It's sad.

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke

Working...