[QOTD:Miguel de Icaza] On Open Source and Changing Your Mind

by M. David Peterson

Update: Miguel has provided a *FANTASTIC* follow-up to a question posed by Robert,

Well let's hope Miguel changes from Mono to Java now that Java is going GPL.

I personally questioned why on earth he would want to do that when Mono provides support for not only the .NET languages, but for Java itself via IKVM.NET, but Miguel has taken it several steps further by not only providing an extended understanding of why he feels Mono/.NET is the better platform, but most importantly (from a Linux-Geek perspective, which Miguel quite obviously is), why it's the better choice in regards to the promotion of Linux as a platform. He then concludes with,

trollbait: I think that if anything, now that we got a free java in the pipeline, the free java community can focus on improving Mono :-)

Beyond stating that I most definitely agree with Miguel, I'll let the rest of y'all take it from here, providing the following question to build and extend from,

What's the point of having a platform in the first place, if you don't utilize that platform to its fullest potential? For example, Windows has its strengths, and its weaknesses. The same is true about Mac OSX. The same is true about Linux. Why approach things from the standpoint of vanilla, when there's chocolate, strawberry, vanilla almond fudge, and *OH SO MUCH MORE* than just plain-old vanilla?

That's not to suggest that vanilla is a bad flavor in the same sense that chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla almond fudge are bad flavors. It's really up to you which you prefer, right?

So then: What's your favorite flavor? and why?

Thanks for the follow-up, Miguel!

Update: Manu Stapf followed-up this same post recently with the following,

If you read the original article till the end (http://www.apostate.com/
programming/bm-freesoftware.html) you will realize that Bertrand Meyer
was actually proposing a new way (thus the title of the article) to
embrace/recognize/encourage/promote a vision of open source software.

I've appended to the end of this post Bertrand Meyer's "A COURSE OF ACTION". I am still trying to consume it all internally, but I have to admit that at first glance it most definitely seems to hold significant value as source of inspiration in regards to how to approach the world of software, both open and closed, commercial and non-commercial alike moving forward.

Thoughts from the community at large?

[Original Post]
Eiffel now Open Source on 13 Mar 2007 - tirania.org blog comments. | Google Groups

Not everyone understood open source the day it was launched.

Look at Sun and Java, they have a history of decades of resisting the
open sourcing of Java, it took a long time, but they eventually
changed their mind.

Like someone said "wise people change their minds" ;-)



2007-03-14 07:47:05
Well let's hope Miguel changes from Mono to Java now that Java is going GPL.
M. David Peterson
2007-03-14 08:03:46
Why would he do that? Mono is just as capable, and in fact even more so given the fact that with IKVM.NET you gain the advantage of both Java and all supported .NET languages, which is significant. Ironically enough, couple this with the fact that will the class libraries being licensed under GPL + Classpath Exception, IKVM.NET will provide as close to complete support for the Java language as the available source allows for the .NET platform, and I have to wonder why on earth one would have a need or desire to use anything else.

If any moving should be done it should be from Java to Mono, not the other way around.

Miguel de Icaza
2007-03-14 09:23:55
Hello Robert,

I would not switch to Java for the same reason that people do not like to go from Unix to DOS, I think it is a step backwards (but it is my personal opinion, and the opinion that those in the C#/.NET world have).

That being said, in addition to believing that C#/.NEt are better than Java/JVM (and that deserves its own blog entry) today Mono is:

* Better suited to desktop applications.
* Consumes less memory than Java (way less)
* It is faster, and simpler to optimize
* Runs on more platforms than the Sun JDK
* C# has an edge in language innovations

But the most important bit is: open source Java will not bring any new more applications from Windows to Linux. People that used Java already had portable software and they were using proprietary Java to run on multiple platforms if they chose to.

Mono allows a large body of developers to turn their Windows-locked applications into cross platform applications.

Basically, the open sourcing of Java is useful only in that it will allow one day for the stricter distributions to ship Java out of the box, and hopefully improve the state of the art of applications on the desktop. But most pragmatists were already running proprietary Java (IBM or Sun).

Mono opens the doors to new applications in addition to our endemic software.

trollbait: I think that if anything, now that we got a free java in the pipeline, the free java community can focus on improving Mono :-)


M. David Peterson
2007-03-14 10:13:58

Thanks for the follow-up! It seems you've provided plenty to think about. Hopefully folks will begin to think about things from this perspective: How can we make Linux a better platform, as opposed to how can we help make the world taste more like vanilla.

Will they? Not sure... I guess we're about to find out., ;-)

2007-03-14 10:58:34
I am neutral on Mono. Some see it as a kind of trojan horse that will bring an "IP" shootout with Microsoft blasting Linux vendors and users. That alone justifies anyone who decides to wait and see. Your agreement with them does little to alleviate those fears, while Mr. Ballmer's speeches do much to stir them up. If you really want to see Mono use grow, put tape over his mouth.

Working mostly in a Windows world, I see little dot-net motion where I am. Java is pretty well static with its small desktop share while VB6 continues to rule the roost. Where I do see dot-net, the applications are memory and CPU hogs.

In the Linux world, on the other hand, I think Mono's dot-net platform is growing. However, I have a suggestion: Java is still everywhere. Why not include in Mono a way to translate applications running on the CLI to make them run on the JVM? This would help spread Mono and dot-net to a whole new world, especially after the above-mentioned tape.

Miguel de Icaza
2007-03-14 11:40:44
If you want to run .NET code on top of the JVM just use grasshopper (it uses the Mono class libraries).

There are a bunch of uses for that, but not for desktop applications


M. David Peterson
2007-03-14 14:57:19

You have me busting a gut over your "tape over mouth" comment. ;-)

re: .NET > Java, Miguel already provided the answer. Here's the link > http://dev.mainsoft.com/

2007-03-19 12:23:04
I was, of course, being facetious. I knew the answer before I posted it.

While I may see some Java stuff going over to Mono because of Java going free, I see Java growing much more. The fact that there won't be any IP issues (whether real or perceived for Mono) will be a bigger reason for it eclipsing Mono on Linux.

I am not a "fan" of Java but that is where I see things going.

Only time will tell though and I think if nothing else will prove an interesting ride for everyone.

M. David Peterson
2007-03-19 16:21:04
>> Only time will tell though and I think if nothing else will prove an interesting ride for everyone.

Yup! :)