Mono Visual Basic

Novell is promoting Mono and its Visual Basic Connection on Linux. Full Visual Basic 8 syntax is now delivered through Mono onto the Linux platform. And this has happened despite the fact that Novell sponsored Mono got little extra support from the Novell-Microsoft special relationship other than some counseling on the compiler design this past summer.

This is what I call half-hearted cross platform from Microsoft. And the question is why do they bother?

First and foremost keep in mind the following simple facts. First, Windows Vista desktop and Windows Server plus applications are becoming ever more tightly coupled systems where there are dependencies between the new Windows desktop frameworks plus Windows Servers exclusive Services in order for applications like Visual Basic or C# or ASP.NET to achieve full functionality and maximum performance. So Mono VB.NET or ASP.NET will run in Linux but not as well as on the Windows Server.

Second, to make that even more pronounced, Mono is always one or two steps behind the latest and greatest from Microsoft. Take for example the latest Mono. Here is how it is characterized in an interview with Mono chief Miguel de Icaza:
“This new and improved compiler, which supports Visual Basic 8.0 code, is bundled in Mono 1.2.3. In addition to Visual Basic support, this version includes many bug fixes and an almost complete ASP.NET 2.0 API (application programming interface) implementation. WebParts, however, still isnt completely supported. “
Given that Mono is just another example of fruitless efforts to bring MS software technology to the Unix and Linux world – one can think of ASP, DCOM, OLE/DB, and on and on. Innumerable man-years of effort by third parties like DEC, Software AG, Blue Sky and others; all swallowed up in token nods and then confined to dust bins Redmonds false efforts towards integration; when in fact the number one decider on what gets done: is how does it advance the Windows Desktop+Server monopoly. So I have decided to take drastic action

Mind Meld with Microsoft

I know this a dangerous procedure but somebody has to fathom why Redmond would bother to do such things.

Tokenism is the first and strongest impression. Even Redmond has seen those IBM TV commercials about the CEO asking about the companys integration strategy. All one can hear is the CEOs “squak, squak, squak” (very interesting bit of populism from IBM of all people) and demands for an IT integration strategy yesterday. And the IT sap saying “its practically ready”; even though the group has come to the conclusion they dont know let alone have even a PowerPoint slide deck of know-how on the topic.

For countless years Microsoft has been the Windows-only shop. They have the rap of thwarting Java; cutting off the oxygen to Netscape; stalling all work on Web standards such as JavaScript, CSS, DOM, HTML, etc; resisting ODF in favor of their late standard, OpenXML; and currently muddying/stalling graphics standards such as JPEG2000, SVG, and OpenGL. This anti-integration record has very few counter-balancing efforts: the two biggest are ODBC and lately Web Services. But these are regarded as being lowest common denominator efforts. So Mono is the latest Microsoft head-fake to integration – something to point to in corporate presentations when the interoperability issue crops up. Low maintenance – as per usual some 3rd party idealists are carrying the whole expense and game ball – and Microsoft can look like they are doing Open Source.

Loss of developer Headspace and Momentum. Eclipse, Java WORA, and Web 2.0 happened despite Microsofts efforts to make Visual Studio king, thwart Java and stall all HTML/JavaScript/CSS/DOM development in IE and Microsoft apps. Web 2.0 and AJAX , Ruby on Rails, and Adobe Flash/Apollo all are headspace and momentum leaders. Meanwhile, C# and VB have been on downward curves the 4-5 quarters on TIOBEs index of Programming Community Support for various languages. Meanwhile Java with either Eclipse or NetBeans has not only a price advantage over Visual Studio but an ease of use advantage plus a huge wave of third party tools and designers coming to their spaces. These are the places to be. So with Mono, siphon off some of those Open Sourcers and Java developers and prevent desertion among VB and Visual Studio developers.

A Safety Valve option. If Microsoft has to go Linux, they can buy Novell and have a huge head start on getting Office Apps and Windows Frameworks and Services over to their new Linux – Lindows/Winspire??? Plus they get all that great Novell System Management and Identity software. Microsoft finally would be able to procure a server monopoly to match the desktop one and then get embedded OS too. Bonus – Torvalds finally working for Redmond.

A black-hole morass of whos in charge. Leading a software development company means herding some pretty hep cats. When Steve Ballmer had to issue a company-wide memo a few years back to establish that Yukon was King, you knew leading the troops on the technical side was not going to be his forte. Now that Bill seems bound and determined to win that Nobel Peace Prize(his companys legal forays against the EU commission can hardly win him the European intelligentsia), its now Redmond management by the committee of Ballmer, Ozzie, Mundie, Vaskevitch and likely dozens of others. Like Global Warming, this may be the cause of high variability of output such as Mono “support” as a consequence.

Who knows? And who has a Bufferin?

(c)JBSurveyer 2007 If you liked this, let others know:
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