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posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 03 2015, @02:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the same-old-routine dept.

It looks like Microsoft hasn't reformed as some would like to think, but has moved its embrace, extend, extinguish policy to the mobile platform. In this article from techrights.org , we see a company (responsible for Mono) with strong MS connections take over an open source project and close it.

LAST WEEK we wrote about Xamarin's disturbing takeover of RoboVM [1, 2], which was a threat to Microsoft's monopoly and domination of APIs (especially on the desktop). Xamarin, for the uninitiated, creates proprietary software that strives to spread Microsoft's .NET to mobile (including Android) devices.

It has only been less than a week and now we learn from Abel Avram that "RoboVM Is No Longer Open Source".

"Following RoboVM's acquisition by Xamarin," explains Avram, "the company has raised the price of their offering and has closed the source code."

Discussion of a fork is in the works:

It has gotten so bad that RoboVM might be forked. To quote Avram, "some developers consider that closing down the source code has to do with Xamarin's acquisition. And some are discussing forking the project, perhaps starting with the sources v. 1.8 which will be pushed to GitHub this week, according to Zechner. It remains to see how successful they are in their endeavor considering that RoboVM is not a trivial piece of software."


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Noldir on Tuesday November 03 2015, @02:54PM

    by Noldir (1216) on Tuesday November 03 2015, @02:54PM (#257948)

    From the article:

      RoboVM is a complicated piece of technology that we have worked hard for years to
        create. Over the past few months, we have seen competitors actively exploiting
        our good faith by using our open source code to compete with us directly in
        commercial products. On the flip side, we have received almost no meaningful
        contributions to our open source code.
        You can imagine how disappointing this has been to us; we had hoped our initial
        business model of OSS with proprietary extensions (like our debugger and
        interface builder integration) would work.
        But in light of the low contributions and behavior of competitors, we decided
      to stop automatically releasing changes to the core of RoboVM as open source.
    -Zechner

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +4  
       Interesting=3, Informative=1, Total=4
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday November 03 2015, @03:12PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 03 2015, @03:12PM (#257962)

    On the flip side, we have received almost no meaningful contributions to our open source code.

    Their product is for make money fast phone app coders. Culturally they're not sharers. A hundred clones of any good concept, winner takes all, professional sports shaped revenue chart, screw the users flood the thing with ads and pay to play. I'm not expecting their product to be used to develop FOSS products.

    Its not exactly emacs users we're talking about, at least culturally.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by draconx on Tuesday November 03 2015, @03:34PM

    by draconx (4649) on Tuesday November 03 2015, @03:34PM (#257972)

    RoboVM is a complicated piece of technology that we have worked hard for years to create. Over the past few months, we have seen competitors actively exploiting our good faith by using our open source code to compete with us directly in commercial products. On the flip side, we have received almost no meaningful contributions to our open source code.

    I took a quick look at their github page. It seems that the developers chose to release their code under the Apache 2.0 license, which is a non-copyleft license. So it should not be a surprise to anyone when competitors use that
    code in proprietary products, and do not contribute anything back: that is exactly what permissive licenses are intended to allow!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03 2015, @08:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03 2015, @08:08PM (#258093)

      That's what they are intended to allow *legally*, but normally the non copyleft guys assume some common interest sharing, or else they take their ball and go home, or the project dies. Your assumption of "copyleft would have stopped this" is probably accurate, but there are certainly successful products using non copyleft licenses, that don't end up having their source code "embraced and extended" underneath them. With so much of the industry buttering their bread with proprietary pieces, you would expect bad actors to get shunned to some degree by mainstream proprietary companies- if you make the world hostile to open source, then everyone says fuck it and goes full RMS, and then you have to bake your own pie 100% of the time.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03 2015, @03:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03 2015, @03:34PM (#257974)

    It's at least as accurate to say that RoboVM's owners killed the freedom of RoboVM by selling it to Xamarin w/o extracting a promise to keep the source open.

    Reminds me of Monty whining about Oracle "hijacking" MySQL, after he and his cofounders sold the company for 1 billion USD. The best things in life are free, right, Monty?