Open Source Powershell Implementation

by Miguel de Icaza

This weekend ath the Code Camp in Waltham, Igor Moochnick announced the release of pash his open source power shell implementation. It currently runs on Linux, MacOS, WindowsCE and Windows.

pash on Linux.

Igor's project is hosted on sourceforge.

A few years ago Ryan Paul from Arstechnica wrote a nice guide to powershell (when it was still called Monad Shell).

Posted on 07 Apr 2008

OOXML: The Wins

by Miguel de Icaza

Regardless of where you stand on the outcome of OOXML becoming an ISO standard, it is worth pointing out that the opposition to OOXML pushed Microsoft into more open directions.

If you are sulking because OOXML was approved, it is worth looking at what actually was accomplished since December of 2005 when the process begun.

Before OOXML came to ISO and the global review of it begun:

  • Microsoft moving away from their proprietary file formats to open, and XML-based (easier to manipulate, produce and consume) file formats.
  • Novel raised a record number of issues on the specification, many of which were solved before the spec was approved by ECMA.
  • About 700 pages worth of descriptions for the formula specifications (one of the major issues from our end when we joined ECMA TC45 in December of 2005).
  • The OOXML specification placed under the OSP.

Once OOXML went for discussion at ISO, a number of good things came out and are major community wins:

1. The specifications for the old binary file formats were published under the OSP (February of 2008).

2. The above documents were backed up by the British Library in case Microsoft ever stops publishing them (announcement).

3. Microsoft is funding the development of a translator between the old binary file formats and OOXML which should assist folks that have experience in one format and want to understand the other, or just want to convert documents back and forth. If your app lacked support for OOXML, but had support for the old formats, you can use these tools.

4. Microsoft agreed that future versions of OOXML will be covered by the OSP a concern that some people had about future versions of the document.

5. Microsoft pledged to modify future versions of Office to implement the ISO version of OOXML.

6. working group was created to look into harmonization of OOXML and ODF, something that many developers involved in office suites have been advocating for a long time.

7. Microsoft pledged to support features to support other file formats as native file formats in their office suite:

Last year we sponsored a translator project that gave people the ability to read and write ODF files from Microsoft Office. Last month we announced that we would update the Office product so that the ODF translators could natively plug into Office and give people the same options they get from the other file formats. People will be able to set ODF as the default format in Office if that's what they want by simply installing the translators and then changing their settings.

8. Lots of clarifications went into the spec, and people should be happy about that.

9. And finally, now that OOXML is an ISO standard, as Patrick Durusau implied there are many winners.

Anyways, I wanted to keep this short and uplifting, this seems like a win for everyone all around.

Preemptive-reply-to-the-above-paragraph: I will not reply/approve any flames, FUD or half-truths.

Posted on 02 Apr 2008

I love Reddit Captions

by Miguel de Icaza

Posted on 28 Mar 2008

OOXML, looking forward

by Miguel de Icaza

I have been reading the OOXML storm in a teacup for more than a year now. Am looking forward to the approval of OOXML as an ISO standard and to be able to move the discussion back to the things that actually matter: free and open source software.

For a year, countless bytes have been wasted on what is now a very difficult plot to follow, specially for people that have not followed it since the start (or as Bill Maher said last week "Its like trying to make sense of a LOST episode". Note: am a Lost fan).

When we go back to what matters, we should be ready to ask IBM to open source its Lotus Notes software based on Open Office (as staunch supporters of open formats, and open source, I think its in their best interest to do so). There are nice components in Lotus Notes that would be nice to integrate into the upcoming OpenOffice 3.

But most importantly, it is a time for all of those strong advocates of open standards to stop talking, and start walking. I look forward for all that energy that went into discussing the pros and cons of OOXML to join an open source project and start contributing code, documentation, support, create support forums, file good bug reports and help us make free and open source software better.

In case you have not been noticing, Apple is gaining market share on the desktop. Some of our own kernel hackers, desktop hackers, web hackers that used to be Linux or BSD users are flocking to the proprietary OSX.

We need to change that, lets reverse that trend, and lets focus on what actually matters: the free and open source desktop. To make this happen we will need all the help that we can get.

Punditry and lobbying will not get us very far, real work will.

Posted on 26 Mar 2008

Mono: 2008 Google Summer of Code

by Miguel de Icaza

The Mono project will be participating once again in the Google Summer of Code.

Although some ideas from various teams are available in our student projects page this year, I want to encourage students to feel free to submit ideas that they think should be done with Mono.

In past years, a handful of students suggested their own ideas as to what would be an interesting project to work on during the summer, we liked those and turned those into full fledged projects.

Feel free to suggest a project that you think would be useful to the Mono community, and to discuss your idea with us in the Mono Summer of Code IRC channel: #monosoc on

Posted on 24 Mar 2008

Documentation: Generics and CSS

by Miguel de Icaza

Mono contributor Jonathan has been hard at work and has added support for Generics to Monodoc as well as importing the ECMA documentation for the new generic APIs.

Monodoc now also support man pages (we have a handful now, and we will later add all the mono ones) and we now render using a CSS stylesheet instead of the collection of gross hacks that we used to have.

Check the new docs out.

Posted on 24 Mar 2008


by Miguel de Icaza

Microsoft is working on a OOXML SDK for managed languages. They have announced a roadmap:

Being selfish here, I would love to see this SDK relreased under an MS-PL license myself, I think it would be great to get folks outside of the Windows world consume and produce OOXML files easily.

This is a win-win for everyone. Microsoft gets more products consuming and producing OOXML documents on the Windows and MacOS worlds through Mono, and we get a great API to use on Linux with .NET languages.

Although I have emailed a few friends, am not sure am reaching the right people inside Microsoft. I would love to discuss the advantages that MS-PLing the code base would have.

It has to be under a license like the MS-PL as opposed to just a license to use and distribute on Linux for this code to make it and be distributed eventually into Linux distributions.

Posted on 22 Mar 2008

Dog Whisperer

by Miguel de Icaza

We became fans of the Dog Whisperer TV show from the Discovery Channel in the past few months. Sadly, we are unable to have a dog at home, so we might look for a new place.

My friend Shelly pointed me to Gladewell's article on the New Yorker about Cesar Milan, just as fun and interesting as watching the show.

Posted on 22 Mar 2008

Pastor Wright

by Miguel de Icaza

From Dave Winer's blog:

Melroy Hodge, from Queens, NY, a contact on Twitter, sent a pointer to a YouTube video of a longer excerpt of Jeremiah Wright's post-911 sermon, one of the speeches that soundbites were shown repeatedly on cable news this week. I guess it's not surprising that the cable news excerpts gave a very misleading impression. (Next time this happens we must do an immediate fact-check.)

This is a must-watch video. Stop what you're doing, right now, and watch it.

I found myself captivated by Wright's ideas and the way he expresses them.

I agree with everything he said.

I would have been willing to cut him some slack, because this was less than a week after the attack, and those were crazy days, who knew what was coming next. But he was right, we have done what they did to us, and we're doing it again in Iraq. The US was led by despotic people and we followed; we wanted to punish someone, anyone, and it didn't matter if they had anything to do with what happened to us. And we did.

Read the whole post from Dave Winer's blog. The video as he says, is a must-watch.

Also, from the twitter-o-sphere:

Posted on 22 Mar 2008

Mono Debugger, now with 2.0 support

by Miguel de Icaza

Last week, Martin Baulig announced that the debugger in trunk adds supports to many 2.0 features, our last major feature missing in the debugger.

The biggest news is that the debugger now has support for C# 2.0
features such as generics, anonymous methods and iterators:

  * We can currently print fields in generic instances, print their
    types and parent classes.

  * Recursive generic types (see test/src/TestRecursiveGenerics.cs for
    an example) are supported, but need more testing.

  * There is some limited support for method invocations, but we can't
    get their types yet.

  * Support for anonymous methods and iterators should now be pretty
    much complete; we can fully access captured variables etc.

To try out the updated debugger in trunk, you must use Mono from trunk. With this code in place, we have now started the work to integrate it into MonoDevelop.

MonoDevelop 1.1 (due in six months) will have support for the debugger.

Remote Debugging

Additionally, Harald announced that they have modified the Mono Debugger to support remote debugging (useful for debugging embedded systems for instance).

They wrote a detailed document on the architecture for their remote debugging framework.

Their work is now licensed under the MIT X11 license, which will allow us to integrate this directly into the Mono and Mono Debugger distributions.

Posted on 19 Mar 2008

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