GNU Project and Free Software Foundation founder Richard M. Stallman says, though GNOME is part of the GNU Project, it does not "follow GNU policies the way a normal GNU package does. That's Miguel's doing."
The reference is to Miguel de Icaza, one of the co-founders of GNOME who now works for Novell as its open source chief.
Stallman says the FSF is not connected with GNOME. "The GNOME developers only listen to me a little. (That is the result of Miguel de Icaza's actions)," he said.
Regarding GNOME's involvement in the OOXML standardisation process, he said: "The official announcement a couple of weeks ago said that GNOME is intentionally not doing anything during this phase of the process, precisely to avoid helping Microsoft win ISO acceptance."
He denied that GNOME had now become the champion of the OOXML document format, which Microsoft is trying to push as an international standard.
"That (GNOME becoming the champion for OOXML) is not true. However, OOXML support is being implemented in some GNOME packages," Stallman said.
The OOXML format is not even output by Microsoft's own Office 2007 which adheres to a spec differing from that submitted to the industry standards body ECMA.
Stallman said he was unaware of this. "That's more detail than I know about. Maybe they will try to support both," he said.
Asked whether, in view of the principled stand taken by the K Desktop Environment on the OOXML issue, the GNU Project would officially acknowledge this (Stallman has acknowledged it in a posting to a GNOME mailing list) and consider nominating the K Desktop Environment as one that now met all the requirements for a free software project, Stallman replied: "That would be a very drastic thing to do."
Asked why GNOME had not included support for the Open Document Format, which was accepted by the ISO as a standard in 2006, in either the word processor Abiword or the spreadsheet Gnumeric, which are part of GNOME, he said: "I wish it were. I don't know how to contact the developers of Abiword or Gnumeric. If you tell me how to contact them, I will urge them to do this. I don't promise they will pay attention."
Stallman was cautious about the Mono and Moonlight projects. Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET development environment while Moonlight is attempting to clone Silverlight, Microsoft's bid to compete with Flash. "I think it is ok to develop and use Mono and Moonlight, but we should be wary of depending on them for anything important because of the known possibility of Microsoft patent threats," he said.
While the GNOME Foundation media spokesman Jeff Waugh claimed recently that Miguel de Icaza has no official role in the GNOME project anymore, it is common to see long posts from De Icaza on the Planet GNOME website. This site is meant for GNOME developers.
Asked about this, Stallman said he had seen messages saying that people with accounts on Planet GNOME can post anything they wish -- "there is no editorial control over what is said there."
He added: "I do not like what Miguel says, or what he does."
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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.