David vs Goliath! Microsoft and an Obscure KDE Project Fight Over "MAUI"

Remember the interview with Uri Herrera, the creator of Nitrux Linux? Uri also works on couple of other Linux-related projects and one of them is Maui project.

The MauiKit (styled as MAUI) is an acronym for Multi-Adaptable User Interfaces. It is an open source framework for developing cross-platform applications. It’s been in development since 2018 and it is now a part of KDE’s incubation program KDE Invent.

Why am I talking about Maui? Because Microsoft has renamed one of its project (Xamarin.Forms) to .NET MAUI. This MAUI in .NET MAUI stands for Multi-platform App UI. It is also a framework for building cross-platform application.

You see the confusion here? Both MAUI projects are frameworks for building cross-platform applications.

The debate over the use of “MAUI”

David Vs Goliath

MauiKit developers are obviously not happy with this move by Microsoft.

We like to believe that this an unfortunate event caused by an oversight during the brainstorming session to select a new and appealing name for their product and not an attempt at using the brand weight and marketing-might that a corporation such as Microsoft and their subsidiary Xamarin possess to step over a competing framework. A UI framework that, as of today, is still the first result in Google when searching for the term “Maui UI framework” but that due to the might of GitHub (another Microsoft subsidiary) and Microsoft’s website (specifically, their blog) SEO that will change over time.

A couple of issues were opened on the GitHub repository of .NET MAUI to bring their attention to this name clash.

The discussion got heated as some Microsoft MVPs and contributors (not Microsoft employees) started making arguments like MauiKit is a small project with fewer GitHub stars and no big companies use it.

Microsoft’s Program Manager David Ortinau closed the thread with the message, “official legal name is .NET Multi-platform App UI and MAUI is an acronym, code name. This has been through legal review”.

Microsoft Response Maui
Microsoft’s official response

This is the main thread that you can follow on GitHub if you want.

Is it really an issue?

It may seem like a non-issue at the first glance but two projects with the same aim and same name are bound to create confusion. It would have been best that Microsoft had avoided it altogether.

By the way, this is not the first time Microsoft has a name clash with a Linux-related project. As Phoronix noted, a few years ago it was GNOME developers frustrated with Microsoft over naming a project GVFS (later renamed to Virtual File System for Git) as it collided with their GVFS (GNOME Virtual File-System)

By the looks of it, Microsoft is not going to backtrack on MAUI. It could even go ahead and trademark MAUI. They have got all the money and power after all.

I wonder what would have been the case if an obscure small project used the same name as one of Microsoft’s projects.

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventures. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie detective mysteries 🕵️‍♂️

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