Linked by Kroc Camen on Tue 17th May 2011 12:05 UTC
Mono Project Two weeks ago we covered the news that the Mono development team were let go kicked out by the new owners of Novel, Attachmate, apparently to move operations to Germany. Miguel de Icazza, founder of Mono, has taken this opportunity to break off on his own and has started a new company, Xamarin, to bring commercial .NET development products to iOS and Android.
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RE: legal Problems are deep
by tanishaj on Wed 18th May 2011 05:28 UTC in reply to "legal Problems are deep"
tanishaj
Member since:
2010-12-22

"The Microsoft community promise is on C# and the .Net run time, not the ASP.Net, WinForms, or ADO.Net APIs.

Thus, I see Miguel and company emphasizing on C#, Mono runtime, and the GTK#, MonoTouch, and MonoDroid APIs.

Their is a problem. Microsoft Community Promise on ,net only covers the ECMA spec listed features. I am sorry that MS .net runtime and Mono .net runtime exceed that. And Mono .net runtime has implemented the features MS has out side the spec.

So there is 0 percent of usable Mono without either recoding(to remove the bits out side ECMA) or a patent promise. Maybe project lead of mono will at long last deliver on his promise to provide a ECMA compliant run-time option. I have not really been asking for much.

I am not out to kill mono. I would just like version built to the legal limitations.
"

Not asking for much?

All the code you are asking for is available completely out in the open at GitHub. The specification of what is covered by Microsoft's Community Promise (patent grant) is covered in exhaustive detail in the ECMA standards (freely available online).

It is not like you have to carefully pick through and pull stuff apart or anything. The entire runtime, type system, and C# language are covered. Most of the "base" class libraries are covered. The stuff that is not covered are in big bundles that are already split out into their own assemblies. These are things like ASP.NET, ADO.NET, and Windows Forms.

Having trouble isolating ASP.NET? Let me help: it is System.Web.dll (do not use it if you do not want). How about ADO.NET? It is System.Data.dll (stay away if you like). This is not exactly impossible terrain to navigate.

Also, if you are really that paranoid, there are alternatives. For example, Manos de Mono is a complete web stack for Mono and .NET that does not use ASP.NET at all. It does not even use the ASP.NET HTTP request and response objects (it has it's own).

Are you stepping up to start a project to organize the sources yourself or to create an "ECMA compliant" Mono distribution?

You are not. Instead, you are asking a bunch of guys that just got fired, are trying to launch a start-up, and are fighting for their livelihoods to do it for you.

Honestly, I think you are asking for more than you think.

It does not seem that any of the people that support Xamarin (or Mono in general), who are likely to buy Xamarin products, or even that are members of the active Mono community are clamouring for what you are asking for. I do not see much evidence that the Mono community would be greatly served by creating an ECMA-only subset. I personally believe the Mono haters would simply continue to hate. My apologies, but I really believe it is just plain old FUD.

A couple more things:

Mono is "ECMA compliant". I suspect that you mean "patent safe" and are presenting the argument that only code that is ECMA only is "safe" because that is what the Community Promise refers to.

The C# 4.0 language and the .NET 4 CLR have not yet been standardized by ECMA. As such, you would need to use C# 3.0 and CLR 2.0 if you want to be extra, extra paranoid. You can of course do this easily with Mono if you like.

That said, the Community Promise is not the only source of protection.

1) Mono ships with a bunch of Microsoft (authored and copyright by Microsoft) code that is available under the Apache 2.0 license. This includes the DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime), ASP.NET MVC, MEF (the Managed Extensibility Framework), IronRuby, IronPython, and F#. Apache 2.0 includes a patent grant.

2) Microsoft actively supports the Moonlight initiative (including the CLR 4 implementation) by donating the test suite that Microsoft uses for Silverlight internally and fully licensing the Microsoft media codecs.

3) The entire .NET micro framework (up to version 4.1) is available under the Apache 2.0 license (again with a patent grant)

4) Microsoft actively promotes the use of Mono. For example, they write tutorials in the F# Developer Center about how to use F# on Mono.

5) Miguel and his team have regularly present Mono and Mono solutions at official Microsoft developer conferences.

6) Miguel himself was named a Microsoft MVP years AFTER staring the Mono project

7) Microsoft employees are around Mono all the time. For example, Scott Hanselman did a podcast about how the Hanselminutes iPhone app was written with MonoTouch. I saw Scott at a StackOverlow DevDays last year. The next speaker after him (Rory) did a demo of MonoDevelop and MonoTouch. After the conference, Scott did a podcast with Rory, Joel Spolsky, and Jeff Atwood. I know that Scott Hanselman is not the CEO of Microsoft but he is quite high-profile and this is just an example.

Basically, Microsoft is not leaving themselves much room to sue any Mono initiatives on patents. There is even less for them to work with if they want to avoid defenses like estoppel that would make any legal action against Mono impossible.

How about Attachmate? Well, they released Mono under an MIT/X11 license. Also, most of the Novell patents have been sold and are becoming part of the Open Innovation Network. Finally, they fired the whole Mono team. Good luck getting a court to side with you in preventing them for using their skills to make a living unless you have some very specific copyright or patent claims. Those are not the droids we are looking for.

Honestly, my case is not that legal trouble in Mono-land is impossible. Clearly though, practically every other software available to me on the market is equally exposed and, IMHO, quite a bit more so.

People hate Mono because .NET was invented at Microsoft. It is no more complicated than that.

I am no Microsoft lover (OS/2 user who moved to Linux in 1994 or so) and do not trust them much. I love Mono though and sleep well at night when I use it.

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