Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 11th Mar 2008 23:28 UTC, submitted by irbis
Mono Project "Does GNOME co-founder Miguel de Icaza's backflip over the Novell-Microsoft deal a few days ago mean that he has finally been convinced that he is on a one-way path to nowhere? Has he realised that his own project, Mono, is actually putting GNOME on a development track that can leave it open to patent claims one day? And has he realised that creating Moonlight, a clone of Microsoft's Silverlight, (with which the company hopes to trump Adobe's Flash) is not going to advance the cause of free software one iota?"
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RE[2]: O_O
by google_ninja on Wed 12th Mar 2008 02:54 UTC in reply to "RE: O_O"
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

He made a case for this, citing the mixture of licenses and clauses. What's the other side?


The other side is that dual lisencing and Tivoization are two completely and utterly different things, and anyone writing about open source software should know the difference. Hell, anyone who is even remotely connected to the opensource world should know the difference.

Tivoization is preventing the use of modified source code through an external check of some sort, in the case of Tivo, doing a md5 hash of the kernel, and not loading any non Tivo built derivitives.

Dual Licensing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_license) is an attempt to make an open source business model work in a sphere where being open source would normally cause problems. It is not contraversial, and has been done for years. Examples of dual licensed products are Qt (what KDE is built on), MySQL (the most popular open source database), and CUPS (the best printer framework out there for UNIX). The authors attitude towards this practice shows a complete lack of knowledge about how open source works.

I think that's a fair conclusion. Microsoft wants to be number one, yet they've had difficulty competing with Linux. They don't always competed on merit, so I think it's reasonable to expect them to try to exploit this. What's the other side?


Microsoft published the core of the .net framework as an ECMA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecma_International) standard, which is a reputable standards body. This is not taking into account that every action by MS since Mono came out has been favorable towards the project, but even if we ignore recent history, THEY CAN'T SUE EVEN IF THEY WANTED TO!

As anyone who is even remotely familiar with this discussion knows, parts of the framework are under ECMA and therefor safe to use, and other parts are not. The parts which are not are things like ADO.net (for data access), WinForms (the old windows GUI toolkit), ASP.net (their server side scripting environment), etc. These are all high level toolkits, that have equivilents on the mono stack. If you develop mono on linux, you will not use WinForms, you will use GTK#, which has no legal issues. If Microsoft sues, what we lose is compatibility with windows technologies. Binary compatiblity with windows is just the sugar in mono, and it would suck if it were gone, but it is not the end of the world.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: O_O
by gilboa on Wed 12th Mar 2008 06:25 in reply to "RE[2]: O_O"
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

Microsoft published the core of the .net framework as an ECMA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecma_International) standard, which is a reputable standards body. This is not taking into account that every action by MS since Mono came out has been favorable towards the project, but even if we ignore recent history, THEY CAN'T SUE EVEN IF THEY WANTED TO!


IANAL, but MS doesn't need to win a court case - it never did.
How many companies capitulated before SCO's demands? How many will capitulate the second MS fires the first lawsuit?

As anyone who is even remotely familiar with this discussion knows, parts of the framework are under ECMA and therefor safe to use, ....
If Microsoft sues, what we lose is compatibility with windows technologies. Binary compatiblity with windows is just the sugar in mono, and it would suck if it were gone, but it is not the end of the world.


How about Silverlight? under which category does it fall?
Beyond that, do -you- trust MS enough to let MS-designed technology into your own house?

Sorry, MS cannot threaten to sue us all (Linux developers and users alike) on one hand, and ask for our cooperation on the other.

MS's promise (?) not sue users and/or OSS mono developers means, exactly that, (an empty) promise.
If MS is serious in it's intent to work with the community, they can start by changing the .NET and Silverlight license and drop the FUD.

- Gilboa

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[4]: O_O
by gilboa on Wed 12th Mar 2008 06:30 in reply to "RE[3]: O_O"
gilboa Member since:
2005-07-06

P.S.

And if even if you believe that MS will never sue the Novel team - will this extend to RedHat? How about Fedora? SUSE? Debian?

.. Will this promise hold, if say, MS loses ~10% of its desktop/server market share to Linux? How about a mono/OSX - does this promise extend to them?

- Gilboa

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[4]: O_O
by Soulbender on Wed 12th Mar 2008 06:39 in reply to "RE[3]: O_O"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

How many will capitulate the second MS fires the first lawsuit?


Pretty much not a single company outside the U.S.

Edited 2008-03-12 06:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: O_O
by TLZ_ on Wed 12th Mar 2008 08:15 in reply to "RE[3]: O_O"
TLZ_ Member since:
2007-02-05

You could see Silverlight and Flash as two evils, and I would not really call Adobe an angel here. Getting Flash to work on Linux is hell and Adobe isn't exactly putting an effort into it. Last time I checked they didn't help the gnash-team either. MS is helping the Moonlight team. Yup, you do get some MS-tech, and if I'm not mistaken some closed code(The media formats), but other than that it's open source. You're probably never going to see a open source. That's better than Flash, isn't it? And besides: Silverlight does offer some interesting tech. It's not all about politics.

(Actually, the Flash plugin even on Windows as pretty much gone to hell after Adobe took over Macromedia. It's transformed into this one single giant memory leak.)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: O_O
by google_ninja on Wed 12th Mar 2008 11:54 in reply to "RE[3]: O_O"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Silverlight is a different story. MS would have a hard time in a patent infrigement suite due to how much they have helped out with moonlight, but it is MS technology and not under ECMA.

On the other hand though, Flash is an adobe product, and nothing is keeping adobe from dumping linux support any time they feel like it. Not only that, but there probably will never be any flash tools for linux developers, there will be for moonlight. I am not trying to say there is no risk with it, but there are definatley mitigating factors.


Sorry, MS cannot threaten to sue us all (Linux developers and users alike) on one hand, and ask for our cooperation on the other.


You are right, and they aren't.

If MS is serious in it's intent to work with the community, they can start by changing the .NET and Silverlight license and drop the FUD.


You should drop the FUD. You can't start off by saying its not a matter of sueing, then procede to make veiled references to law suites through the whole post.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: O_O
by KenJackson on Wed 12th Mar 2008 10:33 in reply to "RE[2]: O_O"
KenJackson Member since:
2005-07-18

The author didn't say that dual licensing and Tivoization are the same, or that dual licensing has no value. He said that Novell prevents contributing authors from protecting their work as they intend, if they intend to use GPL. (They weren't as clever as Tivo, but they achieved a similar end.)

If he accurately represented the licensing clause, Novell can relicense contributions under any terms they want. That surely circumvents the intent of the GPL.

And shouting that Microsoft can't sue even if they wanted to will not impose a limitation on what Microsoft will do. When you run to keep up with Microsoft for the purpose of keeping up with Microsoft, there could easily be something you're doing that isn't protected by the ECMA spec. I know that's subjective, but statements about the future always are.

BTW. Twice you wrote anyone who is even remotely familiar/connected. That could be taken as an attack my or the author's knowledge instead of addressing the issue. That's doesn't help advance your argument.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: O_O
by google_ninja on Wed 12th Mar 2008 12:11 in reply to "RE[3]: O_O"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The author didn't say that dual licensing and Tivoization are the same, or that dual licensing has no value. He said that Novell prevents contributing authors from protecting their work as they intend, if they intend to use GPL. (They weren't as clever as Tivo, but they achieved a similar end.)


The GPL has four freedoms:

* The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
* The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
* The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

the FSF is saying with Tivoization, you are blocking freedom 4 in a roundabout way. There has been alot of discussion and contraversy over this statement, especially on how to deal with it.

I repeat myself, dual licensing is widely considered to be perfectly acceptable. There is no freedom it is in conflict with.

The author did not say they were the same thing, but he did say they were similar. They are not. If you believe that, you need to attack almost any commercial company who is friendly towards linux to be consistant.

And shouting that Microsoft can't sue even if they wanted to will not impose a limitation on what Microsoft will do. When you run to keep up with Microsoft for the purpose of keeping up with Microsoft, there could easily be something you're doing that isn't protected by the ECMA spec. I know that's subjective, but statements about the future always are.


There are alot of things done in .net not part of ECMA. That is fine, if MS ever pulls the plug on them, they are gone. That doesn't take away what IS under ECMA. Neither will MS not continueing to publish specifications. If they stopped tomorrow, mono would still have C# 3.0, and be able to take it in their own direction.

BTW. Twice you wrote anyone who is even remotely familiar/connected. That could be taken as an attack my or the author's knowledge instead of addressing the issue. That's doesn't help advance your argument.


It is an attack on the authors knowledge. When you publish anywhere, you have a responsability to be at least somewhat familiar with what you are talking about. The author demonstrates that he is not.

It was not meant to be an attack on you, more of an education. There are alot of things being said about this issue that are plain not true, and if you havn't actually seriously looked at it, it is easy to be swept up in that.

Reply Parent Score: 1