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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Moonlight
by irbis on Wed 12th Mar 2008 09:55 UTC
irbis
Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes, the article is one-sided and biased... When submitting this news, I was hoping that the following, hopefully rational and civilized discussion in the comments section would bring clarity to the problematic issues (instead of people just calling names and blaming each other...).

Let's concentrate on real factual issues instead of personal attacks etc. Despite ECMA nobody can deny that many people like companies still seem to be feeling at least somewhat insecure about using Mono and related technologies like Moonlight from a legal point of view. Why is that, and what could be done about that?

I quote the Wikipedia Moonlight page here as it summarizes some of the problems clearly:

Proponents such as Groklaw argued early on that the licensing rights are only granted to Novell and Novell's customers. This claim was confirmed when Microsoft released a public covenant not to sue anyone that makes use of Moonlight, but with very restrictive conditions (Microsoft reserves the right to discontinue the covenant, it covers only uses of Moonlight as a Plugin on a browser, only if Moonlight has been obtained though Novell, and providing it has not been developed on a GPLV3-like license).

Some commentators have argued that this may be an attempt by Microsoft to both gain support from those in the open source community[16], and attract them to a proprietary Microsoft technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonlight_%28runtime%29

Any comments on that?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Moonlight
by segedunum on Wed 12th Mar 2008 11:25 in reply to "Moonlight"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Any comments on that?


Other than a referral to Mono's patents FAQ, I doubt whether you will get a response.

What's happening here is that Microsoft have always liked to used technical restrictions to protect their technology from competition. It doesn't make them better or worse than any other company, but they can do this because they control Windows. However, with the advent of things like Samba, and Wine to a lesser extent, and with the advent of people virtualising Windows on other platforms, they quickly realised this wasn't enough. When Microsoft releases anything publicly it is now under a plethora of academic-only licenses and restrictive terms and conditions.

The trouble with Silverlight is that it doesn't have a critical mass of usage, so Microsoft has to try and boost its it. They can do this through creating a Mac port, and allowing projects like Moonlight to exist. However, the dominant implementation will still be Microsoft's Silverlight, so fully expect to see the Mac port stagnate and Moonlight to have real difficulty implementing various features in successive versions - and for Novell's access to the test suites to disappear.

Silverlight is mainly used for video right now (if at all), so if you want to use it then you will need to compile Moonlight with ffmpeg yourself. Amusingly, this has patent issues according to Miguel in his post so Novell won't do this, so they are going to do some licensing of patents to allow this to happen at an unspecified date. This means that if you're using an implementation or distribution that isn't Novell's, you're out of luck.

Edited 2008-03-12 11:36 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Moonlight
by miguel on Wed 12th Mar 2008 16:36 in reply to "RE: Moonlight"
miguel Member since:
2005-07-27


Silverlight is mainly used for video right now (if at all), so if you want to use it then you will need to compile Moonlight with ffmpeg yourself. Amusingly, this has patent issues according to Miguel in his post so Novell won't do this, so they are going to do some licensing of patents to allow this to happen at an unspecified date. This means that if you're using an implementation or distribution that isn't Novell's, you're out of luck.


The issue is very simple, unless we are able to transfer the same patent rights that we have to third parties when we redistribute ffmpeg code, we are not allowed to distribute ffmpeg.

As we are going to become licensor (for other reasons beyond Moonlight) to MPEGLA's VC-1 we can not distribute ffmpeg ourselves.

This should not prevent anyone from distributing it themselves, and those that do not have valid VC-1 patents in their countries to do so.

Miguel.

Reply Parent Score: 3