Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th May 2009 22:32 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Mono Project If there is one technology in the Linux world that ruffles feathers whenever it's mentioned, it's Mono, the open source .Net clone. Since .Net comes out of Microsoft, and has some patents encircling it, it is said to be a legal nightmare. Supposedly, you can obtain a "royalty-free, reasonable and non-discriminatory" license from Microsoft regarding the patents surrounding Mono. iTWire decided to look at just how easy (or hard) it is to get such a license. Turns out it's kind of hard.
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Missing the point on license
by pooo on Fri 29th May 2009 23:31 UTC
pooo
Member since:
2006-04-22

a)MS holds a variety patents on all parts of its C# implementation, ECMA standardized parts and otherwise
b)ECMA standardization has nothing to do with patents as long as the patent holder agrees to make available with RAND terms
c)This is where there is a misunderstanding: The patent holder can require a license if they like but that license must fit the definition of RAND. MS is currently not requiring or even offering any license regarding C#.

They can start asking for licensing any time they want. The big question is what does RAND really mean?? People love to think that this means MS will never ask for anything but RAND in the proprietary software world could mean asking for $1K/developer licenses or $0.05/download fees for distribution to end users. These are "reasonable" terms.

Basically using mono/moonlight is using something that MS can charge you for whenever they feel like it and trust me they will feel like it once (if ever) Linux really starts to threaten their profitability.

That Miguel De Icasa gave some total bullcrap answer when asked about this licensing is not surprising or new. This guy is such a microsoft shill that I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't somehow secretly getting money from MS. On the one hand he says don't worry about it and people who do worry are paranoid MS haters but on the other hand he give totally b.s. answers to simple questions which either means he doesn't know what he is talking about and is a fool playing with fire or he is outright lying.

As for whether we should care, saying no because they aren't going to come to my house and get me is very short sighted. People (especially Miguel) have been trying to weasel Mono into the core of gnome and linux for a long time and luckily they have failed. Had they succeeded and Mono became a big/integral part of Gnome and then a couple years down the road Gnome/Linux start to threaten MS and they say they are going to charge 5 cents per end user...BAM! Gnome dies a horrible death because charging 1 cent is so antithetical to the very existence of any large FOSS project. That is why you SHOULD care very much and be very worried about people sneaking ever more Mono crap onto your Linux desktop.

MS will never provide licenses bye the way, at least not until they plan to destroy linux and/or gnome. Doing so would force them to show their hand before the fish fully swallowed the hook (gnome integrating mono) or it would lock them into a free license that would prevent them from ever using their patents as leverage.

Edited 2009-05-29 23:39 UTC

Reply Score: 15

twm_bucket Member since:
2008-10-09

That Miguel De Icasa gave some total bullcrap answer when asked about this licensing is not surprising or new. This guy is such a microsoft shill that I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't somehow secretly getting money from MS. On the one hand he says don't worry about it and people who do worry are paranoid MS haters but on the other hand he give totally b.s. answers to simple questions which either means he doesn't know what he is talking about and is a fool playing with fire or he is outright lying.

A little harsh but the core point is true. He is the guy pushing Mono and every time is confronted dodges the question.

Reply Parent Score: 9

pel! Member since:
2005-07-07

I can understand how someone comes to like c# and silverlight. They are all rather well designed and once you wrap your head around everything you start to get a sense of appreciation for the sheer engineering effort.

Mono - in itself - too has many interesting and downright cool features.

That doesn't stop the fact that the patent situation is a bit cumbersome. But bashing Miguel for this is unfair. He has every right to be enthusiastic about mono and moonlight. Hey - at the very least mono is Open Source. Remember the days with "Open" ment Open APIs - if you bought the manuals?

Freedom is important to me - but it has its limits when it comes to practical matters. I can allow myself to pay for software - heck I pay for a few free software projects today. It's called donating.

Reply Parent Score: 4

graigsmith Member since:
2006-04-05

odds are microsoft isn't going to sue over a programming language.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE: Missing the point on license
by Ripples on Sat 30th May 2009 00:42 in reply to "Missing the point on license"
Ripples Member since:
2005-07-06

This is what I get tired of every time has an article on Mono. This "Miguel is a paid Microsoft shill" garbage gets me so infuriated. Microsoft made this technology open, and over time released software and source that is open as well, and still people give them crap for it. The .net Framework is nice technology and that was the reason the Mono project started in the first place. Remember Java wasn't even open back when it started. So you don't like Microsoft, we get it. But calling the technology and the hard work that has gone into mono "crap" is just stupid.

Reply Parent Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I absolutely agree that this bashing is completely childish and idiotic. However, I would not necessarily call what Microsoft has released "open" if they have the provision to turn around and demand licensing fees or patent-related litigation in the future. The openness question needs to be put to rest once and for all before this particular war is over, and that means a response, in writing, from Microsoft stating precisely what their position and intentions are concerning Mono and/or Moonlight.
Given Microsoft's past track record, one can't be blamed for being suspicious. They have a tradition of doing the Eee on open standards (embrace, extend, extinguish). They cannot do that with their own creation, obviously, but they might try to: create, outreach, cripple, kill (form the abbreviation yourselves) once Mono and/or Moonlight is starting to actually compete with them or otherwise threaten their platform.

Edited 2009-05-30 01:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 9

pooo Member since:
2006-04-22

This is what I get tired of every time has an article on Mono. This "Miguel is a paid Microsoft shill" garbage gets me so infuriated. Microsoft made this technology open, and over time released software and source that is open as well, and still people give them crap for it. The .net Framework is nice technology and that was the reason the Mono project started in the first place. Remember Java wasn't even open back when it started. So you don't like Microsoft, we get it. But calling the technology and the hard work that has gone into mono "crap" is just stupid.



No one said Mono or C# were crap. No one. No one said Miguel was stupid for liking the technology. If Mono were just Miguel's pet project because he thought it was fun or cool I'd definitely applaud and encourage him.

What people are concerned about is that Miguel is saying that it is *safe* and trying to push it into the Linux desktop when it is not clear at all that it is safe. *That* is what makes Miguel a Microsoft shill.

And, no one is comparing Java to C#. However if they were Java even in the past would still have been way safer than MS because sun in fact did clearly state that competing implementations were never going require a license of any kind. Very different from C#.

And you seem to conflate these issues very easily and quickly. Be careful. There is a difference between good software in a technical sense and a legal sense. Mono and C# are great technology. I'll say it, no problem. They are also under a dark legal cloud and owned by a company that has a long history of utterly destroying its competition in very mean ways (remember how they were *convicted* of illegally abusing their powers as a monopoly???)

Reply Parent Score: 7

mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

This is what I get tired of every time has an article on Mono. This "Miguel is a paid Microsoft shill" garbage gets me so infuriated. Microsoft made this technology open, and over time released software and source that is open as well, and still people give them crap for it. The .net Framework is nice technology and that was the reason the Mono project started in the first place. Remember Java wasn't even open back when it started. So you don't like Microsoft, we get it. But calling the technology and the hard work that has gone into mono "crap" is just stupid.


It's not really OPEN... that's the entire point of the article. There are supposed to be RAND terms available.. but nobody can find them. Microsoft and Novell and EMCA don't all say the same thing or point you to an official office that can give you the Legally Correct answer. If you can't build a business on a technology without fear of lawsuits, then it's not OPEN.

Microsoft only released C# to EMCA... not .Net. The whole point is that to rewrite the missing pieces to get something that acts like .Net means you are open to lawsuits from Microsoft...they even said so themselves!! even though they put the technology on a "standards" site, Microsoft can still pick RAND terms that are unacceptable to a small developer or Free Software author but are "Fair" to the likes of IBM or Oracle (If everybody pays each other $100,000 for sharing patents then that's FAIR.. but YOU won't be playing any time soon)

Reply Parent Score: 3