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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setec_astronomy
Member since:
2007-11-17

The enemies from the Java camp that hate everything dotNET.
Interesting point, Java. When Sun (re)licensed Java under the terms of the GPLv2 + Classpath exception, they essentially granted a RAND-Z patent license for all relevant patents to Java. The moment MS grants a similar patent grant/license, lots of "hate" from the "camps" you enumerated in your post will more or less evaporate

The enemies from the anti Microsoft camp that hate everything that originated at Microsoft.

Can't argue with that. But then there is also the "don't bother me with Microsoft" camp which just tries to stay clear from technology originating at Redmond. and frankly they don't see the point why we should base let's say GNOME on a controversial technology which still needs some sorting in the legal department. Plus, as long as Microsoft fails to address what was so special about the vfat implementation in the linux kernel used by TomTom, I would say that even the linux haters may have a point here.

The enemies from the pro Microsoft camp that wants to keep programmers on Windows.

Interestingly, I had not thought about this group, because frankly, most .Net programmers I know are quite interested in targetting for example Mac OSX via Mono, but then I may know a different segment of programmers than you do.

The enemies from the anti Novell camp that probably work for Red Hat or Canoical?

Now that you mention it, I never received any money from RedHat or Canonical. Hm ...

The enemies from the KDE camp that hates everything Gnome and especially Miguel.
Interesting point, again. The Qyoto/Kimono bindings for Qt4 and KDE respectively allow folks to write applications for the KDE desktop in C#, so some developers (richard dale for example) are not infected with hate, hate, hate. Do I oppose the creation of these bindings? No, as I (and I'm wearing my admin-with-apx.-33%-GNOME-users hat and not my KDE user hat here) am not opposed to the respective GNOME/Gtk bindings. But I would advise strongly against building new and important infrastructure / applications (e.g. everything aimed at levels above KDE playground) using these language bindings as long as the ambiguity wrt the license is not sorted out.

The enemies from the C and C++ camp that hates everything with a VM and are not afraid to say so.

Skip the "everything". Interpreted languages have their applications, so have compiled and low level languages. Python/PyQt for prototyping and performance uncritical stuff and C++ + Qt make for a very nice and robust development framework, thank you very much. And for the Gtk folks it seems that Vala captures alot of the syntactical advantages from C# while translating with minimum overhead into C. Sounds like reasonable alternatives to yet another interpreted/jit compiled framework to me.

The enemies from the "Patent Lobby" that hates the fact that patents are useless and want to apply patents to Mono just to begin somewhere when unwinding the FOSS community.

Sounds strange, but I actually agree here with you because the legal ambiguity around the patent situation is harming mono. The problem is, that as long as there is no legally binding patent license from Microsoft which is compatible with the license of the c# toolchain and the runtime library, mono faces the problems that everybody else in the FOSS community faces (e.g. the sudden attack by a patent troll or via a proxy) while additionally being the perpetual flamewar lightning rod it is. The general patent situation is difficult to remedy, agreed, but finally addressing the legal ambiguity of the Mono project as demanded in the article is probably something the Mono devs should place on their agenda. It's not like they haven't been asked to clarify this matters once and for all in the past, you know.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Slambert666 Member since:
2008-10-30

"The enemies from the Java camp that hate everything dotNET.
Interesting point, Java. When Sun (re)licensed Java under the terms of the GPLv2 + Classpath exception, they essentially granted a RAND-Z patent license for all relevant patents to Java. The moment MS grants a similar patent grant/license, lots of "hate" from the "camps" you enumerated in your post will more or less evaporate "

Dude, you are a patent apologist.

There are no good software patents and it does not matter who has them and what they do with them. Trying to differentiate between good and bad patents lends credibility to the software patent system, and it does not deserve that.

Singling out Mono as a "special" target for "patent infringement" just shows irrational bias... Why not OpenGL or Skinning (for gods sake)...

Patent: US Patent 7451399
Assignee: Microsoft (Redmond, WA)
Abstract: Methods and systems for creating and rendering skins are described. In one described embodiment, a skin is defined using at least one skin definition that defines the skin in a hierarchical tag-based language.

Well KDE does that, and it is a part of the core, so now you will stop using KDE?

Reply Parent Score: 1

setec_astronomy Member since:
2007-11-17

Dude, you are a patent apologist.

There are no good software patents and it does not matter who has them and what they do with them. Trying to differentiate between good and bad patents lends credibility to the software patent system, and it does not deserve that.


I will not enter this road, because as a trained computational physicist the mere idea of a patent on math is perverse. There are no good but only bad software patents, in my book.

For the time being (e.g. as long as there are jurisdictions where software patents are granted and enforced), the best thing we can do while working on abolishing the very idea of software patents is to create a "safe zone" for (FOSS) software, e.g. a body of patents that is not actively enforced at least against FOSS projects. (Cue in OIN, patent commons, etc.).

A RAND-Z license for a patent is one patent less we have to worry about until the patent system is reformed, which will be difficult and will take its time. A patent in a defensive found is one more that will scare away predatory players until the patent system is reformed, although this constructions will unfortunately not work with patent trolls, so no false sense of security should be deduced from such pools.

The reason for the patent language of the GPLv2 is not to provide players hostile to the idea or implementation of FOSS with a handy kill switch, it is to ensure that participents fo the FOSS ecosystem do their best to ensure that nobody is singled out when the cold patent war turns into a hot one. I may be unfair towards MS and Novell, but their attempt to find a loophole in this shield essentially betrays the intentions behind the license they choose for parts of Mono, which is one of the major reasons why I'm suspicous or paranoid.

Singling out Mono as a "special" target for "patent infringement" just shows irrational bias... Why not OpenGL or Skinning (for gods sake)


So instead of dealing with the patent mess we currently have by using the tools available (patent licenses compatible with the GPLv2, defensive patent collections, and scrunity), we should just pretend that the lightning rods on our respective backs have equal length and where the lightning strikes is determined by chance alone? Interesting philosophy.

Reply Parent Score: 1