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.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: legal Problems are deep
by oiaohm on Wed 18th May 2011 08:04 in reply to "RE: legal Problems are deep"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

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

Yes this shows how thick you are. The extentions past ECMA are spread through the code base because they are done before ECMA approve is done. Mind you if the draft of C# 4.0 langugage and other part had been released on the community promise site of MS the implementation of it could be done now legally.

Problem this has not been done. So really before implementing for all usage 4.0 should be waiting in the development tree for the ECMA process to complete. It has not been done this way.

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.

Yes some of these items are fine. Some their is the mistake of extending. I am locking to ECMA but really there is not a legally valid version.

So yes a bundle of legally clear could be done. Of course every part would have to be legally clear.

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.


This is part of the deal between Novell and Microsoft. So no this does not extend to the new company. Codecs were licensed to Novell. So yes your dead here because Microsoft licensed the codecs to Novell and Novell customers not to everyone. So to use those codecs they have to be sourced from Novell.

New deal will have to be struck on this for the new company. Yes one of those annoying traps Miguel De Icaza got to disregard while working at Novell and protected by the deals Novell had.

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

Smoke and mirrors. Its legal for me to use .Net micro framework. This is not Mono you download it from microsoft http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.NET_Micro_Framework and its legally free and clear.

My point is mono is not legally safe. This needs to be addressed. Not sweep under carpet and hope it goes away.

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.


Invalid. Legally free and clear to be used by the Novell MS deal covered stuff. New company not covered by this deal. When deal expires toast again. Providing tutorials don't void patents. If it did h264 would not be patented. There are tutorials how to code that up as well. By the patent holders.

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

Again part of the Novell MS deal. Does not mean patent clear in any way shape or form. No different to the mp3 patent case where the developer of mp3 openly promoted the software for many years then asked for patents payments. I can invite a person to talk about H264 at a conference does not make its patents magically disappear.

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

Same Novell MS deal again. Google staff are not allowed to accept MVP. Why its award to people who help the profitability of Microsoft. Setting people up to be sued in future would be perfect grounds to grant a MVP. MVP is reason for fear not any form of magical protection.

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.


Again Novell MS deal. Again people don't mean clearance from patents. H264 examples again.

How about Attachmate? Well, they released Mono under an MIT/X11 license.


How dumb are you. MIT/X11 license contains no patent grants or transfers. So no legal coverage transferred from Attachmate to anyone else. Thank you Miguel De Icaza for systematically removing GPLv2/v3 from the mono code base to convert to MIT/X11. Yes wise selection would have been the Apache 2.0 license with patent grant. No not creating this legal nightmare. Now Miguel De Icaza is in the same boat I have been due to his actions.

Also, most of the Novell patents have been sold and are becoming part of the Open Innovation Network.


Not important due to the sale process none of these Novell patents can be used against Microsoft. Their defensive use is no more.

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.


It will not be attachmate making the patent claims you can bet some troll company will be used. Simple fact here Mono team is not well funded at the moment. The process of trying to fight in court would run them out of funds. So judgment most likely will never be required. Microsoft did not fire the Mono team is quite free and clear to sue their asses off.

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


If I was hating because of that I would also hate .NET Micro Framework What I don't. I would hate AJAX and other html basic technically invented by Microsoft what I don't.

Simple fact is Miguel De Icaza promised us a ECMA patent clear version over 2 years ago. He has not delivered on his promise.

If he delivered an ECMA+Apache 2.0 license stuff that is patent clear I would except that as tolerable out come. Gives us something safe to work with.

Do not expect me to be nice about mono until the legal issues are address. Other legally safe and clear .net frameworks I would not put up a single bit of resistance against using.

Smoke and mirrors don't work against me. Calling me a .net hater does not work either.

I am a law following person. Who likes my software legal with min future problems to come back and bite me.

Reply Parent Score: 2