Red Hat’s Seth Nickell is making his argument why including Mono on Gnome is an unacceptable legal risk down the road. Our Take: So much is being said that there is no written proof that MS won’t sue over C# in the future, even if C# is an ECMA Standard. What I don’t understand is why Red Hat’s and Novell’s laywers don’t even try to extract that assurance from Microsoft in the first place and have a definite answer (and let us know too). This industry works via legal and contract co-ordination, it’s time the Linux companies put that into work too: call a meeting and clear this up. It’s that easy.
Why Mono is Currently An Unacceptable Risk
2004-05-19 Mono 130 Comments
Forget about “RAND + ROYALTY FREE”, “good grace of Microsoft” and “sell your soul to the Devil”. ALL software is patent, if you fear patents don’t write software. Microsoft, Sun, IBM have patents on your software.
Read the faq http://go-mono.org/faq.html#patents
(1) work around the patent by using a different implementation technique that retains the API, but changes the mechanism; if that is not possible
(2) remove the pieces of code that were covered by those patents
(3) find prior art that would render the patent useless
and the most important:
“Not providing a patented capability would weaken the interoperability, but it would still provide the free software / open source software community with good development tools, which is the primary reason for developing Mono”
Fools are those who act foolishly as Miguel is wont to do. That Miguel is intelligent is not in question. Many quite intelligent people, nevertheless, behave foolishly from time to time. Such is Miguel.
If you have a problem with the complexity of this concept, might I suggest you retreat to dictionary.com and lookup the definition for ‘fool’ and study accordingly. You will find that Miguel, in this and many other instances, certainly meets the 2nd and 3rd definitions consistent with the use of the word ‘fool’ as a noun.
Further, you’re skiddishness regarding what you consider the ill treatment of a well known FOSS developer should extend to Miguel’s characterization of Seth Nickel. In Miguel’s so-called rebuttal he labels Seth, (and by association all other Redhat employees who take issue with some of the legal ramifications of Mono), a whiner and a fear-monger.
If Miguel wishes to be treated with a modicum of respect, he should heed his own words by treating Seth and Redhat with a modicum of respect. This he has not and fool he is.
John (not me) wrote:
> hohum wrote:
> > Grow up, Miguel! You are entirely relying on the good grace of
> > Microsoft. Fool!
> Although i largely agree with your first post, you should not insult
> Miguel de Icaza.
Personally, if I’m behaving foolishly, I sure as heck hope that at least my closest friends will have the guts to tell me so. That’s one way you learn and grow.
Sometimes, you can have your head buried so deep in the details of your projects that you fail to see the larger implications of your work. People can be smart at some things and dumb at others — just ask my wife how good I am at figuring out what my 2-year-old is trying to tell me.
Don’t try and draw Miguel in a flamewar. He doesn’t deserve your insults. Keep things to technical merrit and you might learn something.
That said I’m like most here and too nervous to base almost all of our work on something made by a competing company that could at the very least cause a sco issue and tie us into legal battles for years taking away Novell and Red Hats funding from better spent areas like development.
There ‘needs’ to be absoulte confidence in C#. There are far too many things that could ‘possibly’ go wrong. If mono is successfull for three years and legal issues start, then another 3 years M$ wins the case thats 6 years of time put into intergrating C# we have to just throw away and go all the way back to gnome 2.8 or whatever the newest uninfected version is. What if during that first 3 years KDE needs to adopt mono to compete with gnome’s rapid development and they run into the same problems when patent wars start?
Point is we are just about to start competing with M$ on the desktop and is it a good idea to compete with them directly when they own the patents for our base development? Scares the crap out of me, I’d need 100% assurance and that doesn’t come from blogs or message boards, it comes from court rooms and full blown legal documents.
Okay i’m not a lawyer or a big time dev. Maybe miguel can have two seperate forks one of which is completly cleared. I hope that is the case.
If Gnome decides that they dont want anything to do with mono, what happens to Evolution/Dashboard/other apps written in c#?
is to grow and devour all in it’s path. An angler fish puts out an antennae with a small light on it to draw smaller fish into it’s gaping, toothy, mouth. It’s not evil…that is just what it does. So to with Microsoft. When you reach to pet a rattlesnake and get bit, you have only yourself to blame.
For those who are saying Red Hat is starting FUD because Novell owns Mono is flat wrong, Mono was out what two years before Novell bought it and have had the same take on it since day one. People are getting louder now because C# is threatening to be the base development for Gnome. It’s no longer just Miguel and Ximian who lose out if something goes terribly wrong, but it would be Gnome that blows up too. This
is an honest cause for concern.
Look, I’m not drawing Miguel into anything. I called him a fool, which he is.
Before the lot of you bemoan the tenor of the argument, go and look at Miguel’s reply to Seth.
**He called Seth and Redhat whiners and fear-mongers.**
Miguel’s continual attempts to brush this under the table are products of his foolishness crossed with his arrogance. A bad mix.
‘GCJ may be a Free software platform, but what I’ve read doesn’t seem to indicate it’s currently a viable alternative to more restricted platforms.’
“What does that mean?”
Broadly, that a GNU or other reasonably complete Free implementation of Java doesn’t yet exist such that free software users can choose it as a viable alternative to proprietary Java implementations, .Net, or Mono.
“”What does that mean?”
Broadly, that a GNU or other reasonably complete Free implementation of Java doesn’t yet exist such that free software users can choose it as a viable alternative to proprietary Java implementations, .Net, or Mono.”
a subset of java is being used in fedora core 2. so its already viable
if you want to get a better idea of the ideology in gnome, go check out http://www.gnu.org. i happen to disagree with most of it, but it will give you an understanding of what free software is, and why something like mono will not ever be free.
I found that quote of yours quite amusing. Because, on one hand you point me to http://www.gnu.org for “RMS’s definition” of free software, and then you go on to say you disagree with a lot of it.
Let’s get something straight. RMS doesn’t have exclusive rights to redefine the word free for his own political agenda. Once you understand that RMS’s wacky definition of free software is held only by a miniscule minority of software developers and users than you can have a argument on whether Mono has legal entaglements that might bite Gnome or KDE or anybody else in the future.
But you’re probably right in the sense that if Gnome is basing it’s sofware ideology on RMS’s definition of free then, no, Mono or Java or probably a lot of other interesting technologies will ever make it into Gnome proper.
There’s a lot more than some wacky ideology going on here though. As I stated before, Redhat is the defacto controller of Gnome and there’s a lot more corporate competition going on here than Redhat employees would have you believe. First of all, Redhat doesn’t even really care about the desktop. I think they’ve made that perfectly clear by now. Secondly, the redhat guys don’t want to be playing second fiddle to the Ximian guys at Novell. Whether software is open source or not, there’s still a hierarchy when it comes to development.
Mike, although there is ideology at play here, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all ideology. Novell is a competitor to Redhat and that gives you the whole picture.
“Redhat doesn’t even really care about the desktop. I think they’ve made that perfectly clear by now.”
Putting Linux on the Corporate Desktop
Posted by Eugenia Loli-Queru on 2004-05-19 20:04:21 UTC
Red Hat is the latest Linux company to challenge Mircosoft’s hold on the business desktop space with the introduction of Red Hat Desktop, the latest addition to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux family. Matthew Szulik, the company’s chief executive, chairman and president met ITWeek to discuss Red Hat’s latest efforts and share his views about the Linux landscape.
As I stated before, Redhat is the defacto controller of Gnome
Redhat doesn’t even really care about the desktop. I think they’ve made that perfectly clear by now.
Which one is correct cause it certainly cannot be both. I’m not a Red Hat insider but it’s obvious they put nearly as much or the same amount of development into Gnome as they do the kernel. It’s so hard to have a debate with some people..
Red Hat has done more gnome development than ximian, there by proving ximian doesn’t care about gnome, I rest my case!
c’mon now, really.. While you were on slashdot pounding red hat kills desktop, Red Hat had 10 desktop development jobs open and looking to hire, they probably still do go check thier career opertunities would ya. Oh yeah, I think they released a ‘desktop’ product too. *sigh*
As for the hohum I agree Miguel could go about things better and as I’ve stated I think he’s wrong here but I wouldn’t insult him and expect to work anything out.
Sun-Tzu in the art of war said:
“one who speaks deferentially but increases his preparations will advance. One who speaks belligerently and advances hastily will retreat.”
I think that comment is right on line with this discussion and why I think Red Hat is right for bringing it up.
First of all, I could care less what Redhat does because I don’t use it…haven’t for years, so I wasn’t “on slashdot pounding redhat”.
Secondly, I could care less what some random Redhat announcement of the week is
While Mono is doing an implementation of Microsoft’s extensions to the ECMA spec, they’re also doing their own set in parallel.
This means that if Microsoft torpedoes the .NET clone stuff, Mono still has a viable system built on top of the ECMA standard (Gtk#, etc…) that they’ve been encouraging people to target all along.
Josh asks, “Right?”
Wrong, Josh. Wrong. While Mono is indeed dividing their software stack up between [ECMA+Original] and [ASP.NET, SWF, etc] … this does not mitigate or unencumber the essential issue. Let me explain.
Even the ECMA parts of Mono are not unencumbered. MS holds patents on the core of Mono ie, the ECMA standards. Now, Miguel has been told (and willingly believes) that Microsoft will license the use of these patents in a RAND+ROYALTY FREE manner. However, he has not produced such a legal agreement for the rest of us to observe. Thus the community is relying upon Miguel’s word … while Miguel is relying upon MS’s word.
However, even if Miguel were correct and MS did agree, in a legally binding way, to license the use of the patents in a RAND+ROYALTY FREE way… that does not mitigate the problem.
See, the crux is this. RAND is an ambiguous term. We don’t know what the licensing terms will be and they could very well be incompatible with FOSS software licenses. Indeed, MS executives have already said they will likely be incompatible with the GPL. Further, MS could require that all potential licensees agree to the license on their own, in a cumbersome manner. Get the picture?
Is there really anyone left who doesn’t believe the conversation would go like this.
Novell Laywer: Dear MS lawyer please sign an legally binding agreement not to sue us over C# and .NET
MS lawyer: errrr….No!
“Let’s get something straight. RMS doesn’t have exclusive rights to redefine the word free for his own political agenda. Once you understand that RMS’s wacky definition of free software is held only by a miniscule minority of software developers and users than you can have a argument on whether Mono has legal entaglements that might bite Gnome or KDE or anybody else in the future. ”
free as in freedom is wacky definition?
🙂 OK I got it now.
This is great discussion, but, like many such discussions, I’m not sure any clear conclusions have been reached, so I thought I’d offer a couple:
[I was going to post the full text here, but it got too long.]
Miguel is indeed a clever guy, but where Ximian/Novell goes we cannot follow. He is clever but hasn’t worked out what works for him can’t work for us. While Novell might have a license from M$ for .NET development, most Free Software guys don’t, and probably never will. So C# will work for Ximian, but will never be a realistic choice for Free Software until M$ makes a public patent grant.
Now, just because the gcj/Classpath libraries can’t do GUI doesn’t mean Java can be used. You can use the Eclipse SWT libraries (and there are even Swing bindings to these if you prefer to remain even more ‘portable’ between VMs). These are ready for use right now!
It is perfectly legal to use the Sun JDK to develop and deploy to gcj later. Hopefully gcj will have the GUI sorted by then. Instead of you fellows whining about it, how about you give the Classpath crew a hand. Delaying only makes it worse for us. If they got 100 dedicated souls they would churn through the work in no time. We would then have an implementation that couldn’t be assailed (Sun publically granting use of its patent, but them having a patent protects someone else like M$ coming in and screwing things up for us).
Maybe M$, IBM, and Sun all want defensive patents only, but only Sun has given the patent grant. No Sun ain’t angels, but what they do (ie. turn into rotters) doesn’t matter now as their patent grant has been made public.
So lets get on with writing apps and not inventing new languages, eh?
“a subset of java is being used in fedora core 2. so its already viable”
Viable in the sense of usable, absolutely. Viable in the sense of being a reasonably feature-complete alternative to development with proprietary Java, .Net, or Mono, not yet. Which is the reason I said, as Mike Reid does above, that the greatest help to Free software users would be assistance in making GCJ, Classpath, etc., into such a reasonably feature-complete alternative.
> Now, just because the gcj/Classpath libraries can’t do GUI …
Excuse me? I’ve only got a Mac OS X box on my desk right now, but I’m pretty sure GCJ + AWT (which uses GTK+) works on GNU/Linux right now right out-of-the-box.
(GCJ’s AWT doesn’t work perfectly quite yet on OS X without some tweaking though.)
Also note that the GCJ class libs and those from Classpath are already in the process of being merged.
Mike, could you please point to where on Sun’s site it discusses this patent grant you mention? Jeez. If that’s the case, we’re even better off than I thought.
I think Kaffe ( http://www.kaffe.org/ ) makes use of Classpath.
I found this link on the LQ-Wiki:
“comparison between jdk14 and classpath”
Classpath is lookin’ pretty good.
>But when (and NOT if) the .NET based
>technologies will replace
No. If and not when. I remember in the mid-90’s there was a similar panic about NT. Unix vendors fell all over themselves trying to kill off their own businesses in the wake of the new and supposedly perfect and unbeatable new OS. The results were underwhelming. The demand for Unix has continued unabated, although in new form.
NT was supposed to be the server OS to end all server OSes. It wasn’t. We’re now supposed to believe that .NET is the middleware to replace all middlewares. I don’t buy it.
Try messing around with the Eclipse IDE for a while and make your judgement based on that, rather than crappy amateur web applets.
I used Eclipse under linux. It is relative slow and ugly, but useable. But the SWT is not supported by SUN. If you write a SWT applet (if it is possible) the users need to install swt jar-s to his computer. IMHO there are only few web designer/coder will select this way, most of websites will use the .NET based technologies. It is cheaper and simpler for the most of users of web pages. And the companies will not care with the ~5% of users who are use linux or MacOS on desktop if they can create more attractive for the ~95% with lower cost of development.
And the companies will not care with the ~5% of users who are use linux or MacOS on desktop if they can create more attractive for the ~95% with lower cost of development.
I simply do not believe that .NET’s advertised advantages are that great.
You’ve chosen to focus the debate on apps delivered over the internet to home desktops. Fair enough. I’d just point out though that for apps delivered over intranets to corporate desktops, Java is already well-established (the COBOL of the 90’s).
But for home-user stuff, your argument presumes that:
1. .NET will be overwhelmingly more convenient to develop web apps in than anything else.
2. That this added ease of development will be so great that providers will willingly sh!tcan their existing unix-based web servers to take advantage of it.
3. That consumers will suddenly develop an overwhelming newfound patience for slow-loading VM-hosted apps.
I simply do not believe any one of those points.
>AWT (which uses GTK+) works on GNU/Linux right now right
> (GCJ’s AWT doesn’t work perfectly quite yet on OS X
> without some tweaking though.)
So not quite working out of the box then But we both agree that gcj (or even Sun JDK) is the sensible way forward for those wanting to write Free Software
> Mike, could you please point to where on Sun’s site it
> discusses this patent grant you mention? Jeez. If that’s the > case, we’re even better off than I thought.
See the interview with James Gosling on http://today.java.net/jag/, specifically
“There has been a big debate about implementation languages in the Gnome world. It’s been all over the map, but one point of concern has been a set of formless dreads about the usability of the Java language specification. We’ve been very clear about this, but it seems like few have read the spec: if you look in the frontmatter, it contains an explicit statement that anyone is free to implement the specification. It goes much farther than most other specification documents: it actually includes a patent rights grant.”
The Java Language Specification license he alludes to is
So, while *any* implementation of the .NET libraries have dubious legality with respect to patents implementation of the Java libraries are in the clear. Better yet, Java is a safe bet because programs written in Java can be moved to .NET later (thanks to J#, and Sun will have to implement its JDK for .NET eventually anyway). So Java is a safe bet for an application language, unlike C#.
One point I would like to make is that we do need the Mono project to help C# developers make the transition to Linux. I just don’t think that Gnome should be developed in C#.
You had better do some research yourself before calling people clueless.
Enforcement of copyright and patents can be asserted at any time. It is only trademarks which can be put at risk if reasonable efforts at enforcement are not taken.
( Item #5 on the copyright myths web site )
20 year old patents are quite successfully enforced after over a decade of silence. see: the GIF format.
Enforcement of copyright and patents can be asserted at any time. It is only trademarks which can be put at risk if reasonable efforts at enforcement are not taken.
There can, however be a defense against patent infringement (known as the doctrine of laches) if it can be shown that the patent holder intentionally sat on the patent while the technology covered by the patent became widely implemented. Of course, if those implementing the technology knew or could reasonably have known it was patented, then the defense doesn’t stand up.
Excuse my ignorance; but I have to ask this. (Please remember that there exist no dumb questions; (almost) every question is a cry to understand the world
Everyone is talking about how Mono divides its classes and how both divisions are subject to Microsoft patents and how even so, all patented interfaces could perhaps be worked around. But Mono implements something larger: the Common Language Runtime which is an idea in itself. Is this (and the corresponding binary file format) patented, or can it be? If so, how could Mono work around such a patent?