[Mono-list] Re: Collaboration on alternatives to the US-patent-endangered APIs?

Norbert Bollow nb@SoftwareEconomics.biz
Sat, 11 Oct 2003 01:19:27 +0200 (CEST)

Hash: SHA1

> > Is the Mono project interested in cooperation with DotGNU in the area
> > of creating legally bulletproof alternatives to the US-patent-endangered
> > APIs?  (We have obtained legal advice on how to do this.)

Miguel de Icaza <miguel@ximian.com> replied:

> Of course.  Would love to hear the details, it seems bold.

Ok... here's an overview of the current plan:

The first step is to create an overview of what functionality is
available through APIs which are for some reason not patent-endangered
(for example because they're in the ECMA specs, or because it's thin
wrappers around old stuff, like e.g. System.Windows.Forms) and what
functionality is missing from the not-patent-endangered .NET APIs.

The second step will be to design a set of C# APIs for this missing
functionality (and possibly more... when there's good stuff available
in free libs which we can make available without much trouble, we
should do so regardless of whether MS has it or not).  Since we will
want to implement these alternative APIs as much as possible in terms
of already-existing free libraries, it will be natural for the design
to be very similar in large parts to the APIs of the free libs that
will be re-used.

According to the FSF patent lawyer, this design activity needs to be
done outside of the US, and the person who does the design should not
take it into the US with him.

However, when the design is done, again according to the lawyer,
implementing it (in terms of already-existing free libs) will be
"entirely safe".

An important goal in the implementation process will be to not break
.NET compatibility.... for some stuff it may be possible to
port existing C libs so that we can compile them to IL by means of
cscc and the resulting assemblies can be used also with .NET (and,
of course, Mono :) ... for other stuff which needs to be P/Invoke'd
on unix-like systems, we may want to make it check if it's running
on .NET and in that case fall back on the MS .NET classes.

Greetings, Norbert.

- -- 
Founder & Steering Committee member of http://gnu.org/projects/dotgnu/
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Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59        Fax +41 1 972 20 69       http://norbert.ch
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