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

Jonathan Gilbert 2a5gjx302@sneakemail.com
Mon, 13 Oct 2003 02:12:00

Okay, this whole thing is just silly. I don't want to be seen as taking
sides, but allow me to paraphrase this with whatever objectivity I can,
based on what I've read (in some cases only lightly skimmed) from the list:

<Norbert> It is possible to demonstrate that Windows.Forms is just a thin
wrapper of old work.
<Miguel> Well, maybe, though I disagree. Where is the evidence for this?
Note that making the claim publicly without evidence could be said to be
downright deceitful...
<Rhys> YOU CALL US DECEITFUL?! What manner of rudeness is this?! I demand
that you apologize immediately!
<Miguel> Well, uh, can you show us any documentation that supports your claim?
HIGHLY offended!
<Miguel> The fact of the matter is that we have to share information for
this to proceed. It cannot be based on word of mouth alone.
<Rhys> Surely Novell is not going to just release all legal research done
in this area! Why should we do this for you, after you have called us
<Miguel> I never did call you deceitful. However, you DID claim that
System.Windows.Forms is unpatentable, and while I'm sure you can back up
your claim, this cannot proceed publicly until this information is shared.
<Rhys> I wish I could give you documentation, but in fact I didn't make
any. I read over the API many times and convinced myself that
System.Windows.Forms is MFC in disguise, but I did not videotape myself
doing this. I STILL HAVEN'T RECEIVED MY APOLOGY! We have decided we aren't
going to help you.

If it seems that Rhys is acting childishly, it is because that's how it
seems to me. Legal collaboration should be done with an intellectual
approach. Such petty issues as repeatedly demanding an apology for a
POSSIBLE implication of one of Miguel's statements do not seem to be
appropriate behaviour for someone who wishes to make an impenetrable legal
argument to patent lawyers, and it certainly doesn't befit an adult
discussion on a mailing list such as this.

I have no wish to receive flame, but if you are truly willing to "let
bygones be bygones", then Rhys, please let your (incorrect, as far as I can
tell) intepretation of Miguel's statement be bygone, along with the ensuing
apparent necessity for an apology. Miguel was not saying that you were
acting deceitfully; rather, he was saying that continuing on and making a
public claim (more public than the mailing list, say) that such
documentation exists when it does not would be not only deceitful but
legally insecure.

And this one is just my opinion (and possibly my limited understanding of
the issue), but why would beneficial legal information be withheld as
proprietary information when its release would be beneficial both for the
community and for the project's well-being? If Mono succeeds in the
business world, it could very well become a future icon of Novell. Today,
we know Novell for NetWare and its directory services, but perhaps 10 years
from now, Novell will be known as "the company behind Mono", and legal
research indicating that the parts of .NET used by Mono are unpatentable
would most surely be a boost to this project. It would also allow the open
source approach to be applied to the legal research; supposing there were
any errors, surely they would be found and, if possible, corrected, well
before that legal research would be used in a courtroom to defend Mono's
very existence.

I'll admit that the tone of this e-mail is a rant, but I believe the
message is important: Miguel has been trying to promote active and open
cooperation, with effective bidirectional flow of information, and Rhys,
you have been primarily focusing on getting an apology for the inferred
accusation of deceit. Don't let a personal issue stop a group/business
collaboration. Both Mono and DotGNU are excellent projects, and many people
are putting a huge amount of work into them; don't sacrifice that work to
an indignation and a misunderstanding.

Just another couple of pennies,

Jonathan Gilbert

At 12:37 PM 12/10/2003 +1000, you wrote:
>On Sunday 12 October 2003 12:11 pm, Miguel de Icaza wrote:
>> > And I suppose you would just turn over internal Ximian/Novell legal
>> > advice and developer discussions should I ask for it?  Nice try to avoid
>> > the apology.
>> Rhys, I am not the one making claims that `Windows.Forms has no patent
>> violations', you are the one who claimed that you had done a careful
>> study.
>The result of which I provided in my last message.  What I didn't provide
>the days and days of looking through the API convincing ourselves that it
>just MFC in a different sheep's clothing.  Sorry, but I don't have a time 
>machine to go back in time and video myself looking at documentation.
>> What I said is reflected on our FAQ: we dont believe that *any* of it is
>> patentable.
>And I agree.  Norbert wants us to be more cautious in areas for which
there is 
>no clear existing API's that we can point at and say "it's just a change in 
>material".  If it was up to me, I would say "who cares about patents".
>We've hedged our bets on the GUI toolkits.  Now it is time to hedge our bets 
>on other parts of the system.  There is nothing deceptive about that.  It is 
>prudent policy in the current legal environment.
>> For us to cooperate in this delicate matter, I must trust you, and so
>> far you are not giving me any sense of security.
>If you won't accept us at our word, then we've already lost the trust.
>You can consider the offer of collaboration withdrawn.  Call us when you
>something to offer other than a replay of the last hundred flame wars.
>willing to let bygones be bygones.  When are you going to do that?
>Mono-list maillist  -  Mono-list@lists.ximian.com