[Mono-list] Mono and Patents....

Andy Satori dru@satori-assoc.com
Fri, 12 Mar 2004 15:25:20 -0500


Please excuse me for my bluntness.  The Microsoft Patent in this 
instance is largely irrelevant, for the very reasons that you mention 
as being reasons to worry.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, that Microsoft could do technically would 
be as critically damaging to the already fragile, and crumbling image 
that Microsoft has within the Enterprise world, than attempting to 
leverage that patent upon the standards body that they are working 
with.  Further, that very excercise would undermine their efforts with 
the Media codecs and the standards bodies.

It would be tantamount to aiming a gun at your foot, pulling the 
trigger and wondering how you got shot in the foot.

Further, for Microsoft, Mono is a 'good thing' because while it means 
that .NET code is easier to port to non-Windows platforms, it also 
means that their chosen language will be the language of choice on many 
platforms, expanding their reach as well as the reach of their tools.  
After all, Windows itself is a means to an end, not the end itself.

It's all about profit.  So long as Windows generates revenue, it's a 
winner.  Today, Windows generates a profit because it leverages Office 
into the enterprise world, where profits are the most easily 
recognized.  The .NET framework is another road to leveraging that 
profit center.  By getting developer's regardless of platform, to 
leverage a technology that helps them sell units of Application Center 
($30k / CPU), BizTalk ($28k / CPU), SQL Server ($12k) etc.  These are 
pure, unadulterated profits, and they leverage Windows and .NET, but 
they have no value if the marketplace cannot consume them.

Mono not only makes consumption feasable, but practical.

Further Mono's licensing, much like that of Rotor is such that the code 
you generate using these open source tools is completely yours to place 
under any license you wish, so long as you aren't shipping modified 
versions of GPL'd code.  The same as code generated by Microsoft's 
compilers doesn't restrict your rights on the generated output.

All of that said, and bear in mind, that until fairly recently I was 
for all intents and purposes and Microserf.  I used Windows 286, then 
Windows 386, and Windows 3.  I followed the Microsoft line and went to 
Microsoft OS/2, then followed back to Windows NT 3.1, and 3.51, NT4, 
2000, XP.  I played with Linux, BeOS and a few others along the way, 
but along the way, I followed the MS development line.  I've practiced 
what they preached.  Today, I'm still doing so, only I'm doing it using 
Mono, on my Mac.

Why?  because I can. And that my friend, is the point.  Mono, gives the 
consumer the one thing that Microsoft needs the most, and the one thing 
that will keep them away from stiff, possibly corporate entity 
threatening sanctions for their behaviour.  Mono, is the Apple in the 
development tools ointment that Microsoft requires to keep themselves 
solvent, and there is no better motivation for a company predicated on 
profit than staying solvent, and retaining the freedom to compete.

That bevy of smarmy bastards known as the Microsoft Legal team are more 
aware of the fine line between competition and a monopoly than any of 
us, they watched the damage that the consent decree did to IBM 30 years 
ago, they are unlikely to allow themselves to be put in the same 


Sorry but I had to get that off my chest.