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

gabor gabor@z10n.net
Sun, 14 Mar 2004 23:56:13 +0100

On Sun, 2004-03-14 at 20:35, Miguel de Icaza wrote:
> Hello,
> > does that mean thay you/mono-devel-team doesn't know the answer to my
> > (original) question?
> We have gone through this too many times, to the point that we have
> added this to the FAQ.
> It means you are just very late asking that question, and most people
> are bored to death with the subject who has been answered in the FAQ.

i have read the faq.

i assume you refer the following:
Question 131: Could patents be used to completely disable Mono (either
submarine patents filed now, or changes made by Microsoft specifically
to create patent problems)?
(the problem (in a very short way) is that the next line in the faq
should be "Answer 131: No.", but it is not)

there you're saying that some part of mono are ximian-implemented (those
are ok), some are ecma, and some are window-specific (problematic).

then, to prove that the ecma-stuff is ok, the faq says:
The core of the .NET Framework, and what has been patented by Microsoft
falls under the ECMA/ISO submission. Jim Miller at Microsoft has made a
statement on the patents covering ISO/ECMA, (he is one of the inventors
listed in the patent): here.

Basically a grant is given to anyone who want to implement those
components for free and for any purpose.

that's the part which is not good enough imho.

becasue RAND can also mean that's it is allowed to use for a very cheap
price, which would of course mean a stop to mono, but Jim Miller writes:
But Microsoft (and our co-sponsors, Intel and Hewlett-Packard) went
further and have agreed that our patents essential to implementing C#
and CLI will be available on a "royalty-free and otherwise RAND" basis
for this purpose.

the problem is (for me), that these companies "agreed" that it will be
royalty-free and so on. Jim Miller says it. but is there anywhere a more
formal announcement about this? 
because if i understant it correctly, this mail is the only argument for
that microsoft allows mono to exist on a royalty-free basis.
i have also read in the faq, that "but engineers who work on .NET or the
ECMA groups have been very friendly". but it only means what i wrote,
that the safety of mono seems-to-be-ok.

so i still think that my original question holds:
yes, mono seems to be safe from microsoft. but it is not 100% safe (and
i know that you can be never safe for 100%, but i think you understand
what i mean).

couldn't ximian/suse/novell (because they're "normal" commercial
companies) talk/work with microsoft, and make them make a formal
announcement, or something like that?

i understand it's annoying that everyone only talks about the
patent/copyright when they talk about mono, but if you could just say in
the faq:"no, there can be no problems, see microsoft's announcement at

if i still don't understand this, please help me to understand it :)