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

Andy Lewis ajl@ascii27.net
Mon, 15 Mar 2004 11:55:29 -0500

OK...before I unsubscribe from this list - a couple of points:

- I came here interested in a technology with what I felt was a 
legitimate concern and most (not all - Andy Satori for example was 
particularly helpful) of what I have gotten back has been rude and 

- Your FAQ does NOT adequately explain the issue. If it did, maybe the 

- Your posts have been quite honestly the least helpful and the most 
abrasive. A wonderful way to build a community.

- You accuse me of not knowing the difference between the GPL and 
patents based on a my post - a bit arrogant, don't you think? You assume 
an awful lot from very little information.

- As far as I know, it is COMPLETELY possible that a RAND PATENT license 
may include terms that would in fact PREVENT distribution of an licensed 
implementation under the GPL, in spite of the vast difference between 
patents and copyrights. If you can point to some legislation or case law 
that says a patent license is prohibited from placing restrictions on 
the distribution of an implementation, please indicate where that may be 
found. Otherwise, how would you distribute under GPL with, for example, 
a per copy royalty requirement, even if it was only $0.01?

- You state that the patents are available under royalty free terms and 
that this is pointed out in the FAQ. The FAQ does not make it clear that 
those terms actually exist in any binding or defensible manner, only 
that there is an assumption that they are there.

- I have read Jim's post - as far as I can tell, the post linked to by 
the FAQ is an unofficial statement by a Microsoft employee about a 
purported agreement between companies regarding the licensing. Last time 
I checked, that is not sufficient to constitute a royalty free patent 
license from Microsoft. If you have lawyers that can point out 
otherwise, that would be a really helpful bit of info to include in your 

- If, as you imply, but do not state, the mono project or some 
representative of it has spoken directly to Microsoft's IP staff about 
the license terms, and actually has something sufficiently binding to 
answer these questions (something more substantial than a newsgroup post 

If you are tired of the question - ANSWER IT. I can assure you, I won't 
be the last person to ask. I can also assure you I won't bother to ask 

If you ever manage to provide a decent answer, myself, and those like me 
who actually look at these issues before jumping into something might 
want to use and support the project.

And if you really don't have more than this to work from (and I really 
doubt you are dumb enough to operate that way) then perhaps I should 
just start getting used to KDE in preparation for the day when some MS 
exec realizes he can rip the foundation out from under a Mono based 
Gnome desktop.


p.s. - check definition 3.b.  of  community  ( 
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=community ). You might find it 
incredibly useful if you decide to encourage people to use the 
technology rather than just piss them off when they ask questions.

Miguel de Icaza wrote:

>>My understanding is that any implementation of the ECMA specifications 
>>for the CLI, etc, is known to be covered by patents held by Microsoft. 
>>Such a submision is allowable under th eEMCA rules provided that the 
>>patents are licensable under "Reasonable and Non-discriminatory" (RAND). 
>>My conceen is that RAND does not imply compatibility iwth the GPL or any 
>>other open source license, and I am trying to find out ifth eMono 
>>project is specifically licensed for the patents covering the ECMA 
>>specification, of simply relying on public statments regarding them.
>You are mixing GPL (a copyright license) and patents *again*.  They
>have nothing to do with each other.  I thought you had just said you
>did understand the difference.
>The C# and CLI patents are available under RAND and Royalty Free terms
>as pointed out in the FAQ (the link to Jim's post) which you said you
>read a few times (it seems and you still managed to not find this).
>I have spoked to Jim, I have spoken to the ECMA folks.  If you do not
>believe any of this, pick up the phone and call Microsoft's IP staff to
>discuss RAND and Royalty Free terms.
>Make sure you talk to a lawyer before so you do not confuse *again*
>copyright and patents.