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

Stuart Ballard sballard@netreach.com
Mon, 15 Mar 2004 16:23:32 -0500

As an interested observer, and in fact someone who's actually *using* 
Mono and always considered the patent issue to be a red herring, and 
actually *did* believe Miguel that everything was okay, this thread has 
left me a lot more worried than when I started.

I read the FAQ and found it rather vague, but I trusted in Miguel by 
reputation that the holes in the FAQ actually had good answers that just 
weren't listed there. But when Andy had the temerity to actually ask 
those questions (and probably a lot more intelligently than I could) he 
got nothing but flames - actually, *some* people gave the beginnings of 
decent answers, but the "authoritative source", Miguel, didn't... which 
suggests that the people who gave good answers may not actually be 
representative of the Mono project's official position.

Alex Combas wrote:
> Miguel is also a _very_ respected community leader. I
> cant even begin to tell you how childish your remarks
> about his community building skills seem.

I was personally shocked at how poor his community building skills are 
given his reputation as a great community builder. Maybe he's just 
having a bad day (probably true, I've read lots of excellent and 
intelligent email from him in the past), but that doesn't excuse you 
defending him when he's clearly in the wrong on this issue.

Frankly, I'd expect a "great community builder" to give people a little 
more of the benefit of the doubt, and I'd expect anyone with a tenth of 
Miguel's open source experience to know that it's perfectly possible for 
a patent license to be GPL-incompatible (as Andy so carefully explained 
in his last email, which, flame-like as it was, was STILL far more full 
of content than anything by Miguel on this thread).

> Instead of flaming him (which is _exactly_ what you
> just did) perhaps you could have started by saying:
> "Thanks for the info. I really appreciate your time Mr
> de Icaza, but Im _still_ not convinced. Is there
> anything more you could show me?". Eventually the
> magic bullet you are so desperately seeking would be
> found. 

Miguel was flaming Andy before Andy flamed him back. And Andy's flame 
had content and valid points and valid questions, where Miguels just 
repeated over and over "Patents and copyrights are different!" which we 
all, including Andy, clearly knew from the start.

> Unfortunately for you, flames have a funny way of
> burning down bridges, so I really doubt you will be
> getting more information from _anyone_ here.

I hope not, because I still want to use Mono, and I really hope that 
*someone* comes up with an answer to Andy's valid question, which is:

"Where's the authoritative statement which says that Microsoft will 
continue to license the ECMA technologies *royalty-free*, as opposed to 
just RAND, and how legally binding is that statement?"

This is information that *clearly* should be in the FAQ, and isn't, and 
every time someone mentions it, they're just pointed back to the FAQ, 
which is usually where they're coming *from* in the first place.

Again, I have plenty of respect for Miguel based on stuff I've read 
before, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's 
just having a bad day today, or just fed up with this issue, but I still 
think that in this thread he's in the wrong. Just because he's Miguel, 
doesn't mean he's always right. (Isn't one of the cornerstones of 
democracy the right, nay duty, to question our leaders?)


Stuart Ballard, Senior Web Developer
NetReach, Inc.
(215) 283-2300, ext. 126