[Mono-list] Is it Mono safe?

Andy Satori dru@druware.com
Thu, 20 May 2004 09:51:42 -0400

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After reading through the blog post, it sounds more like Red Hat 
posturing than a real problem as well.  Red Hat and Novell are entering 
a seriously competitive stage in their businesses, and view each other 
as strong competitors.  There is a need right now to minimize the 
impact of Mono by RedHat, as their refusal to ship with Mono has the 
potential to handicap them.

All of that said, the legal issue is only an issue if it is allowed to 
become one.  There is no question that there are some assemblies that 
could be legally entangled, that no different than C or C++ libraries 
that have been discovered to have infringing code in the past.  They 
will be replaced with non-infringing code before the press release is 
cold, by the community.

Even with that threat, I maintain that Microsoft is too shrewd a 
marketing company to hand Justice and their very able competitors, 
Apple, Novell, and Red Hat a smoking gun like that.  They have commited 
to the .NET / C# path, and with Rotor, they opened a floodgate that 
they cannot close without raising serious issues across the board.

When you look at the license around Rotor, you'll notice that it was to 
encourage non-Microsoft developed CLI / CLR implementations and to 
encrouage educational adoption of the technology and platform as a 
teaching technology.  It is a prime example of embrace and extend.  The 
only way that MS maintains it's clear lead in the managed code world is 
to innovate and release new technologies faster than the OSS community 
can.  So far they have a 2 year lead, and there is no question that 
they are aware of Mono (and Portable.NET).

The long and short of it is that, in business, you have to gamble on 
occasion.  If you choose to gamble the C or C++ is going to remain the 
foundation language of development, then you can keep doing what you 
are doing.  You could also gamble that Sun is going to stay solvent and 
keep Java relevant.  You could gamble that C# and the .NET platform are 
here for the next 10-15 years (something will replace it, something 
always does), and embrace Mono, after all, what's the worst case 
scenario, you have redeploy to Windows machines for a short transition 
period?  Most Linux Mono machines are x86 hardware, so at worst you are 
faced with Windows licensing costs.  Most of your hardware came with a 
Windows license anyways.

Microsoft is anything but dumb, they will be just as happy to leverage 
global domination through development tools and technology as they have 
ben to use extortion, bundling and strongarm tactics.  Office did not 
get to it's dominance by being the worst product.  They did innovate, 
and create a better overall product when they had viable competition.  
Only when they've killed off competition have they become stagnant.


On May 20, 2004, at 9:04 AM, Melinda wrote:

> Thankx for the reply. I appreciate it.
> On Thu, 2004-05-20 at 17:53, jonathan.cooper@syntegra.com wrote:
>> Some information...
>> http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/4557
>> Miguel and Novell legal staff are currently conducting a formal 
>> patent review
>> of mono, and the team had already split up the components of mono into
>> separate ECMA-based and non-ECMA components (WinForms, ADO.NET, etc) 
>> to
>> clearly define what RedHat and others could make use of.
>> Importantly, Miguel also said that Ximian had a letter from 
>> Microsoft, Intel
>> and HP stating that they would offer *royalty-free* RAND licensing to 
>> the
>> ECMA-submitted components of .NET. [Aside: He said they were kicking 
>> around
>> catchy names like 'polio' or 'cholera' to distinguish the free and 
>> non-free
>> stacks] I told Miguel he should publicize the letter more because it 
>> was such
>> a relief to me, but he said it would be premature to promote this 
>> before the
>> patent review was complete in case other infringement was uncovered.
>> http://www.go-mono.com/faq.html#patents
>> Most importantly: "For Linux server and desktop development, we only 
>> need the
>> ECMA components, and things that we have developed (like Gtk#) or 
>> Apache
>> integration."
>> http://www.mail-archive.com/mono-list@lists.ximian.com/msg06501.html
>> Read Andy Satori's very well though out response, also Miguel's second
>> response further down in the thread. I believe Andy hit the nail on 
>> the head
>> with regards to the possibility of MS imposing restrictions on Mono 
>> in the
>> future. MS are trying to better their image. They are now even 
>> releaseing old
>> source on sourceforge. They would not benefit from any future attack 
>> on Mono.
>> http://nwc.linuxpipeline.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=20300445
>> Yet according to de Icaza, open source advocates have blown the 
>> royalty issue
>> out of proportion. "We already know that the ECMA components are
>> royalty-free," he stated. "To the best of my knowledge, I am not 
>> aware of any
>> libraries or other parts that would have to be licensed" under 
>> royalty terms
>> from Microsoft.
>> "I think this issue comes up more because people in the open source 
>> community
>> are scared of Microsoft and because they're ill-informed about the 
>> issue," de
>> Icaza said. "We've spent a lot of time dealing with [the patent 
>> question],
>> and we're confident that we understand it."
>> --------
>> I believe the Mono/Novell tem are working on an official legal 
>> standing for
>> Mono 1.0, so please wait until then before voicing growing concern 
>> for the
>> implications of development with the framework.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Simon Ask Ulsnes [mailto:simon@ulsnes.dk]
>> Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:34 AM
>> To: COOPER, Jonathan -Syntegra UK
>> Cc: mono-list@lists.ximian.com
>> Subject: Re: [Mono-list] Is it Mono safe?
>> Tell me again:
>> Why doesn't Novell/Ximian contact Microsoft to get it on paper that 
>> Mono _is_
>> safe?
>> (and if Microsoft refuses, can we actually be sure it is safe?)
>> - Simon
>> jonathan.cooper@syntegra.com wrote:
>>> I think one of the greatest barriers to adoption of mono by 
>>> influential
>>> developers will always be the MS issue. Miguel has explained the 
>>> legal
>>> situation over and over, but there are some linux users who will 
>>> argue
>>> over the smallest detail wherever MS is concerned with a technology.
>>> It is unfortunate that the community will negate the fantastic 
>>> success
>>> of the mono development guys through FUD and miscommunication.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: mono-list-admin@lists.ximian.com
>>> [mailto:mono-list-admin@lists.ximian.com] On Behalf Of Melinda
>>> Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2004 6:40 AM
>>> To: Mono List
>>> Subject: [Mono-list] Is it Mono safe?
>>> Look over here:
>>> http://www.gnome.org/~seth/blog/mono
>>> and here:
>>> http://www.osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=7094
>>> This is bad news.... :(
>>> How do you convince somebody to programming in Mono if he already 
>>> read
>>> that news?
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