[Mono-list] Ask Microsoft: Mono support

Paolo Molaro lupus@ximian.com
Wed, 27 Oct 2004 12:00:11 +0200

On 10/27/04 RoBiK wrote:
> Just found an article regarding comment from microsoft on mono...
> http://searchvb.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid8_gci1019210,00.h
> tml

The question "Does MS support Mono" is not going to get any meaningful answer.
Do people expect to be able to call MS for technical support on Mono?:-)
They hardly provide any technical support for their own sw...
Support has many meanings, so unless you specify exactly what you mean,
you're not going to get the answer you're looking for.
The MS developers occasionally reply to issues raised by us on the 
specifications and on some implementation issues (especially through the
ECMA). Some MS people have been seen showing off mono at conferences.
That is the extent that MS supports mono directly (they do it indirectly by
having the CLR and other stuff standardized etc).

That said, the person who replied to the question seems to be
completely clueless anyway: we don't do any reverse engineering
and the Mono project extends (and will more so in the future) way beyond 
what the MS .net framework provides (but it's true that Mono is not an 
extension of the .net framework because we are completely independent from it).

The interesting question is: does Mono need MS support?
Mono as a development platform for unix-like systems doesn't need
any MS support: we have a large community of contributors and users, 
we're off the ground, we have our own engines and we're cranking up the speed.
As an aside, when MS lauched their channel9 initiative to improve
their communication with developers they named it after the channel that
can be used to listen to the pilots conversations on airplanes. It made me 
smile: they still haven't realized that free software offers developers
the ability to pilot the airplane and decide on their own the direction.
It also offers a large number of co-pilots that can help if something 
goes wrong. When you have the choice of just listening to channel9
or to safely fly an airplane, what would you choose? ;-)

The only kind of support needed from MS is about interoperabilty and
compatibility issues between Mono and the MS CLR. Compatibility
and interoperability are nice side effects of us choosing the CLI
ECMA specs as a foundation, but, while, important, they aren't our
primary interest, which is to write and use a good development platform
on our preferred operating systems. So the people who are most interested
in this kind of support are the MS costumers themselves, who want to be 
able to deploy their applications to a larger user base. So the question 
is not "will MS support Mono?", but it boils down to: will MS support 
their own costumers (who happen to be also Mono users)?
Of course a company screwing up its own costumers is not unheard of, but 
that's harder to do when there is competition...


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