[Mono-list] Uncertainty and Doubt about MONO

ted leslie tleslie at tcn.net
Sat Nov 4 19:00:03 EST 2006

My brain still hurts on this whole thing.

Here is what I'd _like_ to think :

Microsoft isn't saying it will sue anyone over infringement, but its not
saying (to everyone) its not. The "possibility" is enough for "corporate
suits" to consider keeping Linux out of the server room (in some
businesses) just because of that. So this deal definitely allows some IT
VP's to say - Put in Linux now, I feel totally safe with it. 
Having said that - what happens in 5 years? [big question mark here]

Novell would like us to think this is a Patent muzzle for both sides in
an exchange, and not to say either one was going to pull the trigger,
but now they simply cannot. This might be 100% the truth (I don't know).

To have the (security) in OpenSuse is also a plus. 

I am guessing that SLED will have this protection now, and at 50$? its a
very smart choice for a business to have as a desktop, also with the
benefit that there will be better integration to MS software.

The thing that I don't like is, will this hurt Mono? slow down
development because resources leave? or distros (i.e. fedora) don't
include Mono with it?

When it comes to Patents you really can't do an investigation to prove
absolute "free of". Just to get a warm feeling. 
If you have a beef with someone using your technology, your supposed to
make it known, so the "potential" guilty party doesn't go to far "down
the road". I think MS has already waited to long. How can they defend
themselves against the simple question "Why now?", why not have notified
infringers back X number of years ago ... doing it years after just
makes it look like a ploy to inflict max. damage. Something usually not
looked kindly at by a Judge. On the other hand, given how MS makes out
with lawsuits, one can't help but think they own the Judge, but thats a
whole other topic for another day.

Again the fact is, no one was going to bet their life that MS was never
going to strike, and as unlikely as one might think it is, with this
agreement, people can deploy Suse with good indemnification. 

It would be nice if Novell did something to help public image now, like:
donate to the different funds that work for the betterment of Linux,
put more resources on Mono, and other projects,
provide aid to whole new Linux open source projects.
This would make a clear statement to the community, it is serious about
making Linux and open source healthier, and basically putting back to
the community (even more then it already has).

One thing I believe very strongly about, with respect to the Linux
community, is that they 1) never forget (or at least for 10's of years),
2) that the community holds a lot of power.
If Novell intends to have Linux be it's bread and butter for many years
to come, the only way this current MS deal is going to work for Novell,
is if the community is at a minimum "indifferent" about it. Less then
indifferent, that is, community resentment to some degree, in a few
years down the road, is going to come back to haunt. 

Most people should realize that Novell is a company with shareholders,
and thus, it needs to look after their (shareholders) best interests,
and not just short term interest. This means much of what Novell does
has to earn money. Novell obviously has a balancing act, with profit on
one side and community respect on the other. 

>From what I can see so far, the move Novell made actually looks really
good for its share holders, and doesn't look to bad for Linux and open
source. Linux will benefit in general if Suse can make its way into many
more high profile data centers. I think that if the community sours,
Novell has got to open the bank vault and give large to the Linux and
open source community, to preserve the balance. The PR people might have
to start earning their X-mas bonuses starting now!


On Sat, 2006-11-04 at 23:12 +0200, Alexandru Nedelcu wrote:
> Hi,
> I always respected Miguel de Icaza's judgment and he always has a good 
> and sane point of view.
> I am a little troubled about the recent announcement, about the 
> Novell/Microsoft agreement.
> Didn't Miguel de Icaza assured us that Mono was safe, that there are no 
> known patents that Mono infringes, that .NET is an ECMA
> standard, that even if Mono infringes on some patents then the Open 
> Inventions Network will protect it ?
> Didn't Miguel said that Novell conducted a whole investigation on 
> Microsoft owned patents and no infringed patents where found ?
> And Novell is the owner of the Unix copyrights (I am no lawyer, so 
> please correct me if I am wrong) ... and Novell just
> admitted that GNU/Linux has pieces that infringe on Microsoft's 
> intellectual property ?
> True or not true ... there are many companies that might stand up and 
> demand the same royalties that Microsoft is asking.
> The solution is to fight  the whole software patents system, not getting 
> around it by a minor deal with the devil himself.
> What if companies like IBM or Oracle or Apple take a stand and demand 
> the same thing ?
> Miguel says in his blog something like:
>     "So today we have secured a peace of mind for Novell customers that 
> might have been worried about possible patent infringements open source 
> deployments"
> But doesn't anyone at Novell notice that the REST of the open-source 
> landscape is now in a greater danger than before ?
> Frankly ... nobody gives a shit about Mono as a comercial product, Mono 
> is only interesting as an open-source product,
> that can be innovated upon by anyone, and that can be freely distributed.
> What is happening ?
> I already invested in Mono, I also switched to Gnome the whole network 
> that I am managing, Gnome which is tainted with
> Novell's products.
> I am not the only one wondering: 
> http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20061103073628401
> Please Miguel ... give me an explanation on why this move was necessary, 
> and also keep in mind that a lot of us value
> Free Software, and won't trade it for anything else.
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