Open-source .NET splits for extra Microsoft protection
Boycott Debian and Ubuntu calls silenced?
A community implementation of .NET is splitting in two, hoping to protect Linux and open-source against potential patent claims from Microsoft.
The Mono Project plans to split between a core set of APIs that are based on ECMA specifications of Microsoft's C# and Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and a stack that implements other Microsoft APIs for ASP.NET, ADO.NET, and Winforms.
Microsoft has promised it won't assert patent claims against non-Microsoft implementations of C# and CLI, but it has made no such clear promise on the rest.
de Icaza: no word on non-ECMA APIs
The distinction is important, as Mono has been used in a variety of open-source applications that can ship with and work on popular Linuxes such as Debian and Ubuntu.
Applications using the C# parts of Mono include the Banshee media player, the Gnome Due application installer, Beagle desktop-search, and the Tomboy note-taking application.
Mono leader Miguel de Icaza told The Reg: "The concern is Microsoft won't sue over the ECMA code but there's no word on the others so we are going to split those out so everybody isn't concerned."
ASP.NET is under Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative, which provides limited rights to view the Microsoft source code. ADO.NET is available under Microsoft's Public License. And Winforms come in a variety of open and copyrighted licenses.
The very presence of Mono in applications used by Debian and Ubuntu reached a crescendo last week, with GNU-daddy Richard Stallman calling it a threat to open-source because Microsoft could assert its claims over C# to kill Mono-based projects.
Stallman's comments followed what appeared to be a great deal of community politicking, debate, and personal attacks made through various email lists apparently designed to get people to boycott Debian and Canonical and force them to dump Mono, which is sponsored by Novell. Mono has been taking heat since Novell's controversial patent protection deal with Microsoft in November 2006.
In some cases, people have reacted to the anti-Mono wave.
One commenter on an Ubuntu mailing list promised his company would look into switching from Ubuntu to Fedora because Mono "is just too dangerous" and said he stood by the position taken by Stallman. He was speaking after The Ubuntu Technical Board said it saw no harm in Mono.
The sticking point was that since 2001, Microsoft has made Mono available on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms rather than a royalty free license, a license Microsoft had promised it would adopt.
The sore point was what constituted "reasonable" as Microsoft could set the terms. de Icaza said nobody had followed up to make the ECMA C# and CLI specs available under the promised royalty free license.
Microsoft's promise Monday of availability under its Community Promise is designed to rectify that and satisfy critics of Mono. The C# and CLI parts of the Mono core can still be installed with the other part of the Mono stack, covering ASP.NET, ADO.NET, and Winforms. ®
Its hard to decide whether Mono should even exist. .NET was clearly made so that MS could have something eqivilent to Java that they could control. That's exactly what they've achieved.
The question is, by making a free implementation do you neutralise the threat in this situation, or do you actually make things worse? It is a complex problem, but no matter what the details one thing is for sure: Microsoft has never done anything in its entire history with good intentions. Unless you think IE was created so that people could browse HTML documents, DOS was bought so that people could use their computers and Direct3D was invented because nobody had something exactly like it already, those poor people.
Basically whatever you do, you lose.
Who's the muppet?
"One commenter on an Ubuntu mailing list promised his company would look into switching from Ubuntu to Fedora because Mono "is just too dangerous". Haaa. Haaaaaaaaaah. What a muppet!
Maybe you could drop this arse a quick mesage and tell him he should get out a little more and, who knows, maybe even get a life. Muppets. They never cease to amuse me.
Me. I use Microsoft and various Linux flavours daily and have done for more years that I care to remember. Both camps have their faults. When will the world wake up and realise that neither open source or proprietary is the answer to everything and never can be.
All this continual verbal bitch slapping by both camps is, well, tiresome at best. It's like listening to a bunch of toothless pensioners gumming on the end of a turd.
Wake up world. Get a life! :)
>> It never ceases to amaze me how the open source people (and Linux people in particular) slag off MS (and quite rightly too!) but then go and copy what MS are doing!
Sorry but Miguel De Icaza does not represent "open source people" any more than Bernie Maddoff represents Wall Street, as far as I am concerned :-)