Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Regarding Mono project

Jeff explained to me on IRC how the mention of Mono in my last blog entry the way I put it, gives people the impression that I implied mono has anything to do with the issue. I really didn't mean to imply that so I am very sorry for causing this confusion. Now that I am writing this , I will make it very clear for the record that I do not have anything against the mono project. Quite on the contrary, I am extremely impressed by this great project and the service it has done for the Free Software world. Microsoft supporting the development of a Free Software project, never thought we'll ever achieve this but Miguel and his great team of hackers have made that possible.


Shawn said...

What do you then think about Microsofts warnings with regards to patents ... do you think Mono has anything to do with that? And if not, what do you think they are talking about with those patents?

Anonymous said...

MS is the one getting sued, not the one doing the suing. I expect that patent lawsuits targeting Microsoft is a bi-monthly occurrence.

Microsoft may blow hard about patents occasionally, but so far nobody has been actually taken to court over anything...

I really doubt that Microsoft would be in a position to be threatening anybody.

After all, now all their major customers (these being OEMs and large businesses) are actually using and supporting Linux. So that would put Microsoft in a position of going after their own customers.

Think about IBM, Dell, HP, and all the top500 companies. All of them make significant money from Linux and Open Source as well use it themselves. All those are people that Microsoft needs to work with to survive.

Plus I expect courts would take a very dim view of Microsoft suing the users of a project that was developed fully in the open, with full knowledge from Microsoft, with people from the project interacting with Microsoft the entire time, and with Microsoft's occasional support (Silverlight/Moonlight).

I don't know all the ins and outs of patent laws, but I expect letting a project get very far that was fully open and transparent and interacting with you, and waiting for it to become a established part of somebody else's OS.. then suing them for it will have a severely negative effect on the sort of awards and punishments a court will be willing to give out.


In fact the only questionable part of Mono, IMO (not a lawyer at all), is when Mono tries to impliment things that are outside the C# specification and are Microsoft technologies.

Things like Winforms compatibility or any other otherwise Windows-specific API.

But as far as I can tell no Mono program that Gnome uses or any other Linux distribution or program uses has Windows-oriented stuff in there. It's all Linux-specific with GTK bindings and that sort of thing.

So as long as people stick to the C# and Linux specific stuff for hacking on Linux programs then I don't see any threat coming out of Microsoft.

Just a personal non-expert opinion. It makes sense to me.


It's not that I trust Microsoft.

Well I trust Microsoft.. I trust Microsoft to act in their own best interest.

So when things like Silverlight comes along I figure they are trustworthy because Linux folks and Microsoft both want similar things... they both would like to replace proprietary Flash.

Microsoft with their own proprietary flash, and Linux with the open source one.

So that when Microsoft sees that by supporting OSS Moonlight they can go a long way to help reduce Adobe's Flash influence, then I can trust them in that specific case.

After all, they have nothing to lose in the deal. If they don't support OSS then that vastly reduces the chances of replacing Flash any time soon, and then Linux still has a decent online experience because Adobe Flash works fine in Linux.

If they do support OSS and if that helps replace Adobe Flash then Linux still would have a decent online experience, but at least online developers would be able to use and purchase Microsoft-specific tools to program in Silverlight. (I expect Microsoft feels they can out compete OSS folks in the quality of development tools for Silverlight so they see no danger from that angle)

That's a Win-Win for both sides.

(Of course, I am hoping that the next-gen Javascript engines coming from Apple, Google, and Mozilla, are going to displace proprietary or otherwise plugin-specific languages for highly dynamic web applications and animations/multimedia stuff.)

Gabriel Burt said...

Though Moonlight 2.0 will use Mono (Moonlight 1.0 doesn't), they are separate projects.

@Shawn: See http://www.mono-project.com/FAQ:_Licensing

sharms said...

I don't think anyone at all interpreted the last entry that way.

Anonymous said...

Taken straight out of "Excuses for Politicians 101"? Sounds pretty much exactly like every time some public person says the truth by accident and then have to apologize just like, well, this.

Yevgen Muntyan said...

"last thing we need is some random mono-hacker who doesn't even know why a sound server is needed"

"Quite on the contrary, I am extremely impressed by this great project and the service it has done for the Free Software world"

Yeah, right.