[TAG] Jim, HELP needed, 5-minute solution needed by computer industry
paul at inet.co.za
Thu Jun 18 00:18:16 MSD 2009
On Wed, 2009-06-17 at 19:18 +0100, Jimmy O'Regan wrote:
> 2009/6/17 Paul Sephton <paul at inet.co.za>:
> > As it so happens, there is a spate of attention around recent moves from
> > some of the Debian guys to include Mono in the Gnome distribution for
> > the latest Debian release. The whole argument seems to be around the
> > Tomboy applet, which is a simple notebook like GNote. For the privilege
> > of the Mono based Tomboy, you get an added 50MB of dependencies
> > introduced. The size is a relatively minor issue though...
> 'Like GNote' -- other way around, in fact: GNote is a C++ rewrite of
> Tomboy. Tomboy is included by default, because it is part of GNOME 2.6
> - GNote isn't.
I stand corrected.
> > The argument for Mono seems to be: "It's open source, so it's ok".
> > What some people are missing with Mono, is that it is an implementation
> > of Microsoft's intellectual property, protected by numerous patents for
> > aspects of the .NET API, as well as patents against the C# language.
> "While Microsoft and their partners hold patents for the CLI and C#,
> ECMA and ISO require that all patents essential to implementation be
> made available under "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms". In
> addition to meeting these terms, the companies have agreed to make the
> patents available royalty-free."
"reasonable and non-discriminatory terms": Everyone is charged exactly
the same reasonable royalty in a non-discriminatory way.
> Tomboy uses GNOME-specific APIs on top of the ECMA part: there are no
> realistic patent fears here.
Permit me to respectfully disagree.
> FWIW, the Free Software Foundation have their own implementation of
> the ECMA part of .Net called Portable.Net.
> > Perhaps it would be pertinent to point out the recent action Microsoft
> > instated against TomTom GPS systems; TomTom used Linux as the base OS,
> > but used the VFAT file system to access flash storage. TomTom came to
> > an out of court settlement with Microsoft, and although the details of
> > the agreement are unavailable, one might speculate that this entails
> > either replacing Linux, or paying the royalty.
> It's still just speculation, though.
Yes it is speculation. Can you think of any other agreement they might
> The TomTom case strikes me as a particularly ridiculous example to be
> used to advocate the removal of Mono for (potentially) infringing
> Microsoft patents: wouldn't that also advocate the removal of Linux
The TomTom case is an example of Microsoft enforcing their intellectual
property rights. Please understand that although many people infringe
on the FAT patent every day, Microsoft normally has no interest in
actually enforcing it. Instead, it is in their best interest that FAT
usage becomes as ubiquitous as possible, and the de facto standard.
This leads to situations such as that where TomTom have no choice other
than to use FAT.
Far from being a "ridiculous example", the TomTom case has an
extrordinary bearing on Mono, and the adoption of C#. FAT was
considered to be "free" for a great many years (around 15 years) until
MS patented it. It is still considered by many to be free, but it is
not. Just as with FAT, it is clearly in Microsoft's best interests for
DotNet & C# to become as entrenched as can be. Although Microsoft have
indicated that they will not "for now" be enforcing their C# and DotNet
patents, they have not relinquished their right to do so in future.
Implicit in your last question, is that Linux itself is so riddled with
instances of patent breach, that this should "advocate the removal of
Linux itself". According to IP law, users of Linux would be liable for
royalty to Microsoft for the extent to which they use features made
available by Linux, which are covered by Microsoft patents. This is
evidenced in the TomTom case.
This "Devil be damned" attitude towards the intellectual property rights
(patents, trademarks,logos,copyright) of others is a very dangerous path
for the open source world to travel.
> I certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to trust Microsoft blindly, but
> given their track record, I happen to think it's a good thing that
> they're taking tentative steps into the worlds of open standards and
> open source.
Microsoft is not making overtures to the open source world out of love.
They are doing it for the money. As is the case with any corporate,
their sole fudiciary duty is to their shareholders. Please don't
disappoint me by believing their marketing blurb. I am not saying MS is
any more evil than any other coproration; this is not a religious
matter, but a logical one.
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