EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.03.07

Miguel de Icaza Talks About Novell, Mono, and Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An interview has just been published where Miguel de Icaza speaks to the local Microsoft press. There are various bits that are worth mentioning, but recently we have been focused on the implications of using Mono. Here is what de Icaza had to say about patents:

Some people say the drawback to Mono is the saber rattling from Microsoft about patent, and that it doesn’t support the latest versions of .NET. What is your relationship like with Microsoft these days?

[de Icaza:] So, I have two positions, and one is speaking as the person managing the Mono team, and then there is another answer speaking as a Novell vice president. So from the position of the open source community — a position not attached to Novell — we as any other software project are aware that software patents are a problem. We don’t like them. We think they’re bad for the industry, but we know that we need to abide by that system. So we have a very strict policy, that we’ll not knowingly introduce patented code into the Mono code base. If somebody raises an issue with us about a patent, or that we’re infringing on their code base, we’ll be more than happy to either do an investigation to see if there’s prior art that will invalidate a patent claim, or basically re-implement the same functionality using a different approach. Or, if worse comes to worse, removing the code from Mono. And I think that’s pretty much the same rule that every open source project has to use.

“Whether Microsoft litigates or not, Mono introduces uncertainty”The patent system is defunct and there is no question about it, but stepping on Microsoft’s toes by mimicking the very same thing which they created is simply tactless. Whether Microsoft litigates or not, Mono introduces uncertainty. It’s easy to see why Microsoft will continue to support de Icaza’s work on Mono. As long as Novell’s desktop is becoming more assimilated to Windows (in terms of the underlying framework), the more solid Microsoft’s vacant claims will seem.

In the fragment above, de Icaza confirms that he has concerns about patents. Rather than dismissing the issue (as many of us do using valid arguments like “prior art”), de Icaza replicates Microsoft’s art. A ‘carbon copy’ imitation of the .NET framework is not even an ‘artistic’ matter with subjective interpretations. The goal and intent is to copy. Why approach these territories in the first place? Languages exist that are vendor-independent.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

6 Comments

  1. Sebastiaan Veld said,

    September 4, 2007 at 1:56 am

    Gravatar

    “Whether Microsoft litigates or not, Mono introduces uncertainty”
    So does projects like Samba then; imitate the SMB protocol, AD, authentication, printing, etc. Like it or not, that could also impose problems. One can just say patent infringement is not there, or neglect it at all, but either way with the current patent system in mind it may lead to legal problems for any company or project trying to extent or add functions to or with existing technology. So, you cannot blame Novell for the fact that that system exists and that they THINK about the fact that they may need to work around patent issues.

    “Rather than dismissing the issue (as many of us do using valid arguments like “prior art”), de Icaza replicates Microsoft’s art.’
    Well, that is really not what he says.

    “we have a very strict policy, that we’ll not knowingly introduce patented code into the Mono code base. If somebody raises an issue with us about a patent, or that we’re infringing on their code base, we’ll be more than happy to either do an investigation to see if there’s prior art that will invalidate a patent claim, or basically re-implement the same functionality using a different approach. Or, if worse comes to worse, removing the code from Mono.”
    He clearly states that they do not introduce patented code, if needed they work around, or worst case drop the code at all.

    “The goal and intent is to copy. Why approach these territories in the first place?”
    Well I think they do that for the same reason Samba (to take the same example) exists; interoperability. Or why does OpenOffice support .doc like extensions at all? The use of Mono allows Novell and other with one code base to support development on multiple OS’s. I’m not a developer, but I can see the advantage in that. Sure, there alternatives, but they may not fit one needs. Like any open source project I believe in the first place Mono is about having fun.

    If you like Novell’s and others moves or not, one should at least tell the truth.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 4, 2007 at 3:22 am

    Gravatar

    “Whether Microsoft litigates or not, Mono introduces uncertainty”
    So does projects like Samba then; imitate the SMB protocol, AD, authentication, printing, etc. Like it or not, that could also impose problems. One can just say patent infringement is not there, or neglect it at all, but either way with the current patent system in mind it may lead to legal problems for any company or project trying to extent or add functions to or with existing technology. So, you cannot blame Novell for the fact that that system exists and that they THINK about the fact that they may need to work around patent issues.

    What what Carla Schroder (tuxchick) said here. about Samba and some other of the projects.that reverse-engineer Microsoft’s proprietary technology.

    Regarding the rest, which makes a seemingly-sound argument, remember that programming, unlike extraction of data and communication, is something that can be achieved in a variety of ways.

    Let me think of an analogy for a moment…

    Okay, I have one bad analogy. Think about rails and about trains (it just happened to spring to mind because I’m listening to Midnight Train at the moment). Rails enable merely any train to its complete journey, but the use and evangelism of Mono is promotion of Mono-culture (as the name implies), i.e. let us all have just one type of train rather than concentrate on the rails, which should remain consistent.

  3. S.tephen said,

    September 4, 2007 at 3:32 am

    Gravatar

    You say…

    “but stepping on Microsoft’s toes by mimicking the very same thing which they created is simply tactless”

    …But clearly it’s not tactless. Rather it’s a very smart recognition by Mono, that the overwhelming population of developers/programmers/engineers are currently working on a Microsoft development platform (OS+SDK/.NET). Making Mono cross platform breaks the OS piece. The success of a platform is largely a function of it’s application developer community.

    By the way, your assertion that MONO CULTURE means one culture is incorrect. Mono was chosen because of the relationship to Ximian. Mono is the Spanish for monkey, therefore it’s monkey culture!

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 4, 2007 at 4:01 am

    Gravatar

    The success of a platform is largely a function of it’s application developer community.

    Yes, that’s the central point of this debate. It’s a bit chicken-and-egg. But then again, we are facing the same problem when it comes to accepting binary blobs. That’s how you end up with another Mac OS X, not GNU/Linux as it was intended to be.

    Mono is the Spanish for monkey, therefore it’s monkey culture!

    :-)

    Like the phrase goes, “monkey see, monkey do.” Mimicking the competition.

  5. John Drinkwater said,

    September 4, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Gravatar

    ““Whether Microsoft litigates or not, Mono introduces uncertainty” So does projects like Samba then; imitate the SMB protocol”

    Microsoft haven’t made significant changes* to SMB, compared to IBM’s version of it, for Microsoft to have a case in litigation.

    *EU decided the changes weren’t substantial enough. Or did you miss that court outcome?

  6. Jose said,

    September 7, 2007 at 5:29 am

    Gravatar

    I think you read this from Miguel de Icaza where he claims that “OOXML is a superb standard” and that you (as a consumer/user/distributor of free software) are only safe from patent claims about mono/moonlight if you get them from Novell.

    Miguel is nothing more than PR spokesman, a lackey for Microsoft. A hypocrite.

    http://groups.google.com/group/tiraniaorg-blog-comments/browse_thread/thread/2a07b8b50038d8c8/2429b33859cf05c0#2429b33859cf05c0

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft Windows Unsafe at Any Speed, by Design

    More timely reminders that Windows is simply not designed to be secure, irrespective of version, status of patching, etc.



  2. After Moonlight Dies and Even Microsoft Abandons Silverlight, the Abusive Monopolist Keeps Pushing for Other Microsoft Lock-in, Injecting OOXML Traps Into Free Software (Moodle)

    Despite a long history of Microsoft formats being proven guarantee of digital obsolescence, Moodle allows itself to become Microsoft prey and a Trojan horse for OOXML in classrooms (for children)



  3. Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

    Links for the day



  4. Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

    Links for the day



  5. Patent Lawyers and Their Firms, Still Desperate to Protect the Status Quo, Manipulate the Media

    Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers



  6. Amid Controversy, Political Scrutiny and Increased Media Pressure Željko Topić and Benoît Battistelli Allegedly Cancel Today's Trip to Zagreb (Croatia) Where Topić Faces Many Criminal Charges

    The Croatian press comments on the recent declaration from the Council of Europe and Topić's not-so-sterling status in his home country, where he is wanted for alleged crimes



  7. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux

    By liaising with (or hijacking) existing members of the Linux Foundation, as well as by paying the Linux Foundation, Microsoft turns the Linux Foundation into somewhat of a Windows advocacy group



  8. Microsoft India Still Lobbies and Lies About Free Software in Order to Knock Down Policy That Favours Free Software

    Microsoft continues to bully Indian politicians who merely 'dare' to prefer software that India can modify, maintain, extend, audit, etc.



  9. Patent Lawyers and Corporate Media Nervous About New Patents Barrier/Reality (Less Patents on Software and Business Methods)

    The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid



  10. Translation of Pierre-Yves Le Borgn' Speech Against EPO Management and New Parliamentarian Interventions

    More political fire targeting the EPO's management, adding up to over 100 parliamentarians by now



  11. Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

    Links for the day



  12. Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

    Links for the day



  13. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  14. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  15. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  16. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  17. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  18. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  19. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  20. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  21. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  22. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  23. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  24. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  25. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  26. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  27. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  28. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  29. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  30. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts