Thanks to a couple of readers, who gave up a quick headsup on this issue, we believe that interesting new information is now available.
Curious bits about Mono licensing can be spotted in the Mono project Web site:
Why does Novell require a copyright assignment?
When a developer contributes code to the C# compiler or the Mono runtime engine, we require that the author grants Novell the right to relicense his/her contribution under other licensing terms.
This allows Novell to re-distribute the Mono source code to parties that might not want to use the GPL or LGPL versions of the code.
Particularly embedded system vendors obtain grants to the Mono runtime engine and modify it for their own purposes without having to release those changes back.
Could patents be used to completely disable Mono?
When .NET went Shared Source Miguel de Icaza talked about what it all meant. Looking at the Microsoft Reference License you find some very brow-raising phrases discussing software patents. Examples include:
(B) If you begin patent litigation against the Licensor over patents that you think may apply to the software (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit), your license to the software ends automatically.
IANAL, but nonetheless there’s something to watch out for here. We wrote about this before.
Another thing you may find suspicious is related to Novell’s copyright assignment, as mentioned above. From GNOME’s Web site, in the Evolution download page (at the bottom of the page): “Copyright © 2004-2007 Novell Inc.”
Remember that only weeks ago, Miguel de Icaza began speaking about Mono extensions for Evolution. Whatever you make out of this, all we do here is provide information.
From a discussion in Digg.com (initiated by accusations against the messenger)
Well, I actually question some of the newer parts of GNOME as well, like MONO.
They are truly constructing something that legitimizes the case for intellectual property infringement.
When some judge actually decides MONO is too much of a clone for a technilogical tool (this does not concern double-click style patents but true technology patents), the FUD due to that might back fire to all linux technology including those that are original.
If I were Microsoft i would be very happy with MONO. The trojan horse of the linux eco-system. Those actively promoting it on microsoft-sponsored-payroll (such as Novell), should have their loyalty questioned.
Richard Stallman actually wrote about this yesterday and even cited this Web site.
- ——– Original Message ——–
Subject: GNOME dependent on Mono
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 20:03:38 -0500
From: Richard Stallman rms [at] gnu.org
Reply-To: rms [at] gnu.org
To: foundation-list [at] gnome.org
I read http://boycottnovell.com/2007/11/05/gnome-mono-yelp/ with
Since I am not an expert, I cannot tell on my own if that description
of the situation is accurate. If part of it is not accurate, I hope
someone will explain. However, if it is accurate, GNOME has a serious
I have always supported the development of free platforms for C#, just
as I’ve supported the development of free platforms for any language
that users use. I also wouldn’t argue that people should not use C#
with a free platform for secondary applications.
However, making GNOME depend on Mono is running a grave risk, and a
grave mistake. If the article accurately describes the situation, I
think we need to launch a high-priority project to reimplement Yelp in
some other language.
The use of code from Firefox in a way that might cause trademark
problems is also a serious issue. The solution might not be difficult
- — it may be enough to remove the trademark in the sources used by
GNOME wherever that is necessary — but the solution does need to be
The nontechnical impact of these issues vastly exceeds the technical
impact, so considering them only in technical terms is fundamentally
misguided. In this sort of decision, the Foundation should intervene
and decide based on the nontechnical issues at stake. If those who
work for Novell tell us not to worry, we should not listen to them.
Given all the information which is presented here, how can one’s doubts be alleviated? █