Thank you, Microsoft.
No, really. Thank you.
Ignore the spin from Mono/Novell blogs and think what Microsoft has just formally acknowledged, even implicitly. To reuse a belated response sent to some journalists (it was hard to reply while absent), the gist goes like this:
1. Mono — like .NET — does not correspond to an ECMA standard because it brings with it more than just the core. It puts Microsoft in better charge of developers (as in “developers developers developers developers”). Patents were never the sole issue when it comes to Mono.
2. Deviation from the ECMAs is not allowed. This is a concern we highlighted too. This ensures that Microsoft stays in control (no independence, which it may describe as “fragmentation” just to justify this policy).
3. Additional parts of Mono will ultimately be used. Projects like Banshee are sponsored by Novell and Novell only has acquired protection with a patent deal (and that too will have expired for SLE* users by January 2012). Some projects already grab portions of the ‘restricted’ parts. We gave examples before.
4. FAT had Microsoft make similar promises that Microsoft did not keep or obey when it sued TomTom. FAT needed to spread first. It is simply called “patent ambush”.
It is very important for Microsoft to ensure Mono spreads, so it is hardly surprising that amid controversy it sought to lull things. This isn’t the first time, either.
As FFII’s president just told us, “Don’t rely on promises, get a patent RAND license at email@example.com.
“I should launch a contest on the first guy who manage to get a copy of the RAND terms.”
And guess what? Richard Stallman does not appreciate Microsoft’s move either.
After one week of break (hoping that nothing significant would be missed around the US holiday), some catching up will certainly be required, so posts will probably resume tomorrow. Between the big news about Google’s OS and Mono ‘news’ (that was inflated), one very important item is this confirmatory observation which possibly shows Black Duck’s ulterior motives (maybe true colours). Did we warn about this Microsoft-sourced proprietary software company or did we not?
In the coming days we’ll post links from the past week’s news so as to encapsulate what was missed. When that’s all done, we shall resume Comes vs Microsoft exhibits. Wallclimber helps us a lot with it. █