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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2007/09/03/mono-patent-de-icaza/

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. Links 14/5/2021: KDE Plasma 5.22 Beta and GNOME 40 in Gentoo

    Links for the day



  2. Audio: “Unjust Computing Clamps Down” by Richard Stallman

    The FSF has finally uploaded the LibrePlanet talk of Richard Stallman



  3. Links 13/5/2021: KDE Gear 21.04.1 and LibreOffice 7.0.6

    Links for the day



  4. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 4: The President of the Boards of Appeal

    A deeper look into the ‘sausage factory’ that is EPO tribunals certainly helps us understand the inherent bias of many decisions, including a recent decision on European software patents like a controversial simulation patent



  5. Judging the Judges

    Today we shall take a closer look at Carl Josefsson, a person who shall become a figure of interest if he sends EPO courts to the United States in clear violation of the EPC (looking to rubber-stamp an unlawful decision already made before this case even started)



  6. When EU Authorities Tell You to Complain to the EPO Itself About EPO Privacy Violations...

    “Kafkaesque” at the EPO; Kafka could do a whole novel about the flirtations with or affairs of ‘justice’ at the EPO



  7. The Need for Reliable Governance at Freenode

    Why the current and high-profile (albeit somewhat covert) owner of the network, who seems to care about Free software (it has made him very wealthy), should put the whole thing in reliable hands and not attempt to 'monetise' it in any way



  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 12, 2021



  9. Andrew Lee of Private Internet Access/London Trust Media Increasingly Owns and Controls Freenode (Updatedx2)

    The details about Freenode ownership and control are explained in a resignation letter urging users to move to another network



  10. [Meme] eBPF is Not Microsoft's, But It's Certainly Googlebombed by Microsoft

    eBPF isn't Microsoft's. But sites that work closely with Microsoft keep mentioning that term as if Microsoft created it and champions it (typical tactics).



  11. Links 13/5/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.3 on Finer Hardware, AMI Dabbling in Free Firmware

    Links for the day



  12. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 3: The Current Line-up

    The composition of the Enlarged Board for case no. G 1/21



  13. System76’s First Keyboard Packs in Plenty of Surprises

    Putting the genie back in the bottle is hard, and moreover the corrective post from Joey Sneddon may cause a bit of a 'Streisand Effect'



  14. Links 12/5/2021: HAProxy Data Plane API 2.3 and Mousepad 0.5.5

    Links for the day



  15. IBM is Destroying Red Hat, Squeezing Red Hat's Work for Cash, Laying Off Staff, and Asking Staff to Resign

    Layoffs are not a new thing at IBM (hardly so in the past couple of decades or more), but they're oversensitive about the Red Hat agenda



  16. [Meme] Longing for the Original IP Kat...

    It would be nice to see more posts critical of injustice at the EPO, as we've just noted



  17. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 2: Just Another Pro Forma Rubber-Stamping Exercise?

    Half a decade after Benoît Battistelli ‘kidnapped’ and then defamed judges (it started in 2014) António Campinos has done nothing to restore lawfulness at the EPO, as controversial referral case G 1/21 shows; in fact, they recently approved European software patents after pressure from Campinos himself



  18. Why I'm Using Just a Landline and Recalling My Richard Stallman (RMS) Interview on Working Locally or How the Signal Processor in Phones is a De Facto Back Door

    A longer-than-expected rant about what mobile phones have turned into and a look back at (or listen to) what Richard Stallman (RMS) told me way back in 2013



  19. The European Campinos Award

    The campinos (peasants) of Europe shall gather around for another ceremony championing farmers and nurses... or not



  20. Personal Thoughts About the EPO 'Kangaroo Court' Scandal

    Some unscripted and unedited thoughts about the current EPO scandal/series, which shows intervention such as stacking by António Campinos, continuing the tradition of Benoît Battistelli with his attacks on justice itself



  21. Doing Justice by Reporting Injustice

    Europe's second-largest institution, helped by Europe's largest, is engaging in a massive attack on the very concept of the Rule of Law and incredibly enough the so-called 'press' (or 'media') doesn't report on it



  22. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 11, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 11, 2021



  23. Links 12/5/2021: New Audacity and Musescore Owner Named, Microsoft May Lose "JEDI" (Trump's 'Bailout Package')

    Links for the day



  24. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 1: Rumours of a Kangaroo Court at EPOnia

    EPO's President Benoît Battistelli viciously attacked judges and slandered judges; António Campinos adopts a more 'soft power' approach, but nevertheless the impact is the same



  25. Bill Gates Exposed

    While publishers like ZDNet worked hard (on Microsoft's budget) to distract us from real scandals many nefarious things were happening; are we witnessing the fall of Gates?



  26. Welcome to ZDNet's 'Linux' Section...

    ZDNet, which defamed RMS to help distract from Bill Gates scandals, is doing what the sponsors (IBM, Microsoft, Linux Foundation) pay for



  27. Europe's Second-Largest Institution, the EPO, is Partly Based in the United States

    The EPO has outsourced its operations, including its 'courts', to the United States; this seems to be the so-called 'New Normal'



  28. You Look for Linux News and Instead It's Microsoft Noise and Openwashing

    Imagine trying to go about doing your own 'business', only to be confronted by paid-for plugs (sponsored) by the people trying to undercut/undermine your business; welcome to "Linux" in 2021



  29. Links 11/5/2021: Maui 1.2.2 and Tor Releases

    Links for the day



  30. The Next Generation of Free Software (or Software Freedom) Activism, Tackling Newer Problems

    New challenges as labour rights and human rights are further eroded, thanks to 'high' 'tech' with its very 'innovative' 'features'


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

Recent Posts