Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patent Alert: Is GNOME Growing a .NET Dependency?

Please allow me to start off by stating that love GNOME. I use KDE most of the time (at work and at home), but I used to be using GNOME more regularly and I love it very much. The choice it offers berings benefit to everybody.

I am only posting this only because certain information needs to reach people's attention, no matter how inconvenient it may be. Many times in the past we repeated the alarming argument that Novell is turning its Linux desktop into a .NET-rich platform. It appears to be a matter of strategy, based on some recent interviews with Novell executives. Is it a good strategy? Probably not. The main issue is not the fact that Microsoft controls and extends .NET. The main issue is software patents, which bring monetisation (or "taxation") into the equation. Say No to Mono Amid a discussion (and purely by serendipity), something strange was realised. information that I received from someone who wishes to remain anonymous began with the sarcastic statement that "apparently there is considerable effort under way by the Gnome team, to poison Gnome by completely rewriting it in C#!!! Thank you Miguel de Icaza."

To paraphrase the person, "this turned out to be a tongue-in-cheek remark, but it isn't far from the truth". This person is a maintainer of a major Linux distribution. He has sufficient knowledge and credibility to be worth trusting, but please post a correction if we are wrong. I requested some references, which he kindly provided:

Here's some historical references:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/02/01/gnome_to_be_based/ http://linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reviews/6232/1/

As a test, install Fedora 7 using the defaults, then (post-install) try to remove the gtk-sharp and mono-core packages. Chaos ensues. It rips out half the system.

And this on a distro where the original maintainers *swore* they would never let mono enter the tree. Now it is poisoned beyond repair.

It's only a matter of time before the Gnome core libs will be mono dependant, I'd stake my life of that fact. I'm ready to ditch Gnome permanently.


I decided to make the person aware of Novell's big plans for .NET (Mono). To this, the reply was:

God help them.

I think one can safely assume that Novell are now working almost exclusively to Microsoft's agenda. If it comes from Novell, it is irreparably tainted.


I wish to believe that GNOME developers will not be persuaded or lured into more Mono dependencies. Other distributions use GNOME. KDE received some Mono bindings a couple of weeks ago, but there has never been any of this at the core, let alone in the build.

Surely, the patent system in the United States has gone completely out of hand. While centralization of .NET control remains an important factor, let the insane court battles teach you a lesson. At the end of last week we saw two important rulings. The first one was a dismissal of an appeal. It is a very serious case that involves a ban.

A U.S. appeals court on Friday dismissed Qualcomm's appeal of an order by a federal trade agency banning some cellular telephones containing Qualcomm chips.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said it lacked jurisdiction over an order by the U.S. International Trade Commission because Qualcomm has a request pending before the Bush administration asking it to invalidate the decision.

"An ITC determination does not become final for purposes of judicial review until the president has either approved of the determination or failed to disapprove within 60 days," the court said.


The second case speaks about a defeat where obviousness could not be refuted.

In its third opinion of the day designated precedential, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences once again affirmed an examiner's obviousness rejections. Specifically, the Board found that Appellant's apparatus incorporating bioauthentication and a consumer electronics device was an obvious solution to a known problem, as all elements of the claims other than the bioauthentication device were found in one prior art reference, a second reference disclosed the bioauthentication devices in a related context, and a third disclosed that they could be substituted for each other. The BPAI appears to have fully embraced its new "flexibility" in determining obviousness in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in KSR.


At times when patent madness thrives in the United States, one must keep an eye open. GPLv3 is needed here, or at least eradication of absurdly-patented ideas. Please refrain from contaminating GNOME with Microsoft-patented technology.

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