Bonum Certa Men Certa

Canonical to Look Into the Question of Mono/Microsoft Patents in Ubuntu

Summary: Canonical responds to Mono issues

AFTER persistently ignoring those who warned about Mono, Canonical finally follows Fedora's (Red Hat's) footsteps and takes a closer look at the Mono licensing question. Here is a new statement:

Mono has been the subject of various heated discussions recently. While there is no urgent question to resolve, it seems appropriate for the TB to give it some consideration.

We recently considered the topic of alleged patent violations in some detail. Although the TB meeting in question does not appear to have been written up, logs are available here:

http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2009/03/24/%23ubuntu-meeting.html

“At present, were there to be an issue, Mono would be easy to extricate.”To summarise briefly, we will of course engage with patent holders who contact us with a claim of a patent violation in Ubuntu; the technical board is the correct point of contact for this. Although others are welcome to inform the technical board of allegations of which they have become aware, and any developer with a question or concern about a particular patent should contact the TB who will advise if they are aware of an issue, we will not in general act solely on third-party allegations or rumours. In the case of Mono, Canonical (who would bear most of the liability for any violation) does not currently believe this to be a major risk, as should be evident from the fact that it has been shipped in Ubuntu main since 5.10 and in the default desktop since 6.10.

In general, we will ship the best available free software applications, in the judgement of the relevant development team; the desktop team has responsibility for desktop application selection, as is natural. In a small number of cases, Mono applications have been selected there on their merits. At present, were there to be an issue, Mono would be easy to extricate. Making it more of a core requirement is likely to encounter some performance concerns at present anyway, since the budget for desktop startup is increasingly tight as we work on boot performance.

In short, at the moment, Mono is very well-maintained in Ubuntu and there appears to be no significant cause for concern over its IP situation. We will attempt to clarify in suitable places what developers and/or rights holders should do in the event that they have evidence of a problem.



It's a small step in the right direction. One point they seem to be missing is the strategic dangers of Mono.

Mono advances Microsoft (Windows, Visual Studio, etc.) at Ubuntu's expense. Thus, it's detrimental to everyone.

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