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The Mono Mystery That Wasn't 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the context-is-everything dept.
jammag writes "It was shocking news, or so it seemed: Miguel de Icaza, the Mono creator, was switching his opinion about his life's work — he now seemed to agree with the free software partisans who oppose his Mono work and his Microsoft connections. The story flamed across the Internet and even got picked up on Slashdot. But Bruce Byfield reports that 'De Icaza has not changed his opinions.' De Icaza calls the rumors 'a storm in a teacup.' Tracing the misinformation trail, Byfield concludes that 'the FOSS community excels at communication. However, in this instance, that ability was used irresponsibly.'"
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The Mono Mystery That Wasn't

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  • by Aurisor (932566) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:50AM (#31627222) Homepage

    Sorry, that should read:

    We weren't excited by some faux controversy that some no-name newspaper had deleted his article. Speaking for myself and the friends I talked with, we were just mocking De Icaza for being five years behind the entire rest of the world in realizing that dragging a patent-encumbered CLR into Linux just to get some sticky notes on his desktop was a bad idea.

    That's a little bit of hyperbole, but the point remains: this guy has been smoking the good stuff.

    Yes, yes, preview first, etc etc.

  • by miguel (7116) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:02PM (#31627388) Homepage

    We have announced that our upcoming Mono release (2.8) will default to 4.0:

    http://www.mono-project.com/Roadmap [mono-project.com]

    For the first time in Mono's history our C# compiler and its supporting engine and core libraries were done before Microsoft released the product, we were usually one to two years behind. This time we are some five months ahead of time:

    http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2009/Dec-09.html [tirania.org]

    There are still a handful of loose ends here and there, but luckily, nothing major.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@NosPaM.cornell.edu> on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:17PM (#31627654) Homepage

    "Miguel at the time argued that the free software world had failed to produce any real competitor to Java or .NET style frameworks despite their absolute dominance of mainstream programming."

    Why would they need to? While initially some of the Java trademark and licensing mechanism were semi-unfriendly to open source, the situation was a LOT better than it has ever been with .NET, and is much better now.

    Instead of trying to create a competitor, the OSS community worked with Java - A lot of Java's success can likely be attributed to the participation of the OSS community. (Heck, even Miguel's blog article effectively says this with his citations of various OSS "research" projects into JIT that became mainstream.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:28PM (#31627838)

    Yes, so if you download your binaries from Novel, then you fall under that agreement.

  • by sebt3 (923707) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:28PM (#31627842)

    What's the difference between Mono and .NET? How does the liberated open source software community connect to these standards? Where does De Icaza fit in the puzzle?

    Your geek card please... Thanks

    Mono is a free implementation of the .NET infrastructure.

    De Icaza is just the one that started Mono and integrated it into Gnome.

  • by neveragain4181 (800519) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:42PM (#31628184)

    I don't think WPF is really that alive, although I agree calling it 'dead' is a bit dramatic.

    Microsoft, as is there frequent pattern, has moved on from WPF in that it's stable but won't be invested in significantly anymore.

    Example: If you take a look at the last major Microsoft conference (MIX10) then you'll see there we no new WPF features added, while a whole bunch of new Silverlight things announced. Even Microsoft realizes that the web is having an impact on their desktop UI strategy, i.e. Silverlight is way good enough and far too similar to WPF to keep two forks alive.

    Saying Silverlight is a 'subset' of a WPF is true, but misses out the portability side, i.e it has it's own run-time. It would be just as true to say that WPF is missing features that Silverlight has.

    WPF isn't dead, it's just resting. (insert parrot joke here-> )

    PS Apologies if you've bet on WPF, you should really have recognized the pattern by now...

  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:47PM (#31628280)

    Run fast, support multiple languages, provide 99.9999% secure code environments, support more than one thread executing at a time, etc, etc.

    But... Java and Python are two drastically different technologies. Python is great at what it does but it's a scripting language not a virtual platform like Java. .NET is more comparable to Java since .NET was basically cloned feature for feature from Java with some additional features added.

  • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:49PM (#31628318) Journal

    .NET is Microsoft's implementation of it's CLR (Common Language Runtime). In general anything CLR tends to be referred to as .NET.

    Mono is an open source implementation. It runs on Windows, MacOS, Linux, FreeBSD and I believe I've even seen it for HPUX. There are probably other platforms. In my experience, if your platform has a libgdi+ library available for it, mono will run most .NET apps written in Visual Studios 2003 and earlier. I'm not sure about later MS dev environments. I also don't know if libgdi+ is needed separately in all environments or just FreeBSD.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:24PM (#31628986) Homepage Journal

    Instead they specifically promised in writing not to do that.

    They most absolutely did not. They promised not to annihilate any 100% compatible implementations [slashdot.org].

  • by dclozier (1002772) on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:28PM (#31629052)
    Microsoft's patent pledge is a bit shallow. Bradley Kuhn [softwarefreedom.org] wrote:

    A careful examination of Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Non-Compensated Developers reveals that it has little value. The patent covenant only applies to software that you develop at home and keep for yourself; the promises don't extend to others when you distribute. You cannot pass the rights to your downstream recipients, even to the maintainers of larger projects on which your contribution is built..Further, to qualify for the pledge, a developer must remain unpaid for her work. Experience has shown that many FOSS developers eventually expand their work into for-profit consulting. Others are hired by companies that allow or encourage Free Software development on company time. In either situation, Microsoft's patent pledge is voided for that developer..Even if the patent pledge were to have some use aside from these problems, our community simply could not rely on it, since Microsoft has explicitly reserved the right to change its terms at any time in the future. A developer relying on the pledge could wake up any day to find it revoked. She'd have to cease development on her non-commercial and (mostly) non-distributable modifications that were previously subject to the covenant.

    I'm sure that as long as companies follow in Novell's footsteps they'll be fine.

  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday March 26, 2010 @02:33PM (#31630192)

    Java's virtual machine (specially Sun/OpenJDK) is much more advanced than Python's (CPython).

    Python takes a bytecode and then executes the one or more native instructions it takes to fulfill the purpose of the bytecode instruction. And that's basically all it does.

    Java takes the bytecode instruction and compiles into a native format and uses thats for future executions. In addition, it does many other types of optimizations to increase the execution speed. You can run Java in a purely interpreted mode like Python does, pass the -Xint argument on the command line to the java instance. You'll notice it's 10000x slower than the optimized execution paths.

    Java's class library is primarily Java code, whereas Python wraps native libraries for much of this work. Both methods have their pros and cons, but it means Python can be prone to more issues regarding different system libraries, etc. Since Java provides it's own virtual platform with most of the code in Java, you don't have these issues as often.

    Java also allows for true threading, whereas Python threads are limited by the global interpreter lock preventing you from getting real performance gains from asynchronous execution. You have to resort to multiple python processes to take advantage of multicore processors for example.

  • by D4MO (78537) on Friday March 26, 2010 @02:45PM (#31630370)

    Visual Studio 2010, a core flagship MS product, is written in WPF [onedotnetway.com].

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday March 26, 2010 @03:44PM (#31631252) Journal

    Most new features have been announced on PDC'2008. Since then, there has been a public beta of VS2010 / .NET 4 in May 2009, a second one in October 2009, and RC in February 2010.

    It's still impressive that they have implemented it all in slightly over a year, but there is no mystery here.

    There haven't been any updates to Ecma-335/335 so far. This doesn't preclude Mono from having an ASP.NET implementation, though - in fact, it's probably the single non-Ecma library that Mono has the best (most compatible etc) implementation of, and had for a while.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:43PM (#31634264) Homepage

    So a half-assed internet search uncovered a patent that covers the architecture for networked applications in .NET. And that's not good enough for you? How did that go again? "As far as anyone knows, Mono has no patent issues... except the one I found in two minutes of googling. But I'm sure that's it."

    Yeah whatever.

    I'm not doing "diligence" because I'd never set my foot in that bear trap in the first place.

  • by fejjie (192392) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:02PM (#31634964)

    Wow, you fail at reading comprehension. Miguel has never claimed that Mono *doesn't* infringe on patents because he can't be 100% certain that it doesn't, it's not the same as knowing that it *does*.

    No one has been able to point us (the Mono team) at a single patent that we may infringe. Not one. You'd think, with all the rabidly anti-Mono trolls such as yourself, that one of you, after 9 years, would have come up with at least 1 solid patent infringement claim, but no.

    Same old vague hand waiving claiming we infringe patents that you can't point to but just *know* exist. Sorta like some people claim to *know* that God really exists, or like many children believe with all their heart that Santa Clause really exists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @11:24AM (#31639690)

    SilverLight is a subset of WPF.

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