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Can Recent MS Patents Affect Mono and DotGNU? 410

5p1urge asks: "I really love the Mono and DotGNU projects. As someone who's worked in Java for for over 5 years, I welcome C# and it's buddies to the OpenSource world. However, here's question: as far as I can tell, only the C# spec and System.* assemblies were submitted to ECMA and therefore made officially public. What happens when MS decides that, Linux -is- going to steal valuable income-generating business, and therefore it should use it's newly acquired patents to sue? I'd appreciate comments from IT lawyers / solicitors and individuals with experience in this area, as well as from the wider community. I'm asking this question because I want to code in mono / DotGnu but I'm cautious because I wonder if MS can take it away from us?"
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Can Recent MS Patents Affect Mono and DotGNU?

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  • Nope (Score:3, Funny)

    by Amsterdam Vallon ( 639622 ) <amsterdamvallon2003@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:39PM (#6960173) Homepage
    Software patents will soon see their death.

    It's only a matter of time before the processing of such irrational IP-related legal claims becomes impossible.

    Which, of course, doesn't matter anyway because companies like Microsoft have made stealing ideas so profitable that they should have a patent on it.
    • " Software patents will soon see their death."

      If the dumb idea of software patents wasn't already on its deathbed Microsoft looks to be pushing it into the grave. What the RIAA is doing for copyright Microsoft will do for software patents.
    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:53PM (#6960266) Homepage Journal
      Software patents will soon see their death.

      er, why would you think that? intellectual property has only become stronger over the last 20, 100, 500 years.

      government regulation of economic rights parallels economic growth. when agriculture became the dominant economic model, feudalism and land-rights became entrenched. when capitalism and the industrial revolution made their debut, property rights becamed enshrined by the state. now that we are heading into a "post-industrial" (don't blame me for that phrase), information-based economy, intellectual property rights will becomed entrenched.

      let's face it: the opensource folks like us are the diggers and godwinists of the information revolution. we will impact the nature of property rights, but not abolish them.

      doubt me? read up on the diggers [bilderberg.org] and william godwin [stanford.edu]. sounds like the oss movement today, right?

      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

        by deepchasm ( 522082 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:21PM (#6960439)

        Software patents will soon see their death
        er, why would you think that?

        Come on! Even Bill Gates knows this one:

        "If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."

        Bill Gates
        • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

          by mufasio ( 304185 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @12:52AM (#6961415)
          Come on! Even Bill Gates knows this one:

          "If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today."
          Bill Gates


          You forgot the most important part of this quote...

          "The solution ... is patenting as much as we can ... A future start-up with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose."

          Therefore, I don't think Bill Gates knows this one, he seems to be all for patents.
        • Re:Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

          by t0ny ( 590331 )
          What happens when MS decides that, Linux -is- going to steal valuable income-generating business, and therefore it should use it's newly acquired patents to sue?

          And exactly what precident are you using as the basis for your reasoning? To my knowledge, MS has never done any kind of bait-and-switch with their IP (unlike Rambus/Intel, for example, or even Apple). Furthermore, I cant really seeing them do so in the future either.

          The problem with all you "when Linux rules the world" people is that you view

      • Take it another level that thoughout history mankind has been expanding. And thoughout it we have pretty much reproduced, killed (either ourselfs or other things), grew, and thought in that order.

        Growth always seems to always come before thought. I mean we are still even reproducing or killing even before we get to growth, what little time we have left for thought is like enought to get us were we are now. With more ways to kill ourselfs than ways to advance ourselfs. I mean I'm not trying to be too ne
      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:37PM (#6960791) Homepage Journal
        why would you think that? intellectual property has only become stronger over the last 20, 100, 500 years.

        Of course, it hasn't been a steady advance, and there have been occasional major setbacks to the progression.

        For example, a bit over 200 years back, there was a revolution in North America, and when a new Constitution was established, it restricted "IP" to a short time, and only when it advances the arts and sciences. Some economists and historians have claimed that this was one of the major reasons the US became the world's biggest economic power. Of course, now this has mostly been cancelled by recent laws extending patent and copyright indefinitely, and allowing them for rather silly "inventions". So the US's technical lead is probably ended, at least for the near future.

        But it's always possible we'll see another such revolution, either in the US or in another part of the world that wants to take the lead in technology while the US strangles its own creative folks. It has happened before, after all; there's no reason to believe it can't ever happen again.

        • Re:Nope (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Moridineas ( 213502 )

          For example, a bit over 200 years back, there was a revolution in North America, and when a new Constitution was established, it restricted "IP" to a short time, and only when it advances the arts and sciences. Some economists and historians have claimed that this was one of the major reasons the US became the world's biggest economic power.



          Like who? I'd love to be able to cite reputable historians and the like on American development when discussing IP growth.

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:55PM (#6960276) Homepage
      I wish too that software patents would meet their end, however such thinking currently is nothing more then a dream. For software patents to truly be defeated there would need to be serious and repeated challenges to them, and of those challenges thus far none have had enough force to do what we want to see happen. Keep on dreaming for now, because for the time being, software patents are a reality and here to stay for the forcible future, just like the DMCA I'm afraid.

      Despite the fact that every word I said above is factual... I know I am going to get flamed for this so... let er rip...
      • I can't patent "A Device that Catches Small Animals", but I can patent "An Improved Device for Capturing Small Animals by Use of Magical Cheese" in the hardware world. In the software world, I can go so far as to patent "Magical Cheese" without the recipe for said cheese or an investigation into my magical bacteria.

        We don't need to do completely away with software patents any more than we need to do away with all patents. We need to make both reasonable.

        By reasonable, I mean non-profit groups should be exempt, patents should last 2-5 years depending upon the technology involved, and nothing that significantly advances a previous technology should fall under that technology's patent.

        Patents should spawn innovation in exchange for the disclosure of the underlying technology. They shouldn't hold innovation hostage for decades to come.
  • by Treeluvinhippy ( 545814 ) <liquidsorcery@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:39PM (#6960174)
    but I sure as hell wouldn't be giving them ideas.
  • *sniff* (Score:3, Funny)

    by inkedmn ( 462994 ) <inkedmn@ i n k e d m n . c om> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:42PM (#6960199) Homepage
    i smell something SCO-ish brewing here...
  • by rkz ( 667993 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:43PM (#6960207) Homepage Journal
    Ballmer, Allchin and others have made it clear many times that they are using these patents to pursue the strategy against open source software outlined in the halloween papers. Patents are a not new way for software makers to gain control over other people's intellectual property. And not a common one at all. There are not many software makers which have engaged in an extensive patenting strategy like Microsoft. Most of the extensive patenters are large hardware makers. Microsoft was the only software maker at the 1994 USPTO hearings that advocated software patents.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:33PM (#6960773)
      Microsoft uses its patents as a hedge against OTHER companies using their patents against Microsoft.

      That's why you'll see cross licensing agreements between Apple and Microsoft and IBM etc.; Microsoft had to catch up in that respect actually since its patent portfolio wasn't a priority for a long time.

      Microsoft along with those other big players don't tend to litigate and push their patents because they simply don't need to. They create intellectual property and through licensing agreements they can still share it amongst each other (sometimes grudgingly, but they don't want to get into a huge countersuit war on other patents they're "infringing" on).

      It's only the little guys who have one patent and nothing to lose in a countersuit who will sue everybody to hell -- those are the true stiflers of innovation.
  • Yes! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twistedcubic ( 577194 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:46PM (#6960219)

    I'm asking this question because I want to code in mono / DotGnu but I'm cautious because I wonder if MS can take it away from us?"

    Yes, MS can take it away from you, but you know this already. Why not just code in .NET instead, or whatever it's called?
    • Re:Yes! (Score:3, Insightful)

      I can't tell if you're trying to be funny, so I'll respond as if you're not.

      I wouldn't code anything new in .NET, because am hesitant to lock myself into using a closed-source foundation for a project of any significant size. At a company I used to work for, we had used a closed-source component in a very central way (in a lot of places) in a very large project. On at least one occasion we ran into a bug in the component that was difficult to work around. Since we didn't have the source, we couldn't fi
    • by Latent Heat ( 558884 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @12:12AM (#6961220)
      Patents could be used to tie mono/.Gnu up in knots. The idea is that if you develop for .NET/Windows you should be darned well tied to Windows instead of traipsing off into Linux or whatever.

      OK, Windows is Microsoft's flagship OS, and they want to defend their turf. So, lets say developers and their customers pay MS the required tithe. If you play this software game too far, is there any room for little-guy developers of even Windows itself?

      When MS started out with DOS and then with Windows, I think they went to great lengths to get "mindshare" of developers: MSDN, Visual Basic for applications programmers, VC++ for heavy-metal programmers, and so on. And then you had all the "third parties." Where would the PC have been without Lotus 123? Where would programming languages on the PC be without Borland? It is said that MS treatment of developers is what sunk OS/2. IBM was charging an arm-and-a-leg for OS/2 development tools at a time when MS was handing tools out at conferences to get developers to forgo OS/2 and develop for Win32.

      But a good part of MS was that they fostered 3rd party developers, but when you got big enough they either bought you out or squashed you.

      So having good developer relations was important to the growth of Windows and Microsoft, and the fact that there were a lot of people besides Microsoft writing apps for Windows was part of what was so great about Windows, especially since early iterations of Microsoft compilers, spread sheets, and other apps were pretty lame.

      But now the development tools all cost an arm and a leg, and with software patents as a club, what size developer will Microsoft tolerate. If you are selling a recipe program written in VB to a handful of friends, you will be off the radar, but at what market size does MS these days decide they want all of that market.

      More importantly, if independent software developers are all put out of business through the enforcement of IP, how is MS going to develop new markets through their usual strategy of buying out or squashing out the pioneers. MS has in the past been pretty clumsy in all their attempts at new markets and has depended on acquisition (can you say Anders Hejlsberg? I knew you could!).

      Besides choking off small developers, at what point is MS going to shoot themselves in the foot?

  • by contrasutra ( 640313 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:48PM (#6960231) Journal
    inux -is- going to steal valuable income-generating business, and therefore it should use it's newly acquired patents to sue? Are they going to use their patents? Yes. Thats why the got them. If they wanted everyone to use .NET, they wouldnt have patented it.
  • by AEton ( 654737 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:49PM (#6960237)

    I welcome C# and it's buddies to the OpenSource world.

    looked suspiciously like "I for one welcome our new C# overlords." the first and second times I read it.

  • by Pov ( 248300 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:54PM (#6960268)
    Microsoft has never made money on its development tools and I don't think they're betting they will now so there would be little reason to pull the leash on C# development tools and the language itself. C#'s purpose is to sell Windows Server 2003 and the other .NET servers as well. If you use Linux to write C# for a Windows server, that's a happy day for M$. Now, running .aspx pages on a non-Windows-based server on the other hand . . .
    • by leshert ( 40509 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:20PM (#6960723) Homepage
      Definitely not true. Microsoft's first products were languages, and until the mid-1990s, it was their cash cow.

      Office and consumer OSs are definitely the current cash cow, but I believe that the Dev Tools group is still in the black. It's not easy to figure out exactly how much they pull in from tools because in their financials it's lumped in a bunch of other things. However, in their latest 10k, revenue from "developer tools, training, certification, Microsoft Press and other services" was listed at US$1.016 BILLION. Yes, with a B.

      How much of that is actual developer tools isn't clear, but that group as a whole (which includes CALs, licensing, etc.) made US$1.409 billion last year, and they're estimating US$1.848 billion this year.
  • Parrot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nucleon500 ( 628631 ) <tcfelker@example.com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:54PM (#6960274) Homepage
    Well, I think making open-source implementations of .NET is a good idea, but it's certainly not ideal. As I'm sure the Samba, WINE, and OpenOffice.org developers would agree, maintaining compatibility with a standard controlled by any hostile party, especially Microsoft, is an uphill battle. I don't predict legal battles, as Microsoft hasn't done that yet, but Microsoft will continue to play the upgrade game, changing the standards and generally making things difficult.

    I'm waiting for Parrot [parrotcode.org] to mature. It's a register-oriented bytecode interpreter, designed for Perl 6, but with other languages in the wings. When it gets Perl's libraries, Ruby's syntax, real threads, and great speed, I think it will do well.

    • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:58PM (#6960299) Homepage Journal
      Fixed your post...unless you seriously think that you can have all four together. And if you do, I want some of what you're smoking!
    • Re:Parrot (Score:3, Interesting)

      by horster ( 516139 )
      me too! especially since, Inferno OS, also a register based vm seems to be quite a lean and elegant appraoch. if parrot can pick up some of their threading system, then I think it will be a real winner. certainly the thought given to inter-language interropability is quite interesting.

      yes it may take a bit to mature, but so what, the direction I think is good, not a copy of ms tech.
    • Parrot vs Python (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:49PM (#6960852) Homepage

      Dan, the author of the Parrot VM, has a bet with Pythong's Guido van Rossum. Dan bet Guido that Parrot can execute pure Python bytecode faster than the Python interpreter can. The battle will be decided at OSCON 2004 in Portland, OR. He sounds pretty confident:

      "Boys and girls, let's get this straight. I'm only going to say this once. Parrot is an order of magnitude faster than perl 5 doing equivalent things. Without enabling any extraordinary measures. You know how Python's performance rates against Perl 5. Do the math."

      Dan's blog entry about the bet: http://www.sidhe.org/~dan/blog/archives/000139.htm l [sidhe.org]
  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:56PM (#6960283) Homepage Journal
    I would suggest to you that perhaps you should concentrate your efforts on freely available programming languages and protocols instead. Python is steadily gaining ground as an embedded scripting solution and more and more sites are turning to Perl so this will boost your employability.

    As far as microsoft goes: man who sleeps with gates wakes up as goatse.
    • and more and more sites are turning to Perl

      As a Perl-head myself, I wondered where this statement comes from. To me, it seems, a lot of people on smaller projects and at the "lower end" are ditching Perl for PHP. In terms of pure number, I'd imagine PHP is growing a lot more than Perl.
      • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:25PM (#6960457)
        I would have to agree you don't see much perl in web applications any longer. I have one chunk of perl left on a web site I maintain and the next time I have to mess with it I am converting that as well.

        And python is my favorite choice for anything not related to web development. It is by far the most productive and maintainable language for business work.
        • And python is my favorite choice for anything not related to web development

          Why not we? Have you ever tried Zope [zope.org]?

          • The problem with Zope is that with win32 you have two choices: instally cygwin/python with a ton of extraneous packaging, or ActiveState ActivePython wich appears to feature subtle proprietary incompatibilities that would certainly make running anything as complex as Zope out of the question.

            Zope may well be a good Unix solution, but I don't believe that it is for everybody.
        • I would have to agree you don't see much perl in web applications any longer.

          Hugh. Odd. I'm seeing it more and more.

          mod_perl/Mason just took over Amazon. I see lots of signs of perl all over the web - basically anyone who doesn't drink MS koolaid and isn't into Java for whatever reason is using Perl. There's a huge hobbyist contingent that likes PHP, because it is a little easier to get started with for http related stuff, and companies like Yahoo whom for whatever reason went with it. (I'm not diss

      • by axxackall ( 579006 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:43PM (#6960548) Homepage Journal
        I'd imagine PHP is growing a lot more than Perl.

        That's happen before Zope [zope.org] became mature. Now the situation is turned for PHP. For example, the author of two famous PHP books and the original developer of the famous NeoBoard [neoboard.net] portal rewrote the whole thing from PHP to Zope.

        • Now the situation is turned for PHP. For example, the author of two famous PHP books and the original developer of the famous NeoBoard portal rewrote the whole thing from PHP to Zope.

          If Zope is open-source, why not port the Zope framework over to PHP?

          My observation is that Python/Zope is where the OO fans tend to go, and PHP is where the paradigm agnostic go. OO agnostics using PHP would probably not be too warm to Zope.

          (And I just wish PHP would add named parameters.)
          • If Zope is open-source, why not port the Zope framework over to PHP?

            Very interesting logic: every open source project must be implemented in PHP.

            Zope is a seriously designed application server. The major concept of Zope is to separate aspects. OOP is important concept but it is not the concept theat the programmer is forced to use exclusively. Also, in Zope the stateful and stateless content is managed dynamically. That requires often functions as first class objects. Zope templates include (but not li

  • It's simple... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dazk ( 665669 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @08:57PM (#6960288)
    Don't do it.

    I don't like the development of Mono and DotGnu anyways. Think about it. Gnome started in part because some people didn't like the QT license. A "problem" that is now resolved with QT being GPL licensed and a contract that will put it under a BSD-style license once Trolltech decides to stop working on it or is going out of business.

    Mono on the other hand reproduces MS technology that MS apperantly doesn't want to be open despite it's (marketing) efforts to standardize a subset of the Framework. I think developing with/for mono is counterproductive since it allows possibly great Opensource software to be used with Windows, taking away another reason for people to switch or even consider a switch. Because only a subset of .NET is halfopen, a great bit of .NET software won't run on linux anyways, which reduces the weight of one of the arguments for Mono significantly.

    While .NET might even be an interesting technology, community based (partial) support will only benefit Microsoft. It will add additional Software for Windows but probably only few Applications will arrive for Linux, since producing applications with a small subset of the API will be more work. Considering that a commercial QT license is not that expensive for businesses developing software compared to the labour cost, and the very few applications using this powerfull toolkit for easy multiplatform development, I really can't see many companies limiting themselves to the subset of .NET to create applications that also run on Linux.

    So in the end it should be clear, don't support Mono by developing applications for/with it.
    • Re:It's simple... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by adrianbaugh ( 696007 )
      Your argument seems to be that only those people using Open Source opersting systems should be able to use other Open Source software. Why should this be? Would you prevent people using the GNU tools under Windows, or cygwin, or GIMP on Windows? While I think it's great when I see someone switch to Linux, the reason I think it's great is just that that person will have a better computing experience.
      In the end, everyone is free to use the tools that suit them best. If they happen to find a combination of Wi
    • Re:It's simple... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by absurdhero ( 614828 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:14PM (#6960394) Homepage
      What does QTs license change years ago have to do with making a mono and dotgnu creating webservice platforms and C# portability?

      I understand your concerns about mono helping microsoft, one can say the same thing about php and perl helping the MS server platform, gcc supporting MS development, and frozen bubble making windows a better gaming platform. This argument is old and has little effect in the real world.

      You seem to no nothing about DotGNU. The project's goal is to create a free software web platform in much the same way the GNU project set out to create a free unix-like platform. One could argue that GNU/Linux has helped SCO, ATT, or HP to improve their commercial unix, but somehow I think they would all disagree.

      And to revisit your issues with mono, claiming that C# and MSIL support for linux is helping microsoft more than it is helping anyone else is similar to saying that java support on linux is only good for Sun. I just don't see the evidence or reasoning.

      Your tie in with QT makes no sense. I think you are missing something important. QT and GTK+ are completely unrelated to the webservice and binary portability arenas where mono and dotgnu are. Incidentally, there are libraries to use QT and GTK+ from C#.
      • Re:It's simple... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dazk ( 665669 )
        > What does QTs license change years ago have to do
        > with making a mono and dotgnu creating webservice
        > platforms and C# portability?

        Nothing at first. My intention was to highlight that in the past, far less dangerous license problems led to the Gnome project and ironically now, one of the major supporters of Gnome, Ximian, is heavily backing Mono and even somewhat pushing Mono towards Gnome.

        > one can say the same thing about php and perl
        > helping the MS server platform, gcc supporting
        >
    • Re: It's simple... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gidds ( 56397 )
      Mono on the other hand reproduces MS technology that MS apperantly doesn't want to be open despite it's (marketing) efforts to standardize a subset of the Framework.

      Indeed. Does anyone else get the impression that M$ is getting other folk to code up, for free, their bait in a massive bait-and-switch operation?

    • Re:It's simple... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drkich ( 305460 ) *
      So development of open source should not really be percued for the windows operating system. Because in your own words,

      "I think developing with/for mono is counterproductive since it allows possibly great Opensource software to be used with Windows, taking away another reason for people to switch or even consider a switch."

      I have to disagree with you there. You personally may think that the whole purpose of open source is to promote Linux to the uninitiated. I disagree.

      Freedom is the reason for Op

  • by boatboy ( 549643 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:02PM (#6960321) Homepage
    Could be wrong, but I think Microsoft actually "sees the light" in some respects, especially when it comes to a development platform. It makes sense- it builds a larger base of developers using .NET. Maybe not to the degree /.ers would want, but judging by the amount of open-source sites and projects that have a Microsoft affiliation, I think they're moving more that way.

    As for "just System.*" being an open standard, it's important to realize that comprises all of .NET. Other libraries build on that functionality (such as Microsoft Application Blocks), but the entire core functionality is in System.*
    • by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @12:43AM (#6961374)
      "but I think Microsoft actually "sees the light" in some respects, especially when it comes to a development platform."

      I don't know. I am trying hard to think of a company that partnered with MS and didn't get backstabbed and for the life of me I can't think of one. I am sure each and every one of those companies said to themselves "I think MS acually sees the light now and despite what they did to those other companies I am sure they won't screw us".
  • A few thoughts.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by revividus ( 643168 ) <phil.crissman@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:05PM (#6960338) Homepage
    Mono seems to me to be a good idea, mostly because it will enable people who have invested a lot of time into learning it to consider switching to developing for Linux without having to learn whole new languages. Will that actually happen? I suppose only time will tell...

    Another thought. Suppose they did `take it away'. What good will that do them? How many languages are there which duplicate or mimic large portions of basic C syntax and structures? It seems to me that all the Mono folks would need to do is declare that they were developing a new language using syntax similar to C#.

    They could call it `D-flat'. :-)

    • Just so you know, C# is a (open) language standard, and has very little to do with the .NET framework other than they were announced at the same time, and developed by the same people.

      The .NET framework isn't a language so much as, well, a framework. It's very much like the Java platform if you didn't limit yourself to programming for it only in Java. Only the .NET platform has the advantage of the developers having observed all the mistakes made with the Java platform, so they managed to avoid most of tho
  • by cheesedog ( 603990 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:07PM (#6960350)
    As a note, the reason Microsoft continually goes to ECMA for standardization is that ECMA doesn't require that "standardized" specifications be immune from patent protection. From my understanding, it doesn't matter what is and isn't in the spec -- Microsoft can claim patent rights on any novel* pieces of .NET that they want.

    *and of course, the the USPTO, "novel" means "anything a 18-month old baby couldn't have authored."

  • PARC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Izago909 ( 637084 ) <tauisgod.gmail@com> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:09PM (#6960359)
    Too bad the people at PARC did't patent the idea of a graphic windowing operating system. Where do you think Jobs and Gates got the idea? You very well could be buying your OS from Xerox.
  • Call me stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:15PM (#6960399)
    What on earth is so great about .NET and or Mono. I see absolutely nothing about it that would make me desire to code with it.

    Is it faster? No

    Is Development Faster ? No

    Is it cross platform ? No

    Does it do things that other languages cannot? No

    Is it Encumbered By Patents? Yes

    Sure makes me want to use it....
    • Re:Call me stupid (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dazk ( 665669 )
      > Is it faster? No
      Compared to what? Plain C, compiled by a highly optimizing compiler for a certain platform? No, of course not. JAVA? Maybe. Interpreted languages without bytecode support? Maybe.

      > Is Development Faster ? No
      Yes, on Winodws with visual studio. At least compared to plain C with a texteditor. This also requires use of all the non open stuff of course.

      > Is it cross platform ? No
      In theory yes, which makes it seem interesting at first. But:

      > Is it Encumbered By Patents? Yes
      Yes. Tha
      • But you still have not given me a reason to use it....In order to make the time investment it has to offer something better which it clearly does not. From what I know about it which is a fair amount just straight python stomps a mud hole in it.
        • But you still have not given me a reason to use it....In order to make the time investment it has to offer something better which it clearly does not.

          Um, a lot of companies in Austin have it on their "skill required" list, and the Austin outlook for paying jobs right now is close to zip-point-squat. That's a good reason.

          Perhaps it's the only reason. But it's still a reason.

          DT

          • Now that is a interesting point you have made. I had a recruiter call me the other week, she also asked me if I had .net experience. Some company was needing someone to build a manufacturing system, something that I have a great deal of expertise in. I told her if they want to build a system out of software barely tested enough to be called beta I want nothing to do with it.
    • Re:Call me stupid (Score:5, Informative)

      by Baavgai ( 598847 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:50PM (#6960579) Homepage
      I wont say stupid, but probably biased.

      I'm a programmer / project manager ( / DBA, etc. ) for a very small shop. We write in house programs for specific industry requirements.

      We've done stuff in Java; as an OOP advocate, I love Java. As project manager, I get blank stares from programmers that want the equivalent of visual basic to work in. We've now standardized on C#.NET. The programmers still look a little lost when I emphasize OO practices, but they're real happy with Visual Studio to hold their hands.

      So,

      Is it faster? Perhaps.
      Remember, in a rich client GUI environment, .NET can leverage native OS architecture quite efficiently. It simply blows Java Swing away in this area.

      Is Development Faster ? YES.
      Bash them all the you like. Microsoft's development tools have always been good. The Visual Studio suite is much better than any equivalent product I've seen.

      Is it cross platform ? No
      Yes, a big no here. However, expect to see the CLR running on platforms other than straight up Windows in the future. In the end, when most commercial clients run Windows this is more of a selling point than a detriment.

      Does it do things that other languages cannot? No
      Well, this can pretty much be said of any language. As a Java programmer, I really enjoy C#, it's does the same thing as Java, it just does it quite well for Windows.

      Is it Encumbered By Patents? Yes
      So? For OSS this doesn't fly, for the boss, this isn't really a consideration.
      • Re:Call me stupid (Score:4, Interesting)

        by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:02PM (#6960639)
        Ok,

        Rich Client native gui, here you have two other cross platform choices..wxwindows and SWT both which offer native, fast gui's.

        Microsoft Visual Studio the best? You obviously have never used any tool from Borland which absolutely stomps a mud hole in anything that MS has ever built.

        Most commercial clients might run windows but I can tell you for a fact it it does not run on Linux we ain't buying it in our shop(sounds like I just shot your selling point all to hell). If you like java and you like C# and you sell software why on earth would you lock yourself to a platform.
      • Re:Call me stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Snoopy77 ( 229731 )
        Seriously, if all your programmers are hardcore VB guys why not just use VB.Net. It seems like they are not using C# in an OO way anyway.

        As for fast GUI, if you are only developing for windows why not just use the WinAPI directly without going through a VM. If you want a cross platform solution try wxWindows or Kylix. And speaking of Kylix, Borland are THE leaders in RAD tools and have been for years.

        I'm still trying to figure out what the whole point of C# is. It's similar to Java, but it is not cros
        • Re:Call me stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bobbozzo ( 622815 )
          I'm still trying to figure out what the whole point of C# is. It's similar to Java, but it is not cross platform, but it's not as quick as a truly native app written in VB or C++.

          C# is MS's answer to Java: MS claimed (initially) that C# is totally portable, yadda yadda yadda.

          Reality is they're just providing an excuse for MS weenies to justify sticking with MS instead of using Java or even PHP (for smaller projects) or whatever.

    • Re:Call me stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by miguel ( 7116 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:02PM (#6960912) Homepage
      You got the questions with the wrong answers:

      1. Measuring speed is difficult, but to give you an example, the Mono C# compiler compiles itself on 3.5 seconds (50,000 lines of code).

      2. development is faster, I would say 3x to 6x depending on the task. In the case of ASP.NET vs J2EE, we know from two studies (ours and Forrester/Giga) that it is 20-28% more effective (see my blog for details).

      3. Is it cross platform? Yes, it is. The Mono C# compiler was originally built/compiled on Windows. Today, it does not matter. We routinely run large applications (web services, console, gui) on it.

      4. It offers plenty of functionality that is hard to find elsewhere: cross-language interop, unified GC/threading/io

      5. Patents: the ECMA core has been freed of any patents, see: primates.ximian.com/~miguel/tmp/map.png
      • Re:Call me stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @02:55AM (#6961850) Homepage Journal
        Hi,

        I think you are doing a good job as programmers, but I have always been a bit worried that you are helping MS to slay Java. To me it seems they are fighting really hard on two fronts now, against Linux and against Java. If they manage to get .Net/C# and all that to be the business standard, with your help, won't that make it easier for them to turn against the one remaining target?

        Even if it is Linux that becomes the favoured platform for .Net, do you think that will stop MS from boasting to the heavens how great their new framework is? And all the pointy haired bosses will buy more MS stock and products...

        I'm sure Sun are no angels, but I happen to like both Linux and Java, so...

      • Re:Call me stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

        by alext ( 29323 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @04:07AM (#6962059)
        As strictly speaking only your fifth point is relevant to the topic, we should examine it with some care.

        My impression is that you are still perpetrating the CLR/Dotnet bait-and-switch policy, where the status of the CLR in terms of standardization and patent encumberances is used to misleadingly imply that the whole of Dotnet is similarly standardized and (supposedly) unencumbered by patents.

        In other words, you have not been able to progress or resolve the fundamental issue here in over two years, when similar discussions took place here and in other forums.

        If you have more recent information regarding Microsoft's position then you are more than welcome to share it with us. However, until such time as the IP risk has been adequately addressed, we would appreciate it if you refrained from further misleading the OSS community in this regard.
        • My impression is that you are still perpetrating the CLR/Dotnet bait-and-switch policy, where the status of the CLR in terms of standardization and patent encumberances is used to misleadingly imply that the whole of Dotnet is similarly standardized and (supposedly) unencumbered by patents.

          No, reread what he wrote. Miguel quite clearly stated, and he even has a pretty map to show it even more clearly, which parts are free of patents and which parts are not. This is common knowledge. It's in the FAQ.

          Mea

  • by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:25PM (#6960460)
    Oddly enough, Microsoft is making it rather hard for third party developers to develop .NET applications, at least those that aren't only for in-house use. The .NET CLR does not yet come with any version of Windows -- you have to download the 25mb runtime yourself. There's still lots of dialup-speed users out there, and there's no way they are going to download a 25mb runtime just to run your app. I bet there's a lot of broadband users who would look askance at such a large download.

    Until .NET is installed on enough desktops, it is going to be difficult to justify developing distributeable applications with it.

    • by bmajik ( 96670 ) <matt@mattevans.org> on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:32PM (#6960770) Homepage Journal
      this is incorrect. The .NET runtime version 1.1 comes with Windows Server 2003.

      I am probably wrong on this, but i think the .NET Runtime version 1 comes with certain packagines of Windows XP (tablet PC, perhaps ? Media Center ?)

      the runtime is getting out there. More and more things will start to require it. .net is seeing admirable deployment on the server side. However, unlike java, it is also seeing some real-world apps on the client as well.

  • The referenced article is old (11 Feb 2003), and refers to the patent *application*, not the patent itself. An application is not a patent - just the "inventors" hope that it will be one.

    Unless someone can produce an actual granted patent number for this, then it's still "nothing to see, move along" for the time being.

    -- Rhys Weatherley, author of DotGNU Portable.NET.
  • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:39PM (#6960525) Journal
    The article appears to confuse an issued patent with a published patent applications, citing to one of the latter, recently published application 20030028685.

    The conditions necessary to obtain a published patent application are these: (1) file one and pay a filing fee, including the proper formal documents (like an inventor's declaration; and (2) wait 18 months. An application creates no presently enforceable rights, and none will accrue until the patent actually issues.

    Indeed, by beginning with the wildly broad claims (and they are pretty astonishing, I'll admit), any narrowing amendments entered during prosecution are likely to give rise to a much more limited patent.

    Let's not get hysterical before there is something to get hysterical about. The .mono plan for managing the inevitable patents, the plan so excoriated in the register article, is perfectly responsible and while risk is ever-present in developing interoperable code, perfectly workable. The fact of 18-month publication facilitates and permits actually permits present projects to begin early on its search for prior art.

    Fears regarding the quoted paragraph [0101] are misguided. It is routine boilerplate and primarily precatory, of virtually no importance concerning the meaning of the claims.

    I am told that some of these new decaffinated brands are just as tasty as the regular stuff. Let's not go nuts, at least not before there is a reason to go nuts.
  • by b17bmbr ( 608864 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:51PM (#6960585)
    having never played with C!@#$%^&*() or whatever it is, i can't compare it to java. however, you're dealin with the devil. and when you deal with the devil, you're gonna get burned.

    <disclaimer> no, billyg and the boyz are not the devil, nor are they evil.</disclaimer>
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:52PM (#6960593)
    Yes, sadly, many programs for non-MS operating systems, like Linux, are blatant clones of that from Microsoft. It's always been a bit ironic, but livable. But cloning .NET--as Mono--is by far one of the dumbest moves ever, and I mean that in a non-trolling way. At its heart, .NET is a way to break free from the aged Win32 API and old fashioned languages like C and C++. This is they key point of .NET, not web services. Now you can use Visual Basic-like forms from any language. Now you can have garbage collection. Now you can have true modules, not the FORTRAN-era separate compilation of C. None of this is new; none of this was invented by Microsoft. But is all so much better than building apps with MFC or raw Win32 calls. Windows programmers are flocking to .NET for this reason.

    But there are other ways to reach the same end. Python + a UI toolkit is a biggie. It's even more modern than C#, which is hopelessly mired in the 1990s philosophy of very strict object-orientation (Python is much looser in this regard). And it's interpreted, so you can incrementally build and test code, while still having all the same general benefits of .NET and C#. So anyone promoting Mono for Linux is putting their effort in entirely the wrong place. This is the one spot in which open source is already far superior, but for some reasons some zealots want to copy the inferfior solution, most likely just to spite Microsoft. What a complete waste of time.
    • But there are other ways to reach the same end. Python + a UI toolkit is a biggie.

      I think Python/PyGTK/PyGlade is great. But let's be realistic:

      • Python has no option for compilation, not to native code nor something that will be JITted. This has performance implications - yes, I know about Psycho.
      • Python has no optional static typing. There are PEPs for it, but as far as I know, so far none have been implemented.
      • The Python class libraries are inconsistant in style.
      • The Python syntax looks a bit wierd at
  • a million miles away, back on Day One when Icaza started talking up Mono?

    An eventual attack by Microsoft of some sort, be it fuzzily defined protocols, patents, or something critical they 'forgot' to document was inevitable.

    I actually figured that Microsoft would let Mono go on a bit longer before slamming the lid, and would have let the Linux community waste more effort and become more dependent on it.

    I had an optimistic hope that perhaps Icaza was clever enough to walk a tightrope and come up with an u
  • by puppetluva ( 46903 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @09:59PM (#6960620)
    Why even bother speculating? It is not for anyone to decide but Microsoft.

    The community should ask Microsoft to issue a direct agreement and public announcement that they will not pursue patent attacks against Mono and DotGnu for any part of the .NET platform.

    If they won't do it, then the projects aren't safe and people have enough information to know to avoid them. Even if the lawsuits don't have merit, who wants to spend time in court that they could be spending on something more constructure (Like Parrot or OSS Java later this year if Sun follows through on its promise)

    Until they clarify their position (and theirs is the ONLY one that matters), I would just assume they are doomed.
  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:02PM (#6960637) Homepage Journal
    As someone who's worked in Java for for over 5 years, I welcome C# and it's buddies to the OpenSource world.

    I highly recommend you stick to Java.

    All our major projects are developed under J2EE and we first use Tomcat as it's free. Later we switched to BEA because it has better performance; years later we changed our deployment to Oracle App servers for Linux because Oracle offered some attractive discounts for their Linux initiatives. We saved huge amount of operational/maintenance budge in switching from UNIX/Windows to Linux.

    All of the migrations took us very minimal efforts because all J2EE platforms are pretty much agree on the same standard. Sweet isn't it? :)

    I don't think you've such a freedom in .NET platform, and I don't see it's justifiable to implement .NET on Linux than Windows. You're right that MS is holding the balls of Mono and they could do whatever they like with it. So, why take the risk?

    (Ok Ok, I know SUN is holding the balls of others with that J2EE certification, but you can see their difference. :)
  • NO PATENT EXISTS! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:28PM (#6960751)
    The Register article is pointing at a patent APPLICATION. Despite their comment, "But an umbrella claim that protects its .NET APIs, granted last week, highlights the extent of its determination to protect its interfaces," I don't see any patent granted last week.

    It remains to be seen whether the .NET API is even patentable. Certainly claim 1, as written, is not patentable: "1. A software architecture for a distributed computing system comprising: an application configured to handle requests submitted by remote devices over a network; and an application program interface to present functions used by the application to access network and computing resources of the distributed computing system." There are a zillion systems out there that match the terms of this claim precisely. So it is hardly novel.

    In fact the whole patent application is written so poorly that I can't see it being granted in anything like its present form. Maybe there is a way of patenting an API but this ain't it.
  • by torre ( 620087 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:28PM (#6960752)
    Since every post here seems to thinks doomsday is unavoidable when using MS ideas on other platforms, may I remind everyone that you don't have to follow them to the letter!.
    I mean, they opened up the basics that open up the platform, but does Linux/anything else really need WindowsForms/ASPX/ADO.NET/Whatever else that's not covered?
    Imitation is nice, but I'm assuming that there are other ideas that can be explored and potentially take a twist for the better?... really, The beauty of the whole thing is if you write your own stuff that isn't legally ambiguous then you control where it can go so instead of a windows focused WindowForms you can have a Windowing library that is more generic and say works across several platforms and perhaps even windows... So, instead of ASPX you could hook up an "enhanced" PHP, use another dataset API instead of ADO and write a better windowing api, and that way your on stable legal terms instead of taking risks on ambiguity.
    Mono's approach is somewhat on the right direction, they're basically copying down to the letter (with some creative license) and if a legal issue appears they'll just change the affected parts.
    But that's just my 2 cents.
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @10:44PM (#6960830)
    I don't know if Microsoft will use its patents to crush the MONO project but it may be an option. That should be enough to give the developers of MONO pause.

    There was an anonymous coward who posted claiming to be a lawyer who said that these patents wouldn't effect MONO but he didn't elaborate. I have got to be skeptical.

    The bottom line is: It is never a good idea to give Microsoft the option of crushing you. No one really knows what Microsoft will do except whatever it is, it will for sure be in their own best interest.
  • Patents enforced (Score:3, Informative)

    by m00nun1t ( 588082 ) on Sunday September 14, 2003 @11:45PM (#6961095) Homepage
    A complete list of Microsoft owned patents that have been the basis for legal action from Microsoft against a third party:

    1.

    Thankyou for reading.

    Tongue in cheek, and I know this needs to be considered as part of risk planning, but as far as I'm aware, there has never been legal action based upon patent infringement from Microsoft - and not from lack of opportunity I suspect. Give some credit where credit is due.
  • by zjbs14 ( 549864 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @12:08AM (#6961192) Homepage
    Still waiting for the front-page stories about the dozens of patents Sun holds on Java and its related technologies. Especially the one that applies to any three-tier database applications written in Java (5,899,990 [uspto.gov]).

    Guess I shouldn't hold my breath.

  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @12:58AM (#6961439)
    This is you in bed with Microsoft.

    This is you getting fucked.

    Any questions?
  • by msafar ( 674967 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @03:03AM (#6961872) Homepage
    Every line of .NET framework code (J#/C#/VB.NET) is a line that didn't get written in Java. From that perspective, Mono and DotGNU help Microsoft to expand the market for .NET.

    What is the revenue model for .NET though? Microsoft charges only for the development environment, which you can purchase from Borland if you like. The real strategy is to keep people focused on the Windows platform. .NET's value to Micrososft is to make Windows developers more productive.

    Bottom line: Microsoft will likely allow Mono (as they have so far) and DotGNU until applications utilizing it on Linux reach critical mass. At that point, Microosft will probably start charging royalties to commercial developers (either per programmer, or rev share).

    Will Microsoft forbid .NET on Linux? Maybe for a short time this could happen, and it is a danger, but I just wonder if they'll dare pull such a stunt given the EU/US anti-trust watchdogs. The only reason they would do it is to try and slow down the march towards Linux, which, frankly, will not be affected by the presence of .NET on that platform.

    Devil's Advocate note: I also wonder if they'll try to stop it now because if they let it go for too long without challenging it, the courts might say they didn't defend it for so long that they lost their chance (but I'm not a lawyer).

    Finally: Why use .NET at all on Linux (note that I LOVE .NET on Windows)? The whole point of writing distributed applications with Web services is so that platforms can communicate over SOAP (or SOAP-ey) protocols. I don't see any major advantage of .NET over J2EE for an enterprise dedicated to Linux.
  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Monday September 15, 2003 @07:20AM (#6962486) Journal
    Before I discuss the .Net initiative itself, I didtinctly remember a Ballmer quote (here on /. as well, I think?) stating that MS will use its patents to increase marketshare. At the moment MS will leave .Net alone, for sure, as it is vastly more immature than MS' implementation, but woe betide the day when even one, just one, large Mono application (application server, distributed CRM or ERP app?) gains popularity amongst the many governments and businesses now moving to Linux. That is the day when MS will send its lawyers around for a chat on patent laws.

    On the technical side .Net sounds like the fantasy that many VB coders, MS shops and PHB's have had for years: The ability to code an application in a mess of languages (in all probability it will be C++,VB and C#) and actually produce something that is both useful and full of buzzword compliance.

    But, it would be good to note that nothing that .Net or Mono does is truly new. They are refinements of current coding practices. You can do exactly the same thing in Java, C++ and Python, just in a longer timeframe. This might be good in terms of productivity but I can almost certainly see this producing yet another generation of VB type coders with little discipline and chaotic understanding of OOP.

    My guess is that this is simply what MS is betting the farm on in order to move away from Win32 and at the same time corral developers and customers into staying with Windows. I read the EULA for VS.Net2003 and it seems you can neither publish benchmarks nor develop Office applications with it.

    Are you sure you want to go down that road? Hasn't SCO been an eye opener enough?

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