back to article Open-source .NET splits for extra Microsoft protection

A community implementation of .NET is splitting in two, hoping to protect Linux and open-source against potential patent claims from Microsoft. The Mono Project plans to split between a core set of APIs that are based on ECMA specifications of Microsoft's C# and Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and a stack that implements …

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Will make no difference.

Is it just me or is this useless? This will be like saying that if you use Java the language and the compiler you are ok, but use the APIs and we'll get you later.

The most useful part is the APIs which are not covered by this pledge.

I hope this doesn't pull the wool over anyones eyes, but I'm sure it will.

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Believe Microsoft? Let's see hands.

Ah, I thought not.

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Good For Everyone ?

Mono & .NET are platform abstraction layers. This allows code to run on all platforms in this framework.

I think this will benefit microsoft more than Open Source because they will have more platforms to run office on on. Open Source has had a mass of software that is already windows capable without Mono/.NET.

So because this *WILL* benefit microsoft I don't think they will try to close the door. Surely they would have done so by now if it wasn't in their interests ?

Flame because I expect it after the comments I've made, not that I'm trolling. I am suitably equipped with asbestos underpants !

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Victory for Microsoft and Mono developers working together

This article doesn't mention that whilst many people and their dogs have been getting their pants in a twist over the Mono issue and/or spreading FUD, the Mono developers have been working with Microsoft to clear up some of the confusion and legal issues that many in the Linux community have concerns about.

@Darren - the APIs that are being split off are for ASP and Winforms only. The linux apps mentioned in the article don't make any use of this technology, so it won't affect them at all, and goes to show that working apps don't need these APIs and that Mono is fine after all.

Not sure why that person thinks Fedora is any safer than Ubuntu - Fedora ships Mono by default as it ships Tomboy by default. Fedora is planning on removing Tomboy (replacing it with Gnote IIRC, a C++ port of Tomboy) from it's Live CD, and hence Mono, simply because of space requirements on this particular medium. They aren't planning on dropping Tomboy from the main DVD Desktop spins AFAIK.

By the way, did the author mean Gnome Do? I don't know Gnome Due...

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Stop

They might, they might not..

It may be that Microsoft have achieved their objective of further splitting the FOSS community here; lots of may be and might be discussion as well. I'm not a software developer and wouldn't know Mono or .NET if they bit my backside but I'll give my opinion anyway...

Isn't this (or shouldn't this be) a legal problem? People are talking and arguing about what Microsoft might do in the future. This should be about what they might BE ABLE TO DO in the future.

What is professional legal opinion on these arguments? Have various what-if scenarios been run through by the lawyers? Have any _formal_ responses been obtained from Microsoft's legal counsel? What is the legal standing of Microsoft's 'promise'?

Even if I was a top level software developer, I doubt if I'd be qualified or experienced enough to answer those questions.

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Gates Horns

Legal minefield

I for one will stay away and encourage others to do so as well.

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Boffin

@homard

MS do not want Office running nicely on a platform like Linux. It would be ... not exactly suicidal but an own goal. Office and PC gaming are the biggest obstacles to Linux adoption.

This is about antitrust, control and drawing developers away from Java et al and into the MS camp.

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Gates Horns

visa versa people

Where Microsoft is concerned I wouldn't risk the future of my business on their playing fair with the Open Source community. They are only there to make more money.

Which brings me to observe that Microsoft are more than likely after plugging in to all that wonderful, Open Source developer talent, for FREE. Then they can cherry pick from the api's they own, the ones that are going to be useful to them competatively. Of course the Open Source developers will be offered paid jobs at Microsoft.

As an end user I have to ask, what advantages does using these apis bring to me, my business and my clients ?

FLAME ON!

ALF

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Jobs Horns

Not Yet

@Homard,

"Surely they would have done so by now if it wasn't in their interests ?"

Mono is probably still small enough to be an itch that isn't worth scratching. If someone produces a competing killer application that starts to take business from MS, I'm sure they will pursue.

Remember the mantra; Embrace, Extend, Exterminate.

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Linux

@ Homard

"I think this will benefit microsoft more than Open Source because they will have more platforms to run office on on."

MS Office isn't written using any .Net languages, nor do they have any plans to re-write any Office apps in .Net. So how does this benefit Microsoft any exactly?

Staying on subject, I'm personally fully behind the use of C# in Linux. Its a very good language and the framework fits into the Linux world really rather well. Sure there will always be .Net features that are specific to Windows because they can't/don't need to be present on a Linux server or workstation. Big deal.

Whether I believe pronouncements from Microsoft or not (I don't) .Net is an ECMA standard and that's not going to change and they are kind of obliged to maintain its status as such.

The .Net framework is about much more than just Microsoft and that's what is being forgotten in all the anti-MS rhetoric.

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Anonymous Coward

@Homard - No, horses must be put at the front of the cart

Microsoft has no interest in running their apps on Linux, a platform they do not control (and we all hope they never will). In my opinion, they will try to run as many FOSS apps as possible on Windows and making them run better than they do on Linux. Once people will abandon Linux (shudder!) Microsoft will be able to selectively knock off of Windows any FOSS application they chose, simply by using hidden "optimizations" (remember DR-DOS? No? I thought so!). This is also a reason why we will never see a Microsoft Office version for Linux.

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FAIL

Phonetic Journalism at it's best...

GNOME Due project... really.

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Gates Horns

Why use it?

I don't think the "community promise" goes far enough. And publishing something as a standard is no protection (just ask manufacturers using 802.11a/g Wi-Fi standards who settled costly lawsuits with CSIRO over the included patents).

But the bottom line is why use C# anyway? What's supposed to be so all-fired good about it that Linux even needs it?

I've been using Linux for years, both desktops and servers, and haven't had a need for Mono-based apps yet, especially when there are so many good alternatives around.

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No reason to use Mono

There are plenty of media players and application installers. Gnote does exactly what Tomboy does, but uses native libraries so it is far quicker. If Beagle is installed it regularly thrashes your disks and wipes out the caches - even if you never use it for searching. If your machine takes ages to get going after being left idle for a while, try removing Beagle.

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Why does anyone use C#?

I'm not trolling (at least, not intentionally), but why does anybody code in C# anyway? Honestly, I really want to know. My understanding is that it's basically just somewhat like a cross between C++ and Java, which sounds rather underwhelming. Admittedly, I'm not a professional programmer, and I'm probably an idiot. And obviously, there must be some benefit to using C# instead of one of the oodles of other languages out there (some of which are also cross-platform), otherwise this would all be a non-issue. But nobody has yet been able to give me any sort of coherent explanation of what that benefit is.

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Will ultimately benefit MS

MS are not to be trusted if this stuff goes in, and good apps appear, then MS will have more leverage to convince people to move over to the dark side with very little work required to achieve the switch, upshot, Linux loses.

We already have to deal with enough MS crud, like crap Office doc formats, the hell that is SMB and lets not start on trying to connect an email client to Exchange. Let's not make it any worse. I would support the move away from Ubuntu, great platform but Linux gives choices and we are free to choose a platform and distro at will as they are largely all the same at the core. Shuttleworth you'd beter be paying attention, do you really want all your hard work to swirl away down the plug hole?

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Gates Horns

@Homard

"So because this *WILL* benefit microsoft I don't think they will try to close the door"

That may well be true, but it is the nature of the Redmond Beast to constantly re-evaluate what will benefit themselves the most and change policy accordingly.

Right now they want to see more projects using mono. Later on that may, and most likely *will*, change.

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Jobs Horns

clarification

A quick clarification of my comment so as not to seem like a rabid linux anti microsoft tard. MS is bad but Apple is actually much worse guarding their little ecosystem fiefdom. It is just the nature of proprietary built OS's. That is one of the great advantages to FOSS is the fact that leads to an ecosystem owned by humanity instead of a few gatekeepers with agendas perhaps different than its users. There are also of course disadvantages but don't totally believe the bullcrap the right will give you about the tragedy of the commons. With bits that last forever and many times require very low maintence (honestly a 1991 tar binary on most systems is more than adequate) it just doesn't apply. Its just too bad peoples ideology won't accept anything unless a few special chosen few have to own everything or else the world will end.

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Paris Hilton

don't implement to the spec and you're not covered

I'm pretty sure I read that you're ok if you can fully implement the spec or at least implement only the spec but go off course in any way and MS will fry you. And because the ECMA doesn't control the spec, Microsoft does, then you not only have to be really careful to only implement the spec but also watch every move Microsoft makes and change your code when theirs changes.

Come on folks, how many have been able to out lawyer Microsoft's lawyers and not end up in court? Hint, almost none and they were all much smarter people than most of you and they've failed.

And I don't think there has been enough of a thread or damage to their monopoly yet for them to pull the patent bomb pin. But, let them lose over 30% market share and watch them pull that pin and scare the industry away from OSS for 10+ years.

Paris because they aren't innocent because they look innocent.

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Anonymous Coward

Reading things into what microsoft does not say??

Why do people read so much into what Microsoft does not say?

It's like discussing the weather with someone and then punching them because they did not say they would not sleep with your wife so you assume they will.

Exactly how many open source products have been closed down due to legal challenges from Microsoft? But people still want to see Microsoft as some cartoon style devil that will set it lawyers on you as soon as laugh manically.

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Jobs Halo

C# language still has uses outside of .NET

""Mono & .NET are platform abstraction layers. This allows code to run on all platforms in this framework."""

C# and Mono's .NET are like C++ and Winelib.

Using those languages and that environment you can produce software in Linux that will run natively on both Linux AND Windows.

"""Is it just me or is this useless? This will be like saying that if you use Java the language and the compiler you are ok, but use the APIs and we'll get you later.""""

It's like saying you can use C++ and write your own compiler your 'ok', but if you try to emulate Win32 through Wine you are not.

"""The most useful part is the APIs which are not covered by this pledge."""

Well .NET is a huge sprawling monster. Mono can never hope to keep up with the Microsoft in this case. So therefore it's only going to be able to support the popular parts of .NET, which will require some porting effort for the majority of .NET applications. However once your done then it's cross platform.

So the .NET stuff in Mono is of limited usefulness unless you really like to program in ASP.NET instead of Ruby or PHP.

However C# and the CLI are still useful without .NET and in Linux you can use Gnome environment and the C# language to produce software. That way your using C#, but without the .NET APIs. It's like using C++ in KDE without using Win32 APIs.... It's perfectly possible.

Using C# and CLI that allows a intermediate level programming language to be useful in the Linux desktop. With Gnome desktop the primary programming languages are C, C#, and Python. There are lots of bindings with different languages, but those three languages are the most popular, best supported, and you can depend on them being present on a 'full' gnome installation.

And if your interested in supporting multiple platforms then GTK and most of Gnome is cross platform so you can write your apps once and get support in Windows and OS X.

So ultimately the usefulness of the Microsoft 'promise' is going to be limited to how much you like C# and prefer to use that language over C or Python.

In other words... C# is a programming language, it's just a formal way of describing programs in text like any other language. Just the same as C or Ruby or whatever. The CLI is the 'compiler' for the language, more or less. Making it possible to take the intermediate bytecode created by interpreting the C# language and then executing it with all the JIT goodness and whatever else.

So Microsoft is essentially saying "It's ok to use C# and write a proper interpreter, but don't think we are going to let you get away with duplicating Windows" (duplicating Windows is essentially what you'd end up having to do if you want to do all of .NET anyways)

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A split is fine

One of the reasons that the windows Specific APIs are used on Linux Mono is because Visual Studio is good at debugging. So I guess a lot of developers develop their software in Visual Studio (with some X plat helper Assemblies) then test on Debian or Ubuntu with simple debug log file. If we have equivalent OpenSource ADO assemblies that we can ship with the Application then no harm done ( it just needs mono installed on both Windows and Linux). What would we replace winforms with GTK? And how good would the design view be?

If we have on demand download for the assemblies that the OpenSource assembles need then this will make life easier.

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Reached... a crescendo?

>> "The very presence of Mono in applications used by Debian and Ubuntu reached a crescendo last week"

A "crescendo" marks a transition from lower to higher states, so essentially the crescendo is the rise to the peak, not the actual peak itself. Saying that something "reached a crescendo" is nonsense, since the crescendo is not the final destination to reach, but the way there.

-dZ.

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WTF?

Another "why use mono?" comment

...or more correctly, why does mono even exist? It never ceases to amaze me how the open source people (and Linux people in particular) slag off MS (and quite rightly too!) but then go and copy what MS are doing!

Don't these people have any ideas of their own? And as has already been pointed out, we survived without 'C Hash' for years and years. Why is it suddenly of use? And if it IS so good, why didn't the open source people invent their own language which worked in the same way, years ago? Why did they wait for MS to invent it and then copy it?

If you want to run MS stuff, then fine, run MS stuff. I see no point at all in cloning it though.

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@Rich 2

Generalising is a great way to try and stir people up, but it doesn't produce accurate statements. (Over-generalisation can be a contributing factor to depression.)

The open source community is made up of lots of people, some who want to work with MS and some who don't.

Java has a lot in common with C# in terms of programming structure. It's been around for longer. However, the JVM is not supported by MS and is not supplied by default with installs of MS Windows, so it's installed base is far less (on Windows PCs) than that of the .NET framework. It makes sense for developers, therefore, to try to create an open source 'clone' of .NET so that open source software can be run in open source environments (e.g. Linux distros) as well as the closed source environment of Microsoft Windows, because this will give a larger potential install base for any .NET based applications.

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Black Helicopters

@Rich2

>> It never ceases to amaze me how the open source people (and Linux people in particular) slag off MS (and quite rightly too!) but then go and copy what MS are doing!

Sorry but Miguel De Icaza does not represent "open source people" any more than Bernie Maddoff represents Wall Street, as far as I am concerned :-)

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Anonymous Coward

mono's existence

Its hard to decide whether Mono should even exist. .NET was clearly made so that MS could have something eqivilent to Java that they could control. That's exactly what they've achieved.

The question is, by making a free implementation do you neutralise the threat in this situation, or do you actually make things worse? It is a complex problem, but no matter what the details one thing is for sure: Microsoft has never done anything in its entire history with good intentions. Unless you think IE was created so that people could browse HTML documents, DOS was bought so that people could use their computers and Direct3D was invented because nobody had something exactly like it already, those poor people.

Basically whatever you do, you lose.

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Flame

Who's the muppet?

"One commenter on an Ubuntu mailing list promised his company would look into switching from Ubuntu to Fedora because Mono "is just too dangerous". Haaa. Haaaaaaaaaah. What a muppet!

Maybe you could drop this arse a quick mesage and tell him he should get out a little more and, who knows, maybe even get a life. Muppets. They never cease to amuse me.

Me. I use Microsoft and various Linux flavours daily and have done for more years that I care to remember. Both camps have their faults. When will the world wake up and realise that neither open source or proprietary is the answer to everything and never can be.

All this continual verbal bitch slapping by both camps is, well, tiresome at best. It's like listening to a bunch of toothless pensioners gumming on the end of a turd.

Wake up world. Get a life! :)

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