Miguel......I want a question answered, and very soon

Story: What have we been up to?Total Replies: 38
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Feb 18, 2010
5:43 PM EDT
Miguel......wonderful.......great......terrific programming. Congratulations.

As part of your next little article, I want you to include a complete, honest and full answer to this question: Is Mono encumbered in any way by Microsoft patents that potentially can be exercised by Microsoft at some time in the future ?

From everything I have read in both articles and discussions on this site, LinuxToday, other Linux sites and on Groklaw, I currently believe sincerely that Mono is so encumbered. If that is the case, you are playing a very dangerous and stupid game with the rest of the Linux world, and I don't like it. So......what good is all of your work if at sometime in the future Microsoft can snap its fingers, enforce patents and say directly to you: "All your code are belong to us !!! You cannot use it again without paying us very nice and very large royalties. We don't mind in the slightest that you have taken our code and made it essential to certain aspects of Linux ~ we like it that way; and we set you up to do it."

Feb 18, 2010
5:57 PM EDT
Is Miguel a patent attorney? Has he even attended law school? Not that I am aware, so why would you ask him? Maybe the SFLC can put you in touch with someone who can point to relevant patents.

Everything you work with can potentially be affected by patents, so there is no way to ever say that anything is completely free from patent concerns.

Feb 18, 2010
6:01 PM EDT
If, on the other hand, ridcully is willing to pony up the not insubstantial pile of money to get a patent search done, I'm sure Miguel would be happy to hire the attorneys.

Maybe when that's done, ridcully could donate money so that the linux kernel team, Samba team, Wine team, apache team, etc, etc, etc,etc could do the same.

Feb 18, 2010
6:37 PM EDT
Except that Samba is explicitly disjoint from Microsoft. One must sign a statement that one has not been tainted by Microsoft Corp., in order to join the developers.

I think Wine has a similar requirement, but don't quote me.

Lumping C# and Mono in with those is like apples and light switches, as far as the licensing is concerned.

Feb 18, 2010
6:45 PM EDT
Okay......I agree absolutely: any software is potentially open to patent challenges......and that is a symptom of a bigger problem as I see it, because I believe that software should not be patentable; but that is my opinion. In any event, that was not the intent of my first post which was to get an answer on the known patents held by Microsoft. As for me donating.......ummmmm, would you like to join in and start the ball rolling ? I'm retired and might be able to cough up a few dollars.

No, "bigg", as far as I know Miguel is not a patent attorney, but Novell has them......I used the word "potential" to make sure that the question was open enough so that it was impossible to brush off easily. The problem is (as far as I have all the information) that Miguel knows that these particular patents are actually there; but a Novell Microsoft deal has somehow massaged them for the moment. Should Microsoft and Novell fall out (and I think the present agreement has a limited life span), Microsoft can use these patents quite happily.....it owns them.

And for "dinotrac", the same applies as I have just described above. I have no idea about Wine or Apache with respect to Microsoft patent threats/encumbrances.....however Samba is very different and protected by a permanent and legally enforceable agreement with respect to Microsoft.......Miguel and Novell need to do precisely the same for Mono.......Do that, and Mono is available to the entire Linux world without any risk whatsoever, other than the general risk any software has if it becomes successful and the trolls try to get their share.

Feb 18, 2010
8:14 PM EDT

The mono project also has a policy WRT to patents. If anything, it is safer than the other projects -- include Samba.

Think for a moment about that Samba agreement:

who is is with?

Unless it's with Microsoft, it doesn't matter. If Microsoft comes knocking at your door, does it make you feel better to know that you can turn around and sue some volunteer coder?


Feb 18, 2010
8:35 PM EDT
@ dinotrac.......I refer you to this post:


and this:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1064 In particular, read the last paragraph of Mary Jo Foley's post. That implies the potential problems that remain in Mono right now.

This is a rock solid agreement with Microsoft and Samba. It covers all users, now and potential. It cannot be broken without very nasty penalties. It was enforced in the courts of the European Union and is often held up as the best agreement you can possibly get to ensure Microsoft cannot now or in the future, threaten the Samba project. Mono needs this type of agreement; unless it has it, it remains as potentially unsafe as any other software over which Microsoft has a patent hold....sorry, but in this case, I believe you are quite wrong.

Feb 18, 2010
10:34 PM EDT
I'm no expert, but Microsoft's "special" relationship with Novell, and the patent protection afforded to it alone, puts it on a different playing field than the rest of us. I don't know the full legal ramifications, but it doesn't smell even close to right.

SLED is marketed as being better due to extra patent protection http://www.microsoft.com/interop/msnovellcollab/patent_agree... and I've seen Xandros selling patent protection in regard to Microsoft for $50 http://www.xandros.com/products/desktop/features.html.

The whole thing doesn't pass the smell test. Even a little.

Feb 18, 2010
11:06 PM EDT
Ah yes -- I had forgotten the EU case. Definitely helpful to Samba, and, potentially, reduces their patent exposure, but careful reading will reveal that it's not eliminated.

You see -- the agreement with the Samba folk does not provide any kind of patent license, just a list of patents which Microsoft believes apply to Microsoft's own implementation of the protocols.

That should be very helpful indeed, but it doesn't say anything about patents that may be infringed by Samba's implementation of the protocols.


Feb 18, 2010
11:41 PM EDT
Quoting:This is a rock solid agreement with Microsoft and Samba. It covers all users, now and potential. It cannot be broken without very nasty penalties.
That agreement will become worthless, as soon as Microsoft executives decide the company can afford to bear the penalties. Making it possible is what their lawyers are paid to do.

Feb 19, 2010
12:06 AM EDT
You could be right gus3, but I wouldn't bet money on it. The Microsoft-Samba agreement was forged in the EU which also had the intestinal fortitude to slap considerable fines (amounts never before enforced) and convicted Monopolysoft of several nasty habits with respect to its business practice.

The European Commission was becoming very tired of Microsoft's lawyer's nonsense and realised that they were simply playing the games that they have learned to play in the USA court system where they can tie it up in knots......I have a fairly solid faith in the EU as a body ready to enforce business ethics ~ and in my opinion anyway, they certainly have proven more ready to take steps against Microsoft's improper practices than the USA court systems. I don't think Microsoft will be ready to push the EU in any way for many, many years because I don't think we have yet seen the fraction of what the EU will do in fines and penalties to a foreign company which the EU perceives is definitely infringing ethical business practice, and I think Microsoft's lawyers know it.

Feb 19, 2010
5:36 AM EDT
@ Ridcully.

I understand your question fully, but you are basically asking Miguel to reveal if Mono is a Trojan Horse. The problem is, you won't get a definitive answer on that. If Mono is a Microsoft implemented kill-switch for Linux, then you won't ever get a definitive answer until MS decides to flip the switch.

Lets asume for the sake of argument that Mono is precisely an MS orchestrated kill-switch.

If Miguel is aware that Mono is a deadly Trojan Horse, he would never answer you question truthfully, because he'd be actively involved in getting that kill-switch embedded in GNU/Linux.

If Miguel is unaware that that Mono is an MS orchestrated kill-switch, you'd get an answer that is truthful to the extent that Miguel knows the facts. It would still mean that you won't get the real truth though.

Even if Miguel answers truthfully and Mono is not an MS Kill-switch, would you believe Miguel or trust MS? You want peace of mind over a thing that is frought with controversy. Not going to happen. There is no such thing as dry water.

It's actually sad that MS, as a company, has acquiered such a bad reputation, that practically no one believes they are above board. Even if MS has donated the basics of .NET freely, almost nobody is willing to believe they did.

Feb 19, 2010
5:53 AM EDT
Hi "r_a_trip"......very well put and a pleasure to read........You can see where I am coming from only too clearly......and yes, I agree with you only too well. Take a look at Miguel's blog however, and there are a multitude of people who are blindly rushing down the slippery slope.........You have also fingered the real problem: Can you trust Microsoft ? Frankly, at the moment and given all the evidence, the answer is a blunt "no". If Microsoft's survival and profits are at risk, there will only be one answer out of Redmond: destroy the opposition. But there is of course, a solution and it really is out of Miguel's hands, despite my original premise for this thread. The only real resolution will be if Microsoft unilaterally places those "patents" in the public domain, or alternatively legally binds itself never to use them against any person employing those principles..........Will it happen ? Can't see it myself.......but stranger things have occurred.

Feb 19, 2010
8:59 AM EDT
>blindly rushing down the slippery slope.

You flatter yourself. Believe it or not, you are not the only human being on the planet to conclude "Hey! Microsoft is not very nice."

The mono team consists of people who understand that fact. Don't forget that Miguel was doing FOSS long before mono. There's a reason RMS himself picked Miguel to lead GNOME development. He knows who the good guys are and who they are not. More to the point, he knows that techies, even those working in the very heart and soul of Evil Incarnate, Inc. HQ up there in Redmond, will sometimes come up with interesting stuff.

And -- lest we forget -- The mono team is part of Novell, one of the few companies with the actually real-world experience of whipping Microsoft's ass in a legal battle.

Not to mention many years of being at Microsoft's throat in a battle for corporate survival.

Nobody there is rushing blindly down any slope, slippery or otherwise.

Feb 19, 2010
9:11 AM EDT
Ridicule ... may I call you that? My spelling is not the best, however, let me assure you absolutely you have it all wrong with MS. By just one quote alone I destroy all your arguments:
Quoting: [...] If Microsoft's survival and profits are at risk, there will only be one answer [...]: destroy the opposition.
Ha! What do you know? When really survival simply plays no role. Profits alone are reason enough. Now that you are suitably chastened by superior knowledge, come back with a better grasp of the real issues. Until then let me give you a few shilligisms to set your mind at ease:

Get entangled in the dot Net [with some one singing "My Way"[1.] in the background] to feel the joy of being enveloped by a superior state of being.

Mono is NOT a disease, it is a means to an end[2.]. And even if it were a disease, most youth are now routinely inoculated, hence, there is no disproportionate risk to the general population. So get happy.

Your Fore Most Buddy Txt.*

Made up facts:

1. More Philippine males die from gun violence when this song is sung poorly [when there is a surly crowd present] than for the total of random violence encountered by innocents as collateral damage caused by the execution of other criminal induced activities.

2. Just listen to the mindless song "Get Happy" and you too will mind less being merged in the greater being.

* LXer's sole registered licensed and openingly admitted** shill [for pay only] and atroturfer supreme allowed on this site.

** Others are present, but they hide behind a thin veil pretending to hold Linux and maybe even Free Software in high regard***. However, they hide behind code words to push Open or even proprietary solutions. But never doubt, they say, they are the real, true friends of Linux.

*** I wonder if they are paid better than me, the honest shill. And do their checks bounce less often than mine?


Feb 19, 2010
9:33 AM EDT
To bring in RMS is a two edged sword; whether he picked Miguel for Gnome or not is moot, but RMS is also of extreme doubts as regards Mono and its requirements of C#.....you may like to read this:


Let me put it this way, implementing Mono enthusiastically without recognizing the entrappment it entails certainly is rushing blindly down a slippery slope.

Feb 19, 2010
9:53 AM EDT
ridcully -

>implementing Mono enthusiastically without recognizing the entrappment it entails certainly is rushing blindly down a slippery slope.

No argument here. But you're changing you tune. The original statement was that multitudes of people actually are doing that, with a strong implication that Miguel is one of them.

Makes you sound awfully full of yourself.

Feb 19, 2010
10:29 AM EDT
Hi dinotrac (and mostly ignoring the silly mess of TxtEdMacs ~ personal abuse is no way to ever start a discussion, it's a display of the writer's own problems, not mine)....... no, all I have posted was just honest feelings and it was certainly not intended to indicate that I was "full of myself", whatever that means.......I know my own limitations only too well and I am a user not a developer. As regards "multitudes", there is a good sample of them on the Miguel blog itself, 26 of them at last count........I'd agree not "multitudes" but if that is a sample then there is a large community all now busy around Mono ? Do you think ? And that could be counted perhaps as a mini-multitude ? With respect, you are making my personal concepts into something that was never intended, however thankyou for accepting the point about "slippery slopes"....All I can say is that everything I have added as a comment still hangs completely on the first post I made in this thread because it encapsulates everything I wanted to say as regards my concerns about Mono......and C# of course.

Feb 19, 2010
10:35 AM EDT
But Ridcully, the problem I have with your opinion (in my only post in this thread) is that you're saying "He has not proved to me that there are no patent problems." At the same time, Linus has never proved to anyone that the Linux kernel doesn't have patent problems.

I will summarize your concern as "Microsoft must be doing something bad." But then why do you use the Linux kernel?

Feb 19, 2010
11:17 AM EDT
It is up to the patent holder to prove a patent violation. Linus holds no patents (that I know of), so it is not up to him to prove that it violates none of the hundreds of millions of current patents and patents pending.

Then again, the entire premise of patenting the novel use of a device, rather than the device itself, is suspect.

Feb 19, 2010
11:31 AM EDT
> Linus holds no patents (that I know of), so it is not up to him to prove that it violates none of the hundreds of millions of current patents and patents pending.

Miguel does not hold any patents either, so it's not his responsibility to prove that Mono does not violate any patents, yet that is what Ridcully wants.

Feb 19, 2010
11:47 AM EDT
ridcully --

The "full of yourself" refers to your belief that those users are blind, lacking your gift to see the danger ahead.

There are no secrets about mono's pedigree. My dog probably knows about it. Nobody is trudging blindly ahead.


Feb 19, 2010
12:32 PM EDT
Ridcully - With TxtEdMacs you have to take him with a grain of salt and humor at the same time..he means no damage, just a good laugh and a point or two..please do not take something he said that hurt to heart. He probably did not mean it. I have known him for some time and I know he is not picking on you at all. He is just being TxtEdMacs. The last thing I want you to think is that I allow people to to just 'make fun' of others in tne forums..I don't.

But if you want to make fun of Dinotrac well..I'll let you..;-)

Just kidding Dino..lol!

Feb 19, 2010
12:47 PM EDT
> ...it's not his responsibility to prove that Mono does not violate any patents, yet that is what Ridcully wants.

Yeah. Expecting anyone to state that any piece of software is completely free of patents is a pipe dream. Even people who have done their homework can and have still run afoul of patent trolls. That's not a valid reason not to use Mono. Nor is Mono any more susceptible to patents than any other software. It's only the noted ill will of the primary patent holder that's the concern. And if Microsoft's involvement is enough to raise concerns (which in my case it is), you don't even need to bring the patent issue into the mix. Merely noting their ownership and control of .Net is enough. There are also valid technical reasons both to like and not like Mono, but there's room for disagreement among otherwise reasonable people concerning them.

Feb 19, 2010
1:54 PM EDT
jdixon --

Who declared Friday to be "Inject a little sanity into the mix" day?

Feb 19, 2010
3:31 PM EDT
TxtEdMacs, what tapestries you weave.

Ridcully, I believe he reinforced your concerns with the statement:

"If Microsoft's survival and profits are at risk, there will only be one answer ... destroy the opposition."


Feb 19, 2010
4:02 PM EDT
Interesting, demanding proof of a negative, better idea since you seem incensed about it, prove that it is true. Proving a positive is eminently easier than proving a negative. I could care less either way, just that the demand seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Basically all I see is "Miguel, I have no proof but prove me wrong anyways". Always a good way to open a reasoned logical discussion.

Feb 19, 2010
4:20 PM EDT
Risks outweigh the benefit. No thanks. An end user most likely will never see any direct conflict with MS. A company very well may have the rug pulled out if they depend on a mono app with no alternative (read: in-house developed .NET-type app to run on Linux) and suddenly are told they can no longer make changes/improve the code.

If it's covered by an agreement between MS and Novell, it's still not covered for the rest of us peons.

Feb 19, 2010
5:25 PM EDT
> Who declared Friday to be "Inject a little sanity into the mix" day?

I have the occasional good day, Dino. :)

Feb 19, 2010
6:21 PM EDT
>I have the occasional good day, Dino. :)

I'm just floored. All this time and I never knew!

Feb 19, 2010
6:39 PM EDT
jd && dino,

Beginning to wonder now if by chance you two shared adjacent padded cells*. Though I have found that I have agreed much more often with dino than I have in the past, to me whenever he uses sane I see it as a Red Flag**.


* Though I do routinely respect jd's arguments and opinions, except when he trashes my money wagon.

** Not necessarily implying the commie Linux Distribution of the same name.

Feb 19, 2010
7:42 PM EDT
>Though I have found that I have agreed much more often with dino than I have in the past,

See? You do possess the capacity for intellectual awakening and growth!

Feb 19, 2010
8:10 PM EDT
Either that or you have been sleep posting again dino ;)

Feb 19, 2010
9:21 PM EDT
In my dreams, az!

Feb 19, 2010
9:25 PM EDT
Quoting:Interesting, demanding proof of a negative
I'd say more like disproving a positive. In this case, the "positive" is the demonstrated history of Microsoft's business tactics. Look at the trail of destroyed businesses Microsoft has left in its wake, for starters. Add to that the selective enforcement of "anti-piracy" measures (their term), the refusal/inability to put real security into Windows systems, and the "men in black" who make sure computer makers bow to Microsoft's will.

Microsoft, and Miguel de Icaza, must disprove our concerns that we could be the recipients of a repeat performance.

Until we have proof that the same will not happen to all FOSS packagers/distributors, present and future, who include Mono in their default installations, I see no reason to have any C#/Mono programs on my computer.

Why are we pressing Miguel for this? Because he is Microsoft's point man (tool) for spreading C#/Mono propaganda into the FOSS communities, and generating "good will" with the packagers/distributors.

Feb 19, 2010
11:59 PM EDT
> ...if by chance you two shared adjacent padded cells*.

Only our analyst knows for sure, txt. :)

Feb 20, 2010
3:45 PM EDT
gus I'm sorry since no one has proved a positive, then demanding a refutation of a positive is still demanding that one proves a negative. Proving a negative being a much more daunting task than supplying unquestionable proof of a positive.

Feb 20, 2010
7:24 PM EDT
Quoting: Is Mono encumbered in any way by Microsoft patents that potentially can be exercised by Microsoft at some time in the future ?

Please may I answer that one (rather simple):

"Somewhere between maybe and probably".

What I actually wonder is this: What if Novell goes bankrupt? Will Linux / SLES users still be 'immune' to patent claims from Microsoft?

Like said by others, you only have to look at DaimlerChrysler and TomTom to see how Microsoft uses its 'IP' to extract money out of companies when selling MS Software to them isn't an option / is not profitable enough. The good thing here is, when companies slowly shift their business model from 'selling products' to 'selling their old IP' it normally means that company will disappear somewhere in the next two decades.

Feb 20, 2010
7:47 PM EDT
> Will Linux / SLES users still be 'immune' to patent claims from Microsoft?

As long as the agreement is in effect, it should still be binding in Microsoft, regardless of Novell's status. From memory, I believe there is an expiration date on the agreement.

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