Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Mono:The Monkey Doesn't Bite Anymore

I was told that Mono literally means monkey in Spanish. It is also the name of an the open source implementation of the CLI and associated technologies popularly known as Microsoft .NET. The Mono project was started by Miguel De Icaza who still leads the effort. Mono allows you to run programs written for the Microsoft .NET platform on Linux and Mac OSX. But the project has a good number of enemies in the open source world, I prefer to call them the anti-Mono people. Most of them think that it is dangerous to include an implementation of a technology originating from Microsoft into Linux distributions. They think Mono is a trap set by Microsoft to later on capture Mono infected Linux distributions through patent litigations. I must confess that I am partial on this issue and have taken a side a long time ago. I am for Mono and I believe I have outgrown my "Geek adolescence" in which bashing Microsoft is a virtue. Mono is no more a threat than other technologies that are part of many linux distributions e.g ntfs-3g, samba e.t.c. I now believe in creating good technology whenever possible. Some of us Mono supporters argue that the anti-Mono crowd should develop a better alternative to Mono instead of making a lot of noise. Well, there is no need for that now, big bad Microsoft will be applying the Community Promise patent licensing to both C# and the CLI. This was announced by Peter Galli and I quote him

"The Promise applies to developers, distributors, and users of Covered Implementations without regard to the development model that created the implementations, the type of copyright licenses under which it is distributed, or the associated business model. Under the Community Promise, Microsoft provides assurance that it will not assert its Necessary Claims against anyone who makes, uses, sells, offers for sale, imports, or distributes any Covered Implementation under any type of development or distribution model, including open-source licensing models such as the LGPL or GPL"

So if you still think Mono is dangerous on Linux, you really need some new arguments.

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