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Ximian

Ximian to Change License for Mono 318

A Commentor writes: "According to news.com Ximian is changing the license to Mono from GPL to a variant of the XFree license. Apparently this is due to a partnership with Intel." Update: 01/28 15:03 GMT by T : There's a story at NewsForge as well, where RMS weighs in firsthand on the license choice.
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Ximian to Change License for Mono

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  • Headline misleading? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MisterBlister ( 539957 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:51AM (#2912238) Homepage
    From my reading of the article, they changed the license of the classes, not the whole of Mono.


    This makes quite a bit of sense in terms of acceptance as if the root classes of the implementation are GPL that pretty much forces every application built to use Mono to be GPL. You can debate whether the classes would have been better off XFree-ish or LGPL, but they shouldn't be GPL (IMO), just as the gnu libc isn't GPL.

    • by Ondo ( 187980 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:03AM (#2912275)
      It wasn't just the headline that was misleading, the article is misleading. It was GPL and LGPL they switched from.

      From Miguel's message to the Mono-announce list:

      In behalf of all the Mono contributors to the project, we are announcing that the license for the Mono class libraries has been changed from the dual mode we had (GPL and LGPL) to the MIT X11 license.
      • by J. Random Software ( 11097 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:18AM (#2912316)
        "On behalf of all contributors"? Does Mono require copyright assignment of all contributions, or did they actually manage to persuade every contributor to subsidize non-Free Mono implementations? Their FAQ [go-mono.com] still says they'll generally accept GPL'd contributions (which implies they don't insist on the right to relicense).
        • I assume they didn't have too many *external* contributors to this very pre-alpha project. All internal contributors (the 50 programmers mentioned in the article) apparently signed license change agreements.
  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @01:58AM (#2912261) Homepage
    Just as glibc and gtk are LGPL and not GPL, switching the license for the class libraries to a license that allows commercial software to be used with Mono is a good move.

    I would have preferred the LGPL, but an X-style license is better than a lot of alternatives.

    Of course, .Net may fizzle or end up being a bridge for viruses from Windows, which will make the choice of license less important, as no one will be using it. If it does work out, it might mean that you can finally buy Linux software at CompUSA.

    I'm not sold on the whole clone-MS thing. On the one hand, it could lessen MSFT's grip on the market. On the other, MSFT will probably maintain incompatibilities with Mono, making Mono much less relevant. For instance, I doubt that they will ship a ".Net clean" version of Office that would run on Mono. Ditto for other cash-cow programs. However, I'll bet that Minesweeper.NET will be one of the first successes for Mono. ;)
    • by tester13 ( 186772 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:58AM (#2912397) Homepage
      I'm not sure that I agree with the idea that Mono won't be fully compatible with .NET. Could it possibly be in MS's best interest to allow open development of software, while at the same time collecting fees from passport/.NET services?
    • by Perdo ( 151843 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @03:12AM (#2912428) Homepage Journal
      Umm... Not to pick nits... but you can buy Linux software at CompUSA...

      Sometimes it seems like many Linux users are so busy being activists that they forget the true state of Linux. Sort of like nazi-feminists are so busy being angry that they do not see that there are a lot of nice men out there.

      Linux is sold at CompUSA and Best Buy. Redhat, Suse and Mandrake are all available right next to Windows with plenty of shelf space. Sure you can still be a Linux god and spend 24 hours downloading an entire distro on your DSL but it is really not necessary. Just go to the store a buy it. Go ahead and cough up the 29 bucks... Oh... You never want to pay for it? Not worth it? Then the commercial distros die.

      Fact is it is worth it. Have you any idea how much old hardware I have rescued with my Red Hat Pro distro? Fantastic OS, on par with Win 98SE or Mac OS 9.1. for usability and smokes them in reliability.

      Notice I left out 2000 and OS X. They have Linux's reliability.
  • I need to waste a little karma. So here goes:
    1. All your code module licensing are belong to us!
    Whew.
    Actually, since they are changing the licensing for their modules only to the XFree86 license and not the entire Mono, I don't think we will see too much trouble. Besides, it's not like the X license is all that bad now, is it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:10AM (#2912294)
    OK, I know that I'll get flamed to death for it (well if I provided an email). But, I really had a revelation reading Stallman's last GPL style rant about Word attachments. He really makes it difficult for reasonable people who agree with him on many fundamental things (I agree that Word attachments are bad).

    It is clear that Stallman and the GPL are not really about freedom. I want the right to view, port, and tweak code. We agree there. But, I do not want the right to force others to let me view, port and tweak their code. Stallman disagree's there. At one time I had the deluded notion that the GPL was all about making certain that those who contributed to Open Source didn't try to just steal from it outright and wanted to provide more protection than the BSD license. But, it is quite clear that the agenda is bigger than that. It is that there be no closed code at all. The viral nature of the GPL isn't there as a side effect of trying to protect Open Source. It is there to deliberately attempt to eliminate closed source. That is a foolish endeavor in and event.

    Please folks, don't be paranoid. BSD licenses represent true freedom. So what if someone tries to rip off your BSD software and do a closed modification. It is more likely, you will get credited in that instance whereas a GPL stealer will attempt to hide from GPL responsibilities. I fail to see a single incidence the BSD code modified and closed the has hurt the BSD community.

    Maybe some people's feelings got hurt when MS used the BSD code for their networking implementation. But, looking at the big picture it got networking more standardized and interoperable. BSD was not directly hurt at all. With the desktop monopoly of closed software it is almost impossible for one to make headway with a low level GPL innovation. At best a corrupted twisted half assed version will be released by microcrap and everyone will suffer. OTOH, a BSD innovation can easily become a standard in both closed and open source communities.

    Please, down with the GPL...
    • Re:down with GPL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xonker ( 29382 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:29AM (#2912336) Homepage Journal
      It is clear that Stallman and the GPL are not really about freedom.

      Please, do not make the mistake of assuming that the GPL and RMS are inseparable. The GPL is about sharing code, and protecting it. RMS may have an agenda that's beyond that, probably, in fact. But, the GPL itself is not viral beyond code already under the GPL.

      I really wish that RMS would retire at this point and allow some more reasonable and personable people to further the Free Software cause. I think he may be doing more harm than good at this point.

      I have no beef with the BSD-style licenses, but I wouldn't use one for a project if my life depended on it. If I decide to release code as Free Software, with no real expectation to make money off of it or whatever, then I expect others that want to build on it or redistribute it to give others the same benefits that I've given them. That's the price for using GPL'ed code. If that price isn't acceptible, then they shouldn't look to building on Free Software.

      The viral nature of the GPL isn't there as a side effect of trying to protect Open Source.

      Right and wrong. The viral nature isn't a side effect -- it's a feature. The GPL's primary goal is to protect the software from being closed, but it is not in and of itself a means to kill off closed-source software. Nothing about the GPL prevents companies from releasing closed-source software, it only prevents them from using the GPL'ed software in those products. Sure, I bet many developers hope that the GPL would be the dominant license, but using the GPL only harms closed source software by providing an alternative and giving people a choice. If closed source software can't compete, oh well.

      So what if someone tries to rip off your BSD software and do a closed modification.

      Just lay back and take it, I suppose. Gee, I didn't know Billy G. read Slashdot. This isn't a trivial matter, so don't trivialize it. Most folks that use a BSD license intentionally use it so that businesses can have the option of using it in proprietary software. If they're comfortable with that, so be it. They're not being ripped off if they intentionally allow this.

      However, I see nothing that serves the Greater Good in allowing companies to embrace and extend Free Software and having no obligation to contribute. If a company wants to play the proprietary licensing game, then let them pay for 100% of the code that they use, just as they expect their customers to do. They can either pay up to the original developers and convince them to dual-license the software, or write it from scratch. If you went to one of these companies and said "hey, my small business is just getting started and I need 20 licenses for your software to seed my business" they'd tell you "no free lunch. Pay up or fsck off." You should tell them the same.
      • If a company wants to play the proprietary licensing game, then let them pay for 100% of the code that they use, just as they expect their customers to do.

        Ask yourself these quesitons:

        1) Is my goal to make money off of this software?

        If yes, then why GPL it in the first place?

        If no, then why complain about others doing just that?

        2) Is my goal to make a standard with my software?

        If yes, then why limit the usage base of the code?

        If no, then any open-source license will do.

        I have no beef with the BSD-style licenses, but I wouldn't use one for a project if my life depended on it.

        Personally, I don't like "open" licenses which have such strict stipulations. It is similar to having an open bar with a sign saying "No Irish allowed." If we limit who can join the party, it is not exactly open nor free nor "Free".
        • >Personally, I don't like "open" licenses which have such strict stipulations. It is similar to having an open bar with a sign saying "No Irish allowed." If we limit who can join the party, it is not exactly open nor free nor "Free".

          I see it slightly different: Everyone is allowed to come to the party, but everyone needs to bring a bottle of liquor. You wanna come to the party, but don't want to bring a bottle? tough.

          I do agree it's a restriction on freedom.. one which I happen to like. But the BSD licence is more "free". Choose your licence according to your own taste. Each has its own pros and cons.

          //rdj
          • I do agree it's a restriction on freedom.. one which I happen to like. But the BSD licence is more "free". Choose your licence according to your own taste. Each has its own pros and cons.

            I can agree with this.
        • I don't find any of them conclusive. Both are certainly an improvement over closed source.

          My preference is that all API's, interfaces, etc. should be under a BSD style (i.e., non-restrictive) license.

          For libraries I prefer LGPL.

          For programs I prefer GPL (possibly with dual -licensed commercial option, but that does require complete ownership of the code, and thus is often infeasible).

          But this is my preference. I see no reason to believe that everyone else should make the same decisions. And it seems to me unreasonable when someone claims that someone else should make the same decisions that they make.

          Still, it is a pity that such a basic tool as a compiler is under a bsd-style license. And (as I indicated above) in my mind the libraries should be LGPL. But perhaps the Mono project is getting funding from some of the mentioned companies. That could certainly be enough to change one's mind, at least as far as BSD.
          .
          • My preference is that all API's, interfaces, etc. should be under a BSD style (i.e., non-restrictive) license.

            For libraries I prefer LGPL.


            How are these different assuming both refer to code?

            But this is my preference. I see no reason to believe that everyone else should make the same decisions. And it seems to me unreasonable when someone claims that someone else should make the same decisions that they make.

            I can agree with this.
      • Re:down with GPL (Score:3, Interesting)

        by reg ( 5428 )

        Most folks that use a BSD license intentionally use it so that businesses can have the option of using it in proprietary software. If they're comfortable with that, so be it. They're not being ripped off if they intentionally allow this.

        As someone who uses a BSD license (and wouldn't use the GPL if my life depended on it), I would say that this is the crux of any licence flame war...

        But I will say that most BSD programmers don't care about whether or not their code is used in proprietary software. Mostly, people who code BSD software only care about writing good software - software that they want to use.

        But, on the taking over the world lark, BSD software takes a different approach to the GPL. The approach is known as 'raising the bar'. If there is BSD licenced software which is better than your commercial software, then why bother with continued development on your source (especially if your shareholders find out that some geeky schoolkids, who probably don't even speak english ;-), are giving away what your highly skilled engineering department is late delivering, and over budget on nerf guns...)

        As an approach, raising the bar has already been very successful:

        • Darwin is based on BSD code, because Apple realised it was cheaper than maintinaing NeXT OS.
        • Oracle dumped their web server in favour of Apache. So did several other web server developers...
        • Microsoft used BSD code in developing their TCP/IP stack. Let's wait and see what happens with IPv6...

        There are several other places where raising the bar is working too, like OpenGL, where XFree86 is slowly becoming the de facto X/Windows standard. With the slow death of custom graphics hardware, don't be surprised if XFree86 takes over entirely from The Open Group.

        Regards,
        -Jeremy

    • I fail to see a single incidence the BSD code modified and closed the has hurt the BSD community.

      Well if we talk about software being taken from BSD, used, and the source dissappears for ever, there is probably no better example than Microsoft [microsoft.com]. Their network stack owes a lot to BSD, but has any of it been passed back? No.

      • You're making the assumtion that there is much/any improvement on MS's part to the BSD TCP/IP stack code.

        What do you want "passed back"? Windows itself? If you're a GPL advocate, the answer of course is, "YES! A small fragement of Windows used our code so now we should by RIGHT have full and complete access to everything that is Windows!".

        But that's an even sillier argument then it sounds out loud...

        If possibilities like MS using the BSD network stack kept BSD developers up at night, they wouldn't be developing BSD licensed code. If such things do keep you up at night, then you shouldn't consider writing free software, and thus probably use the GPL.
      • However, Microsoft did not hurt BSD by using their network stack. If MS had not told anyone that they used the BSD network stack, the situation today would be exactly the same.
      • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @03:24AM (#2912446) Homepage Journal
        Well if we talk about software being taken from BSD, used, and the source dissappears for ever, there is probably no better example than Microsoft [microsoft.com]. Their network stack owes a lot to BSD, but has any of it been passed back? No.

        This claim is one of those internet myths that has festered on Slashdot that has never been conclusively proved.

        However this myth has been debunked in an article by a former Microsoft employee that explains with really happened? [kuro5hin.org]

        Secondly, unlike most of the zealots on Slashdot I don't think the purpose of Free Software is a battle between prospective platforms and user communities but instead is the optimal way to provide utility to users of software. Even if MSFT uses a BSD-derived TCP/IP stack, this would mean that improved networking has benefitted millions of computer users who use MSFT Windows and couldn't handle BSD boxen. The BSD license is about getting as many people as possible to benefit from your software and not an attempt to bend the software industry to the world view of a dissaffected MIT computer science professor.
        • From your cited MS source:
          "I won't even swear on a stack of bibles that the "new" TCP/IP now shipping in NT/2000/XP and Windows 95/98/Me is completely free of the old code from Spider. Since I don't work there I don't have access to the source code. Certainly some parts of TCP (the checksum calculation comes to mind) are the same everywhere and once someone has written an optimized version, why rewrite it? And once again, this would be perfectly legitimate for Microsoft to do under the license."
          Nuff said.
        • This claim is one of those internet myths that has festered on Slashdot that has never been conclusively proved.

          Bzzzzt! Thanks for playing.
          1. use ftp to transfer the ftp.exe files from winblows to any *nix. (Don't forget the bin option. MS defaults to ASCII.)
          2. Issue the following commands, get the following results.

            # strings ftpNT.exe |fgrep -i regents

            @(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.

            # strings ftp98.exe |fgrep -i regents

            @(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.


          How the fuck did the comment I'm responding to get to be a score:5? Dimbulb moderators abound.
          • I guess you can't read. He was refuting the claim that there is BSD code in the TCP/IP stack, not in the utilities. If you bothered to read the article rather than instantly flame, you'd realize that.

            Quoted from parent:
            Well if we talk about software being taken from BSD, used, and the source dissappears for ever, there is probably no better example than Microsoft. Their network stack owes a lot to BSD, but has any of it been passed back? No.
          • The linked article clearly mentions that MSFT uses the BSD implemntation of FTP and a few more command line tools. Here is an excerpt since you don't seem to have read it
            However, it looks like some of those Unix utilities were never rewritten. If you look at the executables, you can still see the copyright notice from the regents of the University of California (BSD is short for Berkeley Software Distrubution, Berkeley being a branch of the University of California, for some reason referred to as "Berkeley" on the East Coast and "California" on the West Coast...and "Berkeley" is one of those words that starts to look real funny if you stare at it too long - but I digress).

            Keep in mind there is no reason to rewrite that code. If your ftp client works fine (no comments from the peanut gallery!) then why change it? Microsoft has other fish to fry. And the software was licensed perfectly legally, since the inclusion of the copyright notice satisfied the BSD license.
            However, the point of contention has always been the claim that the MSFT Windows TCP/IP stack "stole" code from BSD and not whether some command line utilities are ports of the BSD versions.
            • The linked article clearly mentions that MSFT uses the BSD implemntation of FTP and a few more command line tools. Here is an excerpt since you don't seem to have read it

              Oops. You definitely have a point, in that MSTCP.DLL lacks the copyright notice shown above. Which doesn't prove that they didn't steal code, but certainly taks the sting out of my point specifically regarding the TCP/IP stack.

              If your ftp client works fine (no comments from the peanut gallery!) then why change it? Microsoft has other fish to fry. And the software was licensed perfectly legally, since the inclusion of the copyright notice satisfied the BSD license.

              Which is exactly the point - someone wrote the code for free usage, but a big (in this case nasty) corporation benefits. If the fellow who wrote the code wanted it used this way, that's his choice. But I wouldn't want my code used this way (presuming I wrote any that they wanted).
              • Which is exactly the point - someone wrote the code for free usage, but a big (in this case nasty) corporation benefits. If the fellow who wrote the code wanted it used this way, that's his choice.

                The fellow who wrote the code obviously didn't *care* how it was used. That someone wrote the code for *any* usage, otherwise the license shouldn't have been BSD.

                I never did understand why making ideological agreement with the author a condition of licensing was a good idea...

                I figure "I'm not making any money off this code" so why should I make sure no-one else is either? If someone else finds a way to make a profit out of it, then good for them. It would be nice if they decided to contribute back, bu it's their choice.

                There are many other reasons for open sourcing other than ideology or warm fuzzies, but I don't use my code to leverage morality

        • unlike most of the zealots on Slashdot I don't think the purpose of Free Software is a battle between prospective platforms and user communities

          Well that's nice, but if you capitalize, as in "Free Software", you are apparently referring the Free Software Foundation. And Stallman does get to define what that is "for", at least for those who work with him and use his license. And Stallman's concern is the Free software stay Free, and that the work that went into creating it not be absorbed to the benefit of some corporation.

          Don't like it? Then don't incorporate GPL'd source code into your programs. Simple.

          The Open Source movement, and the BSD communities are a separate issue.

          The BSD license is about getting as many people as possible to benefit from your software

          Well, the MIT license is apparently similar and look what MSFT did with Kerberos - made a version of their own that has many of the features, but does NOT interoperate. This closed code is being used against Samba.

          Programmers (should) get to decide how their code will be used, but I for one would be furious if I worked on the open implementation of Kerberos, then saw scumbags like MS use it the way they used MS-Kerberos to increase vendor lockin.
        • First, the company is called Microsoft Inc. MSFT is the short form for the securities issed by Microsoft. You aren't perchance a shareholder, are you?

          If you go back to that article, you see that the person concerned has no current access to source code, however they admit that the early code was BSD related. Many of the utilities still have BSD copyright strings in them.

          As for the benefits, this is debatable as the editors here would agree (whenever they get DOSed from a Windows box where the owner isn't even aware that their system has been broken in to. By the release of insecure code that can not easily be fixed. By distributing such code, they have done the world a disservice.

          What concerns me though, is the embrace/extend policy. For example, look at what happened to Kerberos. Their security extensions are sufficiently outside public domain as to hinder interoperability.

          Actually, I note that Ximian is careful about its relations with Microsoft and is careful about how they license their code. I support what they have done with the classes, but hope that the rest of the code that is currently GPL'ed remains so.



        • Secondly, unlike most of the zealots on Slashdot I don't think the purpose of Free Software is a battle between prospective platforms and user communities but instead is the optimal way to provide utility to users of software.


          I agree at first. Open Source is about functionality and empowering the user. When you think about it, pitting platforms and user communities against each other is really a byproduct of marketing. And that's the source of "evil" that leads to a lack of interoperability and removal of user choice... but I digress.


          If the BSD license is somehow superior to the GPL because it has fewer restrictions which allows more people to use BSD code... then why bother with a license? Obviously, releasing code to the public domain would be superior to both the BSD and GPL. Why bother with the BSD license at all?


          Simple. Credit where credit is due. Fame. Recognition. The one universal currency within the Open Source landscape.


          All licenses involve a price. And while that price affects end users, it is really about developers and the IT industry. Licenses exist to limit or serve that industry.


          Sure - Open Source takes the user in account. They may even be about enabling the user. But as soon as a developer is considering which license best suits his/her requirements... it is no longer about the end user.

      • fail to see a single incidence the BSD code modified and closed the has hurt the BSD community.
        Well if we talk about software being taken from BSD, used, and the source dissappears for ever, there is probably no better example than Microsoft [microsoft.com]. Their network stack owes a lot to BSD, but has any of it been passed back? No.


        This isn't an example of someone or something being hurt. Lack of gain doesn't equal injury. Nothing has been gained from MS not releasing their code, but nothing has been lost. Just because they didn't help you by releasing their code, that doesn't mean they have hurt you.

    • My answer: None of the above. The very fact that all these different licenses exist--including the GPL--that represents true freedom.

      Yeah, this is just another statement of the O'Reilly "freedom to choose your license" statement. So what.

      Yes, the GPL has an agenda. Stuff that my friends have been telling me I'm paranoid... it's being confirmed. Come to think of it, since 9-11, the paranoids have been vindicated to a degree. I must say though, publishing software under the GPL is nowhere near as bad as say... marketing fuel-grade ethanol as a beverage or selling "herbal remedies" that are in fact potent medicines with potentially fatal side effects from long term usage.

    • If all you want to do is make open code and just give it away to society, then sure, use a BSD-style license. If you don't mind who uses it, you're sort of just throwing it out in the road, use a BSD-style license. Some people like licenses like these, and I can see myself using this license depending on the project.

      On the other hand, the GPL is about keeping things open. The classic problem with societies is that there is always someone who breaks the rules, or who won't play fair with the rest of us. The GPL exists to solve this problem and protect developers. This way, I can create code that is open, and if anyone wants to use it then their code must remain open also. Is that really too much to ask? I made something that you may use for free, and now I want you to do the same for me. That's the point of the GPL. It's to force people to play fair. Otherwise, you'll have good honest people making all this free code, and then other people/companies will just take it without giving back.

      It sounds to me like you just want to take.

      Please, don't whine about licenses. It is up to the developer to choose. Don't complain when something is GPL, geez. Be glad you have the code.
    • I think you have it all wrong. RMS is about *POT SMOKING* to the nth degree.

      I have no issues with pot smoking, but ya gotta admit, only potheads ramble on about secret codes in the .doc format, and various other things along that line. I mean just look at the wording of that thing, you'd think he was some long haired bearded guy who has a pic of himself with robes on and a halo above his head. Prolly likes the Grateful Dead too.

      In independent studies that I have conducted in my own life, I have concluded that *POT SMOKING* keeps you thinking like a socialist and creates a compelte rejection of authoritarian values.

      YMMV.
    • Ok, BG...

      But, I do not want the right to force others to let me view, port and tweak their code.

      I totally agree with RMS here. If someone wants to have the advantages of my code, they are going to have to make the same sacrifices as I made. If they don't like it, that's tough. Freedom, schmeedom - if you wanna see my code, you are going to show me yours. It's as simple as that.

      So what if someone tries to rip off your BSD software and do a closed modification. It is more likely, you will get credited in that instance whereas a GPL stealer will attempt to hide from GPL responsibilities.

      So what? So I want code! The GPL forces you to give me the code. I don't care at all about the recognition or the money, what I want is perpetual access to an ever-improving codebase. If that means that there is no 'commercial' software in the future, so be it.
    • But, it is quite clear that the agenda is bigger than that. It is that there be no closed code at all.

      Huh? You talk like this is some kind of hidden agenda....? RMS has made it perfectly clear that his long-term goal is to throw out software licenses. The GPL is just means to get there.

      As I see it, GPL is first and foremost there to promote the ideas of free software, which will ultimately lead to that all software licenses will be abandoned.

      BSD licenses are used to promote some specific piece of software, application or codec. If that is what you want to do, go with BSD, I have no problem with that.

      But, you may also want to put your software in the public domain, if it is really ultimate freedom for all you have in mind. If you do, you would agree with RMS' ultimate goal, but rushing it there may hurt more than it's worth.

  • License change. (Score:5, Informative)

    by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:10AM (#2912296) Homepage
    The license change only applies to the Mono Class Libraries, and the precise license that we are using is the MIT X11 license [opensource.org].

    Miguel.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      What idiots mismoderated this "Insightful"?

      It's INFORMATIVE, dammit! Maybe even "Interesting", if you swing that way, but "Insightful"?

      Apparently some moderators wouldn't know "Insightful" if it bit them in the ass!

      /rant
    • Miguel:

      Why? I know that Ximian has to attend to the economic realities of the marketplace, but why is it that you were so sure that Intel would never go along with the GPL that you had to relicense? I realize it's still a free software license, but the MIT X11 license opens the community up to non-free forks. Anybody on the planet can now take the Mono class libraries, not even add anything and repackage it as proprietary software. What happens if Mono fails? (Somebody will pick up the class libraries, not necessarily someone with the communities best interests in mind)

      Free software is great, (by the way, I'm hoping that you were misquoted in the news article that had you talking about "open source") and the MIT X11 license is fine, but it takes all of the teeth out of the software and lets anybody who wants to come along, repackage the software and steal subsequent users of their version's freedom. Why?
  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:11AM (#2912299) Homepage

    is that Intel and HP are contributing to Mono.

    I find it somewhat amazing that these two would risk the wrath of Bill. HP I can almost understand, since they're in the Unix business (for now anyway), but Intel would be in big trouble if MS dropped support for Itanic in favour of AMD's Hammer.

    • -Intel officially supports 2 OSes, Win and Lin.
      -Intel writes the fastest C/C++ and Fortran compilers and parallelization tools for Linux
      -Intel is a founder of the Open Source Development Lab
      -Intel is working on dozens of Linux projects including OSCAR cluster, ethernet, gig E and embedded StrongARM work.
      -Itanium has over 500 applications for 3+ OSes while Hammer doesn't even have a finished OS yet.
      (Just don't tell Microsoft...)
      • True enough. I knew about most of those, although not all. But this is a little different. It's one thing to support an alternative technology, but Mono is a direct frontal attack. If MS is really reorganising itself around .Net, then contributing to a clone is roughly equivalent to contribuing to Wine.

        • Mono is a direct frontal attack.


          Stop. Please. Now. Ami, you seem like the nicest person from your posts, and I know I tend to have an itchy trigger finger around here, and I really am trying to be a good boy tonight, so please bear with me...


          This is not a direct frontal attack. Microsoft is pleased about Mono. Last month they even had a front page interview with Miguel at the MSDN site about his opinions on .NET and Mono. Microsoft wants .NET to spread, which is why they standardized it with ECMA to begin with (along with the not-so-subtle jab at Sun's own Java standardization foibles). The more interest there is in .NET, the less there is in Java, and consequently the more Sun is put over a barrel with regards to Java, especially at a time in Sun's history in which they been losing money for a few quarters now, and especially when Sun already has rocky relations with the open source community as it is.


          I know most people at Slashdot love to think that Microsoft is a company of bumblers and that every move they make is some fatal step that will spell their downfall, but well, we've been hearing that for years now, and frankly all the marketshare numbers, server and desktop, show the opposite has been happening. Slashdot might never admit it, but there's some decent evidence out there that *gasp* Microsoft actually knows what it's doing. HP and Intel were the two biggest contributors with Microsoft in the .NET standardization process, and Microsoft actually expects them to help spread the word that .NET is A Good Thing. The Mono classes getting out from under the GPL is icing on the cake.

          • You are right. Only a nuclear bomb dropped on redmond could stop MS right now and I am not too sure about that.

            MS just has too much power, money, political clout etc. They pretty much can do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want. Even the DOJ is afraid to punish them when they break the law.
          • Stop. Please. Now. Ami, you seem like the nicest person from your posts, and I know I tend to have an itchy trigger finger around here, and I really am trying to be a good boy tonight, so please bear with me...

            Thanks.. I think. But really you don't need to be a good boy on my account. Being a good boy does earn you a response, however. Bad boys get ignored :-).

            Slashdot might never admit it, but there's some decent evidence out there that *gasp* Microsoft actually knows what it's doing.

            Indeed, they definately know what they're doing. Thats why I dont buy that they really want to see Mono succeed.

            Microsoft makes it's money from Windows and Office. Two monopolies who's days are numbered. They won't go down tomorrow, or even next year, but it is happening. The only way they can survive is to use the next few years to establish themselves in other markets. Even doing that won't give them the same kinds of margins they have now unless they can establish a monopoly.

            If Microsoft appears to be pushing Mono then there are few possibilities: 1) it's a PR ploy because they believe that they can pull the rug out later (perhaps using software patents), 2) they really think that they can dominate the market for software services if there's level playing field, 3) they've resigned themselves to becoming just another computer company, comparable to Oracle or Computer Associates, 4) they're idiots.

            We've already agreed they're not idiots, so that eliminates #4. #3 seems unlikely, given that it's really to early for them to give up on world domination. They might as well give a shot since they've come this far. That leaves only "PR" and "extreme confidence". Given that they've got $40 billion in the bank, I suppose they have reasons to be confident, but knowing what we do about the level of paranoia within Microsoft I'd say PR is much more likely.

        • If MS is really reorganising itself around .Net, then contributing to a clone is roughly equivalent to contribuing to Wine.

          I wouldn't really say Mono is a "clone". It's more like an implementation. MS releases the specs for a new software architecture and/or compliler fully expecting people to port it. Their motivations behind this are probably many, but we can only speculate. The truth is, MS could care less if people implement the spec, otherwise they wouldn't have released it.

          Win32 (Wine) on the other hand is closed source. It is completely possible that MS could have another layer equivalent to Win32 on top of the .NET architecture (ie. WinNET) that people CAN'T port to because it's closed. So big deal if your programs are executable on Windows from Linux (because the Linux libraries are open and ported), you won't be able to use the closed WinNET libraries on Linux because THEY are proprietary and closed - that is, until a year or two later when someone does a Wine-like port ... but we'll still be playing catch-up.

          Ah ha! Now THERE'S a strategy.
      • NetBSD runs on the Hammer already.

        See the NetBSD/x86_64 port page [netbsd.org].
  • by philgross ( 23409 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:15AM (#2912311) Homepage
    ...as a invited speaker by Columbia's student ACM chapter [columbia.edu]. 209 Havemeyer [columbia.edu] at 8pm.

    If the slashdot readership has any questions they'd like to ask Miguel de Icaza, we can ask the highly-moderated ones during the Q&A session and report the answers back here.

    Phil Gross, Columbia ACM

  • by rhysweatherley ( 193588 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @02:41AM (#2912364)
    With this decision, all of the Mono components are now non-Free, or can be made non-Free at any moment. In this [ximian.com] message, Miguel makes it clear that Ximian wants to own the Copyright to the engine and C# compiler also, so they can change the license on that whenever they see fit.

    This leaves DotGNU Portable.NET as the only true Free Software project tackling the implementation of the CLR, C# compiler, C# class library, etc.

    http://www.southern-storm.com.au/portable_net.html [southern-storm.com.au] .

    We are looking for developers to help us build our system into a truly-Free implementation. Portable.NET has been around longer than Mono, and remains true to the principles of Free Software.

    • by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @03:03AM (#2912407) Homepage
      The Mono runtime is released under the LGPL.
      The compiler is released under the GPL.
      The class libraries are released under the X11 license.

      The X11 license is a free software license (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#X11 License [gnu.org].
      It is also an Open Source license (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.ht ml [opensource.org]

      All of it free software.

      If they were not `truly free software' we would have bigger problems (someone would have to start a reimplementation of X11, telnet, Kerberos, Expat, LibXML, Mesa GL, ftp, Tcl/Tk, BIND, DNS, and anything else released under the X11, the Ousterhout or the BSD licenses, because they are in essence the same thing).

      Miguel
      • Mono will only be truly Free when you make a public commitment never, ever, to change the license to something that is incompatible with the wishes of the community. Yet, you still maintain the right to change Mono's license any way you see fit at any moment.

        Sure, Copyright law may allow you to do this, but that is a technicality. I have made a strong commitment to DotGNU and the GNU Project to *never* change the license in a way which may harm the community's interests. Will you do the same?

        Free Software is more than just using a GPL-compatible license. It also entails that all future uses of the software remain Free, in all respects. The X11 license does not preserve this freedom, as it allows components to be proprietrised.

        Ximian is putting pragmatism ahead of the community by bowing to Intel and HP in this.

    • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @03:17AM (#2912434) Homepage Journal
      ...or can be made non-Free at any
      moment.


      Hah! Hah! Hah! You're so full of it the roto-rooter man is jealous.

      Let's say I have an MIT-X11 program sitting on my ftp site. How, just how, can anyone make it non-free? They could of course download their own copy, build it, and distribute the resulting binary source-less. But that non-free binary will be on their ftp site, not mine. My copy is still 100% free.

      You know, if you were correct, Bill Gates could stop Linux in its tracks in a heartbeat. All he would have to do is relicense XFree86 under a proprietary license, and suddenly it's no longer free. You have have to pay royalties to Microsoft to use any GUI on Linux. But guess what? That's not the way the world works. Bill Gates could do all sorts of evil and heinous things to his *copy* of XFree86, but his filthy hands will never touch my copy, your copy, or the copy at ftp.xfree86.org.

      Frankly, if someone wants to use a non-free binary instead of my free binary that comes with source code, that's *their* decision.
    • With this decision, all of the Mono components are now non-Free, or can be made non-Free at any moment.

      That's kinda funny, because when I read this story, the first thing I thought was "hey, Mono is now truly free, instead of only qualifiedly so".

      Diff'rent strokes, I guess.

  • ... or perhaps flamebait?

    How can a professional journalist be so irresponsible as to write things like:

    Ximian, a company working to improve the Linux operating system for ordinary computer users, has made a philosophical shift in a key new open-source software project that now will be governed by a less restrictive license [emphasis added].

    and:

    Mono would allow Linux and Unix systems to host Web services and to tap into Web services on other servers.

    • How can a professional journalist be so irresponsible as to write things like:

      Well, the same way a pro journalist can call a semiauto rifle an assualt weapon, but that's really beside the point.
      Journalists are dumb, this fact is proven nearly every day.

      Ximian, a company working to improve the Linux operating system for ordinary computer users, has made a philosophical shift in a key new open-source software project that now will be governed by a less restrictive license [emphasis added].

      Umm...Maybe you haven't read it lately, but the GPL *is* as restrictive license.
      A restriction is still a restriction, no matter if it's ultimate goal is openness or profit.

      C-X C-S
      • Umm...Maybe you haven't read it lately, but the GPL *is* as restrictive license. A restriction is still a restriction, no matter if it's ultimate goal is openness or profit.

        It's not a question of more or less. It's different! That's all. Microsoft's EULA is not any more open than the GPL no matter what their marketing spin might have people believe. This article insinuates that you're somehow strapped to lead weights and sunk in a deep ocean with the GPL. While the GPL may be restrictive, it's simply a different kind of restriction than that engendered by other, non GPL licenses.

        My point was that the monkey at the keyboard writing that article suggested, in bold type no less, that a portion of Ximian mono was going to be ... a less restrictive license than the GPL. That is as rubbish as saying that the GPL is non restrictive. Saying either leads the ignorant down a garden path. That's what marketing is for, not journalism!

    • What, would you have preferred "that now will be governed by a less blessed and pure license"?

      The statement was wholly appropriate, and this is coming from someone who happens to like the GPL in most cases.

      I mean, some zealotry is expected from time to time, but this frothing at the mouth over a statement that was logically sound and not at all inaccurate just lends people to think all people who are pro-GPL are a bunch of dogmatic cultists. And what the hell is up with the second statement? It boggles the mind to even try and guess what the hell you found wrong with that.

      Thanks a bunch. I'll remember you the next time I mention Linux to someone and they look at me like I'm a scientologist.
  • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @04:20AM (#2912542)
    I know that you read /. from time to time, as I got an e-mail from you in response to a posting. Perhaps you can enlighten us here, because I'm really confused.

    In discussing the LGPL vs GPL for libraries, you mention the idea that if the ability doesn't exist outside of the library (ie readline) you should GPL it. Then, if someone wants to use your library, they need to GPL it, and this advanced free software.

    However, if you are reimplementing a standard (i.e. glibc) then you should use the LGPL so that others can build on your work.

    So, assuming we shared your goals of using licensing to advance free software, I still don't see how this hurts.

    Right now, in the pragmatic marketplace, the Unix vendors are retreating up the ladder. Linux and GNU based systems are replacing the low-end UNIX system. Proprietary UNIX is slowly being confined to areas where Free Unix-like OSes can't perform. I think that worrying about liberating Unix users is quite silly. At this point, any markets that Unix competes in will belong to GNU when it matures to that level. UNIX isn't the enemy, its the advanced team. Crippling the commercial UNIXes in a Unix vs. MS fight really hurts free software, as we have a Free Unix, but not a free Windows. The Free Unix will displace the non-Free Unixes, but if the service runs on Windows, you won't liberate those users.

    From this view point, I fail to see how this licensing change hurts thing? These classes are duplicates of the Microsoft classes. As they are based upon compatibility, you can't really do much with them directly. I don't see the leverage that even GPL'd versions give you.

    If your goal is to prevent Sun from using this work to sell Solaris in this market, I think you are missing the situation here. The first choice that is made is Unix vs. WinNT. If WinNT wins, then your free tools are ignored. If Unix wins, then GNU systems get the job if they can handle it, otherwise a Unix is chosen. When the server is replaced in 2-3 years, it will likely be replaced by a GNU system.

    We can't offer things that Sun and HP can. If they do the job, GNU systems kick in when they can handle it. If Win32 gets the job, you are unlikely to liberate them.

    Please, explain how crippling the development efforts advanced free software?

    GNUstep could have done wonders had the project been nearly completed 3-4 years ago. It is just coming to maturity now, and will likely me 2 years from true usefulness.

    This industry moves quickly, and GNU is making it move faster. Any space gets eaten by Free Software within 5 years of existance now, with good prototypes in 2-3 years. Isn't it simply enough to speed up the Free Software Goliath? Why attack the Unix vendors, they're adopting the GNU way slowly as they can.

    Alex
  • Does this mean I now owe royalties?
  • The X11 and the BSD licenses are a mixed bag. On one hand there are amazing success stories like well, XFree86 and the BSDs. On the other hand there are less successful scenarios like WINE where you see lots of proprietary forks, all closed from each other, all providing a disincentive for someone to redundantly code a free version.

    The future of Mono as free software appears to be troubled (even more than it already was). It may make Ximian and Intel a buck or two, but I wonder if it will bring any benefit to the free sofware community.

    I would have preferred an LGPL license. Dropping the LGPL, which is really quite tame, makes me suspicious of Ximian/Intel's motives.
  • Has anything come out of Sun about this yet? Last I heard they were going to replace CDE with GNOME in the next Solaris. GNOME is principly developed by Ximian people, and Miguel begins his article in Dr Dobbs Journal this month by implying that he would have prefered to have been able to implement Evolution in C#/.NET/Mono. It seems clear that he would like to eventually port GNOME to Mono. That would be a very anti-Sun move.

    But I haven't seen anything about this around. Has anyone seen anything?
  • http://www.go-mono.com/faq.html#licensing

    The C# Compiler is released under the terms of the GNU GPL. The runtime libraries are under the GNU Library GPL. And the class libraries are released under the terms of the MIT X11 license.

    I don't know how much better that is, but at least it's better then changing the license to all of Mono.
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Monday January 28, 2002 @10:12AM (#2913241) Homepage Journal
    The GPL is designed to generate a common wealth of software, an
    expanding base that does drive competition in the commercial market,
    regardless of the licenses being used in the market.

    On one end of the spectrum of licenses you have the growth of this base of
    Common Wealth code.

    On the other end you have the extream of closed down tight proprietary
    code that is done so as a matter of milking it for every penny you can get
    out of it, profits focused to a few.

    If all code was proprietary, you can be certain that we would not be
    anywhere near as advanced in this technology as we are today.

    The BSD License doesn't help the Common Wealth code base as much as GPL
    does. But the GPL doesn't help the proprietary code base any more than
    vice versa.

    So, do you build upon Common Wealth or slow it's advancement thru such
    licenses support some other point in the spectrum?

    In time it will become clear that compromises such as what the BSD license
    allows, will act counter productive to the GPL objective/goal. In time,
    thru the compromise, the GPL will become heavely constrained by those who
    use the compromise to place barriers to advancement in front of the GPL.

    Consider a piece of BSD licensed code, open to be improved until someone
    comes along and pulls it behind the curtain and slaps patented piece of
    software on it, effectively preventing anyone else from advancing that
    software in that direction in an open source manner.

    It should be worth noting that IBM is the Leading US patent holder, being
    granted more patents a year than any other company or party, in the US.

    This particular story regarding Mono is a good indication of....Ok it's ok
    to make the engines available for free but we are gonna own all the tires
    and gas.....and these engines won't be able to go anywhere without our
    permission, and that's for sale.

    RMS sees possibilities and then applies human greed to the equasion to
    determine what to expect. I now this because I do it too, and it's always
    right.

    So Sure RMS seems to be extream, because when dealing with the devil,
    there is no such thing as compromise. Only an illusion to lead you to
    think so, untill it's to late for you to do anything about it.
  • "allow applications to communicate and share data over the Internet, regardless of operating system, device, or programming language,"

    Sounds like Antitrust.

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