Linux, Microsoft struggle looms over .Net

A fledgling effort to replicate Microsoft's .Net architecture on Linux, called Mono, could quickly become mired in intellectual property difficulties.

LONDON (ZDNet UK)--A fledgling effort to replicate Microsoft's .Net architecture on Linux, called Mono, could quickly become mired in intellectual property difficulties.

Tony Goodhew, a program manager in Microsoft's developer products group, has warned that licensing problems might result if open source code is mixed with Microsoft's .Net software.

The Mono project founders plan to exploit key .Net technology specifications that Microsoft has submitted to standards body ECMA. However, Goodhew said ECMA allows technology submitters to license their intellectual property, to retain control over implementation.

Goodhew said Microsoft will publish licence terms covering "all the intellectual property we believe will be required to implement [the core dot-Net] standard" prior to the ECMA general assembly in December.

However, Jan van den Beld, ECMA secretary general, said the licence would cover only Microsoft's own implementation, not the standard itself. "There are no known rights owned by Microsoft that would require a licensing agreement," he said.

Miguel de Icaza, Mono's founder, said, "The consensus is that [Microsoft] could stop someone from implementing the specs by using patents. [But] nothing in dot-Net is really innovative, so it would be simple to use alternative non-patented approaches."

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