Microsoft removes a hurdle for Mono

Summary:On July 6, Microsoft removed a seeming licensing hurdle for Mono by putting the licensing of the CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) and the C# programmng language under its "Community Promise."

As reported recently by OSNews, a number of Linux vendors have been on the fence as to what to to with Mono, Novell's open-source implementation of a C# compiler and a Common Language Runtime (CLR). Rightly or wrongly, some open source backers have been worried about the possible legal ramifications of deploying a technology with roots in the closed-source, Microsoft world.

But on July 6, Microsoft removed a seeming licensing hurdle for Mono by putting the licensing of the CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) and the C# programming language under its "Community Promise." Via that promise, Microsoft agrees not to "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."

(In short, Microsoft is less likely to sue a company for patent infringement over technology that is implemented under the Promise.)

It will be interesting to see how and if Microsoft's guarantee will affect the perception of Mono inside the open-source community.

Mono's leader, Novell vice president for developer platforms Miguel de Icaza, blogged that he was gratified by Microsoft's move. And he hinted about what Microsoft's licensing change might mean for the future of Mono:

"In the next few months we will be working towards splitting the jumbo Mono source code that includes ECMA + A lot more into two separate source code distributions. One will be ECMA, the other will contain our implementation of ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Winforms and others.

"Depending on how you get Mono today, you might already have the this split in house or not."

Does Micosoft's latest licening move around C# and the CLI affect you and your organization? Does it change your feelings or opinion of Mono?

Topics: Linux, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Open Source, Developer


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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