[CS-FSLUG] DotGNU vs Mono (was Re: LINUX COMMUNITY...)

Norbert Bollow nb at SoftwareEconomics.biz
Thu Nov 25 05:43:31 CST 2004

Hash: SHA1

Don Parris <gnumathetes at gmail.com> wrote:

> How does DotGNU compare/contrast with Mono?  Are these similar
> projects with a different perspective?  I perceive both as the FOSS
> community's answer to Microsoft's Dot.Net platform.

This perception isn't wrong, and there's a big overlap between
what you current can do with DotGNU and what you currently can
do with Mono.  (Right now the practical comparisoin is:  If you
want something compatime with MS ASP.Net you need Mono; for programming
desktop apps you use Mono if you want Gtk or DotGNU if you want
MS-compatible System.Windows.Forms; for embedded systems you want
DotGNU; this is subject to change in either direction.)

However the fundamental motivations between the two projects
are very different.

I view the attitude which Mono project leader Miguel de Icaza has
towards other projects (especially towards projects which can be
viewed as competing and which don't want to submit to him to become
part of his empire) as a manifestation of the spirit of antichrist.
(Yes, this spirit is at work not only in Sun and Microsoft but it
can also influence open source based businesses.) 

DotGNU on the other hand was started prayerfully, while calling
on the name of Jesus, with the explicit goal of ensuring that
the 'net will not fall under the control of Microsoft or any
other human empire.  (Currently the one serious threat is the
one from Microsoft.)

I don't mind that the Mono project develops a stack of Free Software,
some of which the DotGNU project is using too (through the ml-pnet
"mono libs for pnet" package), and some of which competes with what
we're creating in the DotGNU project.  Choice is good, and with Free
Software it's never a business problem when someone else creates
something that meets the needs of some or all users better.

The major reason why I view the Mono project with concern is that
(caving in to pressure from Intel) in January 2002 they changed the
license of their class library from GNU LGPL to the MIT X11 license.

The problem with this is that the MIT X11 license is compatible with
the idea of making the software proprietary through asserting a
patent, while the GNU LGPL does not allow this.  Hence it's a possible
scenario that Microsoft might assert a patent, license it to SCO, and
then suddenly Mono is proprietary software under the control of SCO.
I think the current attitude at Novell would be to not tolerate that
at all, and sue for "patent abuse" (that's a violation of anti-trust
law with potentially very severe penalties), and Microsoft wouldn't
want to risk that - so I think right now this risk is very low.  But
it's impossible to predict who's going to be in charge of Novell in a
couple of years and what their attitudes may be towards accepting a
big chunk of money in exchange for a promise to not oppose such a Mono
takeover.  Hence Mono really should use a license which prevents this
scenario, and their unwillingness to do that is in my opinion a valid
reason to avoid supporting Mono.

Blessings and greetings,

P.S. Thanks to "N. Thompson" <n.thomp at sasktel.net> for his comments
- - I very much appreciate the feedback.

Greetings, Norbert.

- -- 
Founder & Steering Committee member of DotGNU, see http://dotgnu.org/
Free Software Business Strategy Guide   --->  http://FreeStrategy.info
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59        Fax +41 1 972 20 69       http://norbert.ch
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