Mark Shuttleworth, whom we have great respect for after maintaining his stern stance against intimidation tactics, has responded to our concerns regarding the existence of Mono in Ubuntu. His message to us was CC’d to the Technical Board and the leader of Fedora. It would be worth bringing it to our readers’ attention because some were concerned (if not outraged) about the subject.
At this stage we see no significant issues with patents and Mono. There is a risk of a patent claim against almost any component of Ubuntu – across every jurisdiction in which Ubuntu ships, the patent minefield is too complex. Our view is that we can deal with patent suits if they arise, but removing or re-engineering the relevant components.
“We cannot live in fear of that threat, we can only respond to it as an when it arises.”Yesterday’s announcement from Microsoft suggests that they have come round to the view that patent litigation is not an effective strategy for them.
The real patent risk to free software, in my view, is not a large-scale industry participant like SONY or IBM or Microsoft, instead it is a small, hard-to-identify patent holder who does not actually need to get products out the door. We cannot live in fear of that threat, we can only respond to it as an when it arises.
I don’t mean to undermine the good work that you do in reminding people of the risks, but only to say that we have discussed this in Ubuntu and are confident that the course we are on is a reasonable one.