04.23.07

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Novell Puts Its Cards on a .NET Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interview, Kernel, Law, Mono, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED at 9:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A very recent interview with Novell’s PR chief confirms what Miguel de Icaza said about a month ago. Novell is going at full force into the Microsoft API.

Mono is absolutely a key component of Novell’s grand plan to become the no.1 Linux reseller. It’s why we invest millions of dollars a year in Linux development and have 20 Mono developers on staff. Mono will enable you to run .NET apps on Linux and if Mono is part of the SuSe Linux enterprise platform and it’s not part of the Red Hat platform because they choose not to ship it, that provides yet another reason for customers to choose SuSe Linux enterprise. I want to make clear that mono is 100% open source. Red Hat could choose to include it. But they choose not to.

The issues with Mono have been detailed in our site before and there are valuable pointers in GrokDoc as well.

These standards [ C#/CLI] are burdened with so many patents, claim MS, that only MS can legally distribute an implementation of the .NET framework. However, the Mono developers are adamant that they do not know of any patent that they infringe on.

Outside of the legallity of reimplementing C#/CLI, is the fact that MS has done the “embrace, extend, extinguish” backwards. As seems to be usual for MS (see the final decision of the EU commision), the published standard is only a subset of MS’ implementation as is discussed

here on GL. Mono does only implement the official published standards, so MS software will be able to use applications developed on Mono, but not the other way round.

For fairly similar reasons, Linux kernel maintainers have just rejected Sun Microsystems’ ZFS, which they argue is burdened with patents and has an incompatible licence.

A recent discussion on the lkml examined the possibility of a Linux implementation of Sun’s ZFS. It was pointed out that the file system is released under the GPL-incompatible CDDL, and that Sun has filed numerous patents to prevent ZFS from being reverse engineered.

Novell might rebut by saying that its Mono affair is protected from Microsoft legal wrath, owing to the deal, but if so, for how long? What about its tactless claims that customers can still be sued (c/f the most recent example)? Will they be buying it?

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