Friday, June 24, 2005

Microsoft and Mono

Very interesting. I had the opportunity to speak to a Microsoftie yesterday and he happened to be one of a PhD researcher for Mercury of which generics was one of the features which was absorbed into C# and only now available for general use.


Discussion was good, and I naively asked him what he thought of Mono. He became uneasy, but then brushed off their efforts as "they are too busy copying everything Microsoft develops and wont have enough time to innovate".


I pursued and suggested that for the sake of PhD research, how does he feel in contributing to their project just for feedback on their implementations? He said no, he probably will not do that, and added that he doesnt trust the maintainability of the mono project as after all it is based on volunteers who need to scratch an itch and after the itch has been scratched, it will not be maintained well.


I left it at that, and eventually during the course of the meal, I then understood why my questions were "inappropriate". I was actually speaking to the new Manager incharge of MS Developers tools. So its in his entire interest to downplay the mono project. Ah well, I live and learn I guess. Sorry, Tyson, for bringing it up.


On a relevant note, eweek has just reported that Microsoft Puts Roadblock in Front of Open-Sourcing Avalon and Indigo. Basically it says that for the mono project to (re)implement Avalon and Indigo, they will need licenses from MS. All for the sake of 'Intellectual Property'. They are not really clear on what aspect of intellectual property, because its not copyright (code will be written from scratch), software patents (maybe, but which ones?) or ...
"Intellectual property is something any cloner needs to think about,"
said a Microsoft spokesperson.


Which is very similar to Tyson's concept of what the mono project is. They think its a one to one carbon copy. Unfortunately its not really, as many intersting things are being done in mono. For example an entire opensource stack for developing apps based on Gtk. Interesting apps like beagle and others.


So is mono still a patent landmine for Novell? Probably, but given enough effort, prior art and geographical locations, the patents might just dissapear. Plus its still a very good platform to develop in.


yk.

3 lewsers:

obiwan said...

"he doesnt trust the maintainability of the mono project as after all it is based on volunteers who need to scratch an itch and after the itch has been scratched, it will not be maintained well."

Err... Mono is being developed by Novell, not volunteers :). The volunteers help out sometimes, but it's a corporate project.

Yoon Kit said...

opensource => volunteers => substandard.

Please, dont justify otherwise!

yk.

obiwan said...

Oops, my bad. Yes, yes, it's all volunteers and students who don't know about the real world such as myself.