Re: Where we stand in regard to the future platform / desktop technology

On Sun, 2004-03-28 at 11:52, Sean Middleditch wrote:
> On Mar 28, 2004, at 9:37 AM, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> >
> > Though granted this is too complex for people to get, people will use
> > the .NET APIs anyway despite legal problems, and that's exactly the 
> > fear
> > and danger.
> Perhaps if there was a clear way to disable non-ECMA bits, and check an 
> application/assembly that it didn't use them?   GNOME projects could be 
> required to do this.  For third-party applications, it doesn't really 
> matter, since they're perfectly able to go and grab *any* encumbered 
> dependency, be it in C, C++, Python, Java, C#, or Bash.

A risk here is that encumbered dependencies never get rewritten in free

Look at media playback codecs such as MPEG for an example. They are all
GPL and thus _useless_, nobody can legally distribute them. But nobody
is replacing them with X-style-licensed versions, because all the users
just go download the illegal stuff. Heck some vendors are even silly
enough to ship it.

Similarly, if you have an ASP.NET clone, Microsoft has made clear they
will sue you the minute you ship that and this will never change. But if
people are using it anyway, we get a situation where the only solution
available on Linux is illegal to ship, and nobody has an incentive to
write an unencumbered solution.

So I think we should go farther than "GNOME does not support using the
extended .NET APIs" and say "we will oppose implementing those APIs on
Linux at all" - unless Microsoft releases the patents, it's impossible
for those APIs to contribute to the success of Linux, all they can do is
encourage people to get locked in to Microsoft from a legal point of
view. And Microsoft has said they will _not_ release these APIs.


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