While Microsoft and their partners hold patents for the CLI and C#, ECMA and ISO require that all patents essential to implementation be made available under “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms“. In addition to meeting these terms, the companies have agreed to make the patents available royalty-free.
However, this does not apply for the part of the .NET Framework which is not covered by the ECMA/ISO standard, which includes Windows Forms, ADO.NET, and ASP.NET. Patents that Microsoft holds in these areas may deter non-Microsoft implementations of the full framework.
The Mono project aims to avoid infringing on any patents or copyrights, and to the extent that they are successful, the project can be safely distributed and used under the GPL. On November 2, 2006, Microsoft and Novell announced a joint agreement whereby Microsoft promised not to sue Novell or its customers for patent infringement.
According to a statement on the blog of Mono project leader Miguel de Icaza, this agreement only extends to Mono for Novell developers and users.
The Microsoft/Novell agreement was criticized by some in the open source community because it violates the principles of giving equal rights to all users of a particular program (see Agreement with Microsoft and Mono and Microsoft’s patents).
Já agora parece que a distro Ubuntu está a pensar abandonar o uso do ms-novell-cancro/mono, esperemos que a Debian também o faça.
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