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07 July 2009, 07:22

Microsoft makes C# patent promise to unblock Mono

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Mono logo Microsoft have announced that the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Infrastructure will now come under the Microsoft Community Promise, a legally binding promise not to assert any patents or other rights related to the implementation of those standards. This means that the controversial issue of Mono, which at its core is an implementation of ECMA 334 and ECMA 335, should be clear of patent issues related to those standards.

Peter Galli, Microsoft's Senior Communications Manager on the Platform Strategy team, made the announcement on Port 25, the Microsoft open source blog, saying "Under the Community Promise, Microsoft provides assurance that it will not assert its Necessary Claims against anyone who makes, uses, sells, offers for sale, imports, or distributes any Covered Implementation under any type of development or distribution model, including open-source licensing models such as the LGPL or GPL."

Mono is not in the clear yet though as it also implements Microsoft technologies which are not covered by the community promise. Miguel De Icaza acknowledged this issue in his response to the announcement, announcing that the Mono project is splitting into two source code distributions, one that deals only with ECMA standards and is covered by the Community Promise and one which contains implementations of ASP.NET, ADO.NET and other patent encumbered elements. Icaza was happy with the change though saying "I am overflowing with joy right now."

The H had suggested that this action was one route out of the controversy which has dogged Mono since its introduction. According to Icaza, the work to get the licence terms clarified has been ongoing for a few months.


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