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ZDNet/TechRepublic: Will Microsoft Mono-polize open source?

Aug 24, 2001, 19:54 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jim Landgrave)
"Open source advocates are in an uproar over the announcement (by one of their own) to build an open source implementation of Microsoft .NET based on the European Computer Manufacturer's Association (ECMA) standard currently in the draft phase. Miguel de Icaza, one of the original developers of GNOME, has announced the Mono project. The original intent of the GNOME project was to make UNIX competitive in the desktop application space by providing a standard user interface and the interface libraries for developers to code against (much like the Win32 interface did for Windows developers). GNOME and KDE are the competing standards for user interfaces on UNIX, and more importantly, Linux. Mono, on the other hand, is aimed at making UNIX developers competitive in the Web services space by giving them a feature-rich implementation of the .NET development platform using existing open source technologies. I'll give you the scoop on Mono, and I'll discuss what it could mean for open source and for Microsoft.

The open source camp is divided over whether this announcement is good or bad for the open source movement. Once implemented, a Mono user could develop an application in C# (or any other CLS-compliant development language available on Mono), test it on Linux (or any other operating system on which the GNOME class libraries are available), and then deploy it on either Linux or on Microsoft platforms. And this is what has current open source advocates so concerned. In a world where Microsoft invests billions of dollars to optimize the .NET Framework for their .NET Operating System, many in the open source camp think that Mono will turn into an easy path for GPL developers to deploy their applications on Microsoft platforms at the expense of Java and Linux. They're also concerned that Microsoft will create hard links to their HailStorm services (like Passport) that will force companies that start development on Mono to move their applications to a Windows-only environment in order for them to operate properly. Of course, most of those advocating this position think that anything that helps Microsoft has to be bad for open source (customers be damned)."

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