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Encouraged by Intel and HP, Ximian Adopts X11-Style License for Mono

Jan 28, 2002, 14:28 (40 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stephen Shankland)

Ximian-Led Mono Project Selects New Flexible Licensing Model In Move Lauded By Industry Leaders Intel And Hewlett-Packard

BOSTON, Mass.--January 28, 2002-- Ximian, Inc., the leading open source desktop company, today announced a change in licensing by the Mono Project. With this change, the class libraries produced by Mono, an open source community initiative to deliver a Linux and UNIX compatible version of the Microsoft .NET development framework, will be released under the X11 software license, rather than the GNU General Public License (GPL). Under the open source X11 license, the increasing ranks of corporate contributors to the project can subsequently build Mono-based products without the constraint of publishing final source code. This approach, supported by Intel Corporation, Hewlett-Packard and the Mono Project community, will have the effect of expanding the pool of potential contributors to the project, further speeding its already impressive progress.

The Mono Project, initiated by Ximian last July, is a community initiative to develop an open source version of the Microsoft .NET development platform. Incorporating key .NET compliant components, including a C# (pronounced C-sharp) compiler, a Common Language Runtime just-in-time compiler, a precise garbage collection (GC) system based on the Intel® Open Runtime Platform (ORP) and a full suite of class libraries, the Mono Project will enable developers to create .NET applications and run them on Windows or any Mono-supported platform, including Linux and UNIX. The license change relates to past and future development on the Mono class libraries, and does not affect the C# compiler and Common Language Runtime, which will continue to be licensed under the GPL and LGPL (Lesser General Public License) respectively. (For more background on the Mono project, visit the Mono web site at www.go-mono.com. Miguel de Icaza, Ximian co-founder, CTO and initiator of the Mono project, will be presenting an update at LinuxWorld Expo in New York on Thursday, January 31 at 2:45 p.m. in Room 1E12.)

Increasing Momentum
The announcement of the change to the X11 license for the Mono class libraries will serve to accelerate developer support for a project already making great progress toward delivery during the second half of this year. Earlier this month, for example, the C# compiler became self-hosting, allowing it to compile itself on non-Windows platforms such as Linux. The run-time (JIT) engine is also nearing completion. In addition, over 50 developers are regularly contributing to the Mono Project, and many of them are Windows developers previously not involved with the open source community. Substantial progress is also being made on porting the thousands of .NET class libraries to the Mono platform. As a result, the project is on track to deliver the complete Mono execution environment by this summer.

"We believe the move to the X11 license for the class libraries will benefit Mono by encouraging greater corporate-sponsored participation," said Miguel de Icaza, CTO and co-founder of Ximian. "Contributors from leading hardware and software companies need the flexibility to customize and enhance the class libraries for their own unique embedded and OEM development. The X11 license ensures that the Mono project will attract a growing pool of talented developers, while enabling their companies to control and protect their Mono-based products and services."

The MIT X11 license is certified by the open source initiative (OSI). It grants permission, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of the software and associated documentation files to use that software for other purposes, including copying, modifying, merging, publishing, distributing, sublicensing, and/or selling copies of the software. By contrast, under the GPL, any changes or alterations to the software must be submitted to the public forum, a barrier to companies pursuing embedded software development or the provision of software to OEM partners. Support from Industry Leaders
While Ximian has spearheaded Mono, the project has drawn increasing contributions and support from developers at Intel, Hewlett-Packard and other companies actively involved in .NET and Web services development.

"We are very excited to see Ximian and open source developers implementing the ECMA Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) standard," said Colin Evans, director of Intels Distributed Systems Lab."The Mono Project, along with similar projects like Intel's own Open CLI Library and ORP reflect industry commitment to internationally recognized and open programming standards. The ECMA standards and open implementations like Mono will enable a broad base of research and development that should accelerate innovation."

"HP supports all implementations of the ECMA standard and believes that the Mono Project will ultimately benefit our customers and the computing world as a whole," said Martin Fink, general manager, Linux Systems Operations, Hewlett-Packard Company. "HP has been a strong driver around the standard and supports the license change as a practical move which will enable developers to leverage community efforts and offer companies greater flexibility and competitive differentiation when creating new products."

[ Thanks to Tomáš Marek for this link. ]
"Ximian, a company working to improve the Linux operating system for ordinary computer users, has made a philosophical shift in a key new open-source software project that now will be governed by a less restrictive license.

Ximian is changing the license for a key part of Mono, a project designed to duplicate Microsoft's .Net software. Mono had been covered by the General Public License (GPL ), the same license that governs Linux, but a newer version of reusable software modules called "classes" stored in "class libraries" will be changed to a license that permits the software to be used in closed-source projects.

The change was made to accommodate Intel, which wanted to contribute to class library work but chafed at the GPL's requirement that software remain open-source only, said Ximian co-founder Miguel de Icaza. That provision of the GPL helps ensure that the work of open-source programmers--often volunteers--isn't appropriated for others' gain, but companies that want to adopt the software don't always want to reveal all their software secrets."

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