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Monday April 21, 2014

biting the hand… that gives out driver code?

C#, Mono, and checking the fine print

Today Microsoft released some GPL driver code for Linux for some hardware. Why? Well, so that the hardware could be better virtualized in a VM running Linux on a Windows host. Yippee. Well I’m sure this will help some people. It does mean that FLOSS is influencing them, and that is a good thing.

In contrast, the FSF made a press release last Thursday, quoted below in its entirety. So Microsoft is trying to win people over, whether it’s with really useful stuff or not, it is Free this time… and the FSF is just yelling at people. Who’s going to make more friends here?

Last week, Microsoft extended the terms of their Community Promise to implementations of the ECMA 334 and 335 standards. You might think this means it’s safe to write your software in C#. However, this promise is full of loopholes, and it’s nowhere near enough to make C# safe.

### Why Worry About C#? ###

Since we published Richard’s article about Mono[1] last week, some people have been asking us why we’re expressing special concern about free software developers relying on C# and Mono, instead of other languages. Sun probably has patents that cover Java. Maybe IBM has patents that cover C compilers. “Shouldn’t we discourage the use of these too?” they ask.