Free as in freedom from being sued
Probably everyone and his wife, and their dog, and its fleas have heard by now about the new Microsoft/Novell agreement. While I don’t really care much about most of it, there is one part that I found extremely interesting:
(with) The patent coverage (clause) … the companies are agreeing to work together without suing each other or somebody else. Their agreement provides covenants releasing each other from risk of lawsuit by the other….
This is VERY good news. Mono-based software becomes very prominent in GNU/Linux distros, which, if the above is accurate and will be practiced, up until now were under the risk of being sued for patent infringement for being a clone of the .NET framework. For instance, in Ubuntu, there are three .NET applications that I use(d), Banshee (a music manager), Beagle (Desktop search tool) and TomBoy (Note taking). Granted, I went back to RhythmBox as soon as 6.10 was released, due to Banshee long freezes, and never used Beagle for more than 2 days before uninstalling it, due to HUGE resources usage, and I don’t really use Tomboy, so it’ll probably be the next to go, along with the whole Mono platform, but it’s still a good thing to know.
I still don’t like Mono, I understand the reasons behind using it (C# being the nicer brother of Java and all), but it’s a huge resources hog and unefficient as hell (although I may be wrong about hell here). I don’t know whether it’s due to the project still being in early development (about 2 years), or that the .NET doesn’t work well with Linux, but I still haven’t met one Mono app that I liked well enough to use despite the resources hog.
At any rate, it’s good news. Assuming the information’s correct and that both sides play nice and don’t throw it away in a year or so.