First the big news: Microsoft will be applying the Community Promise patent licensing to both C# and the CLI.
The announcement was done by Peter Galli at Microsoft over at Port25 and it states (emphasis is mine):
I have some good news to announce: Microsoft will be applying the Community Promise to the ECMA 334 and ECMA 335 specs.
ECMA 334 specifies the form and establishes the interpretation of programs written in the C# programming language, while the ECMA 335 standard defines the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) in which applications written in multiple high-level languages can be executed in different system environments without the need to rewrite those applications to take into consideration the unique characteristics of those environments.
"The Community Promise is an excellent vehicle and, in this situation, ensures the best balance of interoperability and flexibility for developers," Scott Guthrie, the Corporate Vice President for the .Net Developer Platform, told me July 6.
It is important to note that, under the Community Promise, anyone can freely implement these specifications with their technology, code, and solutions.
You do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise communicate to Microsoft how you will implement the specifications.
The Promise applies to developers, distributors, and users of Covered Implementations without regard to the development model that created the implementations, the type of copyright licenses under which it is distributed, or the associated business model.
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.
You can find the terms of the Microsoft Community Promise here.
I told you this was good news!
A few months ago we approached Bob Muglia and Brian Goldfarb (@bgoldy) at Microsoft with a request to clarify the licensing situation for the ECMA standards covering C# and the CLI (also ISO standards, for the ISO loving among you).
Previously Microsoft had detailed the patent license plans and today they have delivered on those plans.
Astute readers will point out that Mono contains much more than the ECMA standards, and they will be correct.
In the next few months we will be working towards splitting the jumbo Mono source code that includes ECMA + A lot more into two separate source code distributions. One will be ECMA, the other will contain our implementation of ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Winforms and others.
Depending on how you get Mono today, you might already have the this split in house or not.
Thanks to everyone at Microsoft that worked to get this approved and released. We appreciate that they made this a priority when we approached them, and we know that everyone in the .NET team was also incredibly busy with various betas: .NET 4, Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight, MVC, MEF and much more.
I am overflowing with joy right now. Cheers!
Update: Send your thanks to @bgoldy on tweeter, who crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's to make this happen.
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Posted on 06 Jul 2009