Microsoft has announced that it will be applying its Community Promise to its C# language and Common Language Infrastructure (CLI), which in essence frees up developers from any patent or other claims Microsoft might exercise over the use of its intellectual property.
Microsoft has announced that it will be applying its Community Promise
its C# language and Common Language Infrastructure (CLI), which in
essence frees up developers from any patent or other claims Microsoft
might exercise over the use of its intellectual property.
In a July 6 blog post, Peter Galli, Microsoft's open-source community manager
, said the Community Promise will be applied to the ECMA 334 and ECMA 335 specifications. Said Galli:
"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
Of key importance to developers is that the Community Promise does
not require the developer to sign a license agreement or tell Microsoft
how they plan to use the specifications. An FAQ attached to the
Community promise document said:
"No one needs to sign anything or even reference anything. Anyone is
free to implement the specifications as they wish and do not need to
make any mention of or reference to Microsoft. Anyone can use or
implement these specifications with their technology, code, solution,
etc. You must agree to the terms in order to benefit from the promise;
however, you do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise
communicate your agreement to Microsoft."
Meanwhile, an overall description of the Microsoft Community Promise to developers reads:
"Microsoft irrevocably promises not to assert any Microsoft
Necessary Claims against you for making, using, selling, offering for
sale, importing or distributing any implementation, to the extent it
conforms to one of the Covered Specifications, and is compliant with
all of the required parts of the mandatory provisions of that
Galli noted that these privileges apply to "any type of development
or distribution model, including open-source licensing models such as
the LGPL or GPL."
Miguel de Icaza, vice president of developer relations at Novell and founder of the Mono project
to deliver an open-source equivalent to .NET, said the Mono team had
lobbied Microsoft to make the moves it has made with the Community
Promise regarding C# and the CLI.
In his own post on the subject, de Icaza said:
"A few months ago we approached Bob Muglia [president of the Server
and Tools Business at Microsoft] and Brian Goldfarb [director of
developer platforms at Microsoft] (@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)."
Galli quotes Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's corporate vice president for
the .NET Developer Platform, as saying, "The Community Promise is an
excellent vehicle and, in this situation, ensures the best balance of
interoperability and flexibility for developers."
Moreover, de Icaza said, "In the next few months we will be working
toward 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