Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

.NET 3.5 Source: Microsoft's Open Source Killer?

You know, there are just some days where Microsoft can never win. Take Wednesday for example. Microsoft made their big announcement that they were releasing the source code for .NET 3.5 under the Microsoft Reference License, which is a "look but don't touch" license. It's a really great development for developers, because now we can step through .NET code while debugging our applications, which sometimes can be a HUGE help.

So then Steven "The Sky Is Falling" Vaughan-Nichols writes up a piece for eWeek saying that it's a trap for Mono. His chief argument is that Mono and Moonlight are all in jeopardy, because the license doesn't allow for the MS-RL code to influence other code.

But while Mr. Vaughan-Nichols like to reference Mono, he conveniently forgot to mention that Microsoft and Novell just entered a partnership to give the Mono team assistance on the Moonlight project. He also forgets that .NET is already an ECMA standard, and the source code for .NET has been published under the name "ROTOR" ever since version 1.0. Finally, Microsoft doesn't obfuscate the .NET runtime, so it's really easy to use Reflector to reverse-engineer the code, which is what most developers have done up to this point.

I find it funny that open source advocateand publishing powerhouse Tim O'Reilly thinks that Microsoft is doing a great job supporting open source, yet Steven thinks that Microsoft would deliberately undermine that by enforcing some weird interpretation of the license. Steven, I'm not sure what distro of Linux you've been hiding under lately, but Microsoft has been working to play nice with Linux & Open Source. Didn't you get the memo?

UPDATE: Mary Jo weighed in on this very topic earlier today.



  • some1 said:

    I hate Steven "The Sky Is Falling" Vaughan-Nichols's articles on eWeek. Never the truth.

    October 5, 2007 8:21 AM
  • Eric Wilson said:

    It also might be worth noting that the Mono team explicitly tells people that if you have used reflector to look at the source code for the .Net framework or if you have looked at the shared source of the rotor project, they don't want you to contribute source code to Mono.  

    See the "Important Rules" section of

    October 5, 2007 11:36 AM
  • John Obeto said:

    The sucker is an imbecile, period.

    To him, using Linux is a jihad, for which you must either belong, or be vanquished. To us, using the computer is nothing more than using a tool.

    But for my Homie, Darry K.T., I wouldn't still read that rag.

    October 5, 2007 4:41 PM
  • Good point, Eric. Thanks for pointing that out.

    October 6, 2007 12:51 PM