Re: Where we stand in regard to the future platform / desktop technology


> I don't agree that C# and Java are equivalent. Here are some of the
> issues from a non-lawyer:
>  1. Most patents covering the JVM probably cover Mono also - obvious 
>     when you consider that IKVM works. Sun could sue to block 
>     Mono/C# (and has clear motive to do so). There are a few other 
>     companies with similar ability and motive.

We are talking about potential patents on the APIs.  

Given that there are known patents on the JVM (which Microsoft is
believed to have avoided by using a using a compiler IR rather than a
bytecode and using a radically different system) the JVM patents will
likely apply only to Java and not to the ECMA CLI.

>  2. I believe there are fewer and weaker patents affecting Java than 
>     .NET.

And I do not believe that. 

>  3. If there were a lawsuit involving Java, many defenders with large 
>     patent portfolios would potentially get involved. But 
>     nobody has an interest in defending Mono, while they have billions 
>     of dollars riding on Java.

Existing users of Java(tm) have signed agreements with Sun to license
their technology, and we do not know what is on those contracts, nor
what kind of rules there are on those contracts.

Open Source Java is not the same as Java(tm). 

>  4. People are already shipping Java so already vulnerable, due to the 
>     server side. Mono can only add risk, the Java risk has been taken
>     already.

As previously noted, the worst case scenario is one where Sun goes down
the drain like SCO: no longer able to compete with products, but still
sitting on a pile of patents. They could resort to use their patent
porfolio and charge everyone a tax.

Again, just like people have a valid concern to obtain a letter from
Microsoft on the terms of the patents, building Gnome on top of Java
requires the same kind of guarantees.

People are working on obtaining such document from Microsoft, and if you
are pushing for Java, you should do exactly the same to obtain those
patents from Sun.

>  5. Microsoft has made it 100% clear that they _will_ take action if 
>     someone ships the stuff outside the ECMA core. Why are we even 
>     implementing that stuff?

We can talk about the non-ECMA components if you want on a separate
thread, but that is a separate debate to be had.

My focus on this discussion from a platform perspective is the ECMA

>  6. Sun does have dependencies on and reasons to negotiate with the 
>     Linux and open source communities, while Microsoft does not.

No dependency that would make them choose their own path.

They are taking their own path with Glow;  They are doing their own
Looking Glass, they are building on top of proprietary Java.  

>  7. Sun has a lot less money to spend than Microsoft.

SCO had even less, and look at all the trouble they have caused.

If you are willing to believe your seven points as legally sound, Java
is a passable platform, but history shows otherwise.  Sun has gone to
court over the control of Java before while Microsoft has never gone to
court over this.


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