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[DotGNU]Re: another volunteer

From: Norbert Bollow
Subject: [DotGNU]Re: another volunteer
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001 11:09:10 +0200

Stefan <address@hidden> wrote:

> i'd like to participate dotgnu too. i can't say how much time
> i'll be able to spend working with you guys when school's
> starting again in september, but... here i am.

I this case I propose you contribute by "inventing".  You know,
one of the weapons that Microsoft is planning to use against
Free Software is patents.  One of the best defenses against patents is
having "prior art".  This essential means that we must be able to
prove that everything we need was already "invented" before Microsoft
claims to "invent" it in order to be granted a patent on the

Existing computer programs can be used as "prior art".  If someone has
already implemented an idea in a computer program, and later Microsoft
pretends to "invent" this idea and is granted a patent on it, then the
patent can be challenged in court and declared invalid.

However there are other ways of creating "prior art" besides writing
a working computer program.  Writing a technical "whitepaper", making
a flowchart, or writing high-level pseudo-code, all that works just as
well.  From the legal perspective, I think it doesn't matter too much
if the various whitepapers, flowcharts and high-level pseudo code
pseudo-programs don't fit together well - what matters it that all
the ideas that we need and that Microsoft might try to get patents on
are already "invented" before Microsoft "invents" them.

> my main interest lies in OS development

This is great.  From a technical perspective, the main thrust of
DotGNU is that it should be an operating system for distributed

You know, Microsoft's .NET is for the network what DOS is for the PC.
It's sort-of-useful in the sense that you can use it to execute
programs, but it is not a real operating system.

I believe that DotGNU should be a real operating system for
distributed computing, like GNU/Linux is a real operating system for
the PC.

However it has not yet been really fleshed out what it means to be
a "real operating system for a distributed, virtual computer".

If you could work on "inventing" that in some detail (detailed enough
that we have anough "prior art" to work around any patents that
Microsoft might get), I believe that would be a great contribution.

Greetings, Norbert.

A member of FreeDevelopers and the DotGNU Core Team
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet  (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59      Fax +41 1 972 20 69
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