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[DotGNU]Mono, dotGNU, IL, C#, and all things in between.

From: matthew . copeland
Subject: [DotGNU]Mono, dotGNU, IL, C#, and all things in between.
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 15:31:57 +0000 (UTC)

I am going to make a few observations.

        1. There is far to much noise on the developers list for dotgnu
with regards to either Ximian or Microsoft bashing.  Folks, drop it, it
just wastes time.  It is happening a little less though, so keep up the
CONSTRUCTIVE comments.  There is tone in of hostility in our mailing lists
though that needs to just get dropped.  Otherwise, people won't bother
working with this project.  Free software developers don't have to work on
this project.  They can always go and work on a different project, so
let's have constructive comments and debates and get rid of our open
hostility towards ideas and people with who we don't necessarily agree.

        2. dotGNU as a project needs to state the main series of
requirements that they are looking to fill.  Right now, I am seeing some
infighting between Mono folks and dotGNU folks.  Partially, this has to do
with a lack of communication so far on our part in getting across what to
us are the important points for this project.  Let's make it clear, so
that we can all work on an even playing field of understanding.  I have to
admit, after watching much of the discussion from the beginning of this
project, I am still somewhat mystified at times what various people are
trying to do, and how this project is going to come together.  It seems we
have a lot of work on people's pet ideas.  Not a problem, as long as they
coincide with our eventual goals.  So, the question becomes, what exactly
are our eventual goals?  (I am not talking these very broad explanations
either.  I mean specifics.)

        3. There has been a lot of talk about different VMs, ILs, and
native code support.  May I suggest a novel idea?  Talk to our
"customers".  Suuposedly, the python developers have some stuff that they
use for there language.  The perl developers for Perl 6 are considering
using that python layer.  The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) needs
modification to output the code for a new series of layers, and needs
support for building the native code layers for the new languages.  Why
not ask for some volunteers from all of the appropriate projects to get
together and discuess the things that they need?  A common layer among
multiple languages would be nice.  We can't shove down peoples throat our
work and say "YOU WILL USE THIS", but we can provide the help that will
make it so that they want to use our work, but that requires
        So in summary, the suggestion is get people from the perl, python,
gcc, GNU clisp, gcc, and any other development language project together,
and ask them what would make there life easier in making there tools work
with the layers that we would like to develop.

        4. Obviously, having said all of this.  One of the main
differences that I see between Mono and dotGNU is this.  Mono is
attempting to create the .NET, C# compilers, and libraries for Linux.  
.NET is an integral part of the the Mono project.  dotGNU on the other
hand, is not working to use .NET, but to make something that works and is
better.  I belive, someone correct me if I am wrong, that dotGNU is also
making sure that in no way will our implementation be suspect of taking or
looking at Microsoft code AND not using Microsoft patented ideas.  By
creating a .NET clone, the Mono project is taking the risk that Microsoft
will have patented ideas that are built into there .NET architecture.  
This won't work for dotGNU because obviously Microsoft is not going to
give a Free license to use any patents for our project.  This may require
some duplication of effort if we want to support Microsoft created
languages, but it is what is required to maintain the freedom.  dotGNU
will also work at all costs to defeat the Hailstorm initiative, which so
far I haven't seen comments from the Mono developers on there position on

        5. A reminder to some people.  dotGNU is a free software project,
not an open source project.  Please use the correct terms as this project
is about improving Freedom, privacy, and not accepting a proprietary model
that will hurt people and should be referred to as a Free Software
project.  Open Source is only about a business model and idea.  dotGNU is
a GNU project.  That means we need to be expecially on our guard about
using the correct terms as any GNU project would.

        6. A 2nd reminder.  Miguel de Icaza is, I believe, a member of the
Free Software Foundation's "board of directors".  (can't remember the
right board name.)  If we explain the differences and the risks that we
are trying to minimize, he will understand.  As one of the leading people
of the Mono project, he can help there developers to understand the

        7. For any consideration of joining up with Mono to do specific
pieces of work together, we need to keep our project goals in mind and
keep the legal problems in sight so that we don't shoot ourselves in the
foot.  The Ximian and Mono developers will understand this.  Why do you
think Miguel hired an attorny to look soley at these problems?

        Overall, I think these are some of the things that need to go onto
the dotGNU website and need to be explained to those individuals working
on the Mono project, our own project, and the many developers working on
the different programming language compilers and interpreters.

        Now, if people in some way disagree with some of the finer points
in what I am saying, please say so, and with what specific area.  
(Remember, we are trying to be constructive about this.)  This way, we can
come up with a good document that we can put on the WWW describing our
goals and the differences between .NET, Mono, and dotGNU.

Matthew M. Copeland

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