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Re: [DotGNU]Re: Collaboration on alternatives to theUS-patent-endangered

From: Seth Johnson
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Re: Collaboration on alternatives to theUS-patent-endangered APIs?
Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2003 22:55:36 -0400

Miguel de Icaza wrote:
> I do not know why you decided to hand pick Windows.Forms as an example
> of "thin wrapper" versus other parts of the .NET Framework.  To me the
> Windows.Forms is as much as an improvement and an innovation as
> anything else in the Framework.  As I mentioned to you before, from
> the developer perspective there is a massive departure from the
> Win32-based programming style.

Well, probably at least trying to describe a way to distinguish what's
likely not to be patent-encumbered.  Could be wrong, but it might be an
interesting formula, whether Norbert is right that Windows.Forms is "thin
wrapper" or not (speaking as, well, not a nonprogrammer, but a rather
esoteric programmer who doesn't know this area too well).

>     If you were serious about your proposal, then you would encourage
> people to work on Gtk# which is the C# binding to the APIs produced by
> the Gnome project, instead of promoting the use of Windows.Forms, but I
> believe that you dont because of a conflict of interest on your part
> with the competition that you helped launch, and you have decided to
> spin things this way.  

I'm not too familiar with the competition, but if he's focusing on one thing
or another, it could be right or wrong either legally, ethically or
technically, but spinning one way or another is just what he's trying to do,
not any particular "conflict of interest" kind of problem, even he leads
innocent people astray.  If it's not a good idea, then that's another
matter.  It might be good for them to think about whether doing
Windows.Forms is a good idea or not; it's just a question of whether you
find an effort to create legally bulletproof alternatives to the
US-patent-endangered APIs, and what kind of effort you see that as.

>     Your idea is an interesting one, but I do not believe that its a
> requirement to design APIs outside the United States.

I imagine there would be certain .NET projects predicated on free software
principles, that could be vulnerable if they did not overdetermine against
the possibility of attack in this way.  It depends on how you're looking at
the idea of making alternatives to US-patent-endangered APIs.

> Otherwise there
> would be no software company in the US producing those, and the evidence
> so far disagrees with you.

That's true enough, as far as it goes.

Seth Johnson


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