August 29, 2003

Mono Protest; DotGNU

Mono's web site is currently down, in protest over software patents. In the U.S. you can currently patent a software solution (e.g.'s one-click shopping [5,960,411]). There are several movements in the EU towards this same situation. Today, several web sites have closed their doors in protest over this issue. I'm not exactly sure how long those sites will be down.

I personally hate where patents have gone in the U.S. over the past several years. It used to be you needed to supply a blueprint and working prototype of a physical object and you would be granted a patent on that specific implementation. In other words, you could patent a thumbscrew with a ridged, round head of 1/2" diameter and threads at a 30 degree angle. But you could not patent the thumbscrew itself. Today, you can patent something like a "Computer facilitated product selling system" [6,594,641]. If you read the abstract you'll notice that this is a business practice patent. In other words, if you want to do business in this kind of way, you're going to have to pay royalties to one Adam G. Southam through Reshare Corporation.

I have a particular issue with the one-click patent because I wrote FlexCart with a one-click shopping feature in it after my work developing shopping cart systems naturally led me towards this feature. I developed this capability independently and without knowledge of's patent filing. My software implemented one-click shopping before the patent was granted, but after it was filed.

For more information about the software patent situation in Europe, visit the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure.

Anyway, since the Mono site is down, I went looking for another .NET alternative. The GNU Project has an implementation and development environment named DotGNU. So I installed this, but I'm encountering a runtime error when I try to execute the Hello World program.

Posted by josuah at August 29, 2003 9:33 PM UTC+00:00

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