Techworld

Microsoft won't stop .Net on Android

Initial port under development

MonoDroid is Novell's port of the Mono .Net implementation to Google's Android mobile OS

MonoDroid is Novell's port of the Mono .Net implementation to Google's Android mobile OS

Oracle’s patent and copyright lawsuit against Google for its use of Java in Android won’t be repeated by Microsoft if .Net is used on the Linux-based mobile operating system instead.

Director of the open source technology centre at Microsoft Tom Hanrahan said the Community Promise allows projects like Mono to fully support its technology.

“The type of action Oracle is taking against Google over Java is not going to happen,” Hanrahan said.

Microsoft’s Community Promise has made the .Net runtime and C# specifications available to Miguel de Icaza and the Mono project developers.

“If a .Net port to Android was through Mono it would fall under that agreement,” he said.

Hanrahan is visiting Australia for Microsoft’s annual Tech.Ed conference.

Novell has already developed MonoTouch for Apple’s iOS-based devices like the iPhone and iPad, and a Mono port to Android, dubbed “MonoDroid”, is on the roadmap, due for a preview release in Q3 this year.

“Mono for Android will have an entirely different set of APIs, at most you would be able to reuse business logic, but any user interface and device specific code will have to be rewritten,” according to the Mono developers.

Oracle’s complaint against Google centres around its development of the Dalvik virtual machine that can run applications written in Java.

Dalvik is not an officially sanctioned Java runtime environment, however Sun did initially praise Google for supporting Java on Android.

Potential conflict between Sun and Google over Dalvik was also predicted back in 2007, but did not eventuate until Oracle acquired Sun.

With Java use in Android under fire, Microsoft is unlikely to disrupt any port of C# to the mobile platform, however, Microsoft’s Community Promise has been criticised by the Free Software Foundation for not going far enough to protect open source implementations from patent litigation, which is at the heart of the Oracle-Google case.

“The Community Promise does not give you any rights to exercise the patented claims. It only says that Microsoft will not sue you over claims in patents that it owns or controls,” according to the Free Software Foundation.

“If Microsoft sells one of those patents, there's nothing stopping the buyer from suing everyone who uses the software.”

Mono developer Miguel de Icaza is not concerned about legal challenges by Microsoft over .Net implementations and wrote on his blog that Google could switch from Java.

“Google could settle current damages with Oracle, and switch to the better designed, more pleasant to use, and more open .Net platform,” de Icaza wrote.

Rodney Gedda is Editor of TechWorld Australia. Follow Rodney on Twitter at @rodneygedda. Rodney's e-mail address is rodney_gedda@idg.com.au. Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter at @Techworld_AU.

Tags Oracle-Sun merger.netpatentsmonotouchC#javaAndroidFree Software FoundationOraclemonodroidGoogleMicrosoftlegalmono

4 Comments

Sofisticated

1

Too bad Microsoft was mentioned

It doesn't matter how helpful Microsoft is being, they were mentioned and, therefore, this solution won't work. Why? People have their head in the clouds and refuse to believe that anything Microsoft creates can be trusted (even in the face of legal contracts).

Welcome to the world of Free Software where people rely not on sensible thinking, but of tribalism and spear throwing.

Terry

2

Well I never...

@Sofisticated

I can't believe that you're telling the truth like that about the <em>closed minded and paranoid</em> OSS and FOSS community!!!! Can't you let hypocrites like Stallman spread the same FUD against MS that he accussed MS of spreading about FOSS? LOL...

Anonymous

3

This is an awesome comment. Thank you.

Anonymous

4

FOSS community

@Sofisticated,

In fairness, the Oracle thing seems to entirely validate their paranoia. Sun was super supportive of open source -- until they got bought out. Now, some open source projects that depend on Java could end up nuked due to circumstances beyond their control.

Microsoft's overtures to the open source community are positive and seem genuine. Good for Microsoft. But ultimately, the paranoid folks are right. If Microsoft changes direction again down the road, there are loopholes that could be exploited to the detriment of open source, in the same way it happened with Java.

One positive possibility is for Microsoft and Novell to work together with constructive groups within the open source community to negotiate minor changes to the licenses that make it clear what rights and responsibilities are involved on all sides, then formalize those terms.

Android on .Net owuld be a big win.

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