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Programming IT Technology

Rotor: Shared Source CLI 249

Oink.NET writes "The O'Reilly Network reports on an unannounced BOF session at BSDCon 2002 regarding Rotor, a shared souce implementation of Microsoft's Common Language Infrastructure that currently runs on Windows and FreeBSD. It relies on a Platform Adaptation Layer, similar to Apache's Portable Runtime, that simplifies porting to other OS's. As to the licensing terms, the Rotor FAQ says "Microsoft intends to provide very liberal non-commercial licensing terms and is interested in gathering community input on the design of the license." Wonder if that includes Slashdot community input..."
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Rotor: Shared Source CLI

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  • by mikeee ( 137160 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:05AM (#3134770)
    Obviously, a plan to get ahead of and preempt commercial support for any shared-source implementations that might have liberal non-commercial licenses (ie, Mono).

    The thinking seems to be, give the hobbyists something they can dink around with and they won't be worried about 'software freedom'; they want neat toys, not free software!
    • And from the looks of it, mono still has a way to go to catch up to the stats on Rotor.

      Rotor is a gzipped tarball weighing in at about 18.5 megabytes (14,000 files and 1.3 million lines of code)
      My count puts the current mono cvs at around 12 MB(1,930 files, 265,910 lines of code).

      Maybe that means mono is just doing a more efficient job of implementing the ECMA standards. :)

      • Looking at Mono's status, it would seem that Mono isn't more efficient, just no where near as done. Some simple calculations reveal that Mono has 22.2 kloc/MB and M$ Rotor has 70.27 kloc/MB, which hints that Mono's archive is filled with something other than code- html docs or pretty pictures perhaps. Unless the Mono project writes such messy code that it's just solid, multiple statements on each line, and so on, to achieve this unnatural density.
    • But I seriously doubt that this will cut off any oxygen from the developers currently working on mono. Two reasons.

      1. I doubt any of them really could care less that MS has developed a toy version of the CLI. However, if it is used in universities as a learning tool, that could unknowingly infect up-and-coming developers with Shared Source access, couldn't it? (maybe I read something wrong)

      2. As the articles state, Rotor is a toy implementation, not anything that should be used for commercial development. Maybe that's how Bill thinks of open source development tools, but I think that the developers from mono would disagree with that. Just because something is fun, doesn't mean its a toy.
    • by Nailer ( 69468 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:40AM (#3134854)
      non-commercial licenses (ie, Mono)

      For God's sake would you all please stop referring to non free / closed source software as `commercial'? Not only is it simply incorrect there are many Open Source / Free apps produced for commercial benefit (eg, Zope) and many non-commercial apps with non Open Source licensing (eg, much Windows `freeware').

      Why is it that people (not referring to the person I'm replying to, just Slashdot in general) claim they care about Free Software so much and have never read The Free Software Foundations list of words to avoid [gnu.org]. I imagine the OSI would shaare this vview.

      Long live commercial software, as long as its Open Source!
      • From this link:

        If you don't want to limit yourself to this way of thinking, it is best to avoid using the term ``intellectual property'' in your words and thoughts.

        Interesting read, but I kind of have a problem with that statement. Let's see, I'm not limiting myself in my thinking by ... trying not to use a word in my thoughts? Not doing something means less choice, not more.
      • Actually, that was a typo (thinko?). What I meant was, *software which is free even for commercial users*.

        The thinking being that if they can leach off the enthusiasts, they'll fork the open CLI movement sufficiently to prevent it from reaching a critical mass, without risking revenue/control by accelerating developement of a product that commercial organizations could potentially use.
    • Microsoft intends to provide very liberal non-commercial licensing terms and is interested in gathering community input on the design of the license.

      Sounds like the Microsoft we know. Only M$ can make money. We can be sure what they mean by liberal is that they can comercialize anything they want and lock out the orignials. Like winsock.

      No thanks. Not making money, that's a restriction most people can't live with. Comercialization is part of software freedom [fsf.org]. I don't need Microsoft's platforms, so why would I care about Microsoft's propriatory "standards" that let me talk to it? I've got ssh, X, and ftp for talking accros reasonable platforms. For those who want the pain and suffering of chasing the M$ tail there is mono. This toy is sure to be broken without recourse as soon as convienent to M$. Will comercial interests really be so stupid as to fall for yet another M$ trick? I hope not. Tell your boss, don't let this one get shoved down on you by clueless management.

      As this is the same old story, I expect the same results for those not under the clueless. There have been more Linux developers than Microsoft developers for a while now. This is not likely to change much. Microsoft thinks people just want neat toys but where people are spending their time tells a different story.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        they can comercialize anything they want and lock out the orignials. Like winsock.

        If Microsoft had produced a competing TCP/IP stack, and charged slightly less than Trumpet did for their Winsock, I could see your reasoning. It would be even worse if they'd engineered Windows to specifically not work with Winsock.

        Instead, they just incorporated a TCP/IP stack into Windows, with dialup networking, for no additional charge. Plus, third party Winsocks continued to be usable.

        I know, I know. Microsoft shouldn't improve their OS, they should just let it devolve into a soup of third-party addons. Linux advocates, who run an OS composed entirely of a big wad of third-party addons, should hold this sentiment dear.

      • Sounds like the Microsoft we know. Only M$ can make money. We can be sure what they mean by liberal is that they can comercialize anything they want and lock out the orignials. Like winsock.

        Yeah, you got a point, but talking about winsock and TCP/IP stacks, you wouldn't complain if Linux came without?

        OR if Windows still didn't include one, wouldn't you bash it for not having one?

        I Admit there are lots of dubious business practices going on in Redmond, but _please_, just ponder a second before bashing MS like this.

      • by spongman ( 182339 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @04:03PM (#3135367)
        what, you expect microsoft to spend four years and hundreds of millions of dollars of R&D to produce a product and then just create a new market in which they can reap no benifit from this investment?

        Are you fucking crazy?

        same old story? sure, this is what every company in existance does: invest, develop, collect. If all your company did was invest and develop then you'd see your cash dry up in a hurry and your investors leaving south even quicker.

        It's simple economics, why does nobody on slashdot seem to understand these things? Maybe 'cos the only economics they've ever had to deal with involve getting stuff for free... tanstaafl.

        • "No benefit"? Having the standard you propose being accepted is a huge benefit in and of itself -- it makes you the accepted (de facto) leader in that area, meaning that any services or software you sell using that standard will be well-accepted. It also means that the best engineering talent familiar with that standard works for you. For that matter, Microsoft is getting back some of the four years and hundreds of millions of dollars in their own internal use of .NET.

          Making your internal standard free for non-commercial use outside your company benefits you less as it guarantees your standard no acceptance additional to being a toy, as opposed to something actually used in business (where your officially released, branded, supported products have the greatest market -- and will sell whether you have an unsupported zero-cost source-available release or not).

          If you don't try to make your standard be accepted beyond the walls of your company, you get none of these benefits. I'm not saying that releasing is always the right decision, or that it's the right thing for Microsoft to do with .NET -- but were it done, it wouldn't necessarily be an idiotic decision.
        • what, you expect microsoft to spend four years and hundreds of millions of dollars of R&D to produce a product and then just create a new market in which they can reap no benifit from this investment? Are you fucking crazy?

          No, I'm not. M$ could have saved itself a bundle and worked with Sun instead of trying to "innovate" some piece of crap that will never run well. If they did things that way, they might not have to spend BILLIONS of dollars advertisements. Instead they go through these embrace extend and extinguish cycles to screw the world. Seen FORTRAN under XP yet? Ha Ha Ha, just you try to run something Not M$ under M$. Let's not forget other wasteful practices like buying competitors to shut them down, breaking interfaces regularly to force "upgrades" that do the exact same thing and flying in the face of established standards. Do you know anyone else dumb enough to say that http must die? Wastefull practices like this have ruined them.

          People like you might think it's natural for one company to dominate something like software for "economic" reasons. Let's think about that. Software that works has been written for just about everything you could want to do on a computer. The costs have been recouped multiple times. The supply of computer programers and potential software companies is limitless. Supply and demand says cost of software should be zero. The people who write it would rather you use if for free and improve it.

          I'm an engineer at a nuclear power plant so I know plenty about community effort as well as supply and demand. The plant is part of a regulated monopoly that provides some of the cheapest most abundant electricty in the world. Think about how much equipment and labor it takes to get electricty to your house and compare what you pay for it to what you pay for telecomunications. If tomorrow fuel cells/solar proves cheaper than nuclear, you can be my company will be building big ones that will cost everyone less than being their own fuel cell mechanic. That three billion dollar plant I work at? Oh well, it's made plenty of money and will run until it's cheaper to shut down.

          Microsoft is screwed. When the world realizes it, their stock will drop like a pigeon egg and many many computer problems will go away. It's not as needed as they think it is and the free alternatives are better. The loss of their 7,000 jobs won't even show up as a blip on the US economy.

          • Seen FORTRAN under XP yet?

            Yes [lahey.com]

            There's also COBOL [adtools.com], Perl [activestate.com] and Python [activestate.com]

          • hang on, is this the same Sun that Microsoft paid about $50M to for a Java license, agreed to do (read: fix the ridiculous bugs and inefficiencies in) the reference implementation on Windows for and then paid another $10M to to get them to shut up when they whined about some of the improvements they made?

            Wasteful practices like buying competitors
            Hah. Mergers & Aquisitions by large companies are things that small technology companies have wet dreams about. It's an investment of capital. Growth. How do you think that companies like AT&T, Shell, Exxon, Disney, AOL, MCI got so big? It's not like MS has a monopoly on M&A.

            Supply and demand says cost of software should be zero.
            You know nothing of such things. Supply and demand in a free market states that the value of something is equivalent to what people are willing to pay for it: the cost. It costs money to develop software (people have to eat), if people didn't think it was worth paying for, they wouldn't pay for it. Would you be prepared to work for free? You could argue that MS has been found guilty of having a monopoly, but that's only in the desktop: people have been paying for software of all kinds for a long time. Why? Because it's worth something to them. That's what money is: a number associated with value. Again, simple economics.
            The people who write it would rather you use if for free and improve it.
            Sure, people who don't want to spend money developing it want you to help them. Because they're not getting any return on their investment, so they can't invest in costly developers - they have to get free ones. But it's not 1960 any more, you don't have to have a PhD to use a computer. In fact, everybody's using them now and 95% of those people don't know, and couldn't give a damn, about how they work, and they'd be completely incapable of fixing stuff even if they wanted to (which they don't). You do, probably, and are able to, possibly, you're an enginee, right? But most people see the value in software not because they can tinker with it, but beacuse they can use it to do some other task that they couldn't do as easily without it.

            That's where the value is, and that's where the cost comes from: they're willing to pay for the convenience. Great so there's free software. But most of it is written by people that have other jobs that bring in the bacon (eg Linus/Transmeta) and the value of that software as percieved by the majority of computer users isn't as high as that of professional software. Sure it's popular, but that's mainly because it's free and something that's free is always very compatitively prices, whatever its percieved value.

  • by Baca ( 7658 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:09AM (#3134778)
    "Why FreeBSD?

    One goal of creating a shared source implementation of the ECMA CLI is to prove that the technical choices being made by the ECMA technical group can be implemented on multiple operating system platforms. FreeBSD seemed like a good choice, since it is both a representative UNIX implementation and a platform that has historically encouraged unencumbered experimentation. Microsoft has no plans for supporting other platforms or chip architectures in this implementation at this time."

    I think they chose freebsd because it it _still_ driving the majority of hotmail, perhaps this is thier "FreeBSD version of Linux" See the link below:

    http://www.cw360.com/article&rd=&i=&ard=110220&f v= 1

    "Microsoft has built a FreeBSD version of Linux, but this is more of a publicity gig than a serious endeavour."

    • by reaper20 ( 23396 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:11AM (#3134786) Homepage
      I would guess one reason is the old "We're ok with BSD, its the evil GPL software like Linux that we have problems with."

      • Just to elaborate on that a bit... If someone wants to use a Unix-style OS, then typically they install BSD or Linux. Microsoft sees Linux as a threat, so by encouraging BSD the intended effect may be to even out the number of people using BSD and Linux. The point is 95% of all non-Windows users running Linux would be worse for Microsoft than if 50% run Linux and 50% run BSD. Power (or lack thereof) in numbers. Simple.
      • I think that is part of it. If BSD were more popular than LINUX then I would think MS would be dising the other license.

        MS is doing this so that they can support Apple OS-X and rub one into LINUX at the same time. Competing head to head on technical merits alone has never been a strength of MS. MS competes in other ways and this is it. Competing technically is a short lived argument. Technology always gets better. Making the GNU GPL "sound bad" is a good long term decision influencer...
        • I agree its aimed at the Apple/FreeBSD university market --through this they can try to convince developers to write code once for both Mac and Windows and forget about all this silly UNIX stuff.

          Plus since they can't get windows to stop crashing this should atleast make OS X apps just as buggy ... and for only a slight performance hit too.

      • More likely the issue is that all the ex-DECies who went to work in Redmond prefer to work with an O/S that looks as much like ULTRIX as they can find these days.
      • by Snowfox ( 34467 ) <snowfox@NoSPaM.snowfox.net> on Saturday March 09, 2002 @12:44PM (#3134989) Homepage
        I would guess one reason is the old "We're ok with BSD, its the evil GPL software like Linux that we have problems with."
        Well, more importantly, this creates a convenient runtime binding mechanism for neutering GPL. If you're indirecting calls through the a mechanism such as this one, you can use all the GPL code you want and not have to share any source but the GPL-side adapters.

        It's a short step from here to creating staged runtime hierarchy bindings so you can even extend the GPL code directly without sharing the source for your changes.

    • I still want to know WTF is a FreeBSD version of Linux?

      is that the /usr/compat/linux tree?

      It must be some new fangled program written by M$ during "bug fixing month"
    • It might also provide a base for an OS X version of .NET (I'm not sure if any plans have been announced in that direction).
      • Well, duuuh. :) The point of this shared source buisness, is to port to new platforms. Going from FreeBSD to Mac OS X would probably be trivial, provided it doesn't rely on a lot of x86 ASM, which it probably does.
    • Well, i hope someone mods me up, because there are a lot of +5 posts in this thread that are patently false or pure speculation.

      Whereas what I am about to say is neither.

      1) FreeBSD is NOT driving the majority of hotmail. I am not interested in TheRegister or anyone else's "investigative" reporting. The overwhelming majority of machines (by machinecount) are running windows 2000 (or maybe even something later, by now, in trial rollouts ?)

      FreeBSD is still used in a few specific places, just like SunE4500 machines are still used at the mailstores. However, when you've got > 10 farm machines per mailstore, and the freebsd machines are just scattered here and there for specific purpose roles (some dns and some inbound mail, iirc), its obvious that the balance of all computers currently in the hotmail system are windows.

      So, please give up the tired "hotmail is unix" arguments. Hotmail is a mix of things, all of which are moving towards windows based on the principle of "low hanging fruit" - i.e. whatever is easiest to migrate is getting done first.

      Obviously the Sun boxes wont be getting windows on them anytime soon, so dont expect them to get replaced until someone decides "ok, it is now cost justified to get big x86 machines and more importantly re-write all of our STORE system to work on x86+windows and throw out the MILLIONS of sun hardware/software investment we have"

      As far as someone else saying all these free-bsd competant people working on rotor - thats pretty much a load of shit. Maybe some of the people working on rotor had worked at hotmail, but i very, very much doubt it. It's a microsoft RESEARCH project. MSR is essentially a research university with no undergrads. MS just pays a bunch of brilliant people to think about shit, and sometimes that rolls into products years down the road, and sometimes it doesnt. There are more people doing interesting things with UNIX at MSR than there are on slashdot (because most slashdotters frankly dont do interesting things, as far as computer science research goes :)
      MS is not necessarily so pompous as to suggest to some of the top minds in computer science that they should run Windows to do their experiments and research on.. when frankly to a researcher a computer is a computer, and the concepts applied have little to do with the host os.. its a matter of convenience for the researcher..

      So, the type of work that went on to produce Rotor isn't exactly the sort of thing some random FreeBSD admin could pull off. I mean, think of the scope of what was done here.. .NET ontop of windows was analyzed for all the windows calls it made, as well as the MS C runtime library. ALl those calls were re-implemented in a portable layer ontop of UNIX (freebsd, specifically.. so far i've found some freebsd specific bits in the code.. so much so that porting it to openBSD is requiring source changes)

      How many BSD admins are competant to write a Win32-on-top-of-BSD compat library ?

      Now consider that Rotor was done with just under 5 people, afaik, in the timeframe of something like about 1 year.

      2) "Some people" have copies of the Rotor source, and are toying with porting rotor to other platforms.

      Rotor is done on FreeBSD because Microsoft HATES the GPL. Microsoft HATES the GPL because it shuts them off. I can't understand how anyone is confused by this. GPL means NO closed source software. GPL means all interop with closed software is RISKY, because some judge COULD interpret the GPL in such a way that MS would have to give away all/any of their source on a royalty free basis.

      How do you think MS feels about putting its most valued asset in the hands of some techno-incompetant judge ? There are more lawyers at microsoft trying to understand the GPL and possible GPL interop/challenge/implication scenarios then there probably are at the FSF. (ok, this is speculation.. i dont know how many FSF lawyers there :)

      Understand that The Source is the crown jewels to MS. They're willing to let other people look at the jewels, they're willing to let other people help them make the jewels nicer...so long as they retain control and can set the rules.. they're MICROSOFT's jewels after all.. not anybody elses.

      MS does not understand how to make money or exist the way they do today in a GPL-world. It is not clear anyone else knows how to do this either - i humbly submit the dismal track record of commercial opensource software companies, and the growing pains and reorganizations, etc etc.

      So. Rotor is an implementation of CLR/CLI that DOES let you run .NET applications on UNIX. To ALL of you naysayers and trolls that were saying "it will never happen", ".NET is another windows lockin strategy", and so forth, the line to EAT MY ASS is forming now.

      in Summary, of _COURSE_ it wasn't done on GPL. There are absolutely NO advantages to ANYBODY of GPL'd software over BSD license. Microsoft isn't in any hurry to try and get people to use GPL because it SCREWS them. BSD gives everyone what they want out of a license, except those people that want to destroy commercial software development. Rotor is a research project showing that not only is it legal to do a unix .NET, but a couple of bright people can write it and do so in about a years time.

      And their efforts have been given to the UNIX community.

      So, someone please humour me by finding the microsoft evil in all of this. I think its time some of you suck it up and realize that there are people at microsoft that _DO_ realize there are other platforms, and DO want .NET to be succesful everywhere.. even if they think that an MS hosted OS may be the best place to develop for or run .NET apps, there is no longer anything saying "you have to".

      ALso, the "Java is the true cross platform solution, .NET isn't" camp can also get in the "eat my ass" line, right behind all the vaporware naysayers :)

    • I think they chose freebsd because it it _still_ driving the majority of hotmail, perhaps this is thier "FreeBSD version of Linux" See the link below:

      Of course, this line should be read as "Microsoft has built a FreeBSD version of .NET, but this is more of a publicity gig than a serious endeavour."

      If you replace Linux with .net that whole paragraph will suddenly make sense.

  • Rotor was a gravity-based vertical 2d scroller game with vga/ega graphics


    coincidentaly, i w4r3zeD it lately, and played it.

    like a punch in the face sending you 10 years backwards...
  • CLI (Score:5, Informative)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:16AM (#3134793) Homepage Journal
    CLI == Command Line Interface | Command Line Interpreter

    wtf is wrong with these people, reusing existing acronyms?

    • Re: wtf is wrong with these people, reusing existing acronyms?

      Like MS telling their customers that DNS = Digital Nervous System. Remember that?

    • It's probly in MS's best interest to make CLI mean anything *but* "command line interface", since that's antithetical to their windows philosophy. I'd bet MS would LOVE to transform those letters into something else and distance themselves from their CLI past.

      I'm not sure it's coincidence that they're appropriating the acronym.
    • No, CLI means Call Level Interface as everybody should know... ;-)
    • I know, it's annoying as hell, it took me a good two minutes to figure out what the headline was on about.
    • There are only about 17 000 three-letter acronyms, sooner or later they will have to be reused.
    • wtf is wrong with these people, reusing existing acronyms?
      Isn't that the general nature of people that use computers professionally for their own sake?

      Example question: IP as used as a word in conversation is

      - Intermediate Pressure

      - Internet Protocol

      - Intelectual Property

      - All of the above plus something new soon

      The real annoynaces are the acronyms that only apply within a single company or workplace, and those that believe that everyone on earth should know what they mean when they use them.

    • Re:CLI (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mattr ( 78516 ) <.mattr. .at. .telebody.com.> on Saturday March 09, 2002 @01:41PM (#3135097) Homepage Journal
      This is quite intentional and not a laughing matter.

      "Embrace and Extend" means Microsoft has an imperative from way up high to subvert anything it perceives as dangerous. This includes weakening de facto standards (made a lot of people code for MS Java) or somehow take over the very concepts we use to think about our environment.

      This is very dangerous when the environment is based on agreement by a lot of people as to virtual standards. Ultimately a Microsoft brand name would be planned in such a calculation to completely replace common features of the landscape. Or did you think they would allow "http://" to remain in the Address bar forever?

      This is a seedy corporate tactic and unless we refuse to feed our brains with Microsoft drivel we have only ourselves to blame. They've still got plenty of acronyms to go..
      • Why wouldn't they simply come up with an alternate meaning for HTTP?

        Or Protected Computing. As you knew it, the PC. Look, see how many years people have had Protected Computing?

    • CLI == Command Line Interface | Command Line Interpreter
      wtf is wrong with these people, reusing existing acronyms?

      They did it before - remember Microsoft's 'Digital DNS' advertising, where DNS was Digital Nervous System. We all know how well Microsoft can handle *real* DNS - good chunks of their windowsupdate domain went dark for almost a week, a few months back.

    • CLI == Command Line Interface | Command Line Interpreter

      wtf is wrong with these people, reusing existing acronyms?

      Didn't you know there was a world shortage of acronyms? Microsoft, that caring, environmentally-aware corporation, are seeking to preserve the rapidly depleting population of unused acronyms by recycling redundent ones.

      After all, no-one uses a Command Line Interface any more, do they?

  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:23AM (#3134816) Homepage

    The existance of a widely distributed "visible-source" version from MS means that developers of Open Source versions have to take special care to document their development. If there's any similarity between Mono or DotGNU and the MS offering, MS can try to say that their code has been stolen.

    Note that if MS really wanted independant implmentations then they would just use a BSD license. They're not doing that, and that means there's something sneaky going on. Don't trust them.

    • Absolutely true. Be extraordinarily careful. Its one thing to look at and share code from something similarly licensed to your project, but quite another to incorporate code from this into a GPL or BSD-licensed project. Recall from the end of the article:

      When it's available, that 18MB tarball will be available to download, compile, test, and modify (for non-commercial use).

      This is certainly not what could commonly be referred to as Open Source. I suppose its great for folks just wanting to work with .NET in an academic environment or to teach themselves (much like I am attempting to currently do), but that's as far as you can apparently go.

      • And MS is talking about GPL being "viral"! I nwould advice anyone hacking on a GPLed, similar project (DotGNU etc) not to look at this source at all, and not have this sourc downloaded by any of their IP-numbers.
    • The command-line .net runtime and compiler are freely downloadable. I wonder whether they run under Wine. This would be preferable to downloading the 'shared source' version, since there is no chance of becoming contaminated by looking at the source.
    • From the Rotor FAQ:

      "The license for this source code will be available at the time of first public release. Microsoft intends to provide very liberal non-commercial licensing terms and is interested in gathering community input on the design of the license. In particular, we intend to make it very easy for people to create non-commercial derivatives for exploration and experimentation, and for teaching purposes. We also intend to permit commercial use of this implementation as a guide for people building their own CLI implementations, for personal use, and for debugging purposes.Anyone expecting to use this implementation as the basis for distributing a commercial product would need to negotiate a license for this purpose with Microsoft."

      Sounds like they want to allow people to look at the source to be able to see how things are done and use that knowledge to implement their own CLI.

    • Our license will speak for itself when we make the code available, but our intentions are that the Rotor code be there to help CLI implementors.

      The reason that we've chosen the non-commercial route is that we are in the software business to produce revenue, and we will certainly encourage people to use our commercial CLR on Windows, either from Visual Studio, or from the freely downloadable .NET Framework SDK [microsoft.com]. There will be a number of CLI implementations to choose from, and will be very happy to compete on the merits of our own implementations.

      Once we release the Rotor code, I think that it is very likely that Microsoft will be approached by developers who might want to use Rotor in a commercial setting. I have no doubt that licensing this code for commercial use would be a possibility, but I'll leave discussing this topic until we actually make the code available and people get a chance to see what we are talking about in more detail...

      • I look forward to seeing your license. I really can't imagine how the license will allow looking at the code for the purposes of implementation, but not copying the code. I mean, once you've seen an implementation of a given feature, it's pretty hard to create a second implementation that isn't somehow based on the first. And even if you do develop an implementation that you feel is entirely your own, the prospect of having to prove it in court in the event of a dispute is daunting.

        So, in order to be useful, your license has to permit me to look at the code and then write my own GPL'd implementation, but without my risking legal action from MS. On the other hand you still want to require a license for anybody using your code in a commercial product. Good luck.

  • I am absolutely positive that the licensing terms for the 'shared source' are going to involve some sort of extreme IP protection mechanism that will give MS unimaginable amount of power to prosecute anyone who they believe is violating their IP.

    From now on, FS developers will have to make sure that anyone on their project has _not_ agreed to the MS shared source license. Kaffe has a similiar policy because of Sun's nasty license.
    • Here's the Microsoft Shared Source [microsoft.com] License.

      It's a very good example of an open source license - it's short, concise and easy to understand. (Unlike some other licenses out there *coughGPLcough*...)


      Shared Source License for Microsoft Windows CE .NET
      This License governs use of the accompanying Software.

      Posted: January 07, 2002

      You can use this Software for any noncommercial purpose, including distributing derivatives. Running your business operations would not be considered noncommercial.

      For commercial purposes, you can reference this software solely to assist in developing and testing your own software and hardware for the Windows CE .NET platform. You may not distribute this software in source or object form for commercial purposes under any circumstances.

      In return, we simply require that you agree:

      1. Not to remove any copyright notices from the Software.

      2. That you are not allowed to combine or distribute the Software with other software that is licensed pursuant to terms that seek to require that the Software (or any intellectual property in it) be licensed to or otherwise shared with others.

      3. That if you distribute the Software in source code form you do so only under this License (i.e. you must include a complete copy of this License with your distribution), and if you distribute the Software solely in object form you only do so under a license that complies with this License.

      4. That the Software comes "as is", with no warranties. None whatsoever. This means no express, implied or statutory warranty, including without limitation, warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or any warranty of noninfringement. Also, you must pass this disclaimer on whenever you distribute the Software.

      5. That neither Microsoft nor its suppliers will be liable for any of those types of damages known as indirect, special, consequential, or incidental related to the Software or this License, to the maximum extent the law permits, no matter what legal theory it's based on. Also, you must pass this limitation of liability on whenever you distribute the Software.

      6. That if you sue anyone over patents that you think may apply to the Software for a person's use of the Software, your license to the Software ends automatically.

      7. That the patent rights Microsoft is licensing only apply to the Software, not to any derivatives you make.

      8. That your rights under the License end automatically if you breach it in any way.

      They even say explicitly that it is fine to use the code as a reference when building your own commercial code, as long as you don't include any of it.
  • Extend and embrace?
  • Input. (Score:3, Funny)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:47AM (#3134872) Homepage
    Wonder if that includes Slashdot community input...

    By which you mean fanatical, Stallmanist screeds about the evils of proprietary software? The written equivalent of storming the castle gates with torches, pitchforks, and not a thought in your head?

    Probably not.

    • Re:Input. (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      storming the castle gates, or storming The Castle Gates? :)
    • The best case is that MS has realised the strength of OSS and is using it to build better software. If MS "embraces and extends" the open source way of developing software we will see much better products comming from MS in the time to come... alas, it seems that Rotor will never actually be used for anything outside windows as it does not include ASP.NET , ADO.NET or Windows Forms.

      Most likely this is yet another attempt to make us waste our money and time while MS thinks up their next idea...

      But 'till we actually see a license agreement from MS, it's hard to know what they have in mind with Rotor.

  • by geoswan ( 316494 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @11:50AM (#3134874) Journal
    "Spin doctoring" is a neologism refering to the act of putting a complimentary "spin" on news that shows some public figure or institution in a really bad light. If you follow the links you will find some other fascinating examples of "spin" being doctored. Note particularly the Microsoft's "gpl_faq.doc" [microsoft.com] and The Commercial Software Model and Sustainable Innovation [microsoft.com].

    I hate this kind of untruthfulness. The authors of the GPL document know the real meaning of open source, and the other terms they plan to redefine. They mean to sway the minds of the rest of the public who don't know how self-serving their redefinitions are.

    • As I was reading your article, I was thinking, "there's gotta be a better way to get the message out... Not all coders who believe in Microsoft read Slashdot."

      And then I remembered something I read about years ago: http://www.crit.org [crit.org] . This site allows you to add annotations to other web pages.

      So to make sure everything was still working, I attached your above comments to the second link you provided. (I tried the first as well, but since it's a direct link to a Word doc, it wouldn't do it.)

      The Crit tools are really cool; it's like adding Slashdot-style commenting to every site! There's no moderation, AFAIK, though.

  • I only had time to scan the article, so I'm hoping someone who understands this a little better than me can help out...

    They say it is for non-commercial puproses...but what part of it? when you build this package, you get a c# compiler and some script compiler, and I assume the class libraries and VM or whatever CLI is (I really don't know). I can understand the part about building an app with their c# compiler being for non-commercial purposes--but don't you need the CLI library or virtual machine or whatever to run a .NET/c# app?

    So if I pull down Rotor, build it-- can I use it (the libs/vm whatever CLI is, tossing out the compilers) to run commercial apps? or is that a violation of the proposed license?

    I'd also be interested in knowing if this proposed license would prevent someone from selling sourcecode to a project, and have them compile it themselves on their own copy of rotor (which might be conveniently included with the source).
  • Windows Forms? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    A substantial part of the classes are Windows Forms. How do they plan to implement them on FreeBSD?
    • Re:Windows Forms? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tb3 ( 313150 )
      They don't. Windows Forms is not included in the 'standard' they submitted to ECMA. Which makes their duplicity rather obvious. At least Sun tried with the Java Swing library, even if it doesn't work very well.
    • Re:Windows Forms? (Score:2, Informative)

      by david_stutz ( 564191 )
      I've found it useful to think of the libraries that are included as part of the ECMA spec as a "modern" equivalent of the C runtime. They form a base set of capabilities for programmers that is obviously useful and not too controversial, and they do this without straying into areas where consensus might be harder to find.

      There will be many different forms libraries implemented - Windows Forms will be one of many choices. On KDE, wouldn't you rather see the features of KDE in your forms? On GNOME? On small devices that have different UI models altogether?

      As part of Rotor, we made sure to provide support for both calling native code from "managed code," and vice versa. To demonstrate that, I hope that we will be able to show a simple sample class that wraps Tcl/Tk as part of our distribution.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Asking slashdot what they think of this would be like asking the KKK what they thought of abolishing apartheid.

    Somehow I think they were looking for intelligent informed opinions instead.
  • paranoia anyone? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by bob@dB.org ( 89920 )
    and people say i'm paranoid...

    Be very very careful. (Score:5, Insightful)
    ...If there's any similarity between Mono or DotGNU and the MS offering, MS can try to say that their code has been stolen ....

    ah, the old cut-off-the-oxygen (Score:4, Insightful)
    ...hobbyists something they can dink around with and they won't be worried about 'software freedom'; they want neat toys, not free software...

    and my personal favorite:

    If you code FS, don't _ever_ look at the source (Score:4, Interesting)
    ...From now on, FS developers will have to make sure that anyone on their project has _not_ agreed to the MS shared source license...

    let the flamefest and downmodding begin!

  • Alot of people are pointing out that MS's licensing could turn out to be really bad for Mono should they say that Mono stole their source. But don't forget, Mono itself is written in C#, not C. That is why it is taking so long to get the compiler self-hosting. I am pretty sure this MS compiler is written in C, so Mono should be OK. That says nothing od DotGNU however, and I do agree that MS is probably trying to pull a fast one with this.

  • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @01:09PM (#3135040) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is engaging in a tactic called "Muddying the Waters" - when your adversary has crystal clear goals and objectives, you can divert him by giving him extra goals and more interesting things to ponder. Any time spent away form the goals of Free Software is a win for Microsoft.

    Remember that the sucuess of Linux is due to the GPL and not due to it's technical merrits. If technical merrit were all that mattated - we all would be running Be right now.

    Linux and Free Software are winning becuase we are not playing Microoft's game of Shiny-Box-On-Retail-Shelf software. We are using the desruptive technology of the GPL. and Microsoft is now getting wise and is trying to play our game.

    Don't let Balmer make you do his monkey dance.

    • Seconded. Mind you, I think it may be an attempt at divide and conquer rather than anything else. What they don't appear to realise is that FreeBSD and Linux are not mutually exclusive - they can both exist and there will not be a winner - indeed, the existence of FreeBSD helps keep Linux 'honest' in terms of portability. A bit, anyway.

    • If technical merrit were all that mattated - we all would be running Be right now.

      [snort]. BeOS? The OS that had an arbitrary 32MB add-on code limit for no reason than it was easier to write the OS that way than to write it to be robust? At least Windows has the excuse of having its 1.0 version limited by the crufty 8086 memory structure as an excuse for constricting resource limits. What's Be's excuse? It was too much work to design a robust add-on handler?

  • by Jack William Bell ( 84469 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @01:39PM (#3135090) Homepage Journal

    Available for 'Non Commercial Use Only'? Hmm... But this is a runtime! This has some really interesting implications...

    Let us suppose Rotor is fully compatible with the Windows CLI. I develop a commercial application for the Windows CLI. I also test the application for Rotor, but I don't ship the application packaged for it. Instead I ship the application packaged so that it simply expects a CLI runtime.

    In my FAQ I mention that it was tested with Rotor and provide a pointer to some generic explanation for installing a CLI application to run with Rotor. My customers wanting to run the app on FreeBSD or Mac (or any future Rotor implementation) simply install the app as described and now have my application there.

    Microsoft may have a case against this, but they probably do not have a case against me. And I doubt they would go after all of my customers.

    Jack William Bell, who thinks this is a pretty unlikely scenario and is hoping Mono will make it moot.

    • Microsoft may have a case against this, but they probably do not have a case against me. And I doubt they would go after all of my customers.

      You're right, they would just send the BSA after you. Your customers files can simply be deleted thanks to the wonders of XP EULA. After they have all pointed back to you, that is.

      Is there any reason to develop for Microsoft anymore? Those who have tried, tried and died.

  • It's too bad that they used a non-commercial license... Just seems like it would be so much better if other companies could take it and turn it into commercial software. Right, Craig? ;-)

    So it's a problem when the GPL prevents proprietization of software, but when the MS one even prevents selling it, or using it for commercial work...
  • "Microsoft intends to provide very liberal non-commercial licensing terms and is interested in gathering community input on the design of the license."

    How about this: roll the license up in a ball and stuff it up your ass.

  • Rotor intentions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by david_stutz ( 564191 ) on Saturday March 09, 2002 @03:54PM (#3135350)

    [I'm the guy on the Rotor team who presented at this BOF.]

    We absolutely welcome slashdot "community input." I'm pretty sure that a lot of slashdotters will be interested in taking a look at this implementation; it is a pretty fascinating piece of technology, both in terms of the abstract approach to virtualizing resources that the ECMA CLI uses, and in terms of the implementation choices that have been made.

    Anyone who wants to better understand how the .NET Framework works will be interested. Likewise, anyone who wants to better understand Mono or PNET or the Microsoft "Compact Framework" will also be interested!

    Many of the comments on this thread might be summarized as follows: why is Microsoft doing this? The answer is that we really want the ECMA standard to succeed (and that includes success for non-Microsoft CLI implementations!) and we also want to seed the use of the CLI over the long haul. The only way to do this is by participating in the community that moves computer languages and runtimes forward - we believe that many experimentally minded folk will find Rotor a great base from which to work.

    • Many of the comments on this thread might be summarized as follows: why is Microsoft doing this? The answer is that we really want the ECMA standard to succeed (and that includes success for non-Microsoft CLI implementations!) and we also want to seed the use of the CLI over the long haul.

      That's bullshit. If you wanted it to succeed you'd release it under a free license that allows commercial exploitation. There's more to this strategem than you'd like to suggest.
  • I think I saw this on a recent SAT test.



    JOE CAMEL is to KIDS


  • We already have an encumbered, open-source Java-like runtime, Sun's Java implementation itself. It's very mature and very complete and it's the industry standard.

    If Microsoft wants to gain ground, they need to do better. That would mean an LGPL or BSD licensed, high-quality and high-performance CLI. If they can't do that, then they might as well forget it. A Microsoft "community source license" is even less attractive than a Sun community source license, and Microsoft's technology, so far, is less mature and less complete than Sun's.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly