Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce Microsoft has shot .NET ecosystem in foot: De Icaza

Microsoft has shot .NET ecosystem in foot: De Icaza

Microsoft has shot the .NET ecosystem in the foot because of the constant threat of patent infringement that it has cast on the system, Novell vice-president and Microsoft MVP, Miguel de Icaza, is quoted as telling the website, Software Development Times, recently.

Strangely, however, the article, headlined "Does Windows cost Microsoft opportunities", which contains these quotes, written by one of SD Times senior editors, David Worthington, has disappeared off the site. It shows up in a search but only yields a 404 when one clicks on the link that comes up in the search.

The disappearance of this article was first spotted by Jason, who runs the the-source.com website.

The article is, however, still available in Google's cache.

Worthington says De Icaza told the publication that .NET's focus on Windows had come at the expense of opportunities for Microsoft, and that its desire to guard its intellectual property was an impediment on the platform.

The Novell vice-president was quoted as saying: "Unlike the Java world that is blossoming with dozens of vibrant Java Virtual Machine implementations, the .NET world has suffered by this meme spread by [Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] that they would come after people that do not license patents from them."


Mono is a project begun by De Icaza, a co-founder of the GNOME desktop project, in August 2001. It aims to create a free implementation of Microsoft's .NET development environment.

De Icaza told SD Times that the fact Mono was the sole implementation of the common language infrastructure was testament to the legal uncertainty surrounding some aspects of .NET due to the Redmond-based company's statements about open source software.

He also claimed that Facebook, Google, Ruby on Rails and Wikipedia could have been built using .NET.

"All of those are failed opportunities. Even if the cross-language story was great, the Web integration fantastic, the architecture was the right one to fit whatever flavor of a platform you wanted, people flocked elsewhere," he was quoted as saying.

Some parts of .NET have been submitted to ECMA and are said to be available on a royalty-free, reasonable and non-discriminatory licence from Microsoft but De Icaza claimed this submission had remained at a "core level."

"It never went into other areas like server APIs, GUI APIs, or even updating some of the core to include LINQ, the DLR and many others," he was quoted as saying. 

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.