June 13, 2009

Where are all the lawyers when you need them?

I'm not much of a fan of religious wars.  Haven't been in one, I'm relieved to say, but I've read history books and from the Crusades to Ireland to Bosnia they seem to be an excuse for angry young men to vent on people smaller and less well armoured than them.  Religion usually ends up being an excuse for being antisocial, and often the only reason the word religious can be used to describe the problem is that's the one thing it's not.

It being Sunday, it's curiously appropriate that the Mono debate seems to be flaring up (yet again).  It's got all the characteristics of a religious war: people on either side with minds like concrete (thoroughly mixed, permanently set), ad homineum attacks to burn, snipers, witches and trolls for the taking, and an important issue at the centre generating tons of heat and very little light.

 What's really irritating is that for non- programming guru people like me, we think we can see there is an issue.  We don't know the agendas of all the parties, and there are a variety of agendas mooted.  Anyone who's experienced the ability of journalists to mess up a straightforward story realises there's a proportion of them who are more interested in wordcounts than accuracy, and no-one but the few people at the core know what the real story is.

Jo Smith's original post  http://www2.apebox.org/wordpress/rants/124/ is great.  Can I suggest, though, that if you wouldn't want your mother reading it you shouldn't post comments?

And finally, at the bottom of it is a legal question, which keeps getting ignored by the programmers!  Which side are the lawyers on in this debate?   Who cares how good a programming language it is?  The problem is not the strengths or lack of in Mono, it's the patent trap, and no-one has come out and said it doesn't exist. 

Personally, I don't know enough, but after watching MS take out Tomtom in style (and that on a patent for being able to put 256 letters together- go the USPO!) I'm a little wary.

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