Microsoft Issues Patent Promise, Dispels Mono Legal Concerns

Article Source Ars Technica
July 7, 2009, 9:00 am

Microsoft community manager Peter Galli announced Wednesday that Microsoft will apply its Community Promise to ECMA 334 and 335, the standards that document the C# programming language and .NET’s Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). This move affirms Microsoft’s willingness to enable the development of third-party .NET implementations such as Mono.

The Community Promise is a legally binding commitment through which Microsoft pledges to not assert its patents against others who implement certain Microsoft standards and technologies. This means that developers can create their own interoperable versions without exposing themselves to the risk of patent infringement lawsuits from Microsoft. Unlike the covenant that was part of Microsoft’s controversial agreement with Novell, the Community Promise does not discriminate against any users or restrict downstream redistribution. It is generally compatible with open source licenses and philosophies.