September 16, 2005

Miguel de Icaza: WinFS no threat to Mono

Author: Joe Barr

The WinFS threat to Mono that Mark Driver pointed out at the recent Gartner AD Summit stuck in my mind. I decided to check with Mono project founder and longtime free software developer Miguel de Icaza for his view on the subject.

The question I asked de Icaza was this: Mark Driver claims that WinFS will mean the end of Mono because it will severely break compatibility. Do you have a view on this?

Miguel responded:

WinFS is merely a new API. All it means is that it has to be
implemented. If you depend on unimplemented APIs, then your software
will not run.

That being said, there are two qualifiers:

  • WinFS won't be available for general purpose use until after Longhorn, or as a separate download, so it will be a minority of people that depend on it. This is the famous
    scandal of Microsoft chopping too much to make the deadline.
  • People at the Microsoft developer conference are telling me that for upgrade purposes they are not even thinking WinFS, they have even reservations about moving from 1.1 to 2.0
    because of the extra dependency that they impose on users.

So the bottom line is: we have plenty of time to implement WinFS if it
becomes something important that developers need.

In my opinion, there are interesting things in WinFS, but they are
fairly hard to exploit for most projects. I do not think we should be
proclaiming the doom of the times based on software that wont ship for a
few years.


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