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I have read the licensing FAQ and from what I understood people are allowed to use Mono in commercial applications. However, I wonder if Microsoft can interfer with this in any way since they own the .NET Framework and, I suppose, every related patent. Can't that a tiny little bit dangerous?

Also, as a side question... Have you ever used it in commercial applications?

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The company I work at is using Mono to provide its software to Linux users. –  Anna Lear Jul 8 '11 at 20:31
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You are asking a bunch of programmers if Microsoft could conceivably bring a patent infringement lawsuit against someone? Yes, they can sue anyone they want. I doubt they will but what factual knowledge would you expect us to apply to this question? –  Jeremy Jul 8 '11 at 20:36
    
"What factual knowledge would you expect us to apply to this question?": The factual knowledge is whether there actually are any patents on .NET and if deploying a .NET commercial application using Mono is a patent infringement or not. –  Giorgio Aug 12 '12 at 8:45
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2 Answers 2

The way in which .NET's cross-platform nature is achieved is different from the approach taken by Sun Microsystems with the handling of the Java programming platform. Unlike Java, Microsoft itself does not provide installers of .NET for Mac, Linux, etc. Rather, Microsoft has released a set of formalized specifications that other entities can use as a road map for building .NET distributions of their platform(s) of choice. Collectively, these specifications are termed the CLI. --Andrew Troelsen "Pro C# 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Platform"

The CLI is in many ways, more distributable than JAVA. Microsoft has no claim to it, unlike Oracle and Sun Micro-systems over JAVA. They merely defined a specification, such as an RFC, and the mono developers met it. You may need to contend with GPL and make sure you aren't breaking any of their rules though.

And yes, I used it in a Gstreamer based mac application for recording and uploading lectures.

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They could however claim patents on techniques used in it. A number of companies have claimed patents on the basic idea of a VM. –  Martin Beckett Jul 8 '11 at 22:17
    
@Martin I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that the moment you standardize something, you place it out for public consumption. Does Straustoup or AT&T own the patent on c++? I don't know, but the moment that Richard Stallman wrote g++ there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it. You don't put out an RFC on something you have patented. –  Jonathan Henson Jul 8 '11 at 22:23
    
There aren't any patents on c++, software patents weren't allowed at the time. But there are patents on MP3, H264 , DVD and famously GIF (until it expired) - which even if you do a clean room implementation you will violate. –  Martin Beckett Jul 8 '11 at 22:31
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Given that MSFT are currently demanding $15 for every Android phone because they claim it violates some patents I would be nervous of basing a major project on an anti-windows version of an MSFT technology –  Martin Beckett Jul 9 '11 at 2:09
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"A number of companies have claimed patents on the basic idea of a VM.": Did they? Isn't the idea of using a VM pretty old and widely used? If one can claim a patent on the idea of a VM, then one can also claim a patent on such things as "using a compiler" or "using a client-server architecture", and so on. –  Giorgio Aug 12 '12 at 8:53
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You can use .Net in commercial products without Microsoft's go ahead. It's like Java, it merely runs the bytecode, in this case Common Language Runtime, so you can use it commercially, just like Java. Mono is simply the CLR bytecode environment ported to UNIX-likes.

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It also runs on Windows. –  greyfade Jul 8 '11 at 21:39
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