Looks like the next few weeks will be cruicial to the future of GNOME. We’re arriving at a point where it’s obvious that we have to talk about what role C# should play in a future desktop. I don’t want to blog much yet, since it’s really too early to draw any conclusions. A thread on the foundation list dealing with questions to the board election candidates yielded a discussion that may become interesting. It was initiated by Richard M. Stallman, whose main two theses are:
For GNOME to include C# support as an optional add-on cannot hurt. (…) I think it is clear that C# should not be the main or preferred
language for GNOME, should not play a major or central role. Giving it such a role would be a very bad strategic move, since it would
encourage a large community to move in a direction that serves our declared enemy.
as well as
The hard question is whether to give C# a middle-level role–whether to let it be more than an optional add-on. The issue depends on the legal situation (…).
I’ve tried to elaborate a bit on his first thesis and prove that if deploying C# in FOSS projects doesn’t really help Microsoft in any way. We should really be thankful that Microsoft invented a useful platform like .NET. C# seems to attract many developers and yield many interesting applications that wouldn’t have been developed otherwise:
(T)he most convinicing product wins, not that one promoted by politic(i)ans.
IANAL, but concerning the legal situation, I also made clear that don’t think that nowadays there are any other problems with C#/.NET adoption than those that would have arised with any other bulky/extensive technology when it comes to patents. Patent infridgement almost definitly already happened (as laid out in my email), and definitly will happen in future, no matter what technology we use.
Let’s ignore that unavoidable situation, for now. Lawyers and judges tend to be very incalculable when it comes to lawsuits dealing with ideological questions that have a direct impact on law, instead of with formal arguments. The good news is that with FOSS there is always a way out, as long as there exist countries that don’t have software patents comparable to those in the USA.
Meanwhile, the nautilus-search branch of Nautilus which aims towards Beagle integration is progressing nicely. Will we experience the normative power of the factual. Will the new board deal with this question?
Stay tuned, and join the foundation-list discussion!