Microsoft is adjusting its licensing for two key standards that are critical to .NET and Novell’s Linux implementation of .NET, Mono.
ECMA 334 which is a standard for C# and ECMA 335 which is a standard for .NET’s CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) are now part of Microsoft’s Community Promise.
Basically what that means is that anyone can now use those two standards without licensing them from Microsoft.
“Under the Community Promise, Microsoft provides assurance that it will
not assert its Necessary Claims against anyone who makes, uses, sells,
offers for sale, imports, or distributes any Covered Implementation
under any type of development or distribution model, including
open-source licensing models such as the LGPL or GPL,” Microsoft blogger Peter Gali wrote on Microsoft’s Port 25 open source blog.
This is a potentially a big deal in that it open up Mono (or at least parts of it) in a way that might be enough to satisfy patent concerns that many have. Mono is part of Microsoft’s interoperability agreement with Novell and was originally part of the working patent covenant established between the two vendors.