Mono on the Mac…. some success

Well, after the Nant frustration (still no luck there BTW), I dug in and
tried to do something useful anyway getting this stuff running.

NUnit works very well. The mono binaries can be used as-is, bypassing
needing a NAnt build tool to assemble it.

For some simple stuff that doesn’t need a big freaking build system like
NAnt (you know, like more than about 5 classes :^) ) this with mcs and
mono can work OK. I’ve only used the command line and developed non-GUI
classes, but it does seem to be working OK.

The next step is that Ant itself has .NET tasks. I’ll give that a shot
and see if it Moofs. -)

I still much prefer Java and/or Objective-C to this stuff, but it never
hurts to know a few more platforms.

Mono on a Mac….. sort of

Well, I’ve been mucking with .NET at work for a while now, but on the Mac
at home I’ve been Java and Objective-C for the fun stuff. I decided that
it would be interesting and useful if I could try out at least SOME of the
things at work on the Mac at home. Good theory.

The mono package for OS X 10.3 works decently well actually. mcs (the C#
compiler) seems to handle the bulk of really simple examples, and mono
(the runtime) can execute the same stuff. So far so good. Now to try the
heavier lifting.

Start with the tools. NAnt. Crap. Full stop. This thing will not compile
under Mono on Mac (Fileset # of args invalid) and the precompiled
binaries will not run on mono on the Mac (reflection exception). Haven’t
tried NUnit, but without NAnt, doing much of anything useful will be a
bit of a pain.

NAnt is a hell of a tool. But there’s certainly something odd about the
defacto open source build environment that would not compile under the
1.1 framework at all, and that won’t cleanly compile or run under an
otherwise seemingly decent version of mono. Heck I got the database
connection and ADO.NET stuff working to Postgres without any issues at
all. What code-fu is NAnt doing that makes it so ill-tempered?

Ah well. Back to Java and Objective-C goodness. I can always VPN to the
office and remote desktop to do the .NET stuff. It’s sure not worth the
effort at this point to muck with it on the Mac. It’s just not mature
enough yet for anyone except the people who want to build it. I hope
they continue, but I’ve got little enough time and too many projects on
the list to add mono. Sorry. And don’t even get me started about that
abysmally documented effort of DotGNU. Great idea. Make it a fink
package or some sort of package that works. Setting up darwinports is an
adventure in mailing list scouring. ARGH.

Patently Absurd

Well the news of Kodak succeeding in patent litigation against Sun is
burning around the web. Between this one, the Eolas plugin patent, and the
simple fact that it is as much as impossible to do a patent search on
software with any level of thoroughness, the industry is heading for rough
seas in my opion (excuse the nautical references. The Perfect Storm is on
A-Channel right now).

The more of these idiotic perversions from the convergence of invention
and justice that I read, the more I come to believe that like so much of
the legal system, society and business has outgrown the intent, and now
the letter is argued without regard to application, effect or intent.

To give some context, the lawyers have learned that you broaden the
claims of the patent as much as possible to ensure the widest coverage,
and to strengthen the patent for litigation. The claims are detailed
enough to pass the patent office examination, and the system feeds on
itself. The interesting part is the patent office is so far beyond
ability to determine novel and non-obvious work, that it’s literally
become defeated by the system that gave rise to it.

It’s now fairly standard practice that programmers are told not to look
at all, and indeed to completely avoid getting any information or ideas
from pattents. This is actually be best defense at this point, in
addition to getting them to grind out patents themselves as a defense

It’s funny, but that whole “get a patent chest to CYA” was founded on
the idea that it would be a software company going after a software

Kodak is not a software company. The house of cards is falling.

The root of the problem is that these industries (and here I’m not just
talking software) that are driving their areas of knowledge forward are
so large that the idea that a novel invention will only occur in one
place is almost ludicrous. There are too many people, too many companies
moving far too fast to make the idea of a patent office tenable. Or

Another contrast. Originally, patents covered ideas and protected the
inventors to recoup the costs of development. Plus provide some reward.
Those ideas were able to be leveraged directly to advance other
projects, and the royalty was worth the price to produce the product
that derived from it. The patents in question in these cases are barely
ideas. They aren’t techniques with implementation that novel or complex.
They aren’t worth it. A successful patent that had some value was RSA.
The licensing however was almost completely outrageous, at over $10,000
starting. It actually stifled the industry it could have caused to
flourish to much quicker. Security suffered in software under the 17
year moratorium that supported it. The online commerce software has
exploded since the expiration of the RSA patent. It could have done so
much earier with more open terms.

The point with RSA is that it was a specific, detailed implementation
that was of significant value to the products guild with it (web
browsers). It wasn’t a vague implementation philosophy that would be
arrived at by anyone experienced in software development.

Software innovation is at risk. Our judicial system is ill-equipped to
chart the course, and our politicians are funded by the companies
building up these vaults of patents. The law is not in the interest of
the public or the country or the economy at large. It is again in the
interest of a few that support the election of people that will support
those narrow interests.

Perfect Storm has a very sombre ending. Hopefully we can avoid that sort
of ending in the software patent saga. The weather charts don’t look