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HanselMinutes on 9 - #2 - Weapons and Debugging the .NET Runtime

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Very few Channel 9 videos begin with the firing of a trebuchet.

This is one of those videos.

Scott and I barged in on Vance Morrison, an architect on the .NET Runtime team, and spent some quality time with him assaulting a wall (we won - the wall didn't even put up a fight) and then talking about Vance's job, which turns out to be quite the challenge.

Vance didn't have much time, so Scott and I were very thankful for the few minutes we got, but Scott was able to dig right down to the interesting stuff quickly. Scott's good at that Smiley

There are more HanselMinutes on 9 videos coming. It seems people dig these things, so we're going to release a few more from the first session, and then put together another set, most likely at Mix.

Thanks again to Scott Hanselman for doing this, and to Carl Franklin for letting us use the "HanselMinutes" name.

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  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    Is that a sterling engine on his monitor?

  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    Nice video, guys!
  • rhmrhm
    I hope I'm not the only one that finds that pile of patent cubes disturbing.
  • Scott HanselmanGlucose Scott Hanselman
    It's worth noting that those "Patent Cubes" are actually "Filed for a Patent Cubes." You can figure there's some ratio (10:1?) for patents files versus actually issued. I've filed at least five patents...I don't think any of them were issued.
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Bas wrote:
    Is that a sterling engine on his monitor?


    Who knows.

    I mean, the guy has a frikkin' trebuchet on his desk. Who knows what else is in that room or on his machines Smiley
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    littleguru wrote:
    Nice video, guys!


    Word.

    More coming, littledawgg Smiley
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    rhm wrote:
    I hope I'm not the only one that finds that pile of patent cubes disturbing.


    No. You're probably not the only one. I think it's cool, as it tells me right off the bat that the guy probably knows his stuff.

    But, the main reason I'm replying is that I realized I could have three comments in a row that ended with smileys Smiley
  • Richard Anthony HeinRichard.Hein Stay on Target
    Ok, I'll bite ... the only reason I find it disturbing is because it's necessary.  Here's why.  Microsoft, Apple, Xerox, IBM, and every other big company has a lot of intellectual property that everyone kinda agreed to share/steal from one another, until one decided to sue the other, then all hell broke loose.  Now everyone has to file and try to obtain patents on software to protect themselves from being sued by other companies, someday.  It's like the cold war but everyone thinks they have to stockpile patents; like the cold war there are major incidents like SCO that threaten to turn many companies and maybe the internet itself to ashes, but are defeated ... the drama! 

    MS has paid out so much money on patents, but a lot - think the Fraunhofer license mess up - of it is frivolous.  If they were so concerned about the patent, as a weapon, then why dies MS get patents on the CLR, but publish the CLI as a standard ... so there is that recognition to the world that "this knowledge has to be shared, but you should have to do some work or pay us if you can't figure it out from the specifications yourself".

    Alright, I'm just talking....
  • rhmrhm
    Richard.Hein wrote:
    Ok, I'll bite ... the only reason I find it disturbing is because it's necessary.  Here's why.  Microsoft, Apple, Xerox, IBM, and every other big company has a lot of intellectual property that everyone kinda agreed to share/steal from one another, until one decided to sue the other, then all hell broke loose.  Now everyone has to file and try to obtain patents on software to protect themselves from being sued by other companies, someday.  It's like the cold war but everyone thinks they have to stockpile patents; like the cold war there are major incidents like SCO that threaten to turn many companies and maybe the internet itself to ashes, but are defeated ... the drama! 


    That's the story that's usually trotted out to defend Microsoft's filing for software patents when it is supposedly against them on principle, but it doesn't really wash. Having a big arsenal of patents didn't help Microsoft defend against Eolas or the mp3 suit. The horse-trading of patent rights does go on, but it is not actually a defense because your oppoenent has no obligation to deal. The only thing that can get Microsoft off the hook in the Eolas case is someone else's patent as an example of prior art not ackowleged on the 'plug in' patent and in the case of the mp3 suit, a technicality of patent law itself.

    Clearly having your employees file for patents, as long as it doesn't distract too much from development, is good business because those patents can become very valuable when a horse-trading opportunity occurs. However, they do not for any such thing as a defense - they are more of an investment really.

    Richard.Hein wrote:
    
    MS has paid out so much money on patents, but a lot - think the Fraunhofer license mess up - of it is frivolous.  If they were so concerned about the patent, as a weapon, then why dies MS get patents on the CLR, but publish the CLI as a standard ... so there is that recognition to the world that "this knowledge has to be shared, but you should have to do some work or pay us if you can't figure it out from the specifications yourself".

    Alright, I'm just talking....


    That's the odd thing - Microsoft publishes specs for the CLR as a standard, but then patents several of the mechanisms employed in their implementation. Why is that? OK, I already said that the patents form an investment or sorts, but isn't it a bit strange that microsoft publishes the specs for a system - one that it provides an implementation of and which isn't intended to be multi-platform and so there's really no need for anyone else to re-implement it - and by doing so, baits other developers to infringe patents that it has filed for? Possibly Microsoft has no itention of using those patents to squash independently developed CLR implementations, but there is no guarantee of that.

    What I find disturbing about the patent cubes in particular is that in creating a nice little reward for it's employees, it's also unwittingly created a sinister symbol of what a software patent actually is. I see each one of those cubes as a prison cell for the idea that the particular patent covers. Some smart employee had a great idea for something and now it's locked up in a box so that nobody can use that idea without Microsoft's permission. I'd actually be gutted to have one of those cubes because it would mean that an idea I came up with was now locked up and nobody else, no other company or individual, could make use of that idea even if they had a better use for it than I did.
  • RichardRudekRichardRudek So what do you expect for nothin'... :P
    For anyone that's interested in what vance is (un)doing, LarryOsterman recently explained it bit when he talked about [Frame Pointer Ommision].

    That's what he meant by that "EBP" stuff.
  • rhm wrote:
    I'd actually be gutted to have one of those cubes because it would mean that an idea I came up with was now locked up and nobody else, no other company or individual, could make use of that idea even if they had a better use for it than I did.

    Sure they could... if they licensed the technology from you.
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...

    Nice.  Glad to see Vance on c9.  We need more VM.

  • Nice video Smiley Didn't understand much though... yet. Wink
  • Nicholas Swiateckiswiatecki .net - love it
    Nice video guys, keep up the good work Smiley Big Smile
  • Scott is probably more familiar with ETW than he himself realizes. In Hanselminutes podcast #52 he talks in detail about end-to-end tracing. I can't be %100 sure, but I gotta believe that the framework ultimately calls EventWriteTransfer() from the ETW API to do its thing there.

    I've been working with ETW a lot recently (in C code) (and XML for the manifests, of course). But I haven't seen that there is any facility for a "new feature" with "the ability to crawl the stacks" as Vance puts it, in ETW. I would greatly appreciate any pointers to more info on that topic. I read Osterman's blog entry but that didn't clarify this point for me.

  • ZippyVZippyV Fired Up
    Who has the most cubes at Microsoft and what did he build with it?

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