EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Patent Alert: Is GNOME Growing a .NET Dependency?

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Patents at 12:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Please allow me to start off by stating that love GNOME. I use KDE most of the time (at work and at home), but I used to be using GNOME more regularly and I love it very much. The choice it offers berings benefit to everybody.

I am only posting this only because certain information needs to reach people’s attention, no matter how inconvenient it may be. Many times in the past we repeated the alarming argument that Novell is turning its Linux desktop into a .NET-rich platform. It appears to be a matter of strategy, based on some recent interviews with Novell executives. Is it a good strategy? Probably not. The main issue is not the fact that Microsoft controls and extends .NET. The main issue is software patents, which bring monetisation (or “taxation”) into the equation.
Say No to Mono
Amid a discussion (and purely by serendipity), something strange was realised. information that I received from someone who wishes to remain anonymous began with the sarcastic statement that “apparently there is considerable effort under way by the Gnome team, to poison Gnome by completely rewriting it in C#!!! Thank you Miguel de Icaza.”

To paraphrase the person, “this turned out to be a tongue-in-cheek remark, but it isn’t far from the truth”. This person is a maintainer of a major Linux distribution. He has sufficient knowledge and credibility to be worth trusting, but please post a correction if we are wrong. I requested some references, which he kindly provided:

Here’s some historical references:



As a test, install Fedora 7 using the defaults, then (post-install) try to remove the gtk-sharp and mono-core packages. Chaos ensues. It rips out half the system.

And this on a distro where the original maintainers *swore* they would never let mono enter the tree. Now it is poisoned beyond repair.

It’s only a matter of time before the Gnome core libs will be mono dependant, I’d stake my life of that fact. I’m ready to ditch Gnome permanently.

I decided to make the person aware of Novell’s big plans for .NET (Mono). To this, the reply was:

God help them.

I think one can safely assume that Novell are now working almost exclusively to Microsoft’s agenda. If it comes from Novell, it is irreparably tainted.

I wish to believe that GNOME developers will not be persuaded or lured into more Mono dependencies. Other distributions use GNOME. KDE received some Mono bindings a couple of weeks ago, but there has never been any of this at the core, let alone in the build.

Surely, the patent system in the United States has gone completely out of hand. While centralization of .NET control remains an important factor, let the insane court battles teach you a lesson. At the end of last week we saw two important rulings. The first one was a dismissal of an appeal. It is a very serious case that involves a ban.

A U.S. appeals court on Friday dismissed Qualcomm’s appeal of an order by a federal trade agency banning some cellular telephones containing Qualcomm chips.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said it lacked jurisdiction over an order by the U.S. International Trade Commission because Qualcomm has a request pending before the Bush administration asking it to invalidate the decision.

“An ITC determination does not become final for purposes of judicial review until the president has either approved of the determination or failed to disapprove within 60 days,” the court said.

The second case speaks about a defeat where obviousness could not be refuted.

In its third opinion of the day designated precedential, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences once again affirmed an examiner’s obviousness rejections. Specifically, the Board found that Appellant’s apparatus incorporating bioauthentication and a consumer electronics device was an obvious solution to a known problem, as all elements of the claims other than the bioauthentication device were found in one prior art reference, a second reference disclosed the bioauthentication devices in a related context, and a third disclosed that they could be substituted for each other. The BPAI appears to have fully embraced its new “flexibility” in determining obviousness in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in KSR.

At times when patent madness thrives in the United States, one must keep an eye open. GPLv3 is needed here, or at least eradication of absurdly-patented ideas. Please refrain from contaminating GNOME with Microsoft-patented technology.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Roy Shitzforwitz said,

    July 23, 2007 at 12:37 am


    Who’s paying you to FUD Novell?

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2007 at 1:10 am


    Nobody pays me. Standing up for users’ right needn’t any monetary encouragement. Are you going to carry on trolling the site?

  3. GNU/Linux user said,

    July 23, 2007 at 2:19 am


    “As a test, install Fedora 7 using the defaults, then (post-install) try to remove the gtk-sharp and mono-core packages. Chaos ensues. It rips out half the system.”

    I can’t agree. I’ve just tested it few minutes ago and the only problem was that mono-core has Tomboy dependency (but afaik Tomboy is written in Mono). So maybe other distributions are affected (afair openSUSE is) but Fedora 7 isn’t. Mono can be safely removed and it won’t delete half of your system. I’m 100% Mono free (at least I don’t have any Mono and Mono related packages installed). Fedora rocks ;)

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2007 at 2:37 am


    Thanks for the information. One thing that leaves room for doubt (to me at least) is an article that talks about Mono in Fedora. It is quite surprising. I was under the impression that Red Hat would never approach Mono.

    New Mono-Based Applications for GNOME in Fedora Core 5–Part 1

    The hardest concern to address is that of patents. This worry is muddied by the fact that C# was handed by Microsoft to the ECMA (European Association for Standardizing Information and Communication Systems), standards organization as a language standard. As a standard, C# is technically out of Microsoft’s hands to control. However, that doesn’t mean that the rest of .NET doesn’t contain patent issues. In 2002, Microsoft applied for just such a patent, causing a ripple of concern throughout the technology community. Many decried the patent as too broad, and potentially even a violation of the ECMA’s rules for the standards it controls.

    Speculation continues to run rampant on whether the patent will be granted, and what this patent will ultimately mean for anyone using .NET technology if Microsoft chooses to enforce the patent in a way that will have it invalidated for ECMA handling. In the meantime, the Mono and DotGNU projects continue on and various groups are throwing their hats into this collective pot.

    We’ve accumulated a lot more material and pointers. The worry here is that complacency might lead to risk (through gradual embrace). Recall what happened with MP3 format after many years of “ignorance is bliss”.

    I am aware that Red Hat does not distribute Mono ‘out of the box’ (the same applies to DVD playback, some fonts technology, among many other things). One issue to be aware of, however, is behind-the-scenes, Microsoft violation claims s. Microsoft ‘collects’ money from Linux users (without even being specific, mind you). That’s where the distributor is irrelevant. These threats are made secretly. It’s a shame that few people are aware of this, so they can’t protest and call “RICO ACT”.


  5. Slated said,

    July 23, 2007 at 3:48 am


    “I am aware that Red Hat does not distribute Mono ‘out of the box’”

    I’m afraid it does Roy.

    Here are four packages on the Fedora 7 DVD:


    In addition to Tomboy:

    There’s also Beagle:

    Also, I recommend you read this:

    “Then I found dbus-1-mono and I raised an eyebrow. I thought “Mono is coming too.”. Not big deal, only that not only mono-core was there but mono-data and mono-web. Why a framework would depend in mono-web?. I am completely sure an IDE would depend on it, but a network applet?”

    I’m also concerned that a number of Mono-built Gnome Applets might be poisoning the tree, however proving this is a matter of an audit – no simple task.

    I’m currently in the process of examining the spec files of every package on the Fedora 7 DVD, to try to ascertain the full and precise extent of Mono infiltration into Fedora. Stay tuned.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2007 at 3:59 am


    I am doing some further reading on Mono at the moment. Last year, I believe the following was brought to Groklaw’s attention with the intent of showing what Miguel really strives to achieve.


    This is from Microsoft. It is worrying to see that Microsoft (through Miguel) is apparently now deciding what belongs inside the the core of Linux. Why aren’t people more aware of this?



    The patent trap: If Gnome gets Mono

    Thursday February 21, 2002 (09:24 AM GMT)

    A lot has happened in 5+ years.

  7. Stephen said,

    July 23, 2007 at 4:19 am


    The folks (except the troll) have given some great detail. I would like to add that the hackers producing these Mono applications are very pro-opensource people – just look through the list of authors.

    Personally, I would like to see Mono being an Add-on CD type of deal for those that want it (choice etc). I can understand the rationale for Mono though, it represents much less of a barrier to entry in developing for a core platform such as Gnome and that makes sense.

    My hope with Mono is that it, and its supporters, can wrestle control of the specification from Microsoft by a more open standards process. This will eventually happing with OOXML. I know, I know – it’s Microsoft and nothing can be taken for granted!

  8. Stephen said,

    July 23, 2007 at 4:20 am


    It’s clear I need a Gtk-grammar module ;-)

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2007 at 4:27 am


    > Mono applications are very pro-opensource people

    Definitely! Awareness seems to be the missing piece though. Speaking for myself, I am very well aware of their preference are and I respect that. I talked to/confronted people who came from Windows development to GNU/Linux and wanted to maintain (even thrive) in their previously-acquired skills.

    That said, have a look at this short article which was published last night. It should serve as a lesson to Xandros and Linspire.


    Ubuntu Must ‘Play To Its Strengths” to Beat Microsoft Add as My Number One

    “You can’t out-Windows Windows, he says. Defining and playing to Ubuntu’s strengths are what will make free software succeed on the desktop.”

    Remember another thing: Mark Shuttleworth said that he would not put wine on those Dell PCs because Linux has its own strengths.

    While we’re at it, maybe you can help push this into the front page. ;-) 24 Diggs in the past 5 hours…


  10. akf said,

    July 23, 2007 at 4:31 am


    I also use GNOME and I have no Mono(pol) software installed.

    GNOME programs that would need Mono are:
    Tomboy, Beagle, F-Spot

    Maybe we should maintain a blacklist…

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2007 at 4:49 am


    @akf: See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Gobuntu/pkg-non-free and http://boycottnovell.com/2007/07/16/mono-cleanup/ .

    Apparently, there are some big announcements on their way. News just in:

    More Big Name PCs With Ubuntu Pre-Installed Coming Soon

    “In a recent post on his blog, Shuttleworth encouraged the Ubuntu community to dream up the perfect free software laptop. He also launched a mailing list and a wiki dedicated to the topic that he hopes will help send a “ripple effect” through the PC industry.” [emphasis mine]

    Let’s see how dedication for freedom works out for them. They have been criticised a lot for taking shortcuts (including ‘forbidden’ drivers and components).

  12. Slated said,

    July 24, 2007 at 6:40 am


    I’ve just completed an audit of Fedora Core 6, and this is the full list of mono dependants and sub-dependants, excluding doc, devel, debug, multi-arch and third-party repo packages:


    Total: 48 packages.

    Presumably Fedora 7 has the same number, or greater. I’ll do a similar audit on F7 later.

  13. Anuj Seth said,

    August 5, 2007 at 7:09 am


    Its just sad whats happening, first Novell Linspire etc .. then Ubuntu’s restricted drivers … i new theyd push C# into GNOME when I read this a long time back
    the Novell Microsoft deal confirmed it … Ubuntus decision to go non alphabetical and put Dell Support as the first topic on their forums (i know its stupid but you know … ) … it seems as every distro gets more successful more corporate power play and manipulation come in … its just really sad (IMHO) … we linux people like to think that we have a lot of big companies backing us its just free server tools for most .. oh and f-spot etc come as default installs on gutsy tribe 3

  14. Rico Giove said,

    August 10, 2007 at 7:38 am


    What scares me more than the patent issue is that anything that is a ms derivative will leave my system open to viruses and security issues.

  15. Brad Bellomo said,

    October 22, 2007 at 4:00 pm


    What patent issue? Microsoft fully released .NET as open to implementation and encourages it. Neither MS nor anyone else has ever referenced a specific patent of this debate. A desktop platform that truly supports both OS’s is in everyone’s interest. Lots of big companies have contributed to Linux and the open source world, what is wrong with Microsoft doing so?

  16. Alberto Barrionuevo (FFII) said,

    November 5, 2007 at 4:59 pm


    Brad, you are confusing .NET with C# and CLI, that are the only parts of .NET that are standardized by ECMA and ISO. But .NET is much more, and Mono(pol) is using much more than these standardized parts. Just read a little:


    Standardization and licensing
    In August 2000, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel worked to standardize CLI and the C# programming language. By December 2001, both were ratified ECMA standards (ECMA 335 and ECMA 334). ISO followed in April 2003 (ISO/IEC 23271 and ISO/IEC 23270).
    While Microsoft and their partners hold patents for CLI and C#, ECMA and ISO require that all patents essential to implementation be made available under “reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms.” In addition to meeting these terms, the companies have agreed to make the patents available royalty-free.
    However, this does not apply for the part of the .NET Framework which is not covered by the ECMA/ISO standard, which includes Windows Forms, ADO.NET, and ASP.NET. Patents that Microsoft holds in these areas may deter non-Microsoft implementations of the full framework.

    Additionally, you are supposing that ECMA is warranty enough to avoid patent threats. Check the two patent (non)licenses of Microsoft for OOXML and you’ll check that ECMA is far from any warranty regarding patents. Indeed ISO, who many times grants RAND standards instead of open standards.

  17. Dark Phoenix said,

    December 4, 2007 at 1:00 am


    Well, technically this is necroposting, but I feel it needs to be said.

    From my viewpoint as a long-time Fedora user, it seems that the Fedora guys have gone to GREAT GREAT lengths to minimize how far into the system Mono penetrates, to the point where it could easily be ripped out at a moment’s notice without major loss of functionality.

    Also, a few conversations I’ve had on the Fedora list suggest that the Fedora devs would rather people use Java than Mono for this sort of programming. A good discussion on this is here: https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2007-November/msg00772.html

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 4, 2007 at 1:11 am


    Dark Phoenix,

    Out greater issue, IMHA(ssessment), is that Moonlight and OOXML translators (C#) will force many of us Linux users to embrace Mono regardless of what DE we use. Microsoft will say “yes, we support you, so just pick that Microsoft-patented Mono software, but be aware that we can sue you.” Be alerted as Microsoft has already resorted to extortion, but it does this quietly and businesses that pay Microsoft for ‘protection’ prefer to keep the settlement deals secret. The last thing we need is for them to be dependent on Mono when much better software can be developed differently.

What Else is New

  1. Public Protests by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff Weaken the EPO's Attacks on the Media

    Where things stand when it comes to the EPO's standoff against publications and why it's advisable for EPO staff to stage standoffs against their high-level management, which is behind a covert crackdown on independent media (while greasing up corporate media)

  2. Why the European Patent Office Cannot Really Sue and Why It's All -- More Likely Than Not -- Just SLAPP

    Legal analysis by various people explains why the EPO's attack dogs are all bark but no bite when it comes to threats against publishers

  3. How the EPO Twisted Defamation Law in a Failed Bid to Silence Techrights

    Using external legal firms (not the EPO's own lawyers), the EPO has been trying -- and failing -- to silence prominent critics

  4. East Texas and Its Cautionary Tale: Software Patents Lead to Patent Trolls

    Lessons from US media, which focuses on the dire situation in Texas courts, and how these relate to the practice of granting patents on software (the patent trolls' favourite weapon)

  5. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  6. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  7. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  8. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  9. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  10. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  11. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  12. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  13. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  14. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  15. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  16. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  17. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  18. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  19. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  20. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  21. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  22. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  23. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  24. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  25. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  26. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  27. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  28. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  29. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  30. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts