04.21.09

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Tomboy is Afraid of Gnote, Its Mono-free Sibling

Posted in Debian, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, TomTom, Ubuntu at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nomo

Summary: Tomboy does not fancy Gnote; Jo Shields keeps promoting Mono in Debian and Ubuntu

IN PREVIOUS POSTS which mentioned Gnote [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] it was shown and pointed out that there might be a future for GNOME without Mono, which is a patent trap exploited by Microsoft and Novell. We were not really expecting the developer of Tomboy to draw attention to Gnote, but he just did:

A Note about Gnote

Some people have started asking about Gnote, Hubert Figuiere’s line-for-line port of Tomboy to C++. Our stance on Gnote is that it is counterproductive to maintain identical software in two languages. It will be harmful to the community, especially as these two apps inevitably diverge. It will result in duplication of effort, duplication of bugs, and a lot of wasted time for those who are trying to add value to the user experience.

Tomboy is not going away, and it will continue to be developed on the extremely productive Mono/GTK# language platform. Anyone thinking about distributing Gnote should consider the impact on users and their data. When we develop, we should always be asking ourselves, “is this adding value for our users?”

The answer is, “definitely.”

After the TomTom row, it is abundantly clear that Microsoft seeks to resolve its serious problems by suing (or ‘settling’) over patents where its de facto standards — such as FAT or .NET — are used. Only a “box of monos” (pun intended) would consider Mono to be a Good Idea™.

As a team, the Debian Mono Group (which is these days a joint Debian/Ubuntu effort) have helped to reduce our footprint by a good few meg in the Jaunty cycle, as part of the Mono 2.0 transition. And now I have a proposal which I’m going to make to the Desktop team at Ubuntu Developer Summit in May, which will save six precious megabytes.

The problem is not just technical; it’s not about bloat, either. It is an issue of programmer control (by Microsoft) and legal control (by Microsoft). Moments ago we shared a news report confirming that Windows XP being sold for less than $15. Microsoft is hurting financially because of GNU/Linux and it is actively looking for ways to tax GNU/Linux, thereby elevating the price of its #1 competition. Mono is one such convenient route.

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

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29 Comments

  1. Will said,

    April 21, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Gravatar

    Sounds like the solution is simple enough. We just, to use wording that I’m sure Novell’s master would approve of, “cut off Tomboy’s air supply”. And then do the same thing to each and every similar app that springs up.

    I’ve heard that Mono(nucleosis) can take quite a while to go away, but with proper treatment, I’m sure it can be dealt with.

    Here’s an idea: Why not maintain a listing of all currently known Linux programs infected with Mono somewhere on the newly reformatted site. In the same area, you might link to resources (such as how to go about getting and developing/compiling source code, language tutorials (both Mono and C++ or other good replacement languages),etc.) to give both seasoned and new developers an idea on how/where to start if they want to help cure GNU/Linux of this virus.

  2. Will said,

    April 21, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Gravatar

    Just to be clear, what I mean by “cut off the air supply” here is get enough developers on board to overtake the Mono apps’ development, leaving those programs in the dust and constantly playing catchup. At the same time, it would be good if the more popular distros would begin including the non-Mono apps by default instead of the Mono ones as soon as the non-Mono apps reach roughly feature parity. Over time, the Mono apps will hopefully be relegated to just another duplicate program in the repositories that most people never install.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 21, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Gravatar

    I’ve just made a start.

    aeshna23 Reply:

    It’s a great start!

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I can’t afford to spend much time on it right now. Others can help out by entering replacements with their URLs.

    Will Reply:

    That’s ok. It’s a good seed of a start; it will grow with time.

    Nice job on the site reformat, by the way. It makes the site’s mission more accessible to newcomers while making the site’s content more accessible to returning readers.

  4. seller_liar said,

    April 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Hey

    Put a quote of day in home page too .Like bill gates about patents in early 90s.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’d need some MediaWiki module for that,

    David Gerard Reply:

    The random selection extension works well. There’s also extensions for random pages, random text and random includes.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks. Got it.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are no installation instructions in this page. I put the code in /extensions and then added include(“./extensions/RandomSelection.php”) to LocalSettings, but it then spews out PHP errors.

    David Gerard Reply:

    Sounds like MediaWiki *cough* Like a great big extension candy store …

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I prefer not to rely on extensions because of upgrades. I’ll get someone to rotate quotes manually. Now, where did I put that pigeon? :-)

  5. Needs Sunlight said,

    April 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Gravatar

    Zim and Knotes are also more useful alternatives. I’m not sure why Tomboy exists at all given the better, pre-existing alternatives except maybe as a vector for mono.

    http://zim-wiki.org/

    http://pim.kde.org/components/knotes.php

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Added.

  6. Andrey said,

    April 22, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Gravatar

    A good idea would be create a Ubuntu distro completaly free of mono and with mononono installed by default.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 22, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Gravatar

    That’s a good idea. FWIW, BLAG is removing all of Mono as a matter of principle.

  8. Bob said,

    April 23, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Gravatar

    The problem is not just technical; it’s not about bloat, either. It is an issue of programmer control (by Microsoft) and legal control (by Microsoft).

    Please teach me once again, how does Microsoft control the programmer when a programmer uses Mono? What sort of legal control is imposed when programmers make use of Mono?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Mono still strives to be compatible with .NET.

    Bob Reply:

    You’re assuming that I know what you know. Your response does nothing to improve my understanding of how Microsoft gains any control over a programmer when the programmer makes use of Mono. What does Mono striving for .Net compatibility have to do with anything?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft decides where .NET goes next and Mono merely follows this decision from Microsoft/.NET (including extensions that have software patents).

    Bob Reply:

    Microsoft decides where .NET goes next and Mono merely follows this decision from Microsoft/.NET (including extensions that have software patents).

    I’d appreciate it if you’d write your sentences so that they are easier to comprehend. I would appreciate the following form. I hope I have conveyed your expression accurately.

    Microsoft decides where .NET goes next when they decide to publish a new version of the .NET specifications. Mono would strive to implement the updated .NET specifications. Mono would also strive to include .NET extensions that are covered by Microsoft controlled patents.

    I still don’t understand how Microsoft controls the programmer that chooses to use Mono, so please write in simple English, a step by step account of what would happen to Tomboy (for example) now that it making use of Mono. Example:
    Microsoft publishes .Net specification
    Microsoft publishes extensions to the .Net specification that are also covered by patents that they control
    Novell implements the .Net specification in the form of Mono
    Tomboy developers make use of Mono
    Now what???
    Feel free to include other premises that are relevant to helping me understand how Microsoft will control a programmer that uses Mono.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I thought I had explained it in simple terms. Microsoft does not control the program which is written in Mono, but it has impact on where Mono goes next*, because it mimics .NET.

    ___
    * Even if it’s the courtroom (where vendors can end up).

    Bob Reply:

    I thought I had explained it in simple terms.

    You wrote a single complex sentence. This sentence didn’t state enough propositions that will guide me conclude to the assertion: Microsoft controls the programmers that use Mono.

    You assert that Microsoft controls where Mono goes next because of the fact that it mimics “.NET”. So what about the web, does the W3C control the web because it publishes various web standards?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    This sentence didn’t state enough propositions that will guide me conclude to the assertion: Microsoft controls the programmers that use Mono.

    This was not my assertion.

    So what about the web, does the W3C control the web because it publishes various web standards?

    It controls how sites get coded because Web browser developers follow W3C.

    Bob Reply:

    The problem is not just technical; it’s not about bloat, either. It is an issue of programmer control (by Microsoft) and legal control (by Microsoft).

    So what is this? Are you not asserting that Microsoft controls programmers that use Mono?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    “That write”, not “that use”.

    At least one of the Mono developers/maintainers is on Microsoft’s payroll (CJ).

    Justin Reply:

    Here let me finish that up for you.

    Microsoft publishes .Net specification
    Microsoft publishes extensions to the .Net specification that are also covered by patents that they control
    Novell implements the .Net specification in the form of Mono
    Tomboy developers make use of Mono

    *Microsoft revokes the right to redistribute the Mono runtime because it uses technology founded by Microsoft, users of SuSE are exempt.
    *Someone states that .NET is an open standard of ECMA.
    *Microsoft asserts ECMA RAND license clause. “Okay, you can have Mono but you must pay a fee to us in order to use it.”
    *Someone states that’s not true.
    *Per ECMA’s guidelines, Microsoft asserts that it has given fair chance to the Mono developers to pay licensing fee. It send a case and desist order to the Makers of Mono in regards to redistribution to non-Novell vendors.
    *Somebody at Redhat pulls the plug on Mono in Fedora.
    *Somebody at Canonical pulls the plug on Mono in Ubuntu.
    *Others follow suit.
    *The community is dived over the issue of Mono. Novell’s people argue the rest of the community. Useless flames ensue.
    *Microsoft points out to the world how useless GNU/Linux is because all their developer’s do is bitch and complain.

    Does that clear it up for you?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, that’s about what I envisioned. There are many signs in Microsoft’s internal communication (Comes trial) that we covered. There are also public statements, e.g.:

    “There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

    Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

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