04.29.09

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Microsoft-funded Media Player to Become Ubuntu’s Default?

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, TomTom, Ubuntu at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement. There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft Vice President

Summary: Mono/.NET enthusiasts start pushing Novell’s Banshee into the next Ubuntu

AS NOTED two posts ago, Microsoft is — in essence — paying the wages of a lot of Novell developers. What is the return on this Microsoft investment? Microsoft is neither a charity nor a promoter of GNU/Linux.

“What is the return on this Microsoft investment? Microsoft is neither a charity nor a promoter of GNU/Linux.”Users may not notice this, but working behind the scenes are some people whose obligation seems to be infection of every distribution with the equivalent of Microsoft’s FAT. Whether deliberately or not, they put GNU/Linux distributions in a sensitive position. There are now attempts to push the Novell(Microsoft)-sponsored Banshee right into the heart of Ubuntu, as the default media player. What next? Windows DRM? This is problematic for reasons we've been through before.

Mono advancers are kindly asked to refrain from personal attacks which they have been spreading around the Web because they can’t defend Mono (the technical arguments) and they still refuse the address the trivial TomTom question.

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18 Comments

  1. Will said,

    April 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

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    Not a good thing. Though I personally use Amarok. And Songbird looks like it might just equal Amarok with some time.

    To go back to the Mono discussion from earlier (replacing mono apps with safe apps), I think Gnome Do might become a problem over time. It’s a neat program, especially the more recent versions, from what I hear. I admit that I also use it, though I’m still on the much older version in Hardy’s repos. It is a great program for both enhancing usability and adding a little Mac-style slickness to the Linux desktop. But it is still mono based, and there isn’t anything out there trying to replace it yet. The longer any of these mono apps grow, the more mature and “feature rich” (if I may borrow a term from a certain you-probably-know-who) they will become and the harder it will become to displace them. As far as I know, none of these mono apps are really fundamentally necessary for Linux’s usability, but it would still be a shame to have nice features and functionality (even if it’s just eye-candy or trivial stuff) temporarily yanked away if MS gets trigger happy again.

  2. Jonas said,

    April 29, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Gravatar

    Two posts ago there was no proof that Microsoft is paying any wages.

    Two posts ago you mention that HP will sell SUSE Linux preinstalled and somehow this translates into “paying the wages of a lot of Novell developers”?

    Tortured logic.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Two posts ago there was no proof…

    There was an argument (“AS NOTED two posts ago…”) because Microsoft essentially paid Novell $100,000,000 in the summer. Novell is in very bad financial shape, so Microsoft is floating it.

    Two posts ago you mention that HP will sell SUSE Linux preinstalled and somehow this translates into “paying the wages of a lot of Novell developers”?

    Scroll down in that post. It’s further down.

    Jonas Reply:

    Wait, so Microsoft is paying Novell, but somehow this is a tax to Microsoft?

    More tortured logic.

    Gentoo User Reply:

    Welcome to the bottom of the FOSS advocacy barrel.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It pays to establish this tax system (consensus on software patents).

    NotZed Reply:

    oh come on, you’re just being intentionally ignorant here.

    Novell sold some patent licenses to M$ ’cause they needed some cash, and Novell licensed some back through on-going fees that are tied to sales of suse and an on-going ‘tax’ on it.

    Gentoo User Reply:

    There was an argument

    Another opinion being passed as fact because you know people are not going to bother to go back 10 or 20 posts to try and validate your claims.

    By the way, you might want to head over to reactivated.net. Daniel Drake (the Gentoo kernel lead) has a series of blog posts about a successful OLPC deployment to rural schools in in South America. Maybe that’s more noteworthy than your tortured prevarications about Microsoft that accomplish and contribute absolutely nothing.

    Jonas Reply:

    @NotZed

    So Novell had some goods that Microsoft wanted to buy (a patent license) and Microsoft then paid for said goods.

    That in Western countries is called “the free market”.

    That is very different from “Microsoft-funded media player”.

    For that to be the case, Microsoft would like the good (the media player) to be created and they would hire Novell to do this work. You would think that they would pay an *extra* sum for that work regardless of the previous payment.

    Or perhaps you believe that Novell is some sort of charity that should just throw in some free work as a thank you note?

    Of course this “media player” funded by Microsoft actually *predates* the Novell/Microsoft agreement, according to:

    http://developer.novell.com/wiki/index.php/Sonance

    Version 0.1 was released in February of 2005 (it used to be called Sonance before they renamed it to Banshee).

    In this world you inhabit, you probably believe that Microsoft signed a secret pact 20 months before their official agreement with Novell. You would think that if Microsoft was behind this, that they would demand that their funded effort was built on say, Winforms or WPF or some other Microsoft API, but not Gtk#.

    You guys remind me of Mel Gibson in “Conspiracy”.

    No wait. More like the anchor on SkyNews that sees a terrorist on every doner kebab.

  3. oiaohm said,

    April 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm

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    Mono itself is toxic by design. Mono default engine depends on JIT.

    People scream about eclipse and other major Java programs due to there heavy resources consume. Mono is no different both Java and Mono are JIT they have the same issues on performance and ram. Mono followers have learnt no lessons from Java.

    Mono threatens to poison Linux means to operate on low ram systems. Thinking the lions share of the Linux Desktop is in that section these moves are not great.

    Yes native code might be large on disk. The important but here. Native code more can be freed from memory than the same program build by a JIT.

    Mono people also avoid ever having to compare exactly the same program built native and JIT. Lead developer of mono uses excuses that particular optimizations on AOT are used by nobody even when it false. Mono design team is flawed from the project lead.

    Mono is detracting focus away from very important items.

    Gcc lacks link time optimization that can reduce native program size and ram usage massively. Mono depends on parts built by Gcc so is also depending on this bloat.

    Mono AOT building is even worse bloated than Gcc. Hopefully llvm work with Mono might see it become something useful.

    All distributions and projects really need to show Mono the door and say come back when you have a native complier that works and turn there focus to Gcc. Without gcc working right they have nothing working right.

    Gcc issues are the biggest bug bear in the Linux world. The problem start at Linux kernel and move up. The preprocessor of Gcc does not support types so Linux kernel developers use there own.

    We have a huge rolling disaster zone and we have people selling snake oil(mono) to fix the issues. Only one problem the snake oil is laced with slow acting poison that at this stage does not look that important.

    What is 1 meg more of non free able memory to operate as .net applications can add as JIT. Its 1 meg more to the min requirement of the Distribution slowly sneaking it out of low ram systems.

    Final result will be Linux losing long term in the lower end of the market to something like Reactos than can operate in 24 megs of ram.

    By the way windows is self poisoning themselves as well we don’t need to be idiots and copy reason why Windows 7 cannot operate well on a 1 G ram netbook net surfing to get it to operate well you have to upgrade the ram to 2G. Now stupid argument is that 2G only cost 24 dollars with arm devices that are aiming at cost 200 dollars or less you are spending a large block of money just to run Windows.

    Bottom end needs low specs so they can deliver low price. Windows is failing here. We again don’t need to be stupid most of the desktop market is moving to the low end this is where our focus should.

    Mono should be kick to the curb so hard its not funny to make them wake up the times of expanding computer specs is over. The computer spec depression is here everyone needs to tighten there belts.

    That Linux can be run faster under workloads than Windows really should not happen. It just shows how bad some of the Windows Internals are. Complier used to build windows is a better complier for optimization than gcc.

  4. An enginerd said,

    April 30, 2009 at 1:41 am

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    If my fresh install of Ubuntu (or any other Debian-based distro) has Mono or any other piece of M$-shit, it disappears quicker than you can say “sudo apt-get uninstall mono”. Or maybe I’d just change my Linux distro to something that doesn’t try to push crap on my computer.

  5. max stirner said,

    April 30, 2009 at 2:38 am

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    this is the end – my only friend, the end?

  6. ushimitsudoki said,

    April 30, 2009 at 3:10 am

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    In my understanding, the “Microsoft is paying Novell wages” is based on a comment by Sam Varghese is an article (http://www.itwire.com/content/view/24646/1231/) where he states:

    “And if Microsoft had not increased its SUSE Linux coupon deal by another $US100 million and put in $US25 million for the quarter, Novell would have had no profit to show at all. All that it recorded was a drop of 36.5 percent in profits to $US10.7 million.”

    The idea being that the only profits that Novell is showing are due to the voucher deal. Or, to be less dramatic: if it were not for the voucher deal, Novell would be losing money big time (because I’m sure they spread the loss/profits around).

    When I read the Varghese article it raised the question in my mind that – assuming the statement is correct – how exactly is Novell *not* going to be a simple cat’s-paw of Microsoft, if they depend on Microsoft to be profitable?

    I don’t think it is unrealistic to worry that Novell is a willing and enthusiastic Microsoft collaborator (they proudly state so on many web sites), and furthermore I don’t think it is unrealistic to worry that Microsoft seeks to undermine Linux (to whatever degree they are able).

    So, then, I don’t think it is unrealistic to oppose Novell and by extension any efforts they introduce into the ecosystem, especially those that are specifically designed to assist with the spread of Microsoft technologies.

    Furthermore, arguments like “the GPL will protect us” and “other companies present patent problems as well” and pretending like they absolve Microsoft/Mono/Moonlight, strikes me as arguing that a prison has bars and there are many offenders inside, so don’t concern yourself with that specific prisoner that is seeking parole into your community.

  7. Ynynymys said,

    April 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Why is Ubuntu shipping with Mono apps by default anyway? I mean, they leave out Flash and restricted video/wireless drivers because they’re not allowed to distribute them with the OS, even though it breaks a lot of functionality. Why would they choose to ship Mono apps in a default installation if those of us that know better do a “sudo apt-get remove –purge libmono”? It’s more work for me to do after every install, and those that don’t do it are left with these poisoned apps. It’s a lose-lose situation. Maybe it’s time to move back to Debian.

    FlavioC Reply:

    TomBoy is a Gnome application. That’s why.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s actually cross-platform by design, but the problem is that GNOME lumps it in (rather than Gnote, for example). We shall see…

  8. Kevin Dean said,

    May 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Ubuntu users are still free to remove Banshee or Mono if the applications, platforms and libraries don’t mesh with their philosophy. No user freedoms are removed by moving to Banshee as default.

    Additionally, Ubuntu (Canonical) already ships Banshee in the repos, so if Microsoft were interested in suing companies that ship Banshee, they’d already have grounds to do it.

    It’s sort of amazing to me that as Microsoft is putting out less and less FUD since Gates resigned, Linux users are picking up the slack to keep the FUD marketplace flooded.

    “It infests your IP!” is a Microsoft strategy, employed because in the past, they had no technical arguements for their software. I think it’s VERY telling that it’s now being used here.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s sort of amazing to me that as Microsoft is putting out less and less FUD since Gates resigned, Linux users are picking up the slack to keep the FUD marketplace flooded.

    You are wrong. Microsoft is suing Linux now (TomTom), it signs patent deals where it claims Linux infringements, it sends lobbyists to poison FOSS panels, it commissions hostile ‘studies’, etc.

    If you think that Microsoft’s FUD has declined, then you were not paying enough attention.

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