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Does Ubuntu Forums Threaten to Ban Opposition to Mono?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No entry fence
Barbwired discussions about Mono

Summary: Suppression of constructive debate about the problems with Novell’s Mono

THERE EXIST people who are guarding Mono inside Ubuntu. Others are actually becoming part of Ubuntu and they curse those who ‘dare’ to question Mono’s inclusion. But our very latest examples show polite requests and advise leading to fear and loathing, then to threat of bans.

This is openness to discussion?

This is freedom?

And why is it that the project permits itself to be guided by pro-Microsoft .NET people? People who knowingly ignore the problems and maybe want to introduce them. ECMA is a liability, not a safe harbour.

There is a new call to prevent Novell's Banshee from entering Ubuntu and ITwire offers guidance to those who rid themselves from Mono.

GNU/Linux users who want to keep Mono off their systems can now use an application that warns them when elements of the open source clone of Microsoft’s .NET development environment are being installed.

Developer Tim Chase, who describes himself as “a genetic geek”, has created a package called Mononono which creates explicit conflicts with core Mono packages.

In the face of mountains of evidence, some people simply refuse to open their eyes and recognise that Mono is a patent trap and an advantage to Microsoft.

“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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  1. Dan O'Brian said,

    June 2, 2009 at 8:14 am


    I encourage the readers of this article to actually read the ubuntu forum links, where you will find comment like this from the moderator in response to Roy Schestowitz’s friend, Neighborlee:

    The post in question was placed on a thread that was over 2 months old. As such your posting style was determined to be off topic and disruptive for the reasons already given to you. As such I also support the actions of the staff.

    I would also remind you that while you are also welcome to and entitled to your opinion this does not give you the right to either insult others, disrespect the choices of others, or rant about your opinion on these forums.

    If someone chooses to use Mono you need to be respectful of their choice.

  2. Märklin said,

    June 2, 2009 at 9:21 am


    Well-spoken, Dan.

  3. Lyle Howard Seave said,

    June 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm


    I’ve always thought it deliciously ironic that Icaza started Gnome because he didnt like the purity of the then non-free Qt widget toolkit in the free software KDE project and now he is on the other side of a similar battle. (someone wrote that we all become our fathers eventually complaining that the music is too loud, that kids have no respect and so on.)

    I also noticed that the venom from people who dont even want to discuss mono pretty high. We debate and discuss everything in free software but mono to some people is a taboo subject. Bringing it up will get you labelled all kinds of names.

    I’m just curious if Icaza and others were greeted with the same venom by the KDE community then when they started Gnome that they are now directing to those who would question mono.

    When people start complaining about ‘content style’, you know where things are headed. I dont think that name calling should be tolerated but forbidding something because it might prove to be provocative, would Gnome even exist if those who bashed KDE for not being pure enough a dozen years ago werent allowed to express provocative thoughts on mailing lists and forums back then?
    Do as I say, not as I do it seems.

    Stay on safe subjects like fonts and wallpapers but dont talk about something that people wont agree with because that could lead to arguments.

    There are many people in the world who love to debate (heck, debate clubs and competitions are actually a team event in some school districts.) and can do it with civility. The best of those have such good command of language and opinions that they can just as easily take either side of a debate and do a good job.
    Then there are other people who dont like confrontations or any kind, who would just rather not rock the boat and who feel uncomfortable in any kind of antagonistic situation no matter the level of discourse and civility and shy away from it.

    There are still a few countries in the world that believes that discussion and debate have to be stifled for the greater good of the nation and its a shame that this is a model some have chosen to follow.

    Having things in the open is the reason why free software has succeeded and while in no way do i think that flame wars are a good idea, most of the FLOSS leaders are provocative to an extreme (hey Linus!) and we honour them for it. Some call it candor.

    Freedom for some, not for others?


    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are questions that are hard for them to answer.

  4. 123 said,

    June 8, 2009 at 8:15 pm


    I think you guys are misunderstanding the point at Ubuntuforums (UF). The UF moderators are not threatening to ban opposition to Mono, they are trying to control incivility.

    When a person asks about how to install the latest version of Mono so that person can use a certain program, the UF moderators expect the responses to help the user to install Mono. When someone else brings up in that very same thread that Mono is dangerous as a potential patent timebomb, the UF moderators consider it off topic.

    If you really want to see if the Ubuntu forums are trying to ban opposition to Mono, then I suggest this experiment: start a new thread discussing the nature of Mono and opinions about the potential dangers. If you do this, then the UF moderators can’t complain that the contributions to that thread are off topic or needlessly argumentative as the whole point is the discussion of Mono. If the UF moderators do take action in this thread that isn’t related to incivility, then you have more evidence to show that the UF are truly against the opposition to Mono.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What I came across was very polite and not repetitive given the presented evidence. Look at it and judge for yourself.

    123 Reply:

    I agree with you in the case of the user “neighborlee”. I believe that neighborlee was indeed polite and intending to be helpful. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what we think because we are not UF moderators.

    I don’t really agree with the UF moderators, and it appears to me the UF moderators believed that neighborlee was out of line for following reasons: bumping an old topic (this in itself should normally be overlooked in most situations), posting aggressively and being off topic (the topic was about help for installing Mono), and being misinformed (the understanding is that Mono is free software as it is licensed under GPL2 and other free licenses).

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    As I’ve been glancing over these threads for months, I’ll comment quickly on their reasons, which do not convince me:

    bumping an old topic (this in itself should normally be overlooked in most situations)

    I think it’s the recurrence of (unresolved) topics that they did not like.

    posting aggressively

    What does it mean? Aggressive language? Posting volume? neighborlee does neither. If it’s the topic that they consider aggressive (Mono and patents), then I am left unmoved. These are some of the most important topics. Just ignoring them won’t make them go away. People tend to believe what’s easy and convenient.

    and being off topic (the topic was about help for installing Mono),

    OK. They could argue that it’s disruptive to warn about something in a platform/forums that’s encouraging that same something.

    and being misinformed (the understanding is that Mono is free software as it is licensed under GPL2 and other free licenses).

    Slated rightly coined the phrase “Poisonware”, meaning software which is inherently encumbered with patent liability. Mono may be Free sofwawre as-is, but being “Poisonware” is not mutually exclusive wrt other attributes. Learn what Microsoft has aid publicly about Mono.

  5. David "Lefty" Schlesinger said,

    June 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm


    Evidently Mark Fink’s idea of “freedom” is attempting to sabotage people’s jobs, and supporting people who attempt to do so. As I commented on the ubuntu-devel list, when zealots lose sight of the fact that their opponents are also real human beings, there’s no end (no bottom) really to the sort of behavior to which they’ll sink: they’ll try to get your boss to fire you, they’l kill your cat, they’ll burn down your house, all because their particular hobbyhorse is so much more overridingly important than _you_ are.

    Mark should be deeply ashamed. You should be deeply ashamed to be associated with such shenanigans. Don’t like Mono? Don’t use it, by all means, no one’s forcing you to. But please don’t treat folks who don’t agree with you as potential “collateral damage”. That’s simply _evil_.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, I saw that thread (someone told me) and it made us look bad. Please don’t judge our message by those who link to it.

    Dan O'Brian Reply:

    His messages was YOUR message. He repeated the same lies that you’ve been repeating.

    This is why you should be ashamed.

    Sure, he took it to the next level, but that doesn’t put you in the clear.

    Lyle Howard Seave Reply:

    >His messages was YOUR message. He repeated the same >lies that you’ve been repeating.

    Actually, you are the one lying.
    What Mark did is nothing like Roy does since he has to my knowledge always managed to keep a level of civility which I find admirable.
    You on the other hand are at the level of “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

    >This is why you should be ashamed.
    Not as much as you should for trying to tie these two things together.

    >Sure, he took it to the next level, but that doesn’t
    >put you in the clear.

    So, if some Ipod fanboi decides to go into a store and destroy all Zunes, you would blame Apple.

    I dont think even you believe that.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    Come on, Roy, what else would I judge your “message” by, having had my sabbatical interrupted in order to have to explain to my manager why he was suddenly getting irrational mail from apparently thwarted infants…?

    As I said, the message I get is that you put your concerns above any other considerations, including other people’s real lives.

    If you want your message to be judged in some different fashion, you’d better find some more effective spokespeople. As Nietzsche sagely observed, “He who fights monsters must be careful that he does not become a monster himself in the process.”

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m deeply sorry for that. I don’t know who Fink is.

    Lyle Howard Seave Reply:

    >Come on, Roy, what else would I judge your “message” by, >having had my sabbatical interrupted in order to have to >explain to my manager

    As unfortunate as that may be for you, your solution would be what? To stop this site because it incites people? We’d have to close down the net. Manners and civility is something you take up with that person and the parents who didnt raise them properly.

    >As I said, the message I get is that you put your concerns >above any other considerations, including other people’s >real lives.
    So the fact that the Novell deal has affected my life and work as a “Non-Compensated AND Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer” should not be taken in consideration?
    Everything in life has consequences. Every word you write will get a positive, negative or indefferent reaction.
    Look at Helios and the fistfight he got into. To the yahoos who attacked him, he is the guy who is promoting Linux and therefore taking money out of their pockets. (I would never blame Steve Ballmer for their behaviour.)

    Im sure that if BN didnt exist it might make life easier for some but probably not for others. It all balances out in the end but nothing ever affects ‘just me’.

    >you’d better find some more effective spokespeople.

    Again, why is it you seem to believe Roy has found and ordered these people to act as his spokespeople?
    Because they visit his site?
    I can be Britney Spears ‘spokesman online’ if I so desire and there is nothing she can do about that. It doesnt mean that what I say should be represented as being her opinion.

    Anyone who has frequented the internet, forums, comments sections and the such knows very well how people think, act and react in the anonymity the net provides them.
    I find it surprising that you dont.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:


    In all fairness, David is a victim here. I have just pulled the address of Fink from the Ubuntu mailing list and denounced him privately.

    We actually have similar issues in IRC. People pretend to speak for the site (badly) and then link to IRC logs (what they had ‘planted’) as ‘proof’ that ‘we’ are over the edge.

    I believe sincerely that my posts are polite. That’s why Groklaw blocks comments from being indexed.

  6. David "Lefty" Schlesinger said,

    June 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm


    Perhaps it would be wise for you to put a prominent notice on the front page of this site stating that Mark Fink is not your spokesperson, that you have no association with him, and that you take no responsibility for any of his actions or potentially defamatory statements.

    His postings and his statements give every possible impression that he’s acting on behalf of this site.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I don’t think he ever commented in this site or participated in IRC. Maybe it’s a vendetta against Ubuntu, which I use on 3 computers by the way.

  7. David "Lefty" Schlesinger said,

    June 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm


    I appreciate the apology, by the way.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Should I try contacting that troublemaker?

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    Feel free, by all means. As I’ve suggested, he’s actually a bigger problem for you than he is for me: he’s made a variety of statements about a variety of people that I’d think verge on libel, and if there’s any question about his association with your efforts, you’re at risk of getting tarred with the brush that’s meant for him.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve just made this post. The past week has been crazy as we’ve had people try to portray us as a rude site with vulgar language, racism and the like. I’m not sure how to deal with this other than starting a censorship policy.

  8. David "Lefty" Schlesinger said,

    June 11, 2009 at 8:18 pm


    Lyle, I never suggested “shutting down this site”, rather making it clear that some of the folks who are apparently portraying themselves as speaking for this site are not actually associated with it.

    Mark Fink consistently includes this site’s address, and no other, in his email sig, just as though it were his own, and speaks as though he were representing this site.

    Actually, if you portray yourself as “Brittany Spears’ spokeperson” on the web, you’ll rapidly find yourself in possession of a cease-and-desist letter from Ms. Spears’ _real_ representatives, and a civil lawsuit shortly thereafter for misrepresenting yourself and potentially for defamation if you don’t, in fact, cease and desist from doing so.

    And, having been a participant in alt.flame when it was _net.flame_, and having been in continuous possession of an email address from the time “the Internet” was “the ARPAnet”, I daresay I’m a lot more familiar with the kind of idiocies people are likely to commit than you probably are… (I wrote message processing code for PDP-based IMPs as a student at NYU in the 1970s.)

    But thanks for being presumptuous!

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I think Ubuntu ought to have closed the mailing lists a little bit after last year’s incident. This guy is a ‘repeat offender’ in the sense that he misrepresents this site (only by linking to it though) and insulting people. There are other ways of incitement. Some people use my name to insult my friends and journalists. They try to prevent people from accepting the site using fifth-column techniques.

    Dan O'Brian Reply:

    Trying to weasel out of the blame, eh Roy?

    Dan O'Brian Reply:


    Mark Fink has appeared on this site before and afaict is repeating statements made by Roy Schestowitz previously on this site, including the slanderous statements about Miguel de Icaza.

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