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06.02.09

Easy-LTSP Dumps Mono/C#, Rewritten in Python Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, TomTom, Ubuntu at 5:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Python is truly a gem

Summary: An exodus away from Mono or just a coincidence? TomTom case still casts a shadow on Mono’s future

THE PREVIOUS post about Gnote showed that an application can be ported from Mono/C# to another programming language in a matter of weeks (depending on scale, developer/s capacity, and complexity).

An anonymous reader has just alerted us about another such migration, but this one is nothing like a fork. From the OpenSUSE Web site (yes, Novell’s own site):

Easy-LTSP was designed to work on any distribution, but unfortunately it is not integrated anywhere other than openSUSE, discussing with the upstream LTSP developers suggested the slight reservation could be due to it being written in C#. We wanted to add new features to the GUI to take care of all the exciting new development we have in KIWI-LTSP so it was felt that the rewrite will be much better option than to extend the current code, as it is anyway being written from scratch why not use something like Python which would be easier to attract more contributors and increase possibility that users of all distributions running LTSP server can benefit from it inclusion in their prefered distro.

There are perfectly valid reasons to steer away from Mono and one of our contributors added to them in his Web site:

One of the common defenses – a “talking point”, if you will – of mono / moonlight apologists goes something like this:

“Software patents are bad, but are not a problem unique to mono. If you worry about patents in mono, you have to worry about patents in general. And, if you do that, you might as well not even develop software at all. So, don’t worry about mono.”

Variations on this theme abound, here’s just one recent example from the Ubuntu Forums:

using mono is the same as using the linux kernel. there is always a risk for patent infringement since it’s the whole patent system is so broken in america.

This defense of mono has been around for a while, Miguel de Icaza uses it back in 2004, with what I guess he thinks is an especially subtle misrepresentation of the concern:

Not using Mono in any shape or form is not a blank waiver against patents.

[...]

Microsoft suing TomTom has made this a bit of a tricky argument for mono apologists – it was once popular to point out how Microsoft only used their patent portfolio defensively – but it still comes up enough to be worth addressing.

I don’t want to go too far afield – I’m trying to stick to one small point per post and this is already too long – but there is a subtler bit of misinformation here: the implication that if there were no patent issues at all, everyone would be welcoming mono with open arms. I guess they think mono is just that fucking awesome. However, there are countless projects that fail to achieve mainstream acceptance for a host of reasons.

I’ll try to deal with some of those reasons later – thanks for reading!

The TomTom debacle is not a done deal yet because OIN stepped in. Regardless, here is where things stand. It seems to be an accurate description.

MS v Linux: Sparks of the Tom Tom Fire stubbornly refuse to die

In course of the last decade, every once in a while Microsoft has been known to have accused Linux of infringing one of its patents or another. Despite the said multiple claims for years that elements of the open-source operating system violate its patents, Microsoft had restricted itself till 2009 to supporting legal action against Linux (for instance, the infamous alleged funneling of money by Microsoft to SCO so as to fuel the latter’s lawsuits against IBM and other Linux-user companies). Simultaneously with such actions, Microsoft has not restricted either its alliances with the said companies, including its partnerships with Novell and Red Hat.

[...]

However, the settlement is far from successful in calming down the much-agitated open-source legal community, with the legal issues involved being still undecided. In effect, this settlement ends one phase of the community’s response to Microsoft patent aggression and begins another.It may be interesting to note that a continuing litigation will have subjected Microsoft’s patent claims to a rigorous ‘prior art’ search to which the company may have been unwilling.

Given the lessons of TomTom (regarding FAT), Mono is an iffy territory, as a few people projected years ago. What is left for Mono’s legacy then? Well, Gnome-Do’s founder has just been hired by one of the companies most receptive to Mono.

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2 Comments

  1. David said,

    June 2, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Gravatar

    Sorry to flatten the ominous note you left off on, but I am not programming in any language for Canonical, let alone any Mono supported language. I was not hired for my .NET knowledge :)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    David,

    I know. It’s probably good news and I am happy for you.

    Earlier today someone was stopping by to say that we were right about Ubuntu silencing Mono opposition. S/He said that Canonical were hiring people from the Mono community lately. S/He said that apart from you they’ve hired at least 2 others.

    One source said that “they were working on some Tomboy extensions or something and will be basing their future UI on gnome-do (and now that I see the gnome-do got hired, it makes sense). [...] They are going to use gnome-do’s macosx-like dock. [...] no doubt this is why they are now squashing people who point out the facts about mono on the ubuntu forums.”

    Any comment on that?

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