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Mono Critique Almost a Taboo in Ubuntu Forums, Ideas, Bugs, and Mailing Lists

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“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

Summary: There is no route through which to communicate with Ubuntu regarding the Mono problem

IN the Ubuntu Web site where ideas are being proposed, some appointed moderators were seen diverting people who raise concerns about Mono to bug reporting sections. But Jeff Enns makes the fair point that: “you are not describing a bug with mono. The forums would be a better place for discussion, not bug reports. Thank you.” Tony Manco spotted this one yesterday.

“[P]eople who voice concerns about Mono are sent around in loops and their freedom of expression is hence compromised.”So basically, people who voice concerns about Mono are sent around in loops and their freedom of expression is hence compromised. It’s the same in the forums and even in the mailing lists (although raising the issue more politely would not hurt). Thanks to Tony Manco for noticing and notifying about this. Those who express dissatisfaction with the inclusion of Mono by default* are treated as though they are enemies. But why? By whom?

A Microsoft-born company (well, created by former Microsoft employees**) that advances Mono further is now given a spot in OStatic. Their article is not about their advancement of Mono***, but it does show how Microsoft can intersect with channels of communication about Free/open source software.

Another one of our readers says that Miguel de Icaza “FUDS Google Chrome. He’s concerned that it might violate the LGPL.” Here is part of his message:

We are on a similar situation with Moonlight where we ended up distributing proprietary codecs for VC1 (also MPEG-LA licensed) instead of the open source ffmpeg.

Today our answer for those that want to use ffmpeg (and it is my personal choice as well, since I rather dogfood open source software) is to compile Moonlight from source code and use the ffmpeg code themselves instead of depending on proprietary codecs to be installed.

The codecs that the user relies on are imposed by the publisher, not chosen by the receiver. This means that pretending that Microsoft Moonlight is fine without Microsoft binaries is purely deceit. It ought to be added that APIs too (e.g. Silverlight) can be a patent liability, with or without codecs.
* Choice is fine, but to force patent liability upon people is plainly dangerous, maybe irresponsible.
** MindTouch was last mentioned here as it helps a certain Microsoft land grab.
*** There is at least one Microsoft employee who is even working directly on Mono.

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  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 9, 2009 at 7:21 am


    I’m concerned that there’s been an upturn in de Icaza interviews and quotes. M$ marketing companies usually only pull his chain when they need him to make noise or distraction. Recently, an editor tried to piggy-back him into a summary with respectable people.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The same goes for Mono (and Moonlight) at a less personal level.

    Remember that Microsoft said that Silverlight is not available for GNU/Linux because of Novell’s work. Regulators would have otherwise forced Microsoft to properly support GNU/Linux, so it’s not as though Novell saved the day. It only keeps a proper (first-class and indemnified) port of Silverlight away.

    Mackenzie Reply:

    You say that as if a version of Silverlight released for Linux would be DFSG-free, like Moonlight is. Yeah, right! This way, we get Free Software, not proprietary junk.

    The general concensus on that Ubuntu mailing list thread is that there are currently no good, let alone BETTER, GTK replacements for those applications. If you want them to be replaced, write something worth replacing them with. Whinging doesn’t cut it.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You say that as if a version of Silverlight released for Linux would be DFSG-free, like Moonlight is. Yeah, right! This way, we get Free Software, not proprietary junk.

    Microsoft cannot distribute software for GNU/Linux and say “touch this and we’ll sue you.” If someone clones it, then it’s another story. See the Moonlight covenant for details.

    The general concensus on that Ubuntu mailing list thread is that there are currently no good, let alone BETTER, GTK replacements for those applications. If you want them to be replaced, write something worth replacing them with.

    Mono applications being better is a fallacy. And by neglecting ‘non-Mono’ applications (through exposure to userbase) you guys are leading to self-fulfilling prophecies.

    Mackenzie Reply:

    Uh…why can’t Microsoft distribute closed-source software for Linux?

    It is not a fallacy. Look at your Mono alternatives list. Do you honestly believe that GThumb can do everything (and more!) that F-Spot can do? I guess you took the TARDIS for a spin and grabbed some amazingly good version of GThumb that actually has features from 2015.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Uh…why can’t Microsoft distribute closed-source software for Linux?

    I said the opposite. They can. Like Adobe Flash.

    Bear in mind that Moonlight is not Silverlight. It’s hardly intended to be on par in legal and technical terms.

    Do you honestly believe that GThumb can do everything (and more!) that F-Spot can do?

    I have never used F-Spot myself (I install kde-desktop on all my Ubuntu machines), but based on what I hear, F-Spot is not a leader in its league.

    By the way, I don’t know who Fink is. If rude messages/language are used when linking here, it’s not to be attributed to me and I don’t control this, either. And thanks for debating this, Mackenzie. It needs an open discussion because there are eternally unanswered questions and TomTomVFAT as precedence.

    Like all of you folks, my goal is to spread GNU/Linux and I like Ubuntu. But I fear that you refuse to see obstacles simply because you don’t want them to be obstacles. It neither about will nor faith; it’s about the facts.

    Chris Reply:

    > If you want them to be replaced, write something worth replacing them with. Whinging doesn’t cut it.

    This will never happen cause then those sad fuckers actually would have to do something productive instead of insulting other peoples work.

    And we all know that’s a no go for boy & his shills.

  2. Juan Pablo Angamarca said,

    June 9, 2009 at 10:51 am


    Mark Shuttleworth himself said that Ubuntu wouldn’t live under the fear of threat until it arises. Maybe that could be a valid position *for the time being*, but they should start doing something about the threat that comes along with Mono *now*. I have Mono installed on my Ubuntu machine, just for one application: Gnome Subtitles. And I do that just because there’s no other subtitling software that works properly on my machine. I wish someone would do with Gnome Subtitles what the Gnote team did. I think Gnome Subtitles is the only application that outperforms any other patent encumbered-free application, and it would be nice to see an effort to replace it too.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Mark Shuttleworth himself said that Ubuntu wouldn’t live under the fear of threat until it arises.

    He thanked me for information that I sent him last month regarding Moonlight. They are at least listening. For what it’s worth, PJ from Groklaw also criticised that stance of Mark Shuttleworth (the context being Mono).

    Juan Pablo Angamarca Reply:

    Yeah, they are at least listening. It would be awful to not even have a response. They should do what Fedora and Debian are doing.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    A lot of people mistake “remove from default installation” for “remove from repository”.

  3. DOUGman said,

    June 9, 2009 at 11:00 am


    I use Ubuntu derivatives as well, the ONLY mono application that I use is Gnome Desktop. I do know that there are other terminal clients applications available, but I have never taken the time to do any sort of comparison, perhaps I should, based on how much more bloated Tomboy was as opposed to G-Note.

    On another note, pun intended. I have have been using Basket Notepad for almost a year now and in my opinion it is very good.


    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m surprised we didn’t have it on the list already. I’ve just added it.

  4. Aaron Fulkerson said,

    June 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm



    Thanks for the link-love on my post about Collaborative Networks (http://cli.gs/cn). I think you might also appreciate a post I wrote about enterprise open source at the MindTouch Blog: http://www.mindtouch.com/blog/2009/04/22/80-of-the-functionality-for-500-of-the-cost/

    At MindTouch we employ what I think of as an open core business model. I write about this here: http://www.mindtouch.com/blog/2009/04/22/an-open-core-licensing-model/

    I think you’ll be pleased to know MindTouch saves a penguin for every upgrade of MindTouch core: http://ostatic.com/blog/upgrade-mindtouch-or-the-penguin-gets-it :-)

    Finally, has it ever occurred to you that Mono could actually be subversive to the Microsoft business model and revenue generation? #justsayin

  5. eet said,

    June 10, 2009 at 8:19 am


    This whole blog entry is nothing but whining about a free process of forming of opinion where Anti-Mono agitators don’t get any special preferred treatment.

  6. Marcus Koze said,

    June 10, 2009 at 9:05 am


    Why would they be agitators ? Why should we welcome software from m$ and it’s accolites without a single “hmm”, as you, the mono-defenders wish would happen ? as i;ve said it, i’ll say it again: unlike the claims that FOSS (Linux and other projects) violates some hundreds of m$ patents, i truly think this mono *is* a “trojan-horse” for m$ and “poor” little novell to milk some cash in courts and as a side-effect, slow the adoption of free-software (at least).

    As far as i stand, you can take your slice of mono and go into your dark corner on your windoze machine & do whatever you want.

    And to Ubuntu/Canonical… at least open up some discussion channels and talk about the issues… if so many worry about it, why not listen, as you always did ?

  7. eet said,

    June 10, 2009 at 9:29 am


    According to you every programmer that doesn’t work on Linux is an MS-accolite, hm?

    Well, do whatever you feel like, and good luck for your search of the last of that dying race – the mono-less distributions. You are part of a very vocal but nonetheless shrinking minority; bear your fate like a man and cut back a bit on the cursing-and-whining part.

  8. Marcus Koze said,

    June 10, 2009 at 9:40 am


    By accolites i’ve meant Novell and the other companies that became slaves of Micromoft. (yes, no quotes around the _slaves_ word, that’s how i see them… would you disagree ?)

    I didn’t mean at all to say something like that (“According to you every programmer that doesn’t work on Linux is an MS-accolite, hm? “) , sorry if it sounds like so, told you about my not-so-good english.

    Roy Bixler Reply:

    Your English seems fine to me.

  9. eet said,

    June 10, 2009 at 9:49 am


    ‘Slaves of Microsoft’ – give me a break… How old are you? This is not ‘Lord of the Rings’…

  10. Marcus Koze said,

    June 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm


    Yes, slaves. No, this isn’t Lord of the Rings, but what m$ does these days (i mean more ferociously than they used to) isn’t quite from this world… or do you find their acts suitable for the old excuse of “they’re a company and companies are set to make money” ? If so, feel free to go your way, in my fantasy world they’d end up hanged, shot, poised, sliced and then thrown in an active volcano.

    Regarding my age, i’m not some next-door-kid, trust me. When i say slaves, i mean those companies that went into “agreements” with micromoft don’t have their original identities anymore… instead playing blindingly according to the will of m$, from what i see…

    Anyway, eet, in the end you’re an advocate of mono, probably arguing with “productivity”, i’m a guy protesting against it because… well, i’ve iterated my reasons above too many times … let’s see who’s right (time will show us)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Anyway, eet, in the end you’re an advocate of mono..

    A better description would be “protester against this Web site”. It is best not to feed the trolls.

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