Summary: Response to disinformation about Gnote, a substitute to the Mono-encumbered Tomboy
OVER the past few weeks we’ve come across all sorts of unsubstantiated claims that Gnote would not carry on being developed and maintained. To those who say it, this is a prophecy they wish to fulfill using smears. Microsoft calls the broader scheme of this strategy “the Slog”
[PDF] and there are recent examples of another strategy called “whisper campaign” — damaging and false rumours being disseminated [1, 2]. Boycott Novell too has totally false accusations brought against it in an attempt to shoot the messenger because of the message which cannot be refuted (regarding Mono). Needless to say, these injurious false accusations and smears come from proponents of Mono who carefully cherry-pick things and take them out of context.
Going back to Gnote, Stefano Forenza took it upon himself to present refutations to the whispers/rumours regarding Gnote. Here is an overview:
In a thread on the ubuntu-devel mailing list, where Danny Picirillo asked to consider replacing Tomboy with Gnote, a long discussion followed. Ultimately Mackenzie brought up some points that the Gnote developer, Hubert Figuiere felt needed to be answered.
Stefano summarises his post as: “Putting an end to the disinformation about Gnote in the Ubuntu community.” To give an example of scare tactics, Canonical’s Scott James Remnant writes:
One of my principal concerns would that Gnote is simply a code port of Tomboy from Mono to C++, with little development of its own. This means that should the maintainer tire of converting C# to C++, the project could quite quickly die.
This type of logic can be applied to any project, even Microsoft Money [1, 2]. If it had, then where would today’s projects come from? All projects start small and to refuse acceptance of GPLv3-licensed software is somewhat dubious (the licence is actually better than Tomboy’s in the sense that it secures ownership and control by its respective users). The code is right there.
“This type of logic can be applied to any project, even Microsoft Money.”As for Tomboy, it is merely “the hobby” of a Novell employee (to use the wording of those close to the project), so the same logic could be applied to it. Figuiere, on the other hand, appears to be working on Gnote full time and it will be included in Fedora by default this December. Perhaps Red Hat should hire him.
Scott Grizzard wrote to explain the point of view of Mono skeptics (“anti-Mono” is too strong a phrase because we believe that Mono can have a place in the repositories, just not included by default and thus imposed despite risk).
The basic conclusion the anti-Mono crowd reaches (and if I am wrong, please let me know) is this: you shouldn’t use Mono, because Microsoft could come back later (after it has gained wide acceptance) and claim patent violations, gaining control (or at least significant influence) over open source software that uses it. They are especially vehemently opposed to using Mono for any core packages (or packages that gain widespread use), because that places Linux at considerable risk from Microsoft.
As the anti-mono people are right to point out, you shouldn’t use Mono for new Open Source projects, especially core projects – the potential threat from Microsoft is just too large. But, remember that Microsoft’s power is market power first, and its political power is derived from that. Anything that reduces that market power should be seen as a “good thing”. Mono in the core of Linux distributions has the potential to endanger Linux, but used properly, Mono makes Linux viable for many more people, giving them more choice, and more choice is “good”.
Here is another new post on the subject:
So why can’t Mono just be moved to the repositories? Why is Ubuntu remaining silent on this issue? How come other Linux distributions don’t have to use Mono?