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Whisper Campaigns Against Gnote

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The secret

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?

There is no reason to ignore the performance advantages of Gnote, let alone the other important factors.

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  1. Dylan McCall said,

    June 20, 2009 at 10:47 am


    Roy, I for one am happy for GNote because it led to Tomboy’s interoperability being explored and tested in the real world… which ultimately means I can happily use Conboy on my Nokia n810. However, I still use Tomboy on my desktop.

    I find it really annoying that you are, again, grabbing minor chunks of what people say on Ubuntu’s devel-discuss mailing list and spinning it as some kind of malicious act. Here’s the plain and simple answer: It isn’t. Nobody there cares about your little war on Mono; they just care about finding and using the best software they can. Stop trying to spin it as such, or people there WILL start to combat you. Inventing enemies will not win you any friends.

    GNote is cool, but it has not proven itself as the best choice so far. It is just barely at a feature-complete stage, and at this point it presents some minor regressions over Tomboy. (A sane distro does not ship regressions, and from time to time Ubuntu makes sane choices). Also, being just barely feature complete, it has yet to prove itself as having a responsive upstream or being thoroughly tested for bugs, as was discussed there and you thoroughly ignored.

    I, for one, completely agree with the fear that development could cease within a few months, and it strikes me as extremely unlikely that any significant community would grow around it because Tomboy is Sandy Armstrong’s project, so sane developers would just look at that, not reviving some dead alternative.

    Now, six months from now, if GNote is still alive and maybe moving in a new direction where it isn’t just a clone of another active project, that may be worth revisiting.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm


    I find it really annoying that you are, again, grabbing minor chunks of what people say on Ubuntu’s devel-discuss mailing list and spinning it as some kind of malicious act.

    Far from it. I found it in Stefano’s blog and decided to rebut some claims. There is nothing nefarious here.

    Sabayon User Reply:

    Are you going to try to have Dylan fired too?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Are you going to troll this blog by linking to libel?

    lalala Reply:

    If it’s libel, then why don’t you do something about it? I’ll answer for you because I know I either won’t get a truthful answer out of you or any answer at all.

    You’re not going to do anything about it because you can’t, it’s not libel, it’s true.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    “Libel”, eh? Where precisely have you been libelled, Roy?

    Maybe you should either sue me, or just stop mouthing off.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You wrongly accuse me of having something to do with an ugly attack on you.

    You are wrong, but you don’t want to know it.

    Sabayon User Reply:

    You are wrong, but you don’t want to know it.

    Ha, ha.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    I’ve certainly acknowledged that you claim I’m wrong, Roy, but that’s not what the evidence says. I’ve got an email message that strongly suggests you both knew and approved of what was going on. You claim there are other messages that make it clear that I’m misinterpreting the single message I have, but you’ve never produced any such thing. And, frankly, it’s a bit late to do so now.

  3. rasta said,

    June 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm


    Roy, I just wanted to thank you for all your work, articles and whole BN effort. I’ve been visiting this site for few years now and still, although the “theme” is same, I always find something interesting to read. It’s clear that you saw MS in its true face (by that I mean dirty, unfair, illegal and criminal activities from the top of its hierarchy) and you just can’t keep being “in the middle”. I have similar personality, and I wouldn’t get over it too. Even if/when you exaggerate in your posts, or deviate from provable facts (in my perspective ;)), I understand it. You didn’t make the rules of this “game” – MS did. It’s the CAUSE and CARE that matters. So it’s no wonder that people who have similar cause, go against you sometimes – it’s because they don’t care enough, or at all. They are middle men, majority, people who choose easier route. They change their friends or foes as they see fit, or they just don’t care. Remember, every true warrior has to defend from majority sometimes, because they are unstable, ignorant, lazy or mislead.
    So no matter how you fight this fight imposed upon us all, I see your cause and see that you care. Thank you for that, I really respect it, for I respect only the warriors.

    lalala Reply:

    That was a planted response if I ever heard one. People call Roy out on his BS and lo and behold someone always comes along to, I don’t know, elevate him to some higher status about us all. Warrior? Get real. You really need to stop that Roy, you make yourself look worse than you already are.

    eet Reply:

    Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill… Again, Roy takes virtually nothing and spins it into a conspiracy theory — yaaawwwwn.

    BTW, pcolon, at the moment Hubert Figuiere IS the gnote-project… That’s what would make it a non-sane choice as a Tomboy-replacement.

    Roy, you are trying to seed unrest within the Ubuntu-community – stop it! Your anti-social behavior is not something that will gain you friendly feelings from the broader GNU/Linux community. You and your fans are embarassing for all of us.

    David "Lefty" Schlesinger Reply:

    Roy! You’ve got your own Astroturfers…?

  4. pcolon said,

    June 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm


    If Hubert Figuiere leaves the gnote project (i doubt that would happen) another will pick up the ‘baton. That’s how it works. That’s how powerful Free Open Source Software is.

    eet Reply:

    Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill… Again, Roy takes virtually nothing and spins it into a conspiracy theory — yaaawwwwn.

    BTW, pcolon, at the moment Hubert Figuiere IS the gnote-project… That’s what would make it a non-sane choice as a Tomboy-replacement.

    Roy, you are trying to seed unrest within the Ubuntu-community – stop it! Your anti-social behavior is not something that will gain you friendly feelings from the broader GNU/Linux community. You and your fans are embarassing for all of us.

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