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Please Don’t Replace the GIMP with F-Spot (Mono)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Ubuntu at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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What Microsoft wants
What Microsoft wants

Summary: Addressing a new danger that the GIMP gets replaced by Mono, by default

A few days ago we wrote about the brand new proposition that GIMP should be removed from the default installation of Ubuntu, the most ubiquitous desktop distribution of GNU/Linux. The justification for this was that a Mono-based application can serve as an acceptable replacement. A closer look reveals that this proposal came from a former Microsoft employee. Here’s a fragment:

# Lead Program Manager at Microsoft
# User Experience Manager at Microsoft


Usability Engineer, Usability Manager

(Public Company; 10,001 or more employees; MSFT; Computer Software industry)

March 1998 — May 2005 (7 years 3 months)

Usability engineer, and later usability manager, for Microsoft’s Visual Studio family of products. Lead user centered design efforts across the suite of of developer tools.

“Visual Studio,” eh? A good deal of Mono hype tends to come from Microsoft employees or pro-Microsoft reporters, as we have shown many times before. Interestingly enough, anti-Linux trolls love to extol the virtues of Mono, which is telling. They just try to spread it.

But why replace the GIMP with .NET/Mono in the first place? F-Spot is hardly suitable as an image editor. There is already opposition to this move.

How to I scale an image in f-spot ? If there’s a way, I have not been able to find it (same for red eyes). How do I annotate an image (putting text somewhere) ?

Yet people ask “Gimp is cool but.. should it belong to LiveCD?” I’ll give you a better question: what should belong to the LiveCD ?

Removing GIMP from the LiveCd fully defeats the showing off purpouse of the LiveCd and lives you without any handy tool to perform basic manipulation on images. Now, it can be just me, but I can’t find anything useful in that regard inside Jaunty’s f-spot.

I can’t see how f-spot belongs to the live cd more than the Gimp. And sure the Gimp UI sucks (at least, I hate it. Not that I love f-spot’s though) but it can take burden of tasks that nothing else provides. Should we leave our users without even basic image manipulation, just like OS X users ? Shouldn’t Ubuntu be better than that ?

Another person wants to remove F-Spot (altogether) from the LiveCD.

We all know that it’s as tight on the LiveCD as a metro during rush hour. It’s almost impossible to fit something else on it, most of the times you’ll have to sacrifice something for it.

Unfortunately localisation of the LiveCDs is something that can’t be supported because of a lack of space. It’s one of the many things that can’t be put on the CD because of a lack of space.

Ubuntu would look a lot more professional if it would actually use the language you selected on boot. Looking professional is essential. In my eyes the LiveCD should show the best what we have to offer. F-Spot isn’t exactly the epitome of supreme look & feel and is useless on the LiveCD since there are no photos to use it with.

The threat of Mono is not just perceived or exaggerated, it is very real and sometimes very explicit. Here is another new article which debunks Mono myths. Like anyone who ‘dares’ to criticise Mono, the author of this article is often attacked viciously rather than his message.

Shields makes a claim that Mono is hundreds of times faster than Python – but offers no benchmarks to back up this incredible claim.

He makes no mention of the fact that Microsoft first tried to corrupt the Java standard and then, and then only, came up with C#. a language similar to Java.

And, above all, he avoids mentioning the fact that .NET is wholly Microsoft technology and therefore the chances that it holds patents on the same is much higher than in the case of any other technology on which it claims to have patents.

Mono is good for Windows, so it is hardly surprising that the Microsoft crowd advances it [1, 2, 3]. It’s time to say “No more”, not “Mono”.

No more

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  1. Charles Oliver said,

    June 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm


    I read through the Ubuntu devel list or whatever (I think the thread was linked from a previous piece here).

    I think the point being made from a usability pov is that gimp is an advanced image editor with a learning ramp (just like photoshop) not necessarily a tool to present to a new user.

    The point about f-spot being on the live cd when there are no pictures to manage is valid if you only use the live cd only as a live cd. This is not how the Ubuntu live cd works. What you see is what’s installed, so you must have a sane set of applications for desktop use (assuming that not everyone with access to a cd also has access to the net).

    f-spot is about photo management, gimp is about image editing. The two pieces of software don’t inhabit the same space and photo management is the more entry level/user friendly/useful app for most people. Of all the people I’ve installed Ubuntu for a full none of them use the Gimp (to my knowledge). They are just normal computer users, not power users or graphic designers.

    I think the best argument for gimp being on the live cd is that it is one of the most complete, fully featured and powerful image editors around. That’s the kind of thing that should be promoted because, even if people don’t use it, they can be impressed by it and therefore impressed with Ubuntu.

    Besides, they are talking about removing the gimp doc and leaving the gimp on the live cd (unless space becomes much tighter).

    The info about the guy coming from Microsoft is interesting. It’s certainly a cause for concern when people promote technology that might be considered related to their previous employer, as has happened in the BBC. That said, I don’t think that everyone who has ever worked for Microsoft is by default tainted. There are good people in any company, irrespective of the directions of the management. Maybe the fact that he’s not at Microsoft anymore is more indicative of where his allegiances lie.

    I think that f-spot, taking out the mono element, can survive on it’s features and usefulness. It’s the only reason I have mono installed and with solang coming along I hope that I’ll be deleting mono soonish.

    Jo Shields claims in regard to mono’s speed are interesting and if he had not suggested it was 1,000 times faster than python it might be worth looking at. I do know, and I’m not a python programmer, that there is ongoing work on making python very fast and I think google is supporting some of this work. Strangely I’ve found a lot of Jo Shields written comments on this site much more coherent than the recent ones I’ve read on Linux Today and the Ubuntu Forum.

    Dylan McCall Reply:

    Why did this guy get voted down so harshly?

    David Gerard Reply:

    The rating system is basically a troll IP detector.

    pcolon Reply:

    Yes I think I can see how a 4.3 rating is a harsh vote down.

  2. Charles Oliver said,

    June 21, 2009 at 8:05 pm


    You even copied the discussion resolving to keep gimp in place and maybe lose the doc here:

  3. FreeBooteR said,

    June 23, 2009 at 1:08 am


    Replacing Gimp with F-spot would be the ultimate in stupidity. Gimp is like a free PS without the loser thief stigma of a stolen version.

  4. Juego said,

    June 24, 2009 at 10:09 am


    I found gThumb really handy. It has a lot of tools for basic image manipulation. I never understood why F-Spot appeared in the first place. I’ve been using Ubuntu since 4.10 and F-Spot wasn’t pre-installed at that point of time. Then suddenly (don’t remember when), it appeared as the tool of choice for basic image manipulation under Ubuntu. Easy to get rid of it though. Just have to do the same with Tomboy now.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 24, 2009 at 10:35 am


    For management of pictures I like Gwenview (KDE).

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