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07.19.09

New F-Spot/Banshee Ties Pose a Microsoft Patent Threat

Posted in Debian, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Solang
Solang photo manager does not require Mono

Summary: How F-spot would force Ubuntu, for example, to adopt more Mono applications with non-ECMA .NET components

LAST NIGHT we arrived at an interesting realisation. If F-spot will depend on Banshee, which according to the plan we have heard that it will [PDF], then Ubuntu, which already uses F-Spot, may have to swallow this other pill too — one which contain non-ECMA components (Banshee that is). So, the latest statement from the FSF aside and also API concessions aside (Mono gives Microsoft power and leverage over GNU/Linux APIs), there is an inherent legal problem here, which is difficult to stop. Another prospective concern is the increasing proximity between Moonlight and Banshee [1, 2, 3, 4], which might bring Microsoft codecs even further into GNU/Linux.

Check out this new mashup from Linux Today, as selected by its editor Carla.

[phred14] [Who is asking for Mono?]
Simple answer – nobody. Mono is being pushed into Linux, not pulled. So far the one application that’s dragging it into “default” isn’t even very important, and Mono/C# isn’t even critical. A Mono-free C#-free clone of that application was built in practically no time.

Simply put, Mono gives Microsoft control over a Linux desktop API, even without patent threats. The ECMA standard is irrelevant, if only because it’s incomplete, and *always* needs extensions. In order to field a functional, complete Mono, you need to start cloning Microsoft stuff. You may as well base the Linux UI on WINE.”

[GreyGeek] [Re: Re: Re: Mono a solution looking for a problem?]

[...]

The lack of MONO apps IS glaring, isn’t it!

What’s even MORE glaring is that De Icaza has been working on MONO since December of 2000, when he changed the name of his company, Helix Code, to Ximian in order to focus on developing MONO. Yet, NINE years later there is only a handful of MONO apps. IF MONO is the such a marvelous RAD tool, why has it taken so long to produce so few applications?

Also, if .NET is such a marvelous CROSS PLATFORM tool where code written on one platform can be recompiled with few or no changes on another platform, WHY isn’t Linux being FLOODED with .NET applications?

The answer is simple. MONO is a patent trap and most Penguins realize it. So, just like it did with the ISO committees, Microsoft is flooding the Linux development groups with .NET moles and the Linux forums with astroturfers and TEs.

GNU/Linux distributions like BLAG reject Mono for obvious reasons (not just the adherence to the FSF’s principles). On the other hand, Ubuntu’s suppression of discussion about Mono [1, 2, 3] is characteristic of a betrayal of democratic principles, or at least ones of an open community thriving in liberties. Humanity for others, unless they dislike Mono. It is indicative of a ruling minority taking decision-making powers from an opposing majority (most people reject Mono), which leads to unrest.

Speaking for myself, I am truly torn here. I have used Ubuntu since its very first release (4.10) and I still have Ubuntu installed on 3 separate boxes. To manually delete Mono is still to send out the message that a Mono-defending distribution is acceptable because subsequent removal of Mono is never accounted for; the message does not get across and users are assumed to have accepted Mono when choosing this one distribution among many hundreds. I remain optimistic that Ubuntu/Canonical will keep this debate alive and maybe resolve its differences. The facts about Mono are not hard to come by.

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17 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    July 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Gravatar

    I have an idea for a resource. We should rank the independent distros according to their mono-less-ness. For instance, Fedora would get five stars, and Novell would get one star. Ubuntu would get two stars. We would need to come up with an objective criterion for rating the others like Debian, Pardus, Frugalware, Damn Small Linux, Gentoo, and Slackware. It’s even an issue with the BSDs and Opensolaris, and perhaps they should rated also? There really aren’t that many independent distros even including non-Linux distos, and so the hard part would be comign up with the criteria for judgement.

  2. seller_liar said,

    July 19, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Gravatar

    yes, this is can be good .I was saying about this yesterday on IRC. We can have add or remove points for each mono package included in distribution.

    Opensolaris does not have mono by default = 5 stars!

  3. ricardonunes said,

    July 19, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Gravatar

    interesting, i was going to ask for something similar to the above comment.

    would be of an enormous value a webpage with the positions of each distro about this issue, and of course the BSD’s too.

    i already asked what the BSD’s folks have to say about this issue in here http://mono-nono.com/2009/07/17/why-dont-you-just-shut-up/comment-page-1/#comment-326

    i believe freebsd as a port but are they developing anything with this trojan from ms-novell?

    i think the position of freebsd are on the lines of what RMS said ” This is not to say that implementing C# is a bad thing. Free C# implementations permit users to run their C# programs on free platforms, which is good. (The GNU Project has an implementation of C# also, called Portable.NET.) Ideally we want to provide free implementations for all languages that programmers have used.”

    i’ve been a kubuntu user who never had any ms-novell-mono apps installed and i never will, but i’m feeling like a whore if i continue to use ubuntu/kubuntu, i would expect also a word from the guys of gnewsense about all this issues, although gnewsense is pure free software they’re developing from ubuntu, why don’t they use a pure debian source?

    thanks

  4. powered_by_tux said,

    July 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Apparently, the upcoming version of gNewSense will finally ship without Mono thus it is becoming a truly 100% free Linux distribution.

  5. Dylan McCall said,

    July 19, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Gravatar

    I should point out a few things here that I feel are errors, or in need of more information:

    “why has it taken so long to produce so few applications?”
    This is not true. By that I mean, of course, there are many applications. Two notable examples off the top of my head are Second Life and The Sims 3, which both chose Mono (specifically over .Net) for their scripting languages.

    “Who is asking for Mono? Simple answer – nobody.”
    Nobody asks for C or Java, either. Unless you mean developers, in which case I think that a visible number of good developers is “asking” for Mono, given that they DEVELOP with it.

    “subsequent removal of Mono is never accounted for”
    Check out popularity-contest (often abbreviated popcon) :)

    “WHY isn’t Linux being FLOODED with .NET applications?”
    Probably has something to do with your incessant whining.
    Congratulations.

    I think you need to better understand how multi-layered software design such as the proposed works. With your current logic, you could say that Glib is evil and should be banned for proximity to “M$haft” because it happens that gstreamer has a package with ugly codecs and gtk+ is used by Mono apps like Banshee.
    But no, this isn’t the case. Banshee’s back-end becomes SEPARATE. Different front-ends then talk to its nifty database to do interesting things like photo management and music playback. The existing (lovable) front-end with GTK+ continues to exist happily, and it happens that different parties are developing different front-ends for other purposes.
    Yes, we gain a common component between Mono apps. No, we don’t gain an evil foothold for Moonlight (which has nothing to do with Banshee’s backend), and we don’t gain a new hunk of metal. In fact, this would probably lighten the load.

    I think the “corporations” mentality that leaks in from the proprietary software world is really harming peoples’ understanding here. Just because someone contributes to Banshee or builds an extension for it does not make him a member of some kind of monolithic Banshee Corporation, and the same applies everywhere. An interesting thing is that individuals are not hidden from sight because their work is out in the open. Therefore, jamming together all the names under a single banner is silly.

    I appreciate what looks like a change of stance on Ubuntu, Roy. A week ago or so it looked like you were seriously trying to slam the distro for some reason. Perhaps a misunderstanding on my part.

    And a quick reminder: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    Mikko Reply:

    thats why i see second life for linux as bloatware

    fallacy_bot Reply:

    This is not true. By that I mean, of course, there are many applications. Two notable examples off the top of my head are Second Life and The Sims 3, which both chose Mono (specifically over .Net) for their scripting languages.

    Special pleading.

    Nobody asks for C or Java, either. Unless you mean developers, in which case I think that a visible number of good developers is “asking” for Mono, given that they DEVELOP with it.

    Irrelevant conclusion.

    “M$haft”

    Call to ridicule.

  6. ricardonunes said,

    July 19, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Gravatar

    those are good news from gnewsense!!!

    right now i’m trying to find as much info as i can about distros that are debian based so i can decide what to use, i’m not putting aside the use of PC-BSD also.

    although fedora/RH has the right view about this issue, i’m an addicted of debian so i realy don’t like rpm based distros.

    so i think from now on i’ll be using a custom debian testing/sid rolling distro with kde/xfce/e17/lxde/openbox/fluxbox, with the apps that i like more with absolutely no traces of that trojan from ms-novell-and maybe-canonical.

    it would give me more work but i will learn a lot more.

    i would use also gnewsense if they leave ubuntu and use pure debian, mepis did that.

    aeshna23 Reply:

    Have looked into Sidux? Perhaps, they have done much of which you imagine doing in your custom disto?

  7. ricardonunes said,

    July 19, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Gravatar

    i’ve already used sidux, but i really don’t like the installer.

    they should use debian installer or the fabulous one page installer of dreamlinux.

    if i install from debian netinstall testing plus the smxi script i could turn this install into a sidux distro with only the things that i like from them.

    dreamlinux is also pure debian a great beautiful distro.

  8. The Mad Hatter said,

    July 19, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Gravatar

    A list of Mono free distributions would be useful. For that matter a good list of distributions, searchable by features and platforms would be invaluable. I have just wasted an afternoon finding a distro I could install on my Powerbook (New World Mac, G3 processor). because there isn’t much up to date software available for OS9. After a hell of a lot of searching, I ended up deciding on Fedora, since it’s still supported.

    Seriously though, I checked Linux.org, Distrowatch.org, and a couple of other sites, and the search functions on all of them were less than useful.

    Oh, and to give the Microsoft Tech Evangelists something to complain about, here’s some fowl language:
    Chicken
    Turkey
    Duck
    Loon
    Goose

    Andrew Macabe Reply:

    IIRC, YellowDog is a G3 supported distro also based on CentOS.

    The Mad Hatter Reply:

    Tried it before, didn’t like it. Fedora still supports PPC, I’m going to try it.

  9. Ijika said,

    July 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Gravatar

    If you think it would be that useful, perhaps you should make one.

    Isn’t that the way things are done? I thought the way free software worked was that if you had a problem, you solved it and then shared it with others.

    Am I missing something? Are you?

  10. The Mad Hatter said,

    July 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Gravatar

    If you think it would be that useful, perhaps you should make one.

    Isn’t that the way things are done? I thought the way free software worked was that if you had a problem, you solved it and then shared it with others.

    Am I missing something? Are you?

    Perhaps I should. That assumes that I have the time. I don’t. So I’ve tossed the suggestion out, to see if someone who does have the time is interested.

    Yep, you are missing something. Manners.

  11. Yuhong Bao said,

    July 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Gravatar

    “To manually delete Mono is still to send out the message that a Mono-defending distribution is acceptable because subsequent removal of Mono is never accounted for”
    Yep, like how downgrades to XP or switches to Linux is never accounted for.
    Where you like Vista or not, there is no doubt that it can led to skewed statistics. Dell has Linux offerings for example, but it is obscure enough to make this still a problem.
    Note however that IMO Mono is not as bad as the MS/Novell deal, which involve MS taxing Linux.
    Speaking as a Ubuntu user, the release I am really looking to is 9.10 Karmic. It will have a lot of new stuff that I am really looking forward to using, including Firefox 3.5 (I am in fact thinking of installing a backport of it to 9.04), GRUB2, kernel mode-setting, and more.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    “Firefox 3.5 (I am in fact thinking of installing a backport of it to 9.04)”
    Actually, turned out it is already available as an update for 9.04, but it is still branded as Shiretoko. Here is why:
    http://www.asoftsite.org/s9y/archives/161-FAQ-Why-is-my-firefox-3.5-still-called-Shiretoko.html

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