11.20.09

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Mono: Deaf to the Facts

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 8:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Face - insane

Summary: Neither the Mono project nor particular distributions pay attention to Microsoft’s simple stance

THIS morning we wrote about the GIMP being removed by Canonical, as expected. It may seem unimportant, but it is still being covered for a variety of reasons, not just the Mono problem it is causing. The GIMP is not without flaws and as this new article shows, it is not the only option, either. But the reasoning provided by Canonical (a former Microsoft employee to be more specific) are unconvincing. We never “bought” the rationale put forth and those who defended the move tend to be proponents of Mono such as the following blogger who writes:

You may have started to hear rumors that The GIMP and F-Spot aren’t safe for inclusion in 10.04 Lucid Lynx. “What?!?” you say. “The GIMP has been in every GNOME distribution since GNOME existed (sinceGNOME is written to GTK, which stands for the GIMP ToolKit).” Well, well. Good idea. Not likely to move forward.

Regarding a similar misstep from Fedora, there is a whole new article about it now:

Mono sinks its claws into Fedora

[...]

In June this year, the Fedora project announced that it had decided to get rid of Tomboy, a note-taking application dependent on Mono and replace it with Gnote, a port of Tomboy in C++/Gtkmm released by former Novell developer Hubert Figuiere.

Earlier this year, when Microsoft made what appeared to be a promise not to sue those who implemented the ECMA-covered parts of .NET, de Icaza admitted that he had been developing parts of .NET which were not covered by the specification, even though he had been developing Mono for nearly eight years.

Those terms from Microsoft are not reasonable, says the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Will this “Monomania” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] ever end? OpenSUSE has the same problem, but it does not pay attention. Many of its developers are loyal to their paycheck from Microsoft’s Novell.

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

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12 Comments

  1. williami said,

    November 21, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Gravatar

    Well, Mandrivia (I think) and GNewSense have arelady removed mono, maybe Red Hat/Fedora too with a little more friendly pressure. Getting rid of Mono in Ubuntu is a no go, and don’t even bother trying to get OpenSUSE to remove Mono in Linux.

    finalzone Reply:

    Red Hat does not include any Mono package on any Enterprise version. In Fedora case, it will be a matter of time and someone made a proposal to remove F-Spot from default installation. I think Solang was immature at that time.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    Red Hat does not include any Mono package … yet.

    I have confidence in Red Hat in general, the management there has made good decisions often.

    However, Fedora is to Red Hat what testing and stable are to Debian. Fedora is showing signs of Microsoft style cognitive dissonance. Take the recent package exploit that was not only intentionally added, but made it through testing and into the release. Granted it was fixed quickly after it was brought into the daylight by a user, but it is a sign of some very, very serious wrong doing that someone even tried to put it in the distro.

    Just because a Microsofter ‘volunteers’ to help doesn’t mean they are ever going to help. That belief would be inexcusably naive to the point of criminal negligence.
    It looks like it works for distros like Debian and Ubuntu just as well as for conferences:
    http://boycottnovell.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/plex_2456.pdf

    Cleaning up Debian and Ubuntu now will save a lot of cost later.

    “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.”
    “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “

    finalzone Reply:

    “However, Fedora is to Red Hat what testing and stable are to Debian. Fedora is showing signs of Microsoft style cognitive dissonance. Take the recent package exploit that was not only intentionally added, but made it through testing and into the release. Granted it was fixed quickly after it was brought into the daylight by a user, but it is a sign of some very, very serious wrong doing that someone even tried to put it in the distro.”

    I doubt it was intentional. What happened was that change was included as feature but it was invisible due the fact test version of Fedora does not enable –>signed keys<– by default. I don't see it as problem due to fact you still need root password when you install unsigned package or package outside trusted repositories (in this case Fedora repository), and remote user control is disabled by default. What is probably missing is a dialogue that let decide user to keep authentication or not. I can tell you that having testing the case when the whole topic started.

    Should you have multiple users, then it is the job of administrator to make sure to set rules.

    finalzone Reply:

    “However, Fedora is to Red Hat what testing and stable are to Debian.”

    Depend because some Fedora features are coming from Red Hat Enterprise Linux like Power Management. By that logic, Red Hat Enterprise can be a test bed for Fedora and similar case can be also apply for Ubuntu->Debian. =)

    “Fedora is showing signs of Microsoft style cognitive dissonance. ”

    It is a wrong assumption because the case was related to signed package from trusted repository (in this case Fedora or added repository on which you have already imported key). You still need root password when you install unsigned packages or those outside trusted repositories.

    “Take the recent package exploit that was not only intentionally added, but made it through testing and into the release.”

    Actually it is not an exploit, that feature was available on Fedora 12 Beta that has unsigned package by default. As expected the policy from PackageKit still requires root password for that scenario. For example, I still need root password to install RPM Fusion repository package and after I chose to import GPG Key from that repository for the first time.

    The policy from Packagekit is not that bad some people make out to be, it is very similar to Ubuntu. It only needs to be modified for multiple users case.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are other worthy substitutes for F-Spot.

    finalzone Reply:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about gThumb which I daily use.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Gwenview is not an editor, but it is a wonderful image manager that I use.

    your_friend Reply:

    It is difficult to have a rational discussion about alternatives with mono people who use Windows as a primary desktop. Their minds are warped by the limits of their chosen platform which they seek to impose on free software. Their problems are ignorance of the Unix way and arrogance which prevents them from discovering their error. Arguments about “simplicity,” “good enough” and “market share” only make sense in limited non free software contexts but this is all they know. Leagal arguments, of course, are lost on people who routinely and thoughtlessly click through EULAs and install leet cracked software.

    The article link to Photoshop alternatives on Windows was a depressing read that exemplifies the ignorance problem. The author rightly praises GIMP but is so terribly constrained by Windows that workarounds are presented as virtues. They sort of understand the idea of having many applications where each does something specific very well and present choices of applications this way. There are very few choices, however, and none of them communicate very well. All of them have to live within Windows’ pathetic multitasking limitations. The author understands that GIMP is an excellent image manipulation program but also expects it to be a window manager, a file manager, a snapshot tool, a quick and dirty red eye removal tools, a photo organizer and everything else all at once. This is why they quickly redo the interface to a single large screen with child windows constrained to the “main” window. Non free software will always awkward be this way because one program can’t trust another for anything and Windows may never develop a decent multipaged GUI. The author complains about interface awkwardness that springs from this confusion of purpose and vaguely hints that Mac does things differently but he has no real GUI clue. Windows can only handle three or four applications before the interface and subsystems are overwhelmed. Users seek to put all of their tools into large containers boxes which they carefully take out three or four at a time. What a limiting mess.

    Free software users are spoiled with a fantastic array of excellent tools and a much better subsystem. I’m happily writing this with a load no Microsoft OS could deal with, 50 browser tabs, 9 virtual desktops easily accessed by edge flipping, pidgin, kontact, several terminals and other odds and ends. I could dedicate another dozen desktops for serious imaging work, which requires interaction between several tools like web browsers and html editors to get the desired, final result. File drag and drop works across almost all of my tools and I could make my image occupy as many desktops as I want. Microsoft’s task bar presentation would be unusable with 1/10th the load and my computer would be be effectively frozen on the same hardware, an 800 MHz processor, 512 MB RAM and 1024×768 screen. Throwing ten times the computer at Windows might double my screen real estate but it won’t solve the task bar, performance and stability problems. Free software gives me place keeping, stability and multitasking that real work requires.

    The BN replacement page is a good starting point but the free software way is not about replacement so much as it is about coexistence, exploration and organic growth. The useful links section on the Debian GIMP package page starts to give an idea of the tools you can get on GNU/Linux. These lead to the wickedly powerful nip, ImageMagick, and more pedestrian gpaint and kolourpaint. Each of those pages has links to other similar tools and specialty tools, like viewers, and search tools are quickly encountered. The same path of exploration is open to all of the mono replacement software. Software grows like that when you have freedom. It is a shame that Microsoft has ported exclusivity to free software with Mono and it is perverse that the only solution to legal threats is avoidance and exclusion.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I was hesitant in linking to that page with “free’ (gratis) image editors, but it was new.

    your_friend Reply:

    No, thanks, it was a great link because is easy to forget what a barren and difficult wasteland Windows is. The author touts a few intersting features, like facial recognition and automatic content organization, but the overall picture is bleak. If a user were to organize their pictures with this nifty feature, for example, would any other program or human be able to access the organized information? Will the application be cheap and gratis forever or will the software owner hold your pictures hostage with some kind of iPod like data structure? Pictures are probably the most important common thing on people’s computers, more important than email, work documents and contact information, yet look at what’s there for the user.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Memorable essay on lock-in/DRM:

    My Family Photos – and ODF

    “I was staying with my parents a few years ago, and looking through a shoe box of old family photos. It was great, I was really enjoying them – until it occurred to me most of the photos were singletons. That is, they were the only copies. On earth. And of at least one individual from my family’s past, there were only two or three photographs in existence. Yipes.

    “A shoe box, I thought. How archaic, right? What if there were a flood, or heaven forbid, a fire? These are photographs I want to share with my family, and to pass along for generations. I want my children to know their history. And their children and their children.

    “So I did what any good son would do, I convinced my parents to let me abscond with the box, I returned home, and I scanned the photos (and returned the box).”

    http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/microsoft_vista_microsoft_office_and

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