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11.22.09

Novell and Microsoft Have Big XAML News in Store

Posted in GNOME, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Novell and Microsoft grow closer when it comes to an attack on Web standards; removal of Mono still proving tricky

AS time goes by, the agenda of Microsoft apologists at Novell becomes a lot clearer. Novell had presence at Microsoft’s development event and Microsoft finally admits that Mono and Moonlight are just Microsoft supplants that serve Microsoft investors.

Microsoft: Open source protects Silverlight investments

[...]

[Microsoft's] Goldfarb and Mono project lead Miguel de Icaza had a lively discussion about some of the legal technicalities concerning the work at a Tuesday evening cocktail party. Goldfarb told SD Times that he and de Icaza were commited to driving the work forward, and that an announcement will be made in the coming weeks (or months).

This is all rather appalling, but it should not be surprising as it comes from member of the CodePlex Foundation board, which presents a conflict of interests (serving Microsoft’s interests). This might also explain why Novell has done so much promotion of Microsoft XAML recently, wanting to warp the GNU/Linux desktop to proprietary Microsoft APIs.

Last week we saw Novell's work taking its toll on the GIMP. More people seem to think that Paint.NET is a possibility now that the GIMP gets snubbed to give way to a whole stack of Microsoft/Novell software.

Even if I can agree about Gimp being complex and targeted to professionals, I can’t see f-spot as a good enough replacement.

Couldn’t we just port Paint.NET to Mono and use that instead? Ops.. :)

In Ubuntu, there is no reason to pull an entire Mono stack for F-Spot; gThumb is already available and Fedora 12 can use that too [1, 2]. Why would Fedora add F-Spot while removing Tomboy? It beats the purpose.

Straight from the release notes of the recently released Fedora 12:

Gnote is installed by default in GNOME for this release replacing Tomboy. Gnote is a port of Tomboyfrom Mono to C++ and consumes fewer resources. Gnote is both an applet that can sit in your GNOME panel as well as an individual application you can run within other desktop environments. Fedora Desktop Live CD since the Fedora 10 release has excluded Mono and hence Mono-based applications like Tomboydue to lack of space.

As constantly stressed these days, Mono and Mono-dependent applications should ideally be removed and treated in the same way as proprietary [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

“The patent danger to Mono comes from patents we know Microsoft has, on libraries which are outside the C# spec and thus not covered by any promise not to sue. In effect, Microsoft has designed in boobytraps for us.

“Indeed, every large program implements lots of ideas that are patented. Indeed, there’s no way to avoid this danger. But that’s no reason to put our head inside Microsoft’s jaws.”

Richard Stallman

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15 Comments

  1. dyfet said,

    November 22, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Gravatar

    The primary argument I hear for f-spot in relation to gtk desktops (such as gnome) is that gtkam/ghoto2 is not being very “actively maintained”. This to me seems like a challenge for the community to fix, rather than taking something that has been opportunistically force fed (f-spot) by a single vendor. Indeed, if one goes to freshmeat, one gets the impression that very little has happened in a number of years in gphoto2. Gthumb on the other hand has some basic photo transform/editing tools, but does not have the camera downloading integrated. Issues with gthumb and gphoto2 should be fixed.

    GNote, at least in Ubuntu, has several unique issues. It’s been made clear on several occasions it will not be accepted in the main repository, although the reason why has I think not been made clear, but for this reason it is effectively banned from replacing tomboy. Furthermore, ubuntuone now actually uses the external publishing/sync feature of Tomboy that has not appeared (yet) in GNote. These issues both seem solvable to me.

    Banshee I think will effectively be replaced over time with exaile (a Python based music/media player) over time. All the potential benefits of writing a media player in Mono/C# are already achievable more easily in a Python written one, and without any of the dangers or downsides. Rhythmbox also remains an effective music player in the interim.

    Other opportunities, especially for netbooks and smartbooks, include Canola, which already is used as a media player and photo manager (eliminating banshee and f-spot together) on Moblin and similar netbook desktop efforts. I have thought it would be a good match for LXDE.

    If people would like to work more on gphoto2/gtkam, or write a new pygtk app that does this, I think we would fully solve the Mono outbreak, and have better applications as well. Indeed, Python offers both more fun and a more effective language for development of such applications than C#/Mono, and again without putting yourself or others at risk.

    your_friend Reply:

    Your reasoning could be used to reject any mature application and it is self defeating. The flip side of what you say is that putting gphoto2/gtkam in Ubuntu will spur development, if needed. Why give the mindshare to mono, Novell and Microsoft when you can have mature applications instead?

    One reason for a lack of gphoto2 activity may be the futility of having camera drivers. Most computers, from desktops to netbooks, come with card readers. It is easier for users to use the card reader than it is to find a specialty USB cable and it is easier for developers to ignore difficult cameras. Bluetooth and other wireless tech may temporarily shift the path of least resistance to camera drivers but reasonable standards usually win out.

    None of these shifts are a good reason to dump good free software for Microsoft’s poorly performing traps.

    dyfet Reply:

    I was simply pointing out the arguments currently used by (some) distros for including f-spot and rejecting gphoto2 and gthumb. If this really means these existing applications need some attention, or some new one needs to be created, that is fine. Clearly, and I fully agree, the wrong response is simply including f-spot.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve never used F-Spot, but what is so special (unique) about it anyway? Mono performance is notoriously poor.

    your_friend Reply:

    Is attention really needed or are the mono people just full of FUD? It is best to know if this is true before you repeat the arguments of people who work for Microsoft. I don’t really use photo management programs but I have tried out both gphoto and digikam and thought they were excellent. If the point is to have a drop in replacement for the software that comes with most cameras, there’s no need to write on in mono.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    dyfet supports FOSS. dyfet does not “repeat the arguments of people who work for Microsoft.”

    dyfet Reply:

    I never used f-spot either, and so I do not know what feature so concerns distros that they feel is otherwise missing in gthumb or gtkam. However, this belief in issues, whether in how well it is maintained or otherwise, is effecting choices distros are making, whether, as “yf” does note, those issues are actually real or have simply been successfully propagandized.

    Let me restate the problem this way; if they believe something essential is missing, and of course if this is really true, then we must address this, certainly not by having f-spot, rather by addressing whatever the issue is in an existing (or through a new) free software package. If it is fud, as “yf” suggests, that has successfully convinced distro’s about entirely non-existent issues, then we must determine this and counter it with accurate facts for them. Either way, there is an issue which must be addressed.

    your_friend Reply:

    Surely these issues were addressed on mailing lists before hand but I’m having a hard time tracking them down. I may be wrong about the state of photo managers in gnome and have confused the excellent digikam with gnome work. Perhaps what’s there needs improving but hard to believe fspot is the answer with projects like gallery, gthumb and gallery-uploader and gnome photo printer. Solang seems to deliver what’s needed, so the mono proponent should be telling us what’s wrong with that and how fspot is better. Everything I found about fspot mentioned bugs and missing features.

    Gallery and other web based services for private photo collections is where things should be going. People want a centralized, easy to backup and secure repository that they can share with their friends. “Advanced” users have had that for a decade but it should be easy now. Gallery uploader has been going there already for Nautilus users. Ubuntu is right the group to make it happen. Getting rid of gimp is crazy regardless.

  2. Will said,

    November 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Gravatar

    There’s also Shotwell for photo viewing/organizing. It is written in Vala.

    So the question is, what does F-spot offer that Solang and Shotwell do not?

    Also see:
    http://www.ubuntugeek.com/planned-changes-to-next-ubuntu-version-10-04-lucid-lynx.html

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I recommend Gwenview myself, but I haven’t tried many programs. And it’s Qt.

    dyfet Reply:

    I had never used or known of shotwell previously, but it does look very interesting as a Gnome-specific choice for photo viewing and touch-up. Vala is also a valid and interesting choice that gives an equally “modern” language for writing applications without mono that offers a native compiled result, though I think it will not get the attention it may deserve until it has a direct gcc-vala backend and hence vala source language gdb support.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Some opposers of Mono recommend Vala, but I was never quite so sure to what extent it overlaps .NET patents.

    dyfet Reply:

    Vala as I recall is written to the GNOME’s native gobject system, and is a native compiler (well, it converts to C code that is natively compiled at the moment…) so I think it is something rather fundamentally different. The library bindings are also I recall directly to existing GNOME C libraries (and bindings for other common libraries) rather than a rewrite of any .net or Mono based code.

  3. Will said,

    November 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Gravatar

    Agreed. Gwenview is nice. But I was trying to think of things that are closer to the Gnome side than Qt since it is Ubuntu and not Kubuntu we are talking about and many Gnome distros tend to stick with non-Qt apps in the default install. (Brasero instead of K3b, Rhythmbox instead of Amarok or Songbird, etc.)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There are some more options here.

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