01.14.11

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Linux Mint Founder Does Not Follow Ubuntu’s Banshee Travesty

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clement Lefebvre
Photo from DisroWatch

Summary: Linux Mint Founder Clement Lefebvre is not interested in Banshee, unlike Ubuntu; Canonical promotes a former Microsoft employee to Engineering Director

FREE SOFTWARE news site Muktware is quickly becoming a favourite and it is also shrewd enough to realise that Mono means danger. According to this Muktware interview with Clement Lefebvre, Ubuntu derivative Linux Mint will not pick Banshee as its media player, not because of Mono/patents though. To quote parts of it:

Linux Mint currently uses Rhythmbox as the default music player, what will happen when Natty comes with Banshee pre-installed?
Clement said, “Rhythmbox is our default player and we’re quite happy with it. If Ubuntu switches to Banshee, we’ll of course give it a close look and assess whether the migration is a good move for us too, but as it is now there isn’t any plan to change anything.”

This has also been noted by webupd8.org;

Clement Lefebvre, the Linux Mint founder, recently talked to Muktware about Banshee – which has replaced Rhythmbox in the recent Ubuntu 11.04 development builds -, and Mono. Banshee is an amazing application but it uses Mono which many consider risky because Microsoft could one day assert its patents against all the free applications that use Mono.

For a little bit of background see:

“David Neilson may like Mono,” wrote Sebastian last night in IRC, “and used to try and get it in Fedora yes, and now does whatever with Ubuntu yes … did you read the stuff about him leaving Fedora at all? … what he had to say on his blog? … anyway I thought that was an interesting read, and so on”

For those who did not pay attention, Neilson was marginalised/pushed out of Fedora after he had promoted Mono in there and he is now doing more or less the same thing in Ubuntu. There appears to be a person acting as the Ubuntu Desktop Manager and in this new report he fails to address the Mono patent issue, the Banshee licence, dependence on Novell/AttachMSFT, etc.

Warner says that one of the first requests, he received was from users, after beginning his role as the Ubuntu Desktop Manager, was to include Banshee as the default music player. Warner also noted that Banshee has been the number one requested application inclusion into Ubuntu.

But who voted for it and based on what understanding of the ramifications? Vote-stuffing is not so uncommon, either. In 2009, despite popular support, a former Microsoft employee that Canonical had hired decided to remove the GIMP and instead rely on an inferior .NET/C# program. He was an Engineering Manager for the Ubuntu Desktop and he was apparently promoted 8 months ago, becoming Engineering Director in the company.

As one reader told us, “Why switch [away] from Rhythmbox, anyway? It has most the same features and less bugs.”

Muktware previously published the article “Banshee May Put Ubuntu, Canonical At Risk!” That was two days ago:

Banshee is going to be the default music player for Ubuntu which makes me worry. Banshee is based on the controversial Mono technologies developed by Novell employees.

Richard M Stallman has warned against Mono and C# which applies to Banshee as well. He wrote, “The problem is not unique to Mono; any free implementation of C# would raise the same issue. The danger is that Microsoft is probably planning to force all free C# implementations underground some day using software patents. (See http://swpat.org and http://progfree.org.) This is a serious danger, and only fools would ignore it until the day it actually happens. We need to take precautions now to protect ourselves from this future danger.”

Even Canonical’s CTO once remarked, “With regard to Mono, I think it is a valuable piece of free software for us to have. However, there are risks involved in choosing the .NET platform to develop free software, because it is under the ultimate control of Microsoft. Microsoft could take advantage of this to attack free software in various ways. This would be a logical act of self-preservation, and consistent with their previous actions and statements of intent.”

We wrote about this at the time. The CTO comes from Debian. Now that Canonical’s Engineering Director is the former Lead Program Manager and User Experience Manager at Microsoft, we are left ever more concerned. On the other hand, one person who defended Mono inside Ubuntu has just left Canonical. Mark Shuttleworth told us how he felt about Mono back in 2008, yet things have changed for the worse since then. Banshee is a Novell project and Novell patents are moving to Microsoft, adding to the .NET warchest that we already know is problematic. With the CPTN situation considered carefully in light of the latest developments [1, 2] (Richi Jennings has somewhat of an overview and the president of the FFII says that the list of patents to be acquired by CPTN Holdings is not public), Canonical would be irresponsible to let this be. Canonical puts not just itself at risk; it also puts its clients at risk, which is hardly excusable given what they already know.

In other news, Microsoft’s exploitation of Free software is made more apparent and security issues are found in Mono, which gives yet another reason to abandon this Trojan horse.

Mono ASP.NET source code disclosure vulnerability

A vulnerability has been reported in Mono, which can be exploited by malicious people to disclose potentially sensitive information, according to Secunia.

Many people defend Mono for idealogical reasons. Unless Canonical gets its act together, entryism will take its toll.

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