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Removing Microsoft Mono From Debian

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Advice for Debian following extensive coverage about Ubuntu dropping Mono from its GNU/Linux CDs

NOW THAT we've achieved what we wanted from Ubuntu, it is time to look where Mono remains other than SUSE (which is inherently subverted because it’s financially dependent on Microsoft). Mono is partly developed by Microsoft under Microsoft licences. It is a patent risk that the FSF and Groklaw keep warning about. It’s about legalese, not ideology.

Microsoft is putting patent traps in GNU/Linux — traps that it can later use in subversive, anti-competitive ways (more on that in later posts about Android). “”Bansheegeddon” sees Banshee, Mono dropped from Ubuntu default,” says the headline from IDG. “Slashdot has picked up the story about Ubuntu dropping Mono,” told us a reader. “Unfortunately, it quotes a Mono booster.” Here is it and here is a more accurate bit of coverage from a longtime Mono critic. To quote:

I think Canonical has made the right decision to go back to Rhythmbox. My suggestion would be to now stick to Rhythmbox and polish it beyond perfections. I would expect Canonical to hire a full-time Rhytmbox developer and polish features like integration to Ubuntu Music and Amazon Music.

Ubuntu does need a ‘stable’ music player which can not only integrate well with the system but also offer users with all the much needed features.

Getting rid of Mono will also silent the camp which is worried about Mono on the Linux platform. Post Novell’s buy-out Mono’s future is uncertain given that there is no ‘true’ advantage of using Mono on the Linux platform other than forced implementations. The only area where Mono, due to Moonlight, could have been of any help was Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix does’t work on Linux and owing to the recent changes more and more users are switching away from Netflix. So, Mono has become completely irrelevant on the Linux platform. I think, investing any resource on a technology developed by the arch-rival of Linux, Microsoft, is simply digging your own grave.

There is more coverage that says:

The situation for the default applications in less clear. The recently added Banshee media player is penciled in for removal to be replaced by Rhythmbox, the application it previously replaced. The issue for Banshee is that is uses GTK2 and the port to GTK3 is blocked due to missing features. The decision is not yet final though as the impact on Unity integration has not been established. Banshee’s removal would leave only Tomboy and Gbrainy as Mono-based applications and the removal of them, and Mono, was discussed but a final decision was not made. GNOME 3.4 is being released just a month before the release of Ubuntu 12.04, so the decision has been made to stick with GNOME 3.2 for the release but use GTK3.4 and some GNOME 3.4 components such as gedit and the GNOME Games.

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference,” bragged a Microsoft chief evangelist and “you want to infiltrate” is another memorable phrase from him. This ties nicely into the next bit of news, which reminds us of a famous incident in Romania. Microsoft “Tried to Sabotage DebConf 11″ as one blogger put it and to quote the original:

I could write a whole novel about this, but to keep it as short as possible, for last two years as a side project I was working on an idea of Government or some of its institutions migrating to Linux. At first I was somewhat loud about it, then after Microsoft heard about it and after they tried stopping the idea by trying to scare me by trying to interfere with my private life; as that didn’t work its lobbyist came even near of obstructing the whole conference within the Government. For the sake of the conference, I convinced the Government that by supporting DebConf it doesn’t mean they need to move to Linux and publicly stopped talking about it. I also convinced them that our only goal was to have successful conference and promote alternative options and open ideas. I wasn’t lying as I saw this as new opportunity of them concluding on their own why they should or shouldn’t not move, the better conference was the more chances of success we had.
That’s why I tried pushing as many representatives from various companies as in this case we would use reverse psychology where basically no one or few know what Linux or Debian for that matter is, but everybody knows who Google is, so if you have participants from i.e: Google or Austrian E-Health care system talking about how they are using your technology is better way to explain what’s it all about really. Eventually Microsoft even had their first ever conference in Bosnia/Herzegovina and you wanna take a wild guess where it was held? Smile
In the end we had a great conference, after the conference we were the ones that were approached by some big local companies interested in future co-operation and in the end a meeting with Mark Shuttleworth and President along with the core of Government was scheduled. Topic? Migration to Linux. For me personally this meeting went better then I could possibly even picture it, many topics were discussed and basically it was up to us/me to make a draft of the project plan and submit request for proposal to the Government. There was still some lobbying but it seemed as it all disappeared, runway was clear and open for the lift off.

The main loud voice who now opposes the removal of Mono from Ubuntu is one who pushed it into Debian an Ubuntu a few years back. This Mono booster is unhappy to see Mono going away from Ubuntu and he will mostly likely work to ensure that it stays inside Debian (my Debian Squeeze box came with Mono). Some people try to spread Mono, whereas some celebrate its riddance:

Flushing Mono down the toilet, where it belongs, will require removing Tomboy (no loss), and either replacing Banshee or modifying it to remove Mono dependency. Well worth the effort.

Sam Varghese writes:

The reason for this is that the Ubuntu development team has decided to drop the Mono-dependent Banshee music player and go back to RhythmBox which was used in earlier releases. Once Banshee is removed, the main reason for the inclusion of Mono goes with it.

The net effect is the same regardless of whether patents or technical limitations were the catalyst. Mono is now a niche/startup, so it is unlikely to ever return to Ubuntu. Mono is dying.

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