The universal operating system should help hold Microsoft accountable for anticompetitive practices
Summary: With UEFI cracked as a security measure, all that is left can be deemed an impediment to GNU/Linux booting; hence, Debian GNU/Linux (leading among the free operating systems) should be used as evidence against Microsoft in an antitrust case
Microsoft cannot quite market the limitations of UEFI, notably restricted boot. Truth be told, boot-time malware is not the real threat but mostly a conceptual one (with proofs of concept put out there by security researchers), and moreover UEFI is easy for malicious entities to bypass [1, 2], as proven before (Torvalds, clearly not a fan of all this, saw it coming). Just like DRM, it hurts legitimate users and developers the most. No wonder there is an antitrust complaint over it,
“Truth be told, boot-time malware is not the real threat but mostly a conceptual one…”“A critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer 8 is being exploited in the wild and full information about how to make use of the vulnerability is now in widespread circulation. The recent attack on a sub-site of the US Department of Labor has revealed the attackers were in fact using a new exploit for a 0-day vulnerability which only affects Internet Explorer 8,” says this report. So why does Microsoft obsess over boot-time?
UEFI addresses an issue which hardly exists, it is a solution in search of a problem. A highly-anticipated Debian version was released the other day and it is not compatible with Microsoft’s latest hardware restrictions, says Sam Varghese. To quote:
The Debian GNU/Linux project released version 7.0 of its well-known Linux distribution on May 4, two years and three months after the last version came out.
Debian backs the FSF on this matter, so it can hopefully add its support to the antitrust complaint too. █
NB: I am a Debian GNU/Linux user. This distribution recently got some endorsements from the FSF, and vice versa. Its policies under the latest leadership are commendable.
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Summary: UEFI tricks creep in now that Microsoft’s common carrier (Windows) is botched and people explore alternatives that are free and superior
According to this model cited by Forbes, Microsoft may be on the “verge of a sudden collapse” as the company is already unable to hide operating losses, it has debt, and its chiefs leave in droves.
The departure of Steve Sinofsky so soon after the launch of Windows 8 was not a vote of confidence by the maker of the world’s largest operating system. But is it a sign of Microsoft‘s imminent collapse?
Last week, usability expert Jakob Nielsen wrote a devastating critique of Windows 8 on his Alertbox blog. He writes, “One of the worst aspects of Windows 8 for power users is that the product’s very name has become a misnomer. ‘Windows’ no longer supports multiple windows on the screen.… When users can’t view several windows simultaneously, they must keep information from one window in short-term memory while they activate another window. This is problematic for two reasons. First, human short-term memory is notoriously weak, and second, the very task of having to manipulate a window—instead of simply glancing at one that’s already open—further taxes the user’s cognitive resources.”
We wrote about this assessment at the time. It shows that Windows got botched. To make matters even worse, its gets saddled with crapware: [via]
Crapware. Windows laptop and desktop PC buyers are used to all that extraneous preloaded software, but you’d think after all this time and negative press about crapware, we’d see the end of it with new Windows 8 PCs. Wrong. InformationWeek asked several PC makers (Dell, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer, and Lenovo) to list the software that comes preloaded on their new Windows 8 systems, and crapware is still alive and well.
Some types of preloaded software is essential (e.g., hardware drivers) and other perhaps at least sensible (e.g., pen input management tools). Trial software and other third-party software, however, plainly are not only unnecessary but oftentimes problematic. Internet security suites and “system performance boosting tools” can really drag down a system. Windows 8 already comes with anti-malware built-in with Windows Defender, so packing in trial versions of Norton Internet Security or McAfee Internet Security Suite is pretty offensive (you can’t or at least shouldn’t run a third-party suite and Windows Defender at the same time.)
Well, barring third-party money for crapware (which helps lower the cost of a Windows licence), the lies from Microsoft begin as the PR machine struggles to say something positive. As a journalist and online friend showed me a short while ago, “Near the bottom of t[he] story, @Reuters tells t[he] truth ab[out] #Windows8 “sales figures” aka “channel stuffing” pages.” The headline, alas, says: “Microsoft sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in month: executive” (attributed to Microsoft, taken with a grain of salt).
Those are unused licences and free giveaways that they count as “sales”. Microsoft uses these dirty tricks (or lies) every time Windows is (re)released. The general method is to issue ‘copies’ (whatever that means when it’s all just bytes) and then claim them to have been “licensed” and thus count them. Microsoft is now trying to just dump Vista 8 on the market (it is the common carrier for cash cows like Office), but Vista 8 is just technically inferior and less familiar to users than some free operating systems such as Linux Mint 14. Using UEFI, Microsoft is now hoping to block (from booting) most such operating systems (including old versions), or make it complicated for average users to run them.
A contributor of ours sent us this mail an hour ago: “Over the last weeks, reports like this have been trickling in on the Debian and Ubuntu lists/forums
“I think it will be a big problem come the holidays, when people get their new computers.”
To quote the incident he cites: “I got a new Lenovo T530, I added a SSD as second disk, and now have a win7, UEFI boot on MBR partitionned sdb disk.
“I tried latest beta installer for wheezy (beta4), but it could not boot in UEFI mode”
Yes, perfectly fine binaries are refused the right to run. This begs one to ask, whose computer is it anyway? Here is another new example which says:
There are no physical to virtual disk converters for Restricted Boot, even from non free, Microsoft people like VMWare. Why am I not surprised? http://www.kubuntuforums.net/showthread.php?61188-Dual-Boot-12-10-or-migrate-OEM-Windows-8-to-a-VM-on-same-laptop-in-Linux It would be better to forget about Windows than fool around with dual booting.
Watch how complicated it can get: “So after reading up on the issues with UEFI and enabling/disabling Secure Boot I’m wondering which is the most bombproof way to approach this? If the Dual Boot scenario with Kubuntu 12.10 and Windows 8 /UEFI does not behave (as it has in the past with BIOS and Grub Loader on the MBR) can I do a migration of this OEM installed Windows 8 to a VM in Kubuntu on the same laptop??
“In other words, nuke-n-pave the existing OEM Windows 8 hard drive, install Kubuntu 12.10 on clean HDD, then migrate that OEM Windows 8 image to a VM running on 12.10.”
Will Hill writes: “Turning off restricted boot is a huge, undocumented pain in the neck. A six step process, with two steps found by trial and error, is detailed.
“… these steps are performed without documentation, with no hints and with big warning pop-ups letting the user know what a bad idea disabling Secure Boot is. This is not something the average user is going to know how to do, nor will they likely want to follow through if they read the on-screen messages. … I went back to the merchant’s website and discovered something. There is no mention of Secure Boot, UEFI or Windows 8 certification anywhere on the page.
“Restricted boot is a significant barrier to gnu/linux use and a threat to software freedom. You can boot hardware before you buy it, but even then you can’t be sure. This is what Microsoft has always done with BIOS but this time Microsoft has reserved the ability to deny the user completely. UEFI is non free software with enough networking capability to contact Microsoft or OEMs without the user knowing and it can modify itself. People need free software from the metal up.” [http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20121126#qa via, https://plus.google.com/u/0/112860174577325685245/posts/MFXB2syddZy]
Răzvan Sandu quotes SJVN as writing, “Windows 8 is a one way street for consumer PC users…”
“Or, better,” says Sandu, “DON’T buy Windows at all!”
More importantly perhaps, encourage GNU/Linux distributors to fight UEFI, e.g. with an antitrust complaint — that is — rather than play along with it; secondly, do not allow journalists to quote fake Microsoft numbers that are Vista 8 PR, not without a challenge anyway. Expect Microsoft’s PR agents to be banging on publications to write down those fake numbers in the coming days, creating only an illusion of success. The only “success” Microsoft has had is that this Xmas season many people are unable to install/boot GNU/Linux on the PCs they bought or received as a gift. It’s the gift of corrupt motherboards, fried by Microsoft executives who knew exactly what they were doing. █
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Summary: Analysis of two popular and closely related distributions of GNU and Linux
DEBIAN made headlines for several reasons lately. We covered these in our daily links and didn’t make a big fuss over any of that. It’s just not our point of focus, e.g. Xfce in Debian.
One of our contributors, one who uses a great deal of Debian in the front and back end (as do I), noticed a change in the Debian branding. “Scroll down to ‘Index of Releases’” he writes, “and notice that GNU/Linux is now gone [from] http://www.debian.org/releases/”
So they also support BSD, but that is not entirely new. Our contributor explains that “that’s why there’s no Linux mentioned, but aren’t the FreeBSD and Hurd kernels using the GNU userspace?
“Debian is currently working with the FSF to get the FSF’s endorsement.”“I took a quick look and put Debian Linux and FreeBSD  6.0 onto a pair of VMs and then ran a script  to look for mention of GNU in the manual pages. Both versions were installed with only the standard system utilities and nothing else. Hurd is not available for Debian 6.
“Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 had 347 out of 674 manual pages (51%) mention GNU.
“Debian GNU/FreeBSD 6.0 had 292 out of 535 (54%) mention GNU.
“Ubuntu Server 12.04 had 492 out of 1032 (48%) mention GNU.
“Computing,” he explains, “like society at large, risks heading into a post-freedom era. The GNU base is something that Debian could be advertising both from a technical perspective and a freedom perspective.”
We recently saw that in action when Debian sidled with the FSF on UEFI.
“The amount of GNU GPL tools,” he adds, ” is actually higher since some are under the license but do not mention it or GNU in the manual page. One example is flock which is under the GPL  but the man page says nothing.
“I’m not sure how to count whether they tools are part of the actual GNU project without a manual count, which it not interesting due to the effort needed.
Later he added: “Turns out that flock is not GPL even though the parent directory implies so. It has its own license. hwclock is a better example because it actually is GPL, though the manual page does not mention it.
One other contributor writes: “Now that they also distribute gnu/hurd and gnu/kfreebsd, gnu/knetbsd, it might make sense for them to drop the Linux moniker. Perhaps they they should call it, "Debian GNU OS and free software distribution" or just "Debian GNU and free software distribution" because the common, binding software is GNU.”
The Debian brand is generally quite strong and it represents freedom to a certain degree. Debian is currently working with the FSF to get the FSF’s endorsement. It’s an easy distribution to provide endorsement to and in due time the FSF too might give it some blessings. █
for j in $(for i in $(echo $PATH | tr ":" "\n" );do ls $i;done);do
echo $j;done|wc -l
for j in $(for i in $(echo $PATH | tr ":" "\n" );do ls $i;done);do
(man -R ascii $j|grep -il gnu && echo OK || echo NO);done 2>/dev/null
| grep OK | wc -l
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Summary: Ubuntu — unlike Debian — trusts not the FSF and instead plays along with the UEFI plot, gets chastised for it
THE FSF has spoken out against UEFI right from the start (when Microsoft had made it public information); it ran a petition that got signed by over 30,000 people and organisations.
“Restricted boots” is the cartoon above, which came out through competing against other artists. It is something that Debian really seems to ‘get’ because it signed the FSF’s petition and its leader is working with the FSF to earn endorsement. Here is the message and a report from The H. It says: “Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli has announced a plan that aims to get the project included in the FSF’s list of free software distributions. To that end, Zacchiroli wants to set up a team within Debian that is actively working to resolve the remaining issues which prevent Debian’s inclusion in the list.”
Debian signed the petition as part of its strategy or philosophy which seeks to distinguish the project based on values. The FSF says: “With over 30,000 signatures to our statement and over a dozen high-quality submissions to our contest, I’m confident our message that Restricted Boot is a mistake has the attention of Microsoft and computer-makers alike. Now we need take the next step of turning this support into tangible results.”
“Debian signed the petition as part of its strategy or philosophy which seeks to distinguish the project based on values.”UEFI is not inevitable because Microsoft is falling (it will soon report losses), so it is very disappointing to see Canonical, which forked or branched off Debian, choosing to lean on Microsoft’s scheme. One columnist wonders if OEM pressure had something to do with it. He writes: “As the Linux community continues to debate the best way to deal with Microsoft Windows 8-certified machines that will have Secure Boot on UEFI, some nagging questions still remain as to why Canonical opted to take the solution it did.
“Both the Fedora Project and Canonical has publicly announced their proposed solutions to how users will be able to boot Secure Boot-enabled machines to Linux. Secure Boot requires that “all firmware and software in the boot process must be signed by a trusted Certificate Authority.” Microsoft is requiring that hardware makers of all Windows 8-certified machines be configured to meet these strict requirements.”
A Microsoft booster spoke to Canonical’s founder about it. Shuttleworth replied: “The SFLC advice to us was that the FSF could require key disclosure if some OEM screwed up. As nice as it is that someone at the FSF says they would not, we have to plan for a world where leaders change and institutional priorities change. The FSF wrote a licence that would give them the rights to take specific actions, and it’s hard for them to argue they never would!”
Swapnil Bhartiya, who runs a Ubuntu site, chastised Shuttleworth for it in his article “Is Microsoft More Trusted Than FSF: Ubuntu Chief Defends Grub 2 Drop”. To quote: “Free Software Foundation, FSF, recently published a white paper criticizing Ubuntu’s move to drop Grub 2 in order to support Microsoft’s UEFI Secure Boot. FSF also recommend that Ubuntu should reconsider their decision. Ubuntu’s charismatic chief, Mark Shuttleworth, has finally responded stating the reason why they won’t change their stand on dropping Grub 2 from Ubuntu.”
“The bottom line is, FSF and FSFE refuse to accept Microsoft’s UEFI plans and Debian does the right thing.”This is debated in Slashdot, which summarises as follows: “The Free Software Foundation recently published a whitepaper criticizing Ubuntu’s move to drop Grub 2 in order to support Microsoft’s UEFI Secure Boot. The FSF also recommended that Ubuntu should reconsider their decision. Ubuntu’s charismatic chief, Mark Shuttleworth, has responded to the situation during an interview, and explained the reason they won’t change their stand on dropping Grub 2 from Ubuntu. Shuttleworth said, ‘The SFLC advice to us was that the FSF could require key disclosure if some OEM screwed up. As nice as it is that someone at the FSF says they would not, we have to plan for a world where leaders change and institutional priorities change.”
To quote the top comment: “So in other words they’re anticipating not only that OEMs are going to accidentally or intentionally ship machines running Ubuntu that are locked down so that you cannot boot your own kernels on them but also that they won’t be able to convince the OEMs to fix their broken BIOSes to allow users to run their own code. By not using GRUB2 they ensure that said OEMs would have no legal obligations to allow you to run the code you wanted on the PC you’d just bought.”
It is worth adding that the FSFE made its opinion known by writing: “We demand that before purchasing a device, buyers must be informed concisely about the technical measures implemented in this device, as well as the specific usage restrictions and their consequences for the owner.”
The bottom line is, FSF and FSFE refuse to accept Microsoft’s UEFI plans and Debian does the right thing. My most recently installed distro is Debian and I have no regrets. █
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Proprietary giants and their trolls cut the Linux cake
Summary: Patent news which applies to Linux or other vital parts of the Free software world
THE hype of patents is everywhere in the news [1, 2] (more so than in prior years), but more and more cases are “[r]equesting a government evaluation of whether a patent was properly issued,” as part of a process “known as reexamination [which] is cheaper than a lawsuit and has an easier standard for discrediting a patent than what is allowed before a judge or jury. With a success rate of about 90 percent, companies have almost doubled requests in the past five years, turning the patent office into a reliable forum to shoo away competitors’ claims of patent infringement.”
What this tells us is that many patents get granted which should never have been granted in the first place. There is clearly a bubble. This system is not working, except for lawyers.
“This system is not working, except for lawyers.”According to this important bit of news, Oracle changed its tune because its patent assault is failing. This is covered here, citing Pamela Jones, who writes: “Oracle has told the court it wishes to withdraw its last claim of the ’476 patent, claim 14, no doubt having read Google’s letter to the judge asking for permission to file a motion for summary judgment of invalidity of claim 14. This is the last claim of that patent still in the case. The USPTO in December issued a final rejection of 17 of the 21 claims of this ’476 patent, anyway, including all seven of the patent’s independent claims, and while Oracle has until February 20 to appeal, the handwriting is on the wall. Whatever it decides about an appeal, claim 14, and hence patent ’476, is no longer in this litigation.”
This comes amid more updates on the copyright case of Oracle, which might even be easier to toss out because, just like in the SCO case, unless there are lines of code to be shown, this whole case is weak and hinged on the question of APIs.
Here is the report on damages:
Last Friday Google filed a motion to substantially strike both the third damages report submitted by Dr. Cockburn on behalf of Oracle and the conjoint analysis report submitted by Dr. Shugan on behalf of Oracle. (718 [PDF; Text]) If successful, this motion will virtually preclude the Oracle damages experts from testifying at trial. PJ did a fine job covering the flaws in these reports identified by Google. Now we consider the likelihood of success of the motion.
Oracle’s case against Android is not the only case, but many of the others involve Apple, Microsoft, and their patent trolls. They strive to elevate the cost of Android. Here is the unofficial Red Hat message regarding fix for the common troll (not for software patents in general)
First, create a compulsory licensing mechanism for patents whose owners are not making competitive use of the technology in those patents. Patent owners should be required to declare the areas or products that incorporate the patented technology. All other non-practiced areas should be subject to a compulsory license fee. (A non-practiced “area” would be a market or technology sector or activity in which the patent owner is not using or licensing the invention rights, though the owner may be using the patent in other “areas.”) Licensing rates for patents could be set by patent classification or sub-classification based on industry average licensing rates for each such technology. Again, this would only apply to applications where the patent is not being practiced or voluntarily licensed by the patent owner.
Given the vast number of patents issued, an accused party should have a reasonable, set time after receiving notice of a patent within which to pay for the license going forward. Compulsory licenses are authorized by the treaties we have entered into, and we have significant experience with compulsory licensing of copyrighted works from which to develop an analogous patent mechanism. Uniform rates could be set.
Second, cap past damages for trolls at $1 million per patent and eliminate the possibility of obtaining injunctive relief for infringement of patents that are not in use, or are not used commercially, by the patent owner.
Third, a mandatory fee shifting provision should be put in place where the plaintiff is required to pay the defendant’s reasonable defense fees if the plaintiff does not obtain a better recovery than what was offered by the defendant. (Presently, there is such a cost shifting mechanism in place; however, the relevant costs typically are a tiny fraction of the legal fees in a case.)
Fourth, for U.S. domestic defendants, require that suits be brought in the venue where the defendant’s primary place of business is located.
Fifth, if a party wants more than limited discovery from the opposing side, particularly for electronically stored information (ESI), the requesting party should pay the cost of production. For large technology companies, ESI production alone can cost into the seven figures.
Red Hat aside (it has legal mechanisms that others do not), Debian sets a new software patents policy:
A new software policy from the Debian Project seeks to minimize its exposure to patent litigation. But could the new policies create friction with other projects within the community?
At first, you might think a statement from the Debian Project denouncing software patents was as obvious as “the sky is blue,” or “Richard Stallman will make you write GNU/Linux 500 times if you call free software ‘open source,’” but nonetheless, I thought the policy itself was rather interesting.
The policy is rather brief, which makes it very clear and concise. Consisting of only five clauses, the policy outlines how the Debian Project wants to handle patents associated with software: namely, it wants nothing to do with them. The meat of the policy is in the first three clauses:
For users of Debian there is no indemnification, so it they don’t choose Red Hat, then they are left in a different legal position. SJVN has this new article advising CIOs in case of patent lawsuits:
The recent Bilski Supreme Court decision has made it far, far too likely that your company may face a patent lawsuit at some point.
You may think that the last thing on earth that could happen to your company would be that your business might be sued because it used a particular software program. You’d be wrong.
In the aftermath of the Bilski Supreme Court decision, the Supreme Court did nothing to stop software or business method patents. As a result, not only software development companies but all businesses are now in more danger from patent lawsuits than ever before.
The Bilski case affects the US and for the time being it is a different story for companies located (and operating) outside the US. We need to work hard to prevent software patents from spreading. █
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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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Xandros is for sale
Summary: The distributor which pays Microsoft $50 per copy (for patent assurance) seems to have gone silent
ONE distribution we only ever hear about in historical context is Xandros, which pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux (although SUSE is still Microsoft’s favourite child). It is usually mentioned in reference to Eee PC. Actually, we find a great deal of revisionism in this area. Rather than explain how Microsoft distorted the sub-notebooks market in anti-competitive ways, the newer pieces pretend that GNU/Linux should be blamed. But either way, how many people still use Xandros? It has virtually no existence in the news because the distribution, which is oddly enough still up for sale, is many years old. Xandros as a company seems to have gone missing and it even sold Scalix last month, making a bit of a wave at the time (more like a ripple though).
Is anybody aware of a business which still uses Xandros somewhere? If so, we would like to know. Using the latest Debian would be a lot better than using some ancient “Xandros”, which is a controversial ripoff job that many Debian GNU/Linux developers are not too happy with.
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Summary: An affinity for the ripoff of the ripoff of Java is costing Debian and its descendent’s, Ubuntu, dearly
MONO is not software, it’s a doctrine. It’s the belief that Microsoft is the centre of all things and that all platforms — GNU/Linux included — should just become clients of Microsoft despite the known risks.
Banshee is the latest Mono addition to Ubuntu and as a notable blogger put it, “I wonder what is the next platform they’re going to take on now that both Windows and Mac are already supported.”
Banshee — like Mono in general — is about .NET, it's not about GNU/Linux. It never was. That says a lot. In fact, a lot of the people who promote Mono inside GNU/Linux are not even GNU/Linux users. They have an agenda, which is to increase the use of Microsoft APIs. It’s no wonder that the lead developer of Mono is a Microsoft MVP.
According to this, Banshee was added to Ubuntu prematurely. It’s buggy. We have heard the same thing in IRC and in E-mail. What was Canonical thinking??? All that Banshee has done for Ubuntu so far is harm its reputation (the Bansheegate).
According to this other new post, “Debian 6 [is] sluggish and slow due to Mono”.
It says: “To cut a long story short, I have no need for Mono and decided to erase it.
apt-get purge cli-common libmono-*
“If you are a Ubuntu user reading this, please do not run this command.
“Now the interesting thing after performing this action was I noticed my desktop was more snappy and responsive, and more inline with Fedora 14.”
Fedora avoids Mono as a matter of principle. █
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