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Mono is Too Controversial for Debian

Linux: Powered by Microsoft?!?!

A

month ago we showed Fedora crossing out Moonlight and moving Tomboy (with Mono) out of the way, at least as far as the Live CD is concerned. So does Debian on the face of it. Watch this:

* tomboy: very nice app, but controversial since it brings the full Mono stack, so we don’t make it part of gnome-desktop-environment.


The background of this is that gnome/gnome-desktop-environment metapackages tend to syncronize with upstream GNOME (and this is why they dragged tomboy in when installed). However, tasksel (i.e. Debian Installer) didn't include tomboy in the default setup.

The necessary harmonisation between GNOME metapackages and tasksel turned out to be in favour of removing tomboy from metapackages instead of adding it to tasksel, because Mono is widely seen as "controversial" (see above).

Nomo



This makes it much less likely that tomboy becomes part of the default install in the future. It's important because Debian is one of the most influenctial Free software distributions available. Even Ubuntu is based on it and Ubuntu seems to be deep in Mono with the approval of Mark Shuttleworth. Could his mind be changed?

Getting a technical dependency out of the way is different from availability and habitual dependence. There are some other concerns about people getting 'addicted' to specific Mono applications because distributors encourage their use through inclusion and/or preinstallation.

Just the other day in Miguel de Icaza's blog:

My friend Mirco Bauer has been maintaining and coordinating the Mono packaging for Debian for many years.


It now turns out that Tomboy has found its way into Firefox in the form of an addon.

Tomfox is a very cool Firefox extension. With Tomfox, you can directly create Tomboy notes in Firefox.


Whenever the question arise about Mono, Jeff Waugh and others attack the messenger. in fact, Sam Varghese has just complained about these attacks, which may only mean that he was on the right topic all along.

I've grown quite used to people from the GNOME Foundation indulging in this kind of attack. I've lost count of the number of times the foundation's media spokesman Jeff Waugh has launched personal attacks on me; GNOME co-founder Miguel de Icaza followed suit a few months back.


What are they so afraid of? The only thing Mono critics are afraid of are the known impact of .NET patents and the gradual move of GNOME/GTK to the #. Watch what Beranger has just had to say:

Let's revisit the GTK+ 3.0 issue, this time based on what Miguel de Icaza had to say about it. Indeed, €«there is no actual plan for which features will be added, and when these features will be added€», but I don't feel de Icaza should be let have a say in the planning of the future GTK+ 3.0 and GNOME 3.0 — or else it will become "Mono Reloaded" within months!

[...]

Looking for some stupid Microsoft patents on a "System and method for activity monitoring and reporting in a computer network"? Here you are: Patent #6519639, Patent #6631412, Patent #7337223, Application #10/629,954.


One of the other dilemmas in the Debian project is also multimedia codecs, so the following new article is worth seeing.

Over 100 million DVD players have shipped in the US, and 100s of millions of mp3 players have shipped, yet Linux distributions like Fedora, Ubuntu and Opensuse don't include software to create files that these devices can play. The reason is because implementations of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) are considered patented so the Linux Distributors are avoiding a risk of patent infringement lawsuits. I went searching for answers to basic questions like what are all the patents claimed for MP3 and when do the claimed MPEG-2 patents expire and I did not find these on the web, so I decided to create this summary of the patent status of MPEG-1, H.261 and MPEG-2. I'm not a lawyer and I'm not an expert on video or audio compression so there are probably some mistakes in this, but its better than anything I've found on the internet. This article is US specific, but the patent databases listed usually have other countries patents listed as well.


As stressed several times before, it's not the patent(s) itself that needs to be considered in isolation; it's the holder of the patent too. Other than Microsoft (and SCO maybe), no other company is aggressive enough to attack the work of volunteers with a FUD campaign, let alone legal action (with the possibility of proxies like Intellectual Ventures of Acacia, which host Microsoft employees [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]).

"Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave."

--Ray Noorda, Novell

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