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More People Say “No” to Mono, Including the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC)

Summary: More opposition to Mono surfaces, detailed explanations offered

AS we pointed out over the weekend [1, 2], the SFLC and FSF are in alignment with Richard Stallman's views on Mono and so are many others. But Bradley Kuhn has just made it more official with a long essay at the SFLC's Web site. It's a recommended read.



In an essay last Friday entitled Why free software shouldn't depend on Mono or C#, RMS argued a key point that I agree with: the software freedom community should minimize its use of programming language infrastructure that comes primarily from anti-software-freedom companies, notwithstanding FaiF (Free as in Freedom) implementations. I've been thinking about an extension of that argument: that language infrastructure created in a community process is likely more resilient against attacks from proprietary software companies.


Here is another new perspective:

I think it is interesting that he thinks that it is the “‘best technology’ Linux camp” that is the camp that offers the greatest threat to Microsoft. I can understand why some may think that this is true since this camp is creating flashy and very useful products and features that increase the appeal of Linux. However, mono is not the only tool that the “‘best technology’ Linux camp” has at its disposal. Many view the use of the Qt toolkit as a better alternative, and one that does not have the risk associated with mono. Furthermore, I do not agree with the thought that “‘best technology’ Linux camp” is the one that Microsoft feels most threatened by. I think Microsoft is only threatened by the combination of both camps.

I view mono as a distraction for FOSS developers. Yes, there are some practical advantages in its use, but there are a lot of questions surrounding it. It has the potential of dividing the two mayor camps of Linux contributors. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this controversy.


Since Nokia's Qt toolkit is mentioned above, here is what KDE developers say on the subject (mind the good comments) and here is what Jack Wallen thinks about Novell's role.

If Microsoft is threatening patents against .NET, it would seem to me that the Novell/Microsoft relationship didn’t really work out all that well. And now Microsoft is back to their old tricks. And what should the Linux and open source community do about this? Should another deal with Microsoft be made? Is the seamless communication between Linux and Windows worth making a deal with a partner that is only going to turn around and stab you in the back again and again and again?


The Register on the lessons to be learned from TomTom:

Although Stallman frequently speaks about the dangers of software patents on open-source, trust for Microsoft has run particularly thin recently because of the company's legal attack on TomTom over a FAT patent dispute.

Stallman urged the community to instead distribute and recommend non-C# applications whenever possible to avoid Redmond lawyers from being able to disable major OS functions on a whim.


Microsoft neither retracted nor backed its accusations against Linux. Horacio Gutierrez from Microsoft said about Linux that "there is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed." He named not even a single one, but Mono is an easy target and also a very unique one.

GNU/Linux users do not want Mono. Well, maybe with the exception of SUSE and Canonical, whose desktop engineering manager comes from Microsoft. In response to the many discussions stemming from Stallman's essay, Canonical has published yet another statement about Mono.

The Ubuntu Technical Board has been asked for a position statement on the use of C#, specifically the Mono implementation, by applications in Ubuntu.

These applications, as well as the Mono stack, were proposed for inclusion like any other application and underwent the same review process that all new applications and platforms undergo before being accepted into the archive.

With specific regard to the default installed application set, applications have been reviewed and compared against each other on merit and features. These often take place during the Ubuntu Developer Summits, most recently over the default media player.


For those who prefer Ubuntu (like myself), here is a handy new guide: "How to Completely Remove Mono on Ubuntu"

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