Bonum Certa Men Certa

Mono a Second-Class Citizen Even on GNU/Linux

Is it moving forward or going backwards for Microsoft/Novell gains?

THE LATEST VERSION of OpenSUSE makes it increasingly difficult to get rid of Mono, which is property of Novell and 'intellectual' property of its ally, Microsoft. This is problematic for a wide variety of reasons and issues that we covered here before.



Defenders of Mono routinely claim that Mono is a wonderful environment for developers, but what happens when its very 'source', Novell SUSE, fails to make it work? This appears to be the case, at least based on one personal experience.

I won't bore you with screen shots of creating a simple 'Hello world' application. I will say that monodevelop is crashy. For example, without having created anything, I attempted to see what the Classes tab on the left side of the IDE would produce if opened. Normally it should be blank; that's what every other IDE in the known universe shows. Instead MonoDevelop crashed and exited. Hmmm...


That being the case, why should GNU/Linux developers embrace .NET? It makes GNU/Linux seem like a cheap Windows wannabe with an IDE that's years behind Visual Studio and strives to replicate its functionality. It's like opting for OpenOffice.org with OOXML (as default format), which is exactly what Microsoft wants. It makes Microsoft a leader and rule maker.

For what it's worth, here is a new article from Richard Hillesley. It's about the history of SUSE, which culminates in Novell but doesn't delve into the uglier details.

Just as surprising as the agreement itself was the enthusiastic participation and defence of the agreement by the developers Novell inherited from Ximian. This enthusiasm was not unconnected to Ximian's committment to Mono, its own free software implementation of the .Net framework, (which is heavily implicated in future GNOME development), and the fear of many that parts of the Mono implementation may turn out to be patent encumbered, or that support will be compromised in other ways. The participation of Novell's corporate wonks in such an agreement could feasibly be excused on the grounds of ignorance or indifference. It is perhaps less easy to understand the enthusiasm of the participating free software developers.

Novell claims that the agreement has brought significant advantages to Linux and Novell, which is beginning to show healthy returns on its Linux business. It may also have brought significant damage to SUSE's long term place in the affections of the community...


This author also wrote the article "Embracing the .Beast," where he is referring to Mono.

Money gasp
"Whoa! It's crashing"

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