Bonum Certa Men Certa

Canonical is Already Aware of the Problem With Mono

Matt Zimmerman
Photo by Simon Law

Summary: Canonical's chief technology officer talks about the problem with Microsoft controlling Mono

IN a new interview with Canonical's CTO, Matt Zimmerman, he says "Free software" rather than "Open Source", which is a good sign [1, 2]. For example:

UT: What are the targets and the plans of Ubuntu project in five years?

MZ: [Matt Zimmerman] Ubuntu is a vehicle for the expression of free software in people’s lives, so to some extent, the goals of Ubuntu are the goals of free software.

I think that free software must synthesize people’s experience of the web and the desktop. The divide between these two technological realms is limiting free software innovation by fragmenting the ecosystem. Along the way, we will need to resolve questions of freedom and autonomy on the web, and enable the community to embrace the web in ways which have not been possible yet.

The interview as a whole is very good, including the part where he talks about Mono and explains why it is further down in the list of priorities. The Source has already summarised the key points raised by Zimmerman:

There are risks in choosing the .NET platform to develop free software. And I am pleased that Mr. Zimmerman realizes that is exactly what Mono is: the .NET platform (albeit a gimped and tail-lights chasing stepchild implementation).

I also greatly appreciate Mr. Zimmerman’s points:

* Microsoft is in “ultimate control” (despite Team Apologista’s desperate protestations) * Microsoft has multiple ways to wield .NET offensively * It would be logical for them to do so * they have acted similarly in the past * they have said they would act similarly the future.

As the FSF has already stated quite formally, Mono or C# should not be treated as frameworks of choice. It's nothing to do with "hate"; it's simply a logical consideration.

"[...] we know that Microsoft is getting patents on some features of C#. So I think it's dangerous to use C#, and it may be dangerous to use Mono."

--Richard Stallman, 2006


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