5 easy steps to flip a burger, 1 easy step to eat it

5 easy steps to flip a burger, 1 easy step to eat it

2009 may not be the year of Linux on the desktop, but surely can be appointed as the year of Mono.

Burger

David Siegel, creator of GnomeDo felt constructive enough to share 5 easy steps to create a viable alternative to Mono.

  1. Create a mailing list where people interested in replacing Mono and/or Mono-based applications can subscribe. A quick perusal of Google Blogsearch, Reddit, Digg, and Slashdot will turn up many vociferous individuals who appear to be willing to contribute. These people need to start working together instead of participating in the same fruitless arguments over and over again.
  2. Interview stakeholders. Figure out why developers like me are using Mono; I love Mono and would be happy to tell you why.
  3. Conduct a competitive analysis, evaluating Mono and technologies like it. Look at C with GObject, Qt, Etoile, GNUStep, Squeak and others. Document the strengths and weaknesses of these tools for creating Linux applications. How complete are they? Are they actively developed? Why do developers pick them? Why are they popular or unpopular?
  4. Using this competitive analysis data, decide on the best existing alternative to Mono.
  5. Using the data about why developers choose Mono, begin to address the deficiencies in the chosen alternative. The mailing list subscribers from step 1 should be eager to help — get them involved writing documentation, reference applications, libraries, and new language features.

It’s disappointing to see how much David misses the point. Other than marking everything against Mono as non serious, he just tackles the technical issues under this premise:

Recently, the noisy debate over whether Mono poses a real threat to Linux has gotten even noisier. I’m not a lawyer so I’m not going to comment on matters I don’t fully understand

Maybe he’s right when he says that people who don’t like Mono are not organized enough. Should we create some drawing ? Will that help people to understand ?

*** The issue with Mono is not technical ***

Sure we’d love to interview you coding starlettes about how much you like the beloved Mono, and yes, create mailing list and all that stuff. And stop talking about it and hey! creating a new language to replace it (how nice. Btw Vala, anyone ?)

But, ultimately, those 5 steps are just 5 ones to flip a burger and shift the discussion from the licensing side, to the technical side.

But here’s the good news, I feel constructive enough to give the Mono community 1 easier, single step to get everything done. And if you do, you can keep the Mono (how cool!).

Pressure Novell and Microsoft (as some of you work in both the companies) to change the agreement to look like this:

Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, Google and its affiliates hereby grant to you a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this License) patent license for patents necessarily infringed by implementation of this specification. If you institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the implementation of the specification constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses for the specification granted to you under this License shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

Is that easy. Everybody wins. Even Microsoft.

If you don’t, don’t expect concerns to go away anytime soon. Doesn’t matter what the Ubuntu policy is, that’s not just a Canonical issue. It’s everybody’s.

2012 will be an interesting year. Then we laugh.

[image credits]

This seems like a great time to subscribe my RSS !

23 responses to “5 easy steps to flip a burger, 1 easy step to eat it”

  1. David Siegel

    Yes, my post was tongue-in-cheek, but I actually think we agree with each other (at least I agree with you). The argument against Mono is non-technical, and the argument for Mono is technical, which might explain the impasse. I whole heartedly agree with your one step solution (in fact I prefer it), the only problem is we cannot apply tried and true free software processes to achieve your solution. In essence, I am suggesting the Mono opposition improve an existing free software project and you are suggesting we convince Microsoft to change their agreement with Novell. One solution is entirely in our hands, the other is entirely in Microsoft’s; one solution is hard but surely achievable, the other requires no challenging technical work but seems improbable, especially if you’re right about Microsoft’s future plans to undermine the free desktop by asserting patents.

  2. trmanco

    Interesting point of view.

    Have you seen this?
    http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.ubuntu.devel/28569

  3. Stefano Forenza

    @trmanco: no serious post in that thread. Mono is a threat for the ecosystem, rather than for single users. Darren Bell is probably exagerating, and Jonathan is bringing up the same old double-click patent – so boring, you can get a kid asleep in 13 seconds if you tell him about the double-click patent.

    On another point of view, some users are migrating to kubuntu or fedora as a result of the discussion. They don’t do for fear. It’s a political choice: they want to encourage an ecosystem rather than another. I considered that as well, and from time to time other do. Not big number, but I expect the Mono entering in Debian to create an even bigger backslash.

  4. Stefano Forenza

    @David Siegel: yes, that’s the picture.

  5. Vadim

    de Icaza’s childish propaganda post on the software releases released with Mono made me feel like it’s another type of Apple crowd.

    I don’t believe Mono breeds better software; I don’t believe .NET being superior to anything else on the planet; and I don’t believe that I as a programmer should waste my time being involved in controversy. Only thing Mono is great for is .NET programmers who don’t or can’t spend the time to learn other technologies – unarguably, mono is an easy way for them to go.

    F-Spot is, being polite, not great. Tomboy got itself replaced with Gnote (for me: I only use it for the basic note-taking, have 1 computer, so it’s fine). Gnome DO was the only installed software that was good, something that excited me at first, but the interest dampned in as any Mono developer or user were getting dragged into these controversies.

    So I made myself an experiment – removed gnome do, rebound the run apps dialog to ctrl+space (windows+space isn’t bindable for whatever reason). It’s working out alright – 80% of the job is being done. There’s also some python launcher on gnome files that appeared today, maybe that’ll push the ratio higher.

    And I’ve never been interested in Docky as AWN is better for me. And as for programming – it’s a known fact that the syntax of C# itself is clean (and indeed that is what Mono supporters say; they don’t mention what’s not) and Vala is working out quite good for me. C speed, C# syntax, and no additional runtime components for the user to install – hey, that sounds pretty damn perfect. Plus you don’t have to work with ancient bindings… :)

  6. Andy

    Vadim,

    Your write “I do not believe .NET this and .NET that”. And yet, those that use it have produced more useful code than all of your posts combined across the blogosphere. What exactly do you have to show that is included in the default Ubuntu CD?

    Can you prove us wrong?

    Speaking of the C# syntax in Vala: you realize that the same patents that affect C# as a language (any delta from Java) that have been borrowed by Vala are under the same boat as Mono’s C# compiler when it comes to patent infringement, dont you?

    So if Microsoft owned a patent say on the property syntax “int Foo { get … set …}”, Vala would infringe on it.

    Just sayin’ you cant have your cake and eat it too.

  7. Vadim

    Andy: I don’t see how comparing code to text comments is relevant. Awful example, there.

    Now, has Mono produced something awfully nice for Linux? Did it make the kernel? compiz? apt? No, it did not.

    Like I said, the C# implementation is clean. .NET, CLI, etc, aren’t – and Vala is nowhere near using that.

    PS. What do I have to show that’s included on the default ubuntu cd? a project I personally started, promoted, worked on? probably nothing. Did you start any? And anyone can add a patch to a program that’s on the ubuntu default cd, but I don’t see how is that relevant here, or even the default cd.

  8. Vadim

    Unlike you, I actually know what I’m talking about and I did my research. :)

  9. tomas

    @Vadim
    Oh really? At least I don’t see any valuable information that would require some research in your comments.
    And how exactly you might know anything about developing software not being a developer yourself?
    You say that F-spot is not “that great”, but, the thing is, you don’t present any app that would be “that great, so great that using it instead f-spt would be meaningful”. And if you did your homework, you’d know that gnote is NOT COMPLETE replacement for tomboy.
    And you are wrong assuming that gnome-do is just about launching apps. For example, I use it for locating stuff (locate), pasting text to pastebin, as a calculator, reading man pages and creating new tasks in tasque.

    Conclusion: please be so kind and STOP spreading all that FUD!

    PS: I really recommend reading http://apebox.org/wordpress/rants/124/ for everyone.

  10. Vadim

    Picasa for one works better than F-Spot. F-Spot was crashing the first time I started it because of indexing errors :)

    I’m aware that Gnote is note complete. Did you read my post where I said that it’s complete for me? I think you failed at that.

    Lastly, I’m aware what else can Gnome-DO can do. Thank you for assuming that you know about me more than I do! Didn’t you realize that I don’t use that functionality, so for my purposes, alt+f2 does 80% of the job?

    So no, there is no FUD! Please stay sane, learn to read and comprehend.

    Thank you!

  11. tomas

    @Vadim
    1) In your previous your comment you clearly state: “Tomboy got itself replaced with Gnote”. It really doens’t show that you are aware that it’s not complete replacement.
    2) Why were you so excited about gnome-do in the first place if you are pretty happy with the crappy built-in gnome “Run command” and don’t real need what gnome-do can offer? And by comparing it with the built-in “run command” you are just showing your ignorance.
    BTW, answer to your “some python launcher on gnome files”. You know why I hate python? Because the thing is damn SLOW.

    Picasa? You must be joking :D Do you have any idea why it’s not in any official ubuntu repo? Maybe Pidgin should be replaced by Skype because so many people use it and enjoy? :D

    Why all your comments are FUD? Maybe because you just can’t name any sane reason why any Mono app should be removed and just make some poor assumptions?

    And one more thing: don’t forget to remove Samba, wine or any other soft that might in any way be related to MS ;D

  12. neighborlee

    @tomas etal,

    We, as a collective of FOSS users don’t care what special ‘feature’, this or that app has, because in this case the core reality here is that mono is encumbered and therefore a massive risk to linux, as fedora finally has seen clear of and removed from fedora 12 ( and its not in default fedora 11 default install livecd method ). Fedora is very serious about such things including moonlight which is prohibited . We should all follow their lead, and now as RMS has spoken up this makes it all the more obvious this is a solid focused direction. How many more foss supporters are you going to try to make out to be pathetic and FUDers in the name of a few bloated apps , which are down now to 1 , and even that has a huge challenge from things such as solang, and even so I seriously doubt many users are going to need anything past what gthumb offers, and even so if not Im sure enhancing gthumb instead of reinventing to lay down with patents is a better plan .

    Groklaw early on showed very clearly that mono & moonlight are both encumbered, as clearly indicated here ( as fedora agrees with and has for sometime ):

    http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20080528133529454

    ITWire also now as shown that apparantly a license for mono does not exist ?

    So those are the facts, and you can call FUD all you want but what we present here are relevant and pertain to keeping linux safe from threats from those that consider,- ‘linux a cancer’, and being dependant on mono for all of 1 app now makes no sense whatsoever, when clearly alternatives exist. Fedora and RMS gets it , are you next ? ;)

    cheers
    nl

  13. Vadim

    > 1) In your previous your comment you clearly state: “Tomboy got itself replaced with Gnote”. It really doens’t show that you are aware that it’s not complete replacement.

    I’m afraid your comperehension rate is low! I said “Tomboy got itself replaced with Gnote (for me: I only use it for the basic note-taking, have 1 computer, so it’s fine).”. Did you see the “for me part”? It’s there, really.

    > 2) Why were you so excited about gnome-do in the first place if you are pretty happy with the crappy built-in gnome “Run command” and don’t real need what gnome-do can offer? And by comparing it with the built-in “run command” you are just showing your ignorance.

    No ignorance here! I only used Gnome-DO for launching commands. Why was I happy? Well because the hype about it was great. Is it great that it’s getting down to this low level? Obviously, no. Understand that?

    > BTW, answer to your “some python launcher on gnome files”. You know why I hate python? Because the thing is damn SLOW.

    I don’t care what do you hate! And guess what, looking back at reality, the speed of a language to display a window is essentially nil. So *beep*, you’re wrong again.

    > Picasa? You must be joking :D Do you have any idea why it’s not in any official ubuntu repo? Maybe Pidgin should be replaced by Skype because so many people use it and enjoy? :D

    I don’t care why it’s not in ubuntu repos! Did I ever say that it should be pre-installed for everyone? No! I realize your comprehension is slow, so let me spell it out for you: I’m not talking how mono should be for someone else, unlike you. I’m talking about myself!

    > Why all your comments are FUD? Maybe because you just can’t name any sane reason why any Mono app should be removed and just make some poor assumptions?

    Because I didn’t say any apps should be removed to begin with! I understand that you must be busy vigirously defending Mono from getting removal as it’s raised on other websites, but here, I’m talking about my use of it. So *beep*, again, you’re wrong, and offtopic.

    > And one more thing: don’t forget to remove Samba, wine or any other soft that might in any way be related to MS ;D

    Offtopic! Stop going offtopic :) .

  14. Stefano Forenza

    @Tomas: FUD is such an unfortunate word that you may want not to use it.

    Also I should note that the post you cite has been answered not only by me, but from a bunch of other people. That’s to say it’s not that it the absolute truth (although it may contain some, of course).

    Lastly I believe your response to Vadim where a bit emotional. That’s understandable but it doesn’t help the points you’re trying to make.

  15. Andy

    This is odd, Vadim is recommending a *proprietary* application over an open source application over a religious issue? (Picassa over F-Spot).

    If we are going down the route of which operating systems are better, we might as well just use MacOS and forget about Linux. You could say the same about Linux, ie, paraphrasing you “Linux is, to be polite, not that great”.

    So what we have here is someone that has not made enough of a contribution, that has not devoted the hours, that has no experience writing medium scale applications, maintaining them and fixing them for end users but has strong opinions as to what those that actually *know what they are doing* should use.

    Like they were saying on reddit, what we have here are armchair generals.

    I am also curious Vadim, how is C# clean? Did you contact a patent lawyer and he performed a review with you? Or it is just because it might be inconvenient for you to admit that C# is on the same boat as the VM and the core class libraries (All three part of ECMA).

  16. turtlewax

    >>*** The issue with Mono is not technical ***

    We can argue that mono developers are “missing the point” and that the real issue is “not technical”. But at some point the discussion had better get technical. Consumers, are going to use what works.

    >>Pressure Novell and Microsoft (as some of you work in both the companies) to

    A written statement form MS would be great, but you might as well pressure Norway to issue a statement on mono. Microsoft has demonstrated no interest in favor, or against, mono. Not a single ms link offers any support for it. And the very few MSDN threads that actually reference mono, are fed by users.

    * If Microsoft perceives some potential benefit, it will issue the statement you’re describing. Otherwise it won’t.
    * If Microsoft can leverage mono to their advantage, it will.
    * If google can leverage mono to their advantage it will.
    * If I can leverage mono to my advantage, I will.

  17. Vadim

    > This is odd, Vadim is recommending a *proprietary* application over an open source application over a religious issue? (Picassa over F-Spot).

    Unfortunately, you seem to have comprehension issues as well. I’m not recommending anything – and unlike you two, I’m not stuffing my choices down someone elses throat. I’m talking about *my* preferences. Not what should be on the default cd, used by someone else, blah blah blah.

    > If we are going down the route of which operating systems are better, we might as well just use MacOS and forget about Linux. You could say the same about Linux, ie, paraphrasing you “Linux is, to be polite, not that great”.

    You had a comprehension issue there so this is of course irrelevant.

    > So what we have here is someone that has not made enough of a contribution, that has not devoted the hours, that has no experience writing medium scale applications, maintaining them and fixing them for end users but has strong opinions as to what those that actually *know what they are doing* should use.

    No, actually, due you your comprehension issues, again, I don’t have a “strong opinion” as to what someone else should be using. Also, while we’re waving credos about, whats yours?

    > Like they were saying on reddit, what we have here are armchair generals.

    Wow! You’re sounding like you did a ton of work! Actually, what -did- you do? As far as I know, Andy != David the founder of Gnome DO and in my opinion, the only good Mono-powered linux app.

    > I am also curious Vadim, how is C# clean? Did you contact a patent lawyer and he performed a review with you? Or it is just because it might be inconvenient for you to admit that C# is on the same boat as the VM and the core class libraries (All three part of ECMA).

    The syntax definition of C# is not as far as I’m aware and the ECMA states. In fact it’s the only thing that pro-mono purists are waving about as the clean part, failing to mention what’s not (CLI, .NET libraries).

    Have a look for yourself: http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecma-334.htm

    It specifies:
    [...]
    * The syntax and constraints of the C# language;
    [...]

    This International Standard does not specify:
    * The mechanism by which C# programs are transformed for use by a data-processing system;
    * The mechanism by which C# applications are invoked for use by a data-processing system;
    * The mechanism by which input data are transformed for use by a C# application;
    * The mechanism by which output data are transformed after being produced by a C# application;
    * The size or complexity of a program and its data that will exceed the capacity of any specific data-processing system or the capacity of a particular processor;
    * All minimal requirements of a data-processing system that is capable of supporting a conforming implementation.

    The only inconvenience is the controversy regarding Mono and thus its existence – as it’s obviously taking time, and credit (“lol, you guys copied .NET to Linux. How increative”).

  18. Vadim

    By the way, all of the patents that Microsoft holds on C# are still valid – and in the case that C# is no longer an ECMA standard, the use of them will be active again (see the patent statement signed by MS & HP).

  19. tomas

    @Vadim
    It seems it’s you who doesn’t understand that:
    1) Nobody really cares what soft YOU use;
    2) We are talking here about the risk of mono inclusion in linux distro by default and solution to this problem.
    Judging by your previous comments it seemed you were recommending getting rid of all the mono apps to solve the issue. Or maybe those comments were meant for some other article, which asked what apps you liked and which you didn’t?

  20. contextfree

    “Microsoft has demonstrated no interest in favor, or against, mono. Not a single ms link offers any support for it. ”

    http://blogs.msdn.com/dsyme/archive/2008/07/14/1-9-4-19-release.aspx
    “F# On Mono

    * The Mono 2.0 profile for F# is now used. On Mono the F# compiler is now invoked using mono bin\fscp.exe. See the notes above for details of this. NOTE: compiler startup times may be reduced on Mono because the Mono 1.9 doesn’t support ‘Ahead of Time Compilation’ for its 2.0 profile. This won’t normally be a problem if you’re only using F# Interactive (fsi.exe). If it is a problem then see the instructions above for using the .NET 1.x profile compiler. ”

    In fact MSFT actively tests the F# compiler and libraries against Mono.

  21. Koen

    i think you are on vacation?

  22. Stefano Forenza

    koen: yup!

  23. Yaro

    I have yet to see a major project for Linux that uses Mono (The biggest I see is Banshee, which is far outclassed by things like Amarok, XMMS, or MPD and its many frontends. F-Spot and Tomboy are useless compared to their alternatives. GNOME Do is not really that convenient to use and I find it to actually be MORE disruptive to workflow. No DE (Not even GNOME.) actually depends on it. And I bet you big money that LBT would sooner tank his tree than make Linux depend on anything more high level than C++.). Most developers see no point in using it in a realm where C and C++ is king.

    And all the proponents of Mono and C# can say in its defense is that “they’re ECMA/ISO standards!” To which I say: Since when was standardization synonymous with indemnification? In fact, Mono is only legally applied to SuSE thanks to that deal with Novell. And anyone who pays attention to Microsoft’s history (Apparently everyone BUT the Mono proponents.) believes that Mono is far from safe, intellectually, for Linux. It should be obvious to anyone how easily Microsoft could pull the rug out from the happy place of all those who think Mono is safe. The worst that could happen if Microsoft patent trolls Mono is (*Gasp!*) losing the standard status on .NET. I imagine by the time MS would be ready to pull the trolling they would be prepared to lose the standard. No skin off their back, they never respected standards, anyway. Microsoft has virtually nothing, nil, to lose by pulling an SCO on Mono.

    Do not feed me the so-called “community promise,” that’s pure public relations on the part of Microsoft. Big money says that Microsoft has no intention of honoring that “promise” on the true long-term.

    In my head, a true open standard is one that is designed and maintained equally by more than two groups. .NET and C# do not meet this criteria. Nor does OOXML (And the only reason OOXML became an ISO standard was through bribes and committee stacking. Google it.)

    I see no technical problems with Mono, though I never liked .NET in any implementation, but one would have to be quite naive or forgiving to blindly trust Mono like its proponents do. Mono looks to me as a big patent bomb that Microsoft nurtured indirectly. Hell, look at the asshole who CREATED Mono: Miguel de Icaza, the single biggest Microsoft ass-kisser in the FOSS movement (Calling OOXML a “superb” standard, almost having a veritable hard-on about the .NET CLI, and, yes, tryign real hard to even get a job at Microsoft instead of Novell at one point.). There’s conspiracy theories akimbo about whose employ de Icaza is really in.

    In fact, Miguel tried and failed to convince the rest of his GNOME team to convert GNOME to a Mono-based DE. From what I heard, he got completely shut out with that idea.

    Fortunately, I switched to KDE. Qt is more than powerful enough to actually cover anything Mono could try to do on a technical level with GNOME.

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