World is beautiful, and everything is so peaceful right now. Still I have a weird sensation. May this be just the peace before the storm ?
Is something starting ? What ?! A war ?…
The Mono Crusade
What’s wrong with the Mono fans ? As summer gets near and temperature raises they’re getting annoying like mosquitoes. That’s something I really don’t like.
I’m a Mono user myself. Either for birth (Ubuntu includes Mono applications by default) and choice (I’m currently a Gnome Do Docky user and I’ve used Tomboy extensively in the past). I’m also the starter of the Rapache project, a Python application which actually includes (or used to, I don’t remember right now) a plugin to make it easier to configure Mono under Apache.
Still Novell secret and exclusionary exclusive deal with Microsoft gives me shivers, as does its GPL2 license which explicitly forbids it to be redistributed as GPL3 and the Microsoft promise not to sue over Mono, which covers Novell customers (?) directly.
That said, I can fully understand who doesn’t want Mono installed by default, and those who remove it altogether and look good replacements. What I don’t understand is all that fuss.
It seems, though, that this is a problem for many people. Leaving the choice to have no mono or remove it without losing half of the functionality worries some mono supporters. Others have issues with people publicly saying they don’t like or trust Mono. Is that a war ? Is Mono a religion ? An holy war ?
- I am the Lord your God : I’m god. And good. Regardless.
- You shall have no other gods before me : I’m better than C++. Really. And even if Python is going to become a problem in the future, don’t loose your faith, we’ll deal with that.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol: No application is really good. It’s good because it uses Mono runtime. Press developers to port their stuff to Mono.
- You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God: never cite the deals. never cite the patents. ever.
- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy: post about 1 random topic at least every six anti-mono-nono rants. Keep it credible.
- Honor your father and mother: Microsoft is not that bad. Novell won’t be acquired. The (exclusive) IP properties don’t risk to be reached by bad hands
- You shall not murder: never strip my run-time from the LiveCD.
- You shall not commit adultery: Let’s iterate it again. My run-time is good for everything.
- You shall not steal: Don’t port Tomboy. Ever.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor: as long he develops Mono applications. Canonical is not your neighbor, thou shalt not have the minimum respect for them.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife: Dropbox is not your neighbor’s wife.
- You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor: replace it. Even with outdated software. Cry on a random planet and ask for someone to package an application with outdated dependencies. Also replace Rhythmbox.
Gnote, the great offense
Destiny was humorous enough to bring out the first Gnote release on April 1st. So many people, me included, believed it was an April fool. A Tomboy port, how cool ! Turned out the project was real, and a bunch of bugfix releases followed in the next days.
This port has been foreseen from a long time and a long list of “thank you !” formed in the comments of the developer web.
Don’t forget to raise doubts about eventual copyright infringements. Also remember to rant about Gnote being GPL 3, while Tomboy GPL2 because features can’t be ported back. (switching Tomboy to GPL 3 would take probably less than 30 minutes, discussion and upload included). And it’s not that any open source fan may appreciate GPL 3 software, really.
Never mind the fact Gnote would take a (big) dependency out of Gnome.
Python sucks BTW
Of course, porting is such a big crime. Never mind the number of requests on the Gnome Zeitgeist post asking for a Mono port. Sure enough, porting Tomboy is awful, still, porting Zeitgeist would be so nice. The Zeitgeist developer just replied it’s Python and that’s going to stay as it is, but after a bunch of days they eventually came out with a Dbus interface to let everyone develop their plugins the way they want (without annoying the upstream).
Drop that Box
Really. Don’t mess with DropBox. A year ago or so everyone were crying out of joy of having finally a commercial company to provide first class support for Linux, including Nautilus integration, open source client software, pre-made packages for popular distributions as Ubuntu, a well integrated wizard that let you create an user account without even opening a browser, support for symlinks and 2 gb of awesomeness for absolutely no money.
Dropbox popularity among Linux users got so high to (mis)lead many people to (wrongly) bash Canonical for releasing Ubuntu One as it was (wrongly) seen as a competitor of the beloved Dropbox.
Yet, here we go again with another non-sense campaign. Drop that box, go iFolder. It’s totally open source, right ? While Dropbox is proprietary (the binary codecs downloaded from the Microsoft website by Moonlight, instead, are free and perfectly fine. Keep in mind those are licensed to be run only inside a browser, whatever that means).
Let’s use that, even if it’s an headache to package, since it’s just a resuscitated outdated software which relies on Mono version 1.2.6. Not a problem, let’s cry out loud on the Ubuntu Planet and ask someone to step in and take the burden to package it. So we can have two versions of Mono installed at the same time (two is better than mono !). Add 5 points if you succeed in persuading your distro leaders to ship both versions of Mono on the LiveCd. Shall we lack space, we may strip OpenOffice. Or the Network manager. Or whatever. (update: or the Gimp)
Crank up and scream on your Banshee
Speaking of Banshee, now it’s 6 megabytes less than Rhythmbox. Ah, the bloated (?) Rhythmbox. Fuck the rhythmcrap, doesn’t matter if Banshee still crashes on some mp3s (as exhaile does, btw), let’s put that on the LiveCd, it’s Mono – it can’t be that bad !
We can save 6 megabytes (that’s right kids) to be used for OpenJDK (?!?), or maybe add some more localization language (what about Klingon ?).
If you really want to shave some hair from the LiveCd, remove Mono altogether. It will shave a whole 40+ mb of space. Tomboy can be replaced with Gnote (as Fedora will do from now on). F-Spot is more tricky – left as a (pretty difficult) exercise for the reader. (update: Solang could do)
Don’t forget to discuss this as well at the Karmic UDS.
The promised land
Why are Mono people so desperate of getting and their run-time to take roots everywhere ? It can be good, but shouldn’t it be left as a choice ? Sometimes I wonder if someone received any ‘succeed or die mission’.
Ubuntu makes up for such a nice place for Mono. It’s not a fundamentalist distribution to any extent. It even ships binary drivers and has specialized repositories for non-free stuff and commercial stuff. Mono is already there. Packaged in the main repository. That means it’s officially supported by Canonical. It’s already shipped on the live CD.
What could you desire more than that ?
Python sucks BTW (2!!)
Even if already otherwise stated a few times somewhere else, news has been spread that Canonical’s Ubuntu One service is based on iFolder.
Finally ! Acceptance, social recognition, moral revenge ! Rubén actually leaves beyond any consideration (of any kind), including caring to actually check the source code, and goes further stating:
So now, let’s wait and see how people start using the mono argument against UbuntuOne (even if it ends up being wrong)… People have too much time available for ranting.
Well, thank you, actually I didn’t have any ranting time slot available, but your post motivated me enough to find it. It’s not just incorrect, but also erroneusly links Canonical to Mono development and tries to ride the hype of Ubuntu One. That’s bloody crazy. Seems to me you actually have enough time for ranting, but no time to check the source.
Also, you didn’t even bother to correct your post. I normally would think that was just a mistake, but keeping the post as it is, and even stating in advance it could be wrong makes it seem just an attempt to start a big flame. And it did. You got me (at least).
To me, Canonical developing in Mono rather than Python, seems a big non sense. And not for ideological reasons, just for pratical ones. Not for a big product like this. Not now.
And yes I am making a controversial statement just in order to get this discussion rolling from a different perspective.
Wishing people to bash Canonical for Mono is not just plain stupid and coward, but doesn’t help Mono at all.
The Truth about Mono
Mono is here to stay
And it’s likely to stay for a while. That’s a well known truth, and one that get’s repeated over and over again by Mono supporters. And it’s likely to be a realistic one. Mono not just makes application migration easier towards linux (but not automatic at all, by the way, some big pieces of code are likely to need rewriting by the way), but it spreads many platforms. There’s some interest from game producers for example. Statically compiled Mono applications can run on the iPhone, also. And it runs on Windows. Sure, the developer base on XBox and iPhone is not probably big right now, but it increases the chances of long term adoption.
The Mono argument is here to stay, also
Sure as hell. At least until the license doesn’t get rid of the anti GPL 3 clause, the Novell-Microsoft deal get public and the patent policy gets explicit and public as well. And yes, Microsoft may have sued people for many other patents and never did (ops, they did). And yes, because it’s Microsoft stuff.
Do you realize what a patent is ? It’s like a nuclear weapon. If you have a patent on something but the guy you want to sue has a patent on your stuff, then you’d better stay calm. But in the same way governments and seasons change, companies also change leaders or get sold or fail. And those IP properties get sold or fail with them. And the equilibrium changes. That’s what the OIN is all about (declaratedly, a threat against threateners).
What follows is an accurate research to find some new fish to be trolled. It has to be big enough to get some money back to the house but not big enough to trigger a patent war. It’s far too easy to say Open Source every two words, market your self as an open source zealot and bash free-as-in-beer binary blobs and then say Mono is good because it’s open source. It’s patented and potentially litigable. Microsoft itself says so, when stating they won’t sue Novell customers (oh, by the way, any Novell customer amongst the readers ? Anyone ? … ok.). Novell also aknowledged that, legitimating their claim by signing the deal.
Is that what you call a competitive environment ? A free market environment ? Would call that free ? It’s just a good way to shut down successful start ups before they get big enough to defend.
Now, there’s not scientifical nor legally demonstrable proof that Mono is a real threat (patents are not disclosed, may be not valid, etc), but there are concerns. And heavy ones. Shuttleworth himself was concerned by the Novell deal (even if now he seems more comfortable with that). Red Hat has been concerned with Mono, and plans to replace Tomboy with Gnote as their default note application. Bruce Perens (creator or the Open Source definition) explicitly stated to be concerned about Mono. The Samba Team was deeply concerned.
Those are not your average Joes (otherwise feel free to invite me in your neighborhood). If those people are concerned, why wouldn’t an average open source supporter ?
Mind you: Open Source is about rejecting discrimination, now – what does that have to do with a patent license for Novell customers ?
Let me iterate it again
Just before someone replies stating that a lot of ground is already patented, and cites – let’s say – Microsoft patents in COM that permeate the most popular pieces of software in Ubuntu, or stuff like that. Patent concerns are always there, and are there to stay. Still, what makes Mono different is the patent agreement itself.
Only a dumbass may think that violating a patent that you didn’t know even existed and deliberately violating a patent you know about are the same thing.
The agreement legitimates the patents existence and their validity concerns. Did I mention such agreement will also timeout in 2012 ? Will they renew it ? Or not ? Prepare yourself for a great suspense !
Here are the big questions
Why don’t you just work on Mono without needlessly bashing other software, companies, individuals ? Why don’t you refrain on trying to get your run-time included everywhere as a required dependency ?
Didn’t people gave you the chance (read: acceptance) to have mono included in the repositories and installed with a click ? Is that important to not let people make the choice to not use it ?
While the Banshee campaign is not totally meaningless, I’m pretty amazed by the Dropbox bashing campaign. I’m perhaps still too young and innocent to believe that’s a Novell comploct, or something that has anything to do with the Mono team itself. I’m more inclined to think it’s a random cry out coming out a scattered group of individuals that’s eager to show the world that one doesn’t really need to be that clever to talk. Mostly because that’s pretty much detrimental to Mono.
Let’s talk about FUD
What a cool word. Talking about FUD is so fashionable this days. Weird enough it’s common to see Mono supporters accusing Mono detractors to spread FUD (but you can eat that like a breakfast, right ?). They also spread the lie (because that’s what it’s called) that Mono is bashed just because it bases on Microsoft specifications (which would be true, if we widen the topic to eventual patents covering the specifications, but that’s not what they usually mean).
It also doesn’t take a genius to understand that if a company (Novell in our case) makes a secret patent agreement with a third party, and people get annoyed enough from that to criticize that regreetable choice, the ones to be blamed are not the people.
Let me help you with this one (it’s hard) :
- Microsoft spread FUD and begins asking patent protection to Linux distributors
- Microsoft made a deal with Novell, thereby accentuating the patent FUD and successfully FUDding all the average joes cited above.
- Mono supporters lament FUD being spread to Mono by evil Mono bashers.
And you call those (legitimate) concerns FUD ? Even if, Microsoft FUD is a required dependency for the anti Mono FUD (*hint* *hint*)
Too hard ?
Pressure Novell to clear up the issue, to publish the whole agreements with Microsoft, to expose the patents, and to work with them to widen the patent protection to everyone. Do that and the anti Mono FUD will fall immediately.
It’s that simple.
I’ll leave you with a koan: “How to package iFolder?”