EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.23.08

Mono is Too Controversial for Debian

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux: Powered by Microsoft?!?!

A

month ago we showed Fedora crossing out Moonlight and moving Tomboy (with Mono) out of the way, at least as far as the Live CD is concerned. So does Debian on the face of it. Watch this:

* tomboy: very nice app, but controversial since it brings the
full Mono stack, so we don’t make it part of
gnome-desktop-environment.

The background of this is that gnome/gnome-desktop-environment metapackages tend to syncronize with upstream GNOME (and this is why they dragged tomboy in when installed). However, tasksel (i.e. Debian Installer) didn’t include tomboy in the default setup.

The necessary harmonisation between GNOME metapackages and tasksel turned out to be in favour of removing tomboy from metapackages instead of adding it to tasksel, because Mono is widely seen as “controversial” (see above).

Nomo

This makes it much less likely that tomboy becomes part of the default install in the future. It’s important because Debian is one of the most influenctial Free software distributions available. Even Ubuntu is based on it and Ubuntu seems to be deep in Mono with the approval of Mark Shuttleworth. Could his mind be changed?

Getting a technical dependency out of the way is different from availability and habitual dependence. There are some other concerns about people getting ‘addicted’ to specific Mono applications because distributors encourage their use through inclusion and/or preinstallation.

Just the other day in Miguel de Icaza’s blog:

My friend Mirco Bauer has been maintaining and coordinating the Mono packaging for Debian for many years.

It now turns out that Tomboy has found its way into Firefox in the form of an addon.

Tomfox is a very cool Firefox extension. With Tomfox, you can directly create Tomboy notes in Firefox.

Whenever the question arise about Mono, Jeff Waugh and others attack the messenger. in fact, Sam Varghese has just complained about these attacks, which may only mean that he was on the right topic all along.

I’ve grown quite used to people from the GNOME Foundation indulging in this kind of attack. I’ve lost count of the number of times the foundation’s media spokesman Jeff Waugh has launched personal attacks on me; GNOME co-founder Miguel de Icaza followed suit a few months back.

What are they so afraid of? The only thing Mono critics are afraid of are the known impact of .NET patents and the gradual move of GNOME/GTK to the #. Watch what Beranger has just had to say:

Let’s revisit the GTK+ 3.0 issue, this time based on what Miguel de Icaza had to say about it. Indeed, «there is no actual plan for which features will be added, and when these features will be added», but I don’t feel de Icaza should be let have a say in the planning of the future GTK+ 3.0 and GNOME 3.0 — or else it will become “Mono Reloaded” within months!

[...]

Looking for some stupid Microsoft patents on a “System and method for activity monitoring and reporting in a computer network”? Here you are: Patent #6519639, Patent #6631412, Patent #7337223, Application #10/629,954.

One of the other dilemmas in the Debian project is also multimedia codecs, so the following new article is worth seeing.

Over 100 million DVD players have shipped in the US, and 100s of millions of mp3 players have shipped, yet Linux distributions like Fedora, Ubuntu and Opensuse don’t include software to create files that these devices can play. The reason is because implementations of the MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3) are considered patented so the Linux Distributors are avoiding a risk of patent infringement lawsuits. I went searching for answers to basic questions like what are all the patents claimed for MP3 and when do the claimed MPEG-2 patents expire and I did not find these on the web, so I decided to create this summary of the patent status of MPEG-1, H.261 and MPEG-2. I’m not a lawyer and I’m not an expert on video or audio compression so there are probably some mistakes in this, but its better than anything I’ve found on the internet. This article is US specific, but the patent databases listed usually have other countries patents listed as well.

As stressed several times before, it’s not the patent(s) itself that needs to be considered in isolation; it’s the holder of the patent too. Other than Microsoft (and SCO maybe), no other company is aggressive enough to attack the work of volunteers with a FUD campaign, let alone legal action (with the possibility of proxies like Intellectual Ventures of Acacia, which host Microsoft employees [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]).

“Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave.”

Ray Noorda, Novell

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

12 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    July 23, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Gravatar

    The article on the expiration of the MP3 patents is most interesting. If the MP3 patents are to expire soon, why shouldn’t we just go ahead and use them? Or should we be loyal to the open source developers and continue to use ogg–even after the MP3 patents expire? I suppose some would argue that the technically best codec should win. But there are several dimensions about what is the best codec and the differences the codecs are often so trivial that I’m not sure why competition should lead necessarily lead the victory of the best.

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    July 23, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Gravatar

    why shouldn’t we just go ahead and use them?

    Cause’ they haven’t expired yet?

    Don’t count your chickens before…

  3. Victor Soliz said,

    July 23, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Gravatar

    Ogg remains a superior format anyway, and it is open, mp3 will not become open after its patents expire. It would be good to include it in distros without problems though. But I think many people will still push for ogg, it is just healthier, ya know…

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Gravatar

    Ogg comes with a philosophy, too. It won’t tolerate DRM, for example, unlike WMA|V.

    Think of Stallman’s assertion that if we embrace “Linux” rather than “GNU” (or GNU/Linux), then we are not likely to understand and appreciate freedom. The same goes for open source vs. Free software.

  5. self_liar said,

    July 23, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Gravatar

    Sun Microsystems does not include Mono in Opensolaris OS

    Yes , This is good!!!

    But this is business ,not philosophy.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Gravatar

    If true, it’s worth researching to find out the reason. I’ll contact Mr. Phipps.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Okay, I’ve got a reply.

    My query was:

    “I have just been told that OpenSolaris does not include Mono. While it seems possible to achieve ( http://lists.ximian.com/pipermail/mono-list/2008-May/038584.html ) I wanted to know the reason for its exclusion from the default installation. Debian and Fedora appear to be following a similar route, possibly due to software patents and API control. Java is clearly a factor here.

    “Many thanks. Have a great time at OSCON.”

    The reply:

    “It’s not excluded – it is welcome in the repository if anyone is willing to create the package. I don’t believe anyone has made a full release-quality package yet though.”

    So it’s not a case of principles.

  8. self_liar said,

    July 23, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Gravatar

    Confusing

    No one have made a package for mono?

    This way is better.I dont like mono.

    TO ALL:

    DO NOT PROMOVE MONO FOR OPENSOLARIS

  9. self_liar said,

    July 23, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Gravatar

    I do not see tomboy on Opensolaris:

    Why people do not promove alternatives?

    Tomboy ->Zim
    Banshee-> Rthymbox
    Beagle-> Tracker ,strigi ,pinot

    Telepathy will be created using mono?

  10. Michael said,

    July 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Gravatar

    The problem with codecs is that there is so many to choose from, and they keep ‘improving’ all the time (and thus keep being ever-greened patent-wise). Even though we have at least one free codec, content providers still wrap their data in proprietary formats like flash and windows media – in part because software vendors have a vested interest in controlling the market by excluding free competitors. And if the vendor sees the patents expiring they will just force a new format (with added ‘benefits’ for the content publisher like drm). And whilst companies like Fluendo provide convenience for supporting proprietary formats to all users, the publishers have no reason to use anything else.

    So by the time GNU can play dvd’s freely for example, dvd’s will no longer be the dominant format so you’re still stuck with requiring licensed codecs to play whatever is around.

    I wonder if there isn’t some sort of anti-competitive recourse. Companies like MS and Adobe can ‘give away’ unlimited copies of their licensed codecs for free as a loss-leader – thus effectively undercutting free software which cannot even legally run in the first place (as Free Software), let alone compete on price if they must license each copy. If they were unbundled and the user had to pay for the licenses more directly then it would certainly be a more level playing field. But nobody at the top wants a level playing field.

    If google just switched to embedded ogg for youtube and got firefox to implement it nicely, they could drive the standard that way overnight – but it wont happen. But that’s exactly the thing that MS and Adobe did to enforce a proprietary standard into the web, and they got away with it (and continue to, with for example silverlight). How about that for doing no evil …

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 23, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Indeed. That’s why we go out of our way to popularise Ogg and produce equivalents.

    I suppose you do not know of the European Commission’s investigations into this?

  12. Daeng Bo said,

    August 1, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Gravatar

    I know you like to live in your own reality, but the thread explains itself nicely if you read it.

    Josselin Mouette is the package maintainer for gnome-desktop-environment, which he/she describes in the message as ‘Currently, the “gnome-desktop” task consists of the “gnome-desktop-environment” metapackage (official GNOME release) plus a number of extras. However we already provide the “gnome” metapackage which consists of g-d-e plus a number of extras to make a full-fledged desktop. ‘ He/she suggests INCLUDING Tomboy, but says the quote you use in your summary to show a possible downside.

    Joey Hess (who apparently has privilege to immediate edit the gnome-desktop task) gives the REAL reason for not including Tomboy when he responds “There’s a fundamental difference between the gnome package and the gnome-desktop task. The former is the complere (sic) gnome desktop environment with all extras, as shipped by gnome, while the latter attempts to be the best gnome-based desktop that Debian can put together and ship on a CD/DVD.” Later, “I doubt that the size of [Tomboy's] dep chain (~50 mb) makes it worthwhile to add it to our task.”

    Josselin answers “Yeah, that’s what I feared. I hope someone rewrites it in Vala some day…” He/she understands that there’s not enough space.

    Tomboy (and by proxy, Mono) were reduced to “a recommends,” meaning that tasksel won’t install Tomboy, but aptitude (the recommended method to add software) WILL.

    Mono is just too big a dependency to put on CD1 for one application.
    If you install a Debian standard system, then “aptitude install gnome,” you’ll STILL get Tomboy.

    There is no controversy. Quit stirring up stuff that’s not there.

What Else is New


  1. RecogniCorp v Nintendo is Another Nail in the Coffin of Software Patents in the United States

    A precedential new decision against software patents is terrible news for the patent microcosm -- something for them to spin or moan about for a long time to come



  2. Battistelli is Busy Securing the Vote of Countries Whose Support and Tickets Are Easy to 'Buy'

    Battistelli’s banana republic politics and tricks are viewed as his ticket to endless ‘leadership’ (domination by sheer force) of a sinking patent office, whose rules he repeatedly breaks (including lack of eligibility to run it, for multiple reasons)



  3. Patent Snake Oil From Brunel University London and PatentDive

    The ludicrous notion of replacing patent examiners (or searches by humans) with machines is seriously considered by some who should know better... but don't



  4. This is How 'Independent' the Boards of Appeal Are Under Battistelli

    A rather revealing new factoid about the interview that never happened (potentially contradicting a previous one with Battistelli), or why it did not happen



  5. Links 29/4/2017: Endless OS, Pinebook, and New Mozilla Foundation Board Members

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/4/2017: Subsurface 4.6.4, GNOME Shell & Mutter 3.25.1

    Links for the day



  7. Kather Augenstein and Bristows Shift Attention to Germany in an Effort to Ram the Dying UPC Down Everyone's Throats

    Down the throat, hopes Team UPC, the Unitary Patent system will go, even though Britain cannot ratify, throwing the whole thing into grave uncertainty



  8. United for Patent Reform Defends USPTO Director Michelle Lee From Attacks by the Patent Microcosm

    Michelle Lee is finally (if not belatedly) shielded by a bunch of large technology companies; The deep-pocketed industry finally steps in line with our position, which is usually when things turn out the way we advocate for



  9. Team UPC and CIPA Are Lobbying, Publishing Puff Pieces, and Rewriting the Law for Unitary Patent (UPC) Behind Closed Doors

    A collection of the latest news and views on the UPC, which is being lied about by those who stand to benefit from it and is probably going nowhere because Brexit means that the UK stays out, in which case it must be reset and pertinent ratifications done all over again



  10. China's Suffering From Patent Maximalism Has Europe Forewarned

    The parasitic elements inside China -- those that just want lots of litigation (even if from patent trolls) -- are winning over, much to the detriment of the Chinese economy, and Team UPC threatens to do the same in Europe with help from Battistelli



  11. Links 27/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.5 RC1, Git 2.13.0 RC1, and Linkerd 1.0

    Links for the day



  12. The Latest Expensive PR Blitz of the EPO, Led by Jana Mittermaier and Rainer Osterwalder Under the 'European Inventor Award' Banner

    The PR agencies of the Corsican in Chief, who appears to be buying political support rather than earning any, are very busy this week, as yet another reputation laundering campaign kicks off



  13. Links 26/4/2017: SMPlayer 17.4.2, Libreboot Wants to Rejoin GNU

    Links for the day



  14. PatentShield is Not the Solution and It Won't Protect Google/Android From Patent Trolls Like Microsoft's

    A new initiative called "PatentShield" is launched, but it's yet another one of those many initiatives (Peer-to-Patent and the likes of it, LOT Network, OIN, PAX etc.) that serve to distract from the real and much simpler solutions



  15. Patent Quality Crisis and Unprecedented Trouble at the European Patent Office (EPO) Negatively Affect Legitimate Companies in the US As Well

    The granting en masse of questionable patents by the EPO (patent maximalism) is becoming a liability and growing risk to companies which operate not only in Europe but also elsewhere



  16. Blog 'Takeovers' by Bristows and Then Censorship: Now This Firm Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Then Deletes Comments That Point Out the Errors

    Not only are Bristows employees grabbing the mic in various high-profile IP blogs for the purpose of UPC promotion (by distortion of facts); they also actively suppress critics of the UPC



  17. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  18. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  19. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  20. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  21. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  22. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  23. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  24. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  25. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  26. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  27. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  29. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  30. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts