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. The 'Offenses' of EPO Staff Representatives Boil Down to Truth-Telling

    Dutch television examined the documents of the mock 'trials' against SUEPO leaders and concluded that whistle-blowing (i.e. exposing abuses by EPO management), not misconduct, is the reason for overzealous dismissals



  2. Rumours About Dismissal of Benoît Battistelli and New Letter From Union Syndicale Federale Blasting Battistelli's Behaviour

    hings have been heating up since the dismissal of staff representatives at the European Patent Office (EPO) and some even spread rumours about withdrawal/dismissal of the EPO's President



  3. VirnetX Case Against Apple Shows Not the Problem With Patent Trolls But With Software Patents

    What the media really ought to be talking about after the high-profile VirnetX case, rather than obsess about the status of Apple or patent trolls in the Eastern District of Texas



  4. Diápositivas de Nueva Charla Explican la Connección Entre la Corte De Patentes Unitarias (UPC) y Patentes de Software

    Benjamín Henrion habló el pasado Domingo acerca de las patentes de software europeas -una presentación que habla de la Corte Unitaria de Patentes, por la que la OEP aboga sin cesar y que es lo que significa para las patentes de software.



  5. Las Políticas de Microsoft Alienan Incluso a los Hinchas Más Acérrimos de Microsoft, Incluyendo Pro-Microsoft Web Sites

    El agresivo comportamiento de Microsoft y su BAJA CALIDAD DE PRODUCTOS dejan algunos de sus últimos restos de ´hinchas´ descorazonados y molestos.



  6. Links 6/2/2016: CoreOS Rocket 1.0, Scientific Linux 7.2

    Links for the day



  7. Maybe It's Time for Class Action Lawsuits Against Microsoft for Forced Vista 10 'Upgrades', Which Were Definitely No Accident

    The sheer arrogance of Microsoft, which silently changes the operating system on people's computers (without their consent), makes lawsuits imperative, not just a possibility



  8. Readers' Article: A Strange Conspiracy of Silence in the German Media (Part II)

    Željko Topić's allegedly dark background, which includes a suicide, a retreat of potential witnesses, German funds in Topić's private bank account and several more interesting bits



  9. Links 5/2/2016: Wine 1.9.3, Slackware 14.2 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  10. Links 4/2/2016: Red Hat Upgraded, Ubuntu Tablet

    Links for the day



  11. The Siege Continues: Patent Lawyers Want More Patents, Including Software Patents, In Spite of Alice

    Lawyers who make money from patent disputes make rather apparent their aspirations, which include patent saturation even in domains that are patents-exempt



  12. European Patent Office Pretends It's Business as Usual and Prepares New Vanity Pieces

    The PR strategy of the EPO, whose destructive patent strategy continues unabated (for now), latches onto Colombia and strives to manufacture mythology wherein the public, patent examiners and patent applicants are all very happy with the EPO



  13. The 'International' Trade Commission Imposes/Reinforces Software Patents to Establish Another Embargo

    The International [sic] Trade Commission is meddling in competition and allowing a US giant, Cisco in this case, to potentially block rivals (no imports from abroad) using software patents



  14. Readers' Article: A Strange Conspiracy of Silence in the German Media (Part I)

    The views of some of our readers regarding reluctance in the German media to challenge the EPO's violations of German law, probably because Germany benefits from being a host nation of the EPO



  15. Benoît Battistelli's EPO: From Show Trials and Mock Trials to a Self-Aggrandising Propaganda Event Later Today in Rijswijk

    A headsup from a reader regarding today's highly misleading event in Rijswijk (e.g. to mislead the media or seed positive media coverage in the Netherlands) and how it was set up



  16. Caricature of the Day: EPO President

    New caricature about Benoît Battistelli, his bodyguards, and the assault on free speech at the European Patent Office



  17. Company Known as European Patent Office Provides Tips on How to Patent Software in Europe

    The European Patent Office (EPO) uses its attendance at CeBIT, which is a corporate expo, to promote software patents in spite of the European Patent Convention (EPC)



  18. Links 3/2/2016: Dell GNU/Linux Laptop, Wine 1.8.1

    Links for the day



  19. The Most Detailed Explanation (Yet) of What's Wrong With the EPO

    The EPO's insistence that it remains above the law is not only coming under fire by the media but is also being challenged based on people who are familiar with the applicability of law to international organisations



  20. Angry Trolls: Rovi (of Angry Birds Fame) Helps Microsoft's Largest Anti-Linux Patent Troll, Intellectual Ventures (Corrected)

    nce known as a game maker and later made notorious for mass surveillance on gamers, Rovi now liaises with the world's largest patent troll



  21. Patent Invalidation Statistics and Cost of Patent Litigation (Even If Bogus) Show That Patent Scope and Examination Standards a Problem in Europe, Not Just the US

    Far too many bogus patents (patents that should not be granted in the first place) and spurious patent lawsuits that end up in favour of the defendant serve to show the external cost (or externality) when it comes to low-quality patent systems that strive to grant a lot of patents irrespective of merit



  22. Es Oficial: Por Medio de Entrismo, Microsoft Ha Convertido a la Pro-Linux Nokia en un Parásito de Patentes Anti-Linux

    Microsoft ha convertido a Nokia en un troll de patentes que ahora ataca a Linux y Android.



  23. Richard Stallman: Patentes Europeas de Software Regresan con la Corte Unitaria de Patentes (UPC)

    Debates acerca de la UPC estan siendo peleados por profesionales de software (entidades prácticantes) y elementos PARÁSITICOS como los abogados de patentes.



  24. SUEPO (EPO Staff Union) Appears to Have Launched a New and Improved Web Site After Attempts to Crush ('Decapitate') SUEPO

    SUEPO, the largest staff union of the European Patent Office, shows signs of strength rather than signs of weakness amidst attacks on the staff and a lot of media coverage, political interventions, and much more



  25. Links 2/2/2016: Chimpbox Quad Core, UNICEF Supports FOSS

    Links for the day



  26. Münchner Merkur Explains That EPO Staff is Defecting to SUEPO, Even The Council Distrusts Battistelli Now

    Press report from Munich, highlighting the crisis of leadership at the EPO, where the President is increasingly viewed as a villain



  27. Microsoft's Policies Alienate Even Microsoft's Biggest Fans, Including Pro-Microsoft Web Sites

    Microsoft's aggressive behaviour and low-quality products leave even some of its last remaining 'fans' disheartened and upset



  28. Slides of New Talk Which Explains the Connection Between the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Software Patents

    Benjamin Henrion's Sunday talk about European software patents -- a presentation which speaks of the Unitary Patent Court that the EPO lobbies for and what it means to software patents



  29. UEFI is Bricking PCs, Yet Again

    A few remarks about a new defect which is starting to attract media attention this morning, serving to highlight the lesser-discussed dangers of UEFI/EFI



  30. Under Battistelli's Regime the European Patent Office is Rapidly Rotting

    Technical problems, patent maximalism (in a desperate effort to artificially elevate patent-related figures) and other serious issues observed inside the European Patent Office (EPO)


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