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Mono Squeezed Into Debian Default Installation 503

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gonna-need-a-better-girdle dept.
pallmall1 writes "OS News reports that Debian developer Josselin Mouette got Tomboy accepted as a dependency for gnome in the next release of Debian (codenamed Squeeze). While that may seem like nothing big (except for the 50 MByte size of the Tomboy package), Tomboy requires Mono — meaning that Mono will now be installed by default. Apparently, Debian doesn't have the same concerns over using specifications patented by Microsoft and licensed under undisclosed terms that Red Hat does. Perhaps Debian doesn't believe that Microsoft might do something like Rambus did."
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Mono Squeezed Into Debian Default Installation

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:32AM (#28334357) Journal

    Perhaps Debian doesn't believe that Microsoft might do something like Rambus did.

    Rambus was chastised for their actions (like the linked article states). And I propose Debian approach this the same way someone would approach the Rambus situation from the beginning had they an inkling of Rambus' true intent.

    Even though Microsoft submitted the CLI [ecma-international.org] and C# [ecma-international.org] main components of .NET, MIcrosoft does hold at least one patent [uspto.gov] on the .NET infrastructure. So far, Microsoft has agred to offer these under a "reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms of use" and they are currently royalty free [msversus.org]. No one seems to be clear on how you get this into writing [itwire.com] but it's allegedly the way things are.

    Were I a Debian leader, I would simply approach Microsoft with the Mono code and the ECMA code of conduct [ecma-international.org] and demand it in writing that for this snapshot of the code you have a forever royalty free to interact with .NET. Should they fail to comply with this request in a timely manner, I would submit all communications with Microsoft to ECMA in a motion to dismiss the aforementioned "standards" and remove Mono--and unfortunately Tomboy--from the Debian default package. I'd beef up the Debian wiki [debian.org] with details on how to get these two packages to fix this bug and focus on the bug for a near future release after Squeeze.

    At that point, sit back and let ECMA and the community at large hash it out with Microsoft. Better now than later when other things may depend on this package and Microsoft has you right where Rambus has every memory maker on the planet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:38AM (#28334407)

    I'm removing Tomboy from my fedora 11 install as we speak.

    I never use it and it just sucks up resources.

  • by k-zed (92087) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:38AM (#28334415) Homepage Journal

    tomboy package "Description: desktop note taking program using Wiki style links"

    "..except for the 50 MByte size of the Tomboy package..."

    What's wrong with this picture?

  • by vintagepc (1388833) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:41AM (#28334431) Journal
    People on Dial-up cringing as they read that?
  • by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:44AM (#28334471) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft may just have .NET patents and contracts for their own sake, as SOP. Pragmatically, it would be a mistake for them to sue Debian or Miguel. I think they realize that because they haven't yet gone after Miguel.

    Or they've already gotten him.

  • by Dotren (1449427) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:45AM (#28334481)

    Not really being much of a Linux person myself yet, I was curious about the negative feelings I've read about for Mono, ranging from general dislike to outright hate, as I've had several people tell me that Mono is actually really cool and easy to use if you're used to doing .Net programing in general. Malevolentjelly posted this link a few days back in the Silverlight 3 post and I found it very informative:

    http://www2.apebox.org/wordpress/rants/124/ [apebox.org]

  • Re:What the F... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sydneyfong (410107) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:47AM (#28334503) Homepage Journal

    PS: From TFA (I confess not having read it in full before typing the above rant ... I did read TFA.... just not in detail ;-p)

    The news got out via a blog post by Debian maintainer Robert Millan, who maintains the Gnote package for Debian - Gnote is a non-Mono replacement for Tomboy written in C++.

    In other words, it's a non-story about two maintainers trying to get their packages accepted into the "default" installation (from TFA it sounds like it's an issue of what to include in the first CD). Yeah, raise patent concerns, size concerns, blah blah blah blah, but it all boils down to ego stroking and comparing dick sizes.

    Duh.

  • by suffix tree monkey (1430749) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:55AM (#28334579)

    Indeed, that is my problem with Mono (or C#, for that matter) as well. We can't expect small, lean applications written in C# because of the language's design. C# is only good for writing code blazingly fast. Which is kind of silly to me, because as a semi-experienced programmer, I know that writing code is the easier part of software development.

    So yeah, the more Mono/C# apps we get into Debian, the slower and memory-hungry (and disk-hungry, but I find that a non-issue in general) it gets. However, most people with enough RAM just 'meh' it out, after all, there is no such thing as Page's Law [wikipedia.org], right?

    But it's not just Microsoft's products that bloat Debian. My personal windmills are applications like HAL, D-BUS, any gnome-*-daemon, any {Policy,Device,Console}Kit and so on. By the way, a useful hint - when a developer can't think of an original name and prefers to rip-off a name trendy at that time, expect the code to be as well thought-out as Nuka Cola Cherry.

    (I get agitated when software bloat is discussed, I know.)

  • Re:Slow news day (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JSBiff (87824) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:56AM (#28334581) Journal

    Proven? Really? What's the proof? That Microsoft hasn't sued yet? That doesn't stop them from suing in the future. I'm not aware of any 'proof' that the Mono fear is stupid. If anything, I used to not be too worried about Mono, until Microsoft sued TomTom for their use of Linux. That was NOT a lawsuit over Mono, but rather over VFAT and some other stuff. But, it proved that Microsoft is willing to use stupid patents to sue Linux users. So, now I'm worried that in the future, they will decide to sue over Mono. What would stop them if they should decide to sue?

  • by Freetardo Jones (1574733) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:58AM (#28334589)
    C# is very good language, though not perfect, which builds on many of the good innovations of Java while eliminating many of the issues that I've always had with Java. The reason why there are so many negative feelings is because this is a Microsoft technology and nothing more. If Microsoft had originated the specification of ANSI C exactly as it is today, for example, you would hear constantly all the same outcries about how crappy it was, etc etc.
  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:58AM (#28334597) Homepage Journal
    "bloat" - I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    .NET is an ENTIRE platform. You likely could have a whole system where this is the only accessible API. Just like Java. Would you fault, say uTorrent, for having 40 megs of win32 dependencies?

    This is the unfortunate case of a .NET application being apparently the only one in the core system, so it gets all of the weight of the dependency on Mono. However, when a few thousand applications in the system are .NET, that kind of a dependency is not even a second thought.
  • Re:Yessss (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:00AM (#28334619)

    As a .NET developer (at work), and a Linux user (at home), I don't like this idea. I'm sure you are going to label me "a big rabid stallmanist troll" for pointing this out, but those patents are real, at least if you ask Microsoft. And so is the agreement that gives Novell permission to distribute Mono.

    Now, why would Novell sign such an agreement? Easy: Because their legal department advised them to do so. From this we can conclude that Novells legal department has knowledge of legal risks concerning Mono.

    Microsoft has already shown that their patents are not for self defence only, when they sued Tomtom over several patents related to the FAT filesystem. Not only is FAT old, there is also nothing about FAT, that isn't obvious to someone writing filesystem. In other words: FAT is not even patent worthy. The .NET framework, however, represents a great value for Microsoft (for one thing, it's the first Windows API that doesn't suck big time), and it's got to have several patent worthy ideas in it.

    So, why would Microsoft want to protect something worthless like FAT, but not real value like the .NET framework?

    As I see it, it's not a question about if they are going to sue someone over the .NET patents. It's a question of WHEN and WHOM.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:05AM (#28334675) Homepage Journal

    I have a compiled version of Tomboy and it only comes out to around 5-6 megs.

    A 20 minute download for a note-taking app?

    The 50MB size is them including all of it's secondary dependencies (which are used by other programs as well)

    Used by other programs, true, but not necessarily those included as a dependency for the "typical" Debian desktop install.

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:10AM (#28334717)

    (which are used by other programs as well)

    Except these other programs are not included as a gnome dependency...

  • by slashbart (316113) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:11AM (#28334725) Homepage
    reetardo Jones doesn't get the reason for the negative feelings about mono at all. They originated because of the way mono is conceived to lure Linux developers into using software whose api is completely controlled by Microsoft but without its blessing. Once too many Linux packages depend on mono, I'm sure we'll get some patent/copyright saber-rattling from Microsoft.

    Then there's the technical aspect that mono will always be running behing the microsoft C#/CLI version, and so your Linux mono application will generally not even run on Windows, or if it's running will be unappealing because it feels old to the MS user. Windows platform cli application almost never run on Linux, so that's not an advantage either.

    So all in all we have here a technology that is offering nothing much, for a great future risk. No wonder we avoid it like Pfeiffers disease (or mononucleosis).

    If one wants to develop great crossplatform apps, use Qt [qtsoftware.com], it has all and more of the advantages, and none of the risks.

  • by Vexorian (959249) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:19AM (#28334817)
    With Red hat/Fedora dropping Mono out of the gnome dependencies, and ubuntu and it seems even debian stick to their Mono ways. And ubuntu even threatening their users to install a lower quality Mono-dependent music player to replace Rhythmbox just because the Mono zealots are very, very loud about how they want to push this MS technology on everybody using free software. I guess I will have to change my current ways and just move to .rpm based Fedora. It's been a long time without red hat, shall be fun. "Let's all make gnome depend on MS technology just so we have a desktop widget that has already been ported to native code!" That's great...
  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:23AM (#28334873)
    The problem is that Microsoft has an extremely bad reputation. We expect them to do absolutely everything they think could be to their advantage because, well, that's how they behaved in the past - even going as far as subverting ISO to get their document format declared a standard.

    As long as Microsoft retains any control over .NET I won't feel safe around the platform simply because they could decide to screw over everyone at any time and given their past behavior I expect them to.

    Whatever Microsoft comes up with, it's either a fully integrated part of their software stack or too hot to get involved with. I don't want to get caught in the fallout of a patent lawsuit. That sounds paranoid but, well, Microsoft's actions so far have been fairly consistent.
  • by hattig (47930) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:25AM (#28334901) Journal
    Cheers. I see no reason therefore to include Tomboy + Mono by default with Gnome on Debian - or do other parts of Gnome depend upon Mono now?
  • Re:Yessss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:31AM (#28334985) Journal
    Legal departments are mostly "I'm scared Dave, will I dream?" They do anything that won't put them in an obviously worse position, just in case. Basically they're for negotiation and diplomacy; if Novell thinks Microsoft's claims on Mono are bullshit, they can call it, but Microsoft may raise something else real on them for happening to be uncooperative. If you are a ridiculous joke demanding money, they squash you; look at SCOX vs IBM vs Novell, with everyone else in the business world shelling cash to SCOX because they may have some legitimate claims, while IBM and Novell decided they were full of shit and not a real threat. You're too annoying and full of shit, IBM's going to stamp you into the ground.
  • by ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:48AM (#28335209)
    You see, Linux/Unix/BSD don't need Mono! What can you achieve using Mono which you wouldn't achieve with Perl, Python, C++ or Java? Name one, please, only one. Linux already have great software tools, great programming languages and great graphical libraries. Why are this guys, which I believe have their best of interests, trying to shove up our asses a lame excuse of a programming language that basically doesn't bring anything new but license agreements, EULAs, patents to a perfectly, usable environment? I see why Microsoft needs .Net and C#, they have nothing better to offer to their clients, but come on. And yes, only the mono-runtime package consumes 27MB of space. For what? For Tomboy? I can code a Tomboy like app in Python in three days... come on!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:52AM (#28335253)

    Excuse me while I roffle a bit.

    Did you just compare tomboy + all dependencies + an additional 11MB made up from nowhere[0] to *just* the gnote binary? If you're going to spread misinformation, at least make it something that's not trivial to disprove.

    [0] http://www2.apebox.org/wordpress/rants/124/#comment-921

  • Re:What the F... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fallingcow (213461) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:59AM (#28335319) Homepage

    Of course, it's under GPL so Gnote is within it's rights, but there's a thing called professional courtesy and respecting a developer's wishes.

    If it runs faster and takes up less space*, who cares what the Tomboy developers think? May the better app win, I say.

    *disclaimer: I have no proof that either of these are true, but it seems likely. If not, then Tomboy ought to thrive and Gnote will probably not gain many users anyway.

  • Re:what a troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:01AM (#28335351) Homepage

    unlike Java, Mono is based on an open standard

    This is literally true, but very misleading. Microsoft has ECMA bless .NET from time to time. Java has the Java Community Process. Yeah, sure, ECMA calls itself a standards organization, and the Java Community Process doesn't. If you look back at the history of Java, its big selling point from the beginning was that it was cross-platform, Sun fought intensely to make sure that it didn't get turned into a nonstandardized mess by MS, and Oracle's reference implementation is GPL'd. Microsoft, on the other hand, has demonstrated with OOXML that they see standards bodies as things that they can cynically manipulate.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:11AM (#28335465)

    Sounds to me like the "no bugs have popped up yet, so there are no bugs in the program" logic fallacy.

    If one company of all has proven to follow the rule, that if they have some strange clause in the contract, and on asking about it, they say that it's just for safety and will never be used in reality, they intend to use it as early and as often as possible, then it's with no doubt Microsoft. (Health insurance companies would come to mind too.)

    I think, given the happenings of the past, it is far more likely, that as soon as Mono became an essential part of Gnome, so that to remove it, you would have to kill Gnome entierly, Microsoft will load its weapons. ;)

    Which means that soon, the argument of both troll teams (the pro-mono and the contra-mono side act very trollish, I must say), will be settley, and we can go back to VI vs Emacs. ;)

    On another note: What's the point of Gnome again, now that Qt/KDE is open sourced? (Remember how Gnome started because it was not.) ;)
    Oh well, I am always for more freedom (and more choice, if it helps freedom), so why not? :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:12AM (#28335473)

    Tomboy pulls in a lot of dependencies that aren't used by anything else in the default Gnome desktop on Debian. I have only an Ubuntu machine to check this against (which already has Tomboy installed by default), but it looks like it's going to drag in:

    Mono runtime, and basic libraries (mono-runtime, mono-2.0-runtime, mono-gac, mono-2.0-gac, mono-jit, mono-common, libmono-corlib2.0-cil, libmono-security2.0-cil)
    Mono's Gnome libraries (libgconf2.24-cil, libglib2.0-cil, libgmime2.2a-cil, libgnome-2.24-cil, libgnome-panel2.24-cil, libgtk2.0-cil, libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil, libmono-addins0.2-cil, libmono-cairo2.0-cil, libmono-posix2.0-cil, libmono-system2.0-cil, libndesk-dbus-glib1.0-cil, libndesk-dbus1.0-cil)

    On the positive side, that's not installing everything that's usually bundled with Mono (or with Microsoft's .NET Framework, come to think of it). Thanks to Debian's packaging of Mono, this is only installing the subset of the libraries than Tomboy actually needs, so it's nowhere near as bad as it could be.

    It's still a lot of packages to pull in just to support one application. Especially an application which has a native-code port with at least equal features (GNotes), and which most people will never use anyway.

  • by Maxwell42 (594898) <.olivier.jaquemet. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:13AM (#28335495)
    Did you read the title the gp was referring to ?

    Mono Squeezed Into Debian Default Installation

  • Re:What the F... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:16AM (#28335527)

    Of course, it's under GPL so Gnote is within it's rights, but there's a thing called professional courtesy and respecting a developer's wishes.

    If it runs faster and takes up less space*, who cares what the Tomboy developers think? May the better app win, I say.

    *disclaimer: I have no proof that either of these are true, but it seems likely. If not, then Tomboy ought to thrive and Gnote will probably not gain many users anyway.

    You are being too simplistic. Forks are more complicated than 'if Y is better than X then people will use Y and the world will be better'.

    Consider this, what's the sole motivation behind the development of Gnote? It is to remove the Mono dependency, that's all, there's nothing more to it. And the work is relatively easy because all the heavy lifting has already been done by the Tomboy developers.

    Say Gnote takes off and Tomboy dies, the motivation to improve Gnote is gone because the single goal of Gnote(i.e to kill Tomboy) has been achieved, and anyway, there is no more Tomboy to ripoff new ideas, code and GUI design from. Tomboy's developers are not happy with gnote now, so there's little chance they will jump ship to gnote.

    So there's more to this than survival of the fastest and slimmest.

  • FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gd2shoe (747932) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:21AM (#28335593) Journal

    This particular outburst of concern is FUD. Debian already has Mono in the "main" repository (as opposed to "contrib" or "non-free"). That alone is a statement that they are not worried about the "free-ness" of the package. Even if it will now be installed by default, it was already made available by default to every Debian installation. The difference is very superficial.

    If MS was going to go after them, they could have already. This changes nothing. (although this spat on /. might bring it to MS attention.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:36AM (#28335857)

    On another note: What's the point of Gnome again, now that Qt/KDE is open sourced? (Remember how Gnome started because it was not.) ;)

    Well that might have been the original reason, but it doesn't mean that once that reason is removed there's no purpose.

    Ubuntu's bug #1 is that microsoft have a monopoly. If microsoft closed it's doors you wouldn't say "Oh well that's that, let's stop this ubuntu thing.".

  • by Kz (4332) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:50AM (#28336067) Homepage
    For me at least, the problem is not that it's an MS-originated tech; but the fact that it's an MS-controlled tech.

    A small counterpoint: XMLHttpRequest, the base call behind al things AJAX, is MS-originated; but it has evolved from that, and it's a widely complied de-facto standard. In fact, IE8 accepts the non-MS variant.

    Mono, OTOH, is a great reimplementation of .NET/C#; but is in most aspects following the obvious leader, which is MS. Just read some of Miguel's blogs. He's perennially awed of each microsoft improvement, and rushes to copy it. He does it brilliantly, and I wouldn't be surprised if he does it better than MS; but he still follows, not leads.

    Recently, thought, Mono has gained a few improvements over .NET, such as static compiling (compile to static machine code that can run without the VM), and SIMD optimizations (to transparently use SSEx, big performance improvements on some kind of media-heavy loads). Let's hope him and his team well, so that Mono could start to erode .NETs dominance on windows too.

    Personally, not holding my breath, and I don't want Mono on my machines.
  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Monday June 15, 2009 @12:10PM (#28336367)

    Using GPL code on another GPL ported program (to another programming language) is a ripoff? and I am using Gnote 0.3.1 and it has Applet support, Gnote is being converted from C# to C++, and features and plugins are being ported one by one

    A line by line clone and completely identical GUI design to the pixel level and not respecting the developers wish can be called unethical even if it's legal under the GPL/LGPL. Most OSS developers won't mind some credit for their hard work. If Tomboy's developers do all the heavy lifting and Gnote just takes all of that and ports it line by line without adding any value except not having mono, that can be called a ripoff. Once Tomboy dies, Gnote might stagnate, because there is nothing more to ripoff and the single goal of Gnote(to remove Mono) has been achieved.

  • by robmv (855035) on Monday June 15, 2009 @12:26PM (#28336589)

    A line by line clone and completely identical GUI design to the pixel level and not respecting the developers wish can be called unethical even if it's legal under the GPL/LGPL. Most OSS developers won't mind some credit for their hard work. If Tomboy's developers do all the heavy lifting and Gnote just takes all of that and ports it line by line without adding any value except not having mono, that can be called a ripoff. Once Tomboy dies, Gnote might stagnate, because there is nothing more to ripoff and the single goal of Gnote(to remove Mono) has been achieved.

    You and the authors may not like it, but that is the power of free software, I wanted to remove Mono from my system, Gnote is the response from someone that just wanted it too, they took the code and ported it, it could be a port to Java to run on Android, or to Javascript to be run on a palm Pre, it is a port, that not only allows me to run it the way I want, but give the opportunity to use that software on more architectures than Mono currently runs.

    I have seen the same kind of ports many times, for example porting Hibernate and Ant from Java to .Net and nobody called those ripoffs, someone needed the port, someone did it. get over it

  • Re:what a troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Monday June 15, 2009 @12:26PM (#28336593)

    I know it is a bit old but, we'll file one once they publish which part they're going to patent

    The patent system doesn't work that way. Anything that they could possibly patent would have had to have been filed years ago and is publicly available now.

    Is it because .NET is a standard through an organized body? [ecma-international.org] Whereas, Java is basically a community process with Sun at the head of the community? [jcp.org]

    Yes. Sun, in fact, promised ISO, ANSI, and then ECMA standardization. They reneged on those promises because it forced them to open up the language too much, which tells you that the JCP is not a standards process. From a practical point of view, I think the JCP has pretty much destroyed Java.

    If this is your beef with Java then what exactly is different between how Java is made versus something like, Linux [lkml.org] or GNU HURD? [gnu.org]

    Linux and the Hurd are not standards, they are open source projects. Sun Java, likewise, isn't a standard, it's a dual-licensed project.

    Besides, what is all this seemingly bad blood between .NET and Java?

    I don't know about .NET, since I don't use it. I do use Mono. In any case, I really don't care whether people use Java, but Java is a good example to contrast with Mono because many people regard it as "open", yet it is far more encumbered than ECMA C# or Mono: Sun owns key parts of the Java specifications and they have numerous patents on core Java and the libraries. If that doesn't bother open source developers, why should using Mono bother any open source developer?

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Monday June 15, 2009 @12:44PM (#28336809)

    Fair enough, but there is 1 issue that I have with .NET and its the same issue I had with Java: lock-in.

    Remember the "100% pure Java" logos and disclaimers? The problem there is that they're telling you its ok to use Java, as long as you use Java too. You can do anything you want, as long as its written in Java. .NET is the same, though to be fair, the interop is better but I feel that is a legacy issue that MS will want to slowly use much less of, I see this already - if you write a GUI in .NET, WPF == .NET only, you'll find it difficult to do it using C++ only for example, and there is no code-behind in C++, only a .NET language. In other words, starting to write in .NET means to continue to write in .NET.

    With the native development tools, they all had a C interface to be compatibly with everything else - any library was designed to be used by anything you wanted, Python, Java, Perl all have bindings for C. But with .NET/Java, once you've written your library, its effectively only usable by other .NET/Java apps.

    I like interoperability. I like being able to reuse other people's hard work. I like free software.

    This also applies to server applications - if I want to run a web server, its fine - get mod_x going and I'm pretty much ready to go. If its a Java app, then suddenly I need to install tomcat or similar and get that whole application server framework running before I can run my little java app. I don't like this - all that overhead that doesn't need to be there, it offends my sensibilities as a professional programmer, as someone who takes the time to do things properly and efficiently. I'm sure I could slap together some managed app in no time, but it would never be satisfying to become a "VB Programmer". .NET is also an issue because MS doesn't have a good track record of playing nicely. If you take the devil's money, even with the best intentions, you'll still end up burnt.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m a i l.com> on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:10PM (#28337155)

    add-ons, by definition, are not part of the application.

    No, but the code that loads and runs the add-on is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:18PM (#28337257)

    *On another note: What's the point of Gnome again, now that Qt/KDE is open sourced?*

    To not be a cluttered piece of crap, which is KDE's job. See on UNIX, every program should do one thing and do it well.

  • by HermMunster (972336) on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:46PM (#28337633)

    What the hell is tomboy doing as a dependency in the first place? It's a totally unnecessary package which I have absolutely zero use for.

  • Re:FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LizardKing (5245) on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:49PM (#28337661)

    Evolution is written in C. It's another of Miguel's "abandoned" projects, as the man seems to be pathologically incapable of working on something until it's mature (see Gnumeric, the Bonobo component system for GNOME, Evolution).

  • Re:FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nicolas.kassis (875270) on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:56PM (#28337735)
    Don't knock him down for that, the guy is a hacker and he won't keep working on something if it becomes mundane and boring. I can understand that he likes to move on to new problems and work on them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:57PM (#28337761)

    Thing is, though, those nice UNIXy console programs often have a lot of optional parameters, because there are subtle details in doing something well. They are defaulted to sane values, because you don't usually need them, but when you do need them, it wouldn't be trivial to work around not having them.

    What you call clutter on KDE is what an advanced user can use to optimize their workflow. The problem with Gnome apps is that they toss all those advanced options away. Not just hide them in a "Here be dragons" advanced options menu with sane defaults, but totally removed. And that cuts badly into their usability relative to KDE apps once you're past the training wheels level of skill.

  • Re:What the F... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday June 15, 2009 @02:00PM (#28337815) Journal

    Consider this, what's the sole motivation behind the development of Gnote? It is to remove the Mono dependency, that's all, there's nothing more to it.

    Well, and what is wrong with that? If there is a demand to remove Mono dependency (and apparently there is), then the fork serves a useful purpose.

  • KDE and Gnome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tetsujin (103070) on Monday June 15, 2009 @02:07PM (#28337927) Homepage Journal

    *On another note: What's the point of Gnome again, now that Qt/KDE is open sourced?*

    To not be a cluttered piece of crap, which is KDE's job. See on UNIX, every program should do one thing and do it well.

    I've always thought KDE's applications were much better than OpenOffice - and Gnome doesn't seem to have any productivity applications at all...

    (I've run mostly KDE for a long time, though I have been running Gnome of late, on my new laptop - and I'm quite enjoying it...)

    I really strongly feel that Unix lacks the coherent infrastructure needed for this "each tool does one thing well" philosophy... If each tool does just one thing, then your ability to accomplish things strongly depends on how effectively and easily you can link multiple tools together... I feel like the old Unix tools philosophy has gone AWOL of late, and it's pretty much absent from the GUI space, where an individual application is usually written to handle all possible actions for an individual problem domain, and there's very little consideration made to linking these applications together...

  • Re:Frist (Score:3, Insightful)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Monday June 15, 2009 @02:07PM (#28337931)

    Samba and Mono are the only technologies you listed that are an exact protocol/format/etc. clone of Microsoft's technology. Samba doesn't provide the strategic usefulness that Mono could if used widely in OSS.

    There's a better alternative anyway: Java. Of which the official implementation is open source and the IP/Patents involved are legal for general use.

    Whereas Microsoft's last words on the subject of Mono were that it's "an unauthorized reverse engineering of Microsoft intellectual property."

  • by sjames (1099) on Monday June 15, 2009 @02:44PM (#28338387) Homepage

    When dependencies are included, the picture gets a little muddy, but in this case, it's reasonable to do so. Essentially, since a default desktop install will pull in all of mono ONLY to satisfy tomboy's dependencies, mono's size needs to be added to the effective weight.

    Things like glibc are not part of it's weight because it is used by a great many things by default and practically nothing can be installed without it.. Instead, glibc's weight is added to the weight of the minimum install.

    Put another way, the weights of dependencies are added to the topmost element required for a credible install of that feature. Mono's weight isn't added to Gnome since an install of Gnome without Tomboy is perfectly credible. In turn, the weight of Gnome isn't added to that of X because X without Gnome is also credible. Instead, the weight of the smallest useful window manager should be added to X since X with no window manager at all, while possible and even desirable for a few niche cases, isn't really credible for a typical use.

    Questions of exactly what is 'credible' is where the mud comes in.

  • by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Monday June 15, 2009 @03:21PM (#28339071) Homepage Journal

    We can't expect small, lean applications written in C# because of the language's design.

    Why not? What design feature stops this?

    C# is only good for writing code blazingly fast. Which is kind of silly to me, because as a semi-experienced programmer, I know that writing code is the easier part of software development.

    Indeed, you need readable, maintainable, performant code. Which is why I use C#. You were expecting perl maybe?

  • by kelnos (564113) <bjt23&cornell,edu> on Monday June 15, 2009 @04:31PM (#28340211) Homepage

    True, but lots of clones and forks do hurt a project.

    Too bad. Don't do things with your project that make too many people want to fork it, and you'll be fine. If a lot of forks appear, it just means you aren't fulfilling your users' needs. Which isn't even a bad thing! Forks are generally good, not bad.

    And in this case, your comment is a bit of a straw man -- as far as I can tell, Tomboy has one single fork/clone. Unless you're going to argue that *one* is "too many," I don't see how it's a problem...

  • by suffix tree monkey (1430749) on Monday June 15, 2009 @07:20PM (#28342139)

    What design feature stops that?

    Code size: Well, C# is a pretty verbose language, much like Java. Usually you need to write a lot of "wrapping-paper" code to do what you need the program to do. That helps when you prefer a lot of subprojects that should behave alike, but that's not what we like to do in UNIX (We like to stitch our system together with small applications that do their tasks and only their tasks well.).

    Application speed: Well, as far as I had the privilege of testing Mono/C#, it may perform as well as C in number-crunching, but its garbage collector slows things down sometimes (which is a design decision, and you can write code faster, I know, I know) and the I/O is also pretty slow compared to C/C++ (this I measured myself). By the way, parsing files (UNIX always was a text-processing OS) is a PITA to write in C# (unless you're using XML, but that's not how we roll in UNIX-land, most of the time).

    Indeed, you need readable, maintainable, performant code. Which is why I use C#. You were expecting perl maybe?

    I prefer readable, well-thought-out code. You get performance for free if you thought about it at the drawing board. Maintainability is hardly measurable. (I don't consider code bad if you need a "suffix tree monkey" to maintain it, cause the "code monkeys" are unable to.)

    PS: I'm sorry I haven't brought any verifiable data to the table, but I'm currently far too into theory to care about any of those :o) Everything above is my experience, YMMV.

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