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Debian Software Linux

Mono Squeezed Into Debian Default Installation 503

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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  • Frist (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:30AM (#28334331) Homepage Journal
    TFA: "However, Microsoft says clearly that only Novell can supply Moonlight to end-users:".

    Rolling Mono (note: Mono != Moonlight) into Debian would be beneficial for both Debian and Microsoft. I don't believe that Microsoft will take legal action against Debian or Miguel, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least considering Microsoft's recent suicidal business divisions.
  • Re:Frist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:43AM (#28334461)

    It seems to me that, even if Microsoft threw a fit, the worst case scenario would be that they have to pull the package out of the releases.

    I suppose it might be a bigger deal for Canonical, but even the craziest judge isn't going to impose some ridiculous punishment for actions they take on good faith.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:45AM (#28334485)

    Sorry, but you are wrong. The default install nowadays includes everything, including Gnome, and you need to go into super duper expert mode to get debian-base.
    This means Tomboy and Mono will squeeze into default Debian installs as soon as the current unstable hits release in 2020 or so.

  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:52AM (#28334537) Journal
    Is TomBoy built upon Mono? I've used it - it's a terrible unusable bit of software that acts entirely counter-intuitively for taking notes, with a GUI that is neither compact or usable for managing the notes.

    Someone could rewrite it in native GTK/Gnome/SQLite in a few days I'm sure.

    Seriously, the old "note dock" applet for WindowMaker was better, and that was 12 years ago.
  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:52AM (#28334539) Homepage Journal
    Did you read their patent claim? If you closed your eyes, had someone else read it to you, and you had no idea the company of which it came from, you would swear it was a Sun patent on Java/SOAP.
  • Re:Yessss (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:58AM (#28334591)

    Open and Closed source worlds are not exclusive and can happily co-exist with each other.

    You mean a closed source browser can access an open source web server (or vice versa)? Sure. No one in the FSF is trying to prevent that, as far as I know. But if Microsoft decides to use its patent portfolio to pull the plug on Mono then there's a problem for all of us. Looks like the "stallmanists" might be on to something after all! Like it or not, you can't guarantee that Mono will still be legal next year.

  • that's irrelevant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jipn4 ( 1367823 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:15AM (#28334777)

    Even though Microsoft submitted the CLI and C# main components of .NET, MIcrosoft does hold at least one patent on the .NET infrastructure.

    First of all, they "don't hold a patent", they have filed a patent application. Whether that application gets granted remains to be seen, and even if it does, it's unclear what such a patent actually would cover or whether it could be enforced.

    Furthermore, even if the patent were valid and enforceable, it is irrelevant as far as Tomboy is concerned, since Tomboy and most other Mono desktop applications don't use the ".NET infrastructure", they use ECMA C# libraries and standard Linux libraries.

    Were I a Debian leader, I would simply approach Microsoft with the Mono code and the ECMA code of conduct and demand it in writing that for this snapshot of the code you have a forever royalty free

    What's there to put in writing? You might as well demand Microsoft to put in writing that GNU C++, the Linux kernel, and Python are forever free from Microsoft royalties.

  • Re:Yessss (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:21AM (#28334849)

    Yes, Mono probably has "patents" against it.

    So does every fricking application on the planet. 3D graphics? Patented. One click to buy? Patented. What's the bet that Microsoft has patents on half the Linux kernal?

    Can't they just do what every other free software project does, and just ignore the bloody things?

    Microsoft might sue, but they will probably just laugh. Nobody is going to re-implement the entire .net framework (including all the quirks of Microsoft's database layer, file system behavior, etc). Just look at the difficulties in getting data out of MySQL and PostGres in a sane way! Once you target a specific platform (i.e. the entire Microsoft stack) it's very hard to replicate.

  • Re:Frist (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eugene2k ( 1213062 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:46AM (#28335157) Homepage

    The biggest problem with this is that if mono is installed by default on systems that makes it more acceptable for ISVs to write their software for Mono/.NET which will hurt the (Debian or any other) platform if Microsoft suddenly decides to sue and Mono has to be removed.

  • by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:46AM (#28335161)
    But wasn't the GNOME project founded because KDE depends on Qt, which is not adequately "free?"

    If that's true, could someone explain to me how MS.NET is "more free" than Qt?

  • Re:Frist (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:20AM (#28335579)

    The biggest problem with this is that if mono is installed by default on systems that makes it more acceptable for ISVs to write their software for Mono/.NET which will hurt the (Debian or any other) platform if Microsoft suddenly decides to sue and Mono has to be removed.

    That would not hurt Debian very much, because Debian is really big and doing .NET stuff isn't a significant activity for Debian users... For example, currently the sum of .net use is a 50 meg "notepad" application, I think Debian will survive if that has to be removed.

    If it were removed, the ISVs that relied on it would be toast. From their perspective, not much has really changed, other than, possibly, temporarily, future Debian machines might have some version of mono/.net installed.

  • Let's compare bloat! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:26AM (#28335679)

    Since .NET is an entire platform "just like Java", let's compare their bloat.
    The latest version of the Java runtime [] is 15.50 MB big. And it will run apps written for *any* version of Java.
    The latest version of the .NET framework [] is 231 MB big. And it will only run apps written for that version, requiring the "side by side" installation of other runtimes for other versions.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:28AM (#28335721) Journal

    Gnote is not just a "re-implementation" of Tomboy, it's a line by line ripoff of Tomboy's C# code to C++ and GUI design. See [] screenshots. And the developers of Tomboy are not happy.

    If they didn't want people creating derivative works of their software, they shouldn't have released it as LGPL.

  • by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:55AM (#28336139)
    Read the detail at the bottom behind the claims they're making. It becomes clear that they are ring-fencing certain APIs in any CLR compatible implementation mainly to do with web services but also APIs that seem to be essential to get a working CLR, but are not in the ECMA specifications. Implement ECMA and you basically have something akin to Rotor, which does pretty much nothing.
  • by julian67 ( 1022593 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:44PM (#28337617)

    Free software relies on all kinds of sources. The GNU system itself was/is a re-implementation of UNIX. Many of the languages used started off as proprietary. There's nothing new in this. Where is the campaign to purge Fortran or Pascal from the free software opus? Why no campaign against Samba and the use of the SMB protocol? Why is nobody outraged at DotGNU? Where are the calls to cease supporting .avi container and other MS developments?

    Essentially this hatred of mono is about its origin not its qualities or legal status. That is Microsoft in the first instance and then it's a continuation of long standing and often vitriolic personal attacks on M de Icaza which gained added impetus and some spice with Novell's deal with MS.

    It's hard to debate with people when their fundamental position is composed essentially of hatred, fear and dislike of persons or groups. Where is the factual basis? Where is the ability to consider anything useful when hate or fear is the driving force? This is religion by another name, it cannot be reasoned with, it is impervious to contradictory verifiable fact, it allows no deviation.

    I find it curious that one of the people who might agree quite strongly with the botycottnovell stance is a certain Mr S. Ballmer. He's known to have a similar affable nature and often makes the startlingly similar assertions regarding patents and free software.

    boycottnovell couldn't be doing a better job if they were a paid Microsoft stooge.....

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Monday June 15, 2009 @03:31PM (#28339267)

    > Actually, all of those are very useful,....

    No, they might be useful someday. Today they are all semi-stable and almost totally undocumented black boxes that upend forty years of UNIX/POSIX tradition yet were pushed into production in this insane quest to be a better Windows than Windows and thus somehow bring about the Year of Linux on the Desktop.

    So while all of the old understood ways of configuring a system have been tossed into the trash, the new replacements aren't ready for prime time. By ready I mean 'just works' at least 99% of the time and has clear documentation to permit a skilled UNIX admin to fix that last 1%.

    Example: The hpt_37x driver has been broken[1] (massive data corruption) in Fedora's kernels since at least F8 and probably earlier. With a few tweaks the open source driver at Highpoint's website can be built and works. Your mission, get F11 to use it. I finally this did it this morning by editing /etc/sysconfig/mkinitrd and having it force the driver to load in the initrd phase before the *Kit bullcrap gets a chance to start.

    [1] It isn't Fedora's fault. Kernel mailing list traffic shows a problem that has been fixed, regressed and fixed yet again, rinse and repeat a time or two. From what I can tell 2.6.30 may finally have it fixed but F11 shipped with 2.6.29.

  • by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @07:13PM (#28342075)

    Where do you get 231MB? That's the size of the full "redistributable" installer, including compilers, debugging tools, debug versions, etc. The actual size of the 2.0 runtime is 22.4MB []

    That's not 3.5, but 3.5 is a superset of 2.0, which is basically adding on stuff that the basic JRE doesn't have anyways like Workflow and WPF.

    Also, why is it that Java also creates side by side installations? I have something like 15 Java versions installed because each update installs a new version. Each Java folder is about 90MB, which means it's taking up about 1.35GB.

    And you are wrong. The latest version, 3.5 SP1 will run 100% of apps from 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, and about 99% of 1.1 and 1.0 apps. Side by side installations are not required except for a very tiny fraction of 1.1 and 1.0 apps that had a breaking change occur.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.