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Richard Stallman Says No To Mono 1008

Posted by timothy
from the therefore-not-a-monomaniac dept.
twitter writes "There's been a lot of fuss about mono lately. After SCO and MS suing over FAT patents, you would think avoiding anything MS would be a matter of common sense. RMS now steps into the fray to warn against a serious mistake: 'Debian's decision to include Mono in the default installation, for the sake of Tomboy which is an application written in C#, leads the community in a risky direction. It is dangerous to depend on C#, so we need to discourage its use. .... This is not to say that implementing C# is a bad thing. ... [writing and using applications in mono] is taking a gratuitous risk.'" Update: 06/27 20:22 GMT by T : Read on below for one Mono-eschewing attempt at getting the (excellent) Tomboy's functionality, via a similar program called Gnote. Update: 06/27 21:07 GMT by T: On the other side of the coin, reader im_thatoneguy writes "Jo Shields, a Mono Developer, has published an article on 'Why Mono Doesn't Suck,' why it is not a threat to FOSS, why it is desirable to developers and why it should be included in Ubuntu by default."
LastGuyonEarth writes "Gnote was started on April 2009 by Gnome developer Hubert Figuiere, known also for his work on Abiword. The goal of Gnote is to provide a Free Software implementation of Tomboy that doesn't rely on Mono. The ultimate goal is to replace Tomboy in an effort to make Gnome and GNU/Linux distributions non-dependant on Novell's implementation of Microsoft's .NET platform. For our testing purposes, I installed Gnote 0.5.1 on Ubuntu Jaunty through a personal PPA, but I would love to see it officially packaged in the near future."
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Richard Stallman Says No To Mono

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  • by langelgjm (860756) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:39PM (#28496333) Journal
    Stallman also says no to web browsing. [lwn.net]
  • Manged Code (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yah ... om minus painter> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:39PM (#28496335) Homepage

    Just say no.

    I've been writing some winforms applications and all I've got to say is "no". As a long time Qt programmer, I found winforms initially familiar, but it's got a lot of quirks that drive me nuts.

    I'll stick with Qt on C++ thank you very much.

  • what part of mono? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:43PM (#28496363)

    What part of mono is he saying is dangerous?

    the language c#?

    the class library (API)?

    the intermediate byte code spec?

    All of the above? C'mon now. The pragmatic approach is to identify what parts of the mono project are supposedly at risk and figure out how to get around them. There are many languages that target mono. Not just C#. What about them? One could branch mono into a version that uses a completely different class lib (API) if that's the issue. One could rebuild the back end intermediate byte codes it uses to stay clear of patents if it were really necessary. All would cause pain, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Re:Java? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:07PM (#28496577)

    Licensing wise, Mono and Java are fine. However, the patent arsenal for Java has been approved for use by anyone. Microsoft has not done the same with .NET.

    Thus, using Mono you are in a very real situation involving IP litigation. With Java, Sun has publicly pledged anyone can use Java, so they'd be hard pressed to sue you for using it.

  • Re:Confused (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:30PM (#28496803)

    .Net is a large technology stack that is growing by leaps and bounds through the daily efforts of thousands of Microsoft engineers. The ECMA standard is a snapshot of a couple portions of that stack; it is already several years out of date. It is an "unequal standard" in the sense that Microsoft controls it; they control the vast majority of deployments to businesses and consumers, and they have the vast majority of personnel assigned to maintaining and upgrading it. Extensions to the standard most likely will fail in the marketplace unless they are backed by Microsoft (typically by having been originated by Microsoft).

    Now, it is true that other software companies can develop and sell applications based on .Net. But (as we've seen from the testimony and documents from the DOJ antitrust suit) as soon as any software company enjoys significant success, Microsoft sees them as a competitor, even as a threat - and Microsoft will use almost any means, fair or foul, to derail them and capture their market share. One weapon they have often used in the past was control over the Windows API (Win32 and DCOM/Active-X in the old days, those plus .Net today). These API are so vast that nobody can master them all, even if that were a full-time job (yes, I'm sure even top MS Press authors such as Jeff Richter or Charles Petzold would readily acknowledge that). How easy is it to slip in some API that are more robust and/or much better performing than the "tried and true" API used by competitor's applications. This is a game they played early and often all through the '90s (Andrew Schulman wrote a couple books about this, now out of print).

    BTW ECMA is Microsoft's favorite standards organization. Back in the '90s, when Java was a rising threat, Microsoft went to ECMA and had Active-X and DCOM certified as ECMA "standards". What a joke! Many of the key interfaces used by Active-X for Object Linking and Embedding made explicit reference to Win32 constructs such as Windows handles and handles to a Windows device context. There was one European company that tried to implement the "standard" on Unix, but they eventually gave up.

    And as C# and other framework languages, CLR, and especially the .Net framework libraries grow and evolve, leaving the ECMA standard in the dust, who can be sure that Windows-specific references will not creep in (if they haven't already), or that Microsoft will claim and enforce patent rights to some of it. Nobody can, that is the point Stallman (and others before him) is trying to make.

    I'm not saying I agree with his conclusion about not pre-installing Mono, but I would say that based on Microsoft's past history, he has a very valid point.

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:55PM (#28497035) Homepage

    No matter how you like to soften, it is the view of freedom, open source and it has been for ages.

    It is anarchy, anti big corporation, some sense of communism, fanaticism. Don't let corporate monkeys like Icaza or Novell fool you.

    A half ass fake C application and a clone of a clone of a framework has no place in Debian. It is not what Debian is. In fact, if this is the new policy of Debian, they should change the distro's name and allow people who understands what GNU/Linux is use the name.

    If it was any other distro, it wouldn't bother people that much. We speak about benchmark of free software. Debian is actually used as reference when people get confused about some weird license developer uses. ''Does Debian have it?'' is a very common question in scene.

  • by DerPflanz (525793) <bart@NOSpAm.friesoft.nl> on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:22PM (#28497289) Homepage

    Stallman also says no to web browsing.

    No he doesn't. As the linked post says, he doesn't browse the web for PERSONAL REASONS. That's a completely different thing than advocating against using software that is patent bait.

    Should the entire open source community follow a guy that does not use the web for personal reasons? Should we take him seriously still?

  • Re:"M$" (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:24PM (#28497315)

    So I'm curious as to what the big issue is. Whenever someone uses the derogatory "M$", we get someone complaining about it and the mods needed to bring it to attention. Why? What is so distracting about this behavior? Why is it such a motivator that we must have not only the original complain but a chain of posts that follow it?

    Does the derogatory term distract from the discussion? Does it rile up the Microsoft fans? Does it bring out the shills? What is the motivation?

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:37PM (#28497435) Homepage

    Thank God since nobody except some little fan gang of that guy cares about Mono enough to rely on it.

    Of course, if the real evil plan of getting it included like a trojan on a respected, definition of open source Linux distro like Debian works, things may change...

    Funny is, people not caring enough to figure Mono is nowhere near to be replacement/alternative to real Microsoft .NET. There isn't a single important application which exists both on Windows and Linux thanks to Mono. Oh some music player maybe? Well, for me, download.com top 10 matters. I always see Limewire, Vuze in top 10 lists since they are written in true multiplatform language which has feature and major version parity between all major operating systems one way or another.

    Mono is more like gcj I would say but gcj can actually run pretty modern Java code with all the GUI tricks if needed and it runs even faster. Can you picture MS allowing their multi billion dollar clone framework to perform better on a free operating system? I wished MS really changed their attitude and for example, release IE for Linux which would exist thanks to Mono and save millions of people from virtual machines. If this sounds funny to you, tens of nerds trying to catch a moving multi billion dollar target from a convicted monopolist looks funnier to me.

  • i'm not going to take his opinion on web-related technologies seriously.

    Tomboy has nothing to do with web-related technologies. Now that we've cleared THAT up, will you take him seriously?

    He's not a saint, but sometimes he gets it right. Mono is one of those times - a lot of us have been saying it's a mistake - even those of us who use the web via multiple browsers!

  • Re:easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clintp (5169) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:05PM (#28497723)

    RMS has always had a case of monomania [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:MS not M$ (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:39PM (#28497993)

    i like it this way.

    i came to slashdot and idiot mcse, not a paper one mind you, i had 30 servers in a data center.

    it wasn't till i left that world and stepped into the world of unix/linux/bsd that i started seeing things through the developers eyes.

    i also like the engineering aspect to this new world.

    the old world had very little engineering to it. in fact it was getting dumbed down to the point that monkeys could do it. and management liked it that way.

    i still carry my mcse card with me.

    the man with experience always trumps the man without. i've used a multitude of platforms, and indeed still find a role for windows...just a minor one.

    and when i get some jackass who wants to debate operating systems and platforms who has never written a shell script or programmed a lick of C, or used ANY linux/unix/bsd

    after throughly crushing them with knowledge on a variety of operating systems including dos, wfw31, win95, winnt31, nt4, win2k, xp, slackware, centos, ubuntu, os7-os9 and osX, freebsd

    i then show them my mcse card and ask them if they have any more questions.

  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @05:56PM (#28498147) Homepage

    Does he even know who Knuth is? Or that entire generation is?

    I am sure Steve Jobs and even retired Bill Gates doesn't have time to browse the junk he browses (and calls web) for hours.

  • Hey Miguel (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:34PM (#28498425)

    I'm calling you out. Right now.

    We know you're on Slashdot, so don't be a coward.

    Tell us how you know that Mono doesn't infringe on Microsoft's patents. Tell us how Moonlight doesn't infringe on Microsoft patents. Clear this stuff up.

    Unless you and Novell answer this, without weasel words Mono and Moonlight and everything else you contribute to GNU/Linux based on Microsoft tech will be suspect.

    Thanks.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:MS not M$ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RedWizzard (192002) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @08:20PM (#28499133)

    I didn't catch that in the original submission; thanks for seeing it.

    Good job. The word "Twitter" should have been a sign to look for trouble. You've been here how long?

    You might have had a point if twitter [slashdot.org] hadn't created that username about eight years before Twitter [twitter.com] appeared.

  • Re:Not true. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grege1 (1065244) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @08:46PM (#28499329)
    However there is a proposal to make mono part of the default installation of both Debian and Ubuntu in their next releases. Debian's next stable release will be a lot further into the future than Ubuntu's next release, at least allowing Debian time to have a serious debate on the matter.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @12:32AM (#28500981) Journal

    Microsoft goes out of their way to make their .NET libraries skip 10% of what a typical developer actually requires.

    To my eyes, there are deliberate looking 'holes' in the API. If you Google for a solution, lots of helpful web pages explain how to do native Win32 interop. Some of these come from Microsoft themselves. Seems helpful, right? Except that if they know that there's a problem, and they know that enough developers are experiencing it that they need to put up a technet article about it, then why isn't it already solved in the standard library? It's up to version 3.5 now, surely, they've had the time!

    For the most part, I've had the experiences that you describe when using Windows Forms. That API is fairly clearly Win32-centric, and always had been (heck, its Control class has a WndProc [microsoft.com] method!) - which isn't surprising to anyone who has seen J++ and Windows Foundation Classes [microsoft.com] before, since WinForms is really in many ways WFC ported to C#.

    However, it's a very different story for WPF. WPF doesn't deal in, or leak, Win32 abstractions - it's a much higher level framework, which does all rendering, layout etc itself - like Qt - so it is much less likely that you're ever going to need Win32 interop in a WPF app.

    Well, not quite - you may still need it, but only if you want to do deep OS integration - i.e., if you want to deal with concepts that are OS-specific (like, say, the new Win7 taskbar). Even then, it's the same scenarios that you typically cannot do in Java+Swing at all, or can only do using JNI.

    So WPF, in theory, is very much a cross-platform toolkit by design. If Mono would implement it, it would make writing cross-platform CLR applications so much easier. Which is why I'm surprised there are no plans to support it. Yes, it is large and fairly complicated to implement, compared to most .NET APIs - but it would be well worth it...

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @12:57AM (#28501153) Homepage

    No, Richard Stallman was always very concerned with NOT violating patents

    And that's a good idea. Luckily, as far as I can tell, there aren't any patents filed against .NET (if there were, I'm sure someone in this debate would've posted links... in this case, I'd say absence of evidence is evidence of absence), and given large portions of .NET are now published as standards, there *can't be*.

  • by Concern (819622) * on Sunday June 28, 2009 @02:21AM (#28501493) Journal

    Oh you lovable scamp. Indeed he did not invent the internet - which is why I did not say he did. :)

    The software he personally wrote is also unimportant - which is why I didn't mention it.

    But... this doesn't have much to do with the internet?

    You have to introduce me to your dealer. :D

    You can't go 5 seconds on the net without hitting free software. How many webservers run linux? How many routers, firewalls, and load balancers, for that matter?

    Your first google search... bzzt. Google uses free software heavily.

    The top 10 websites by traffic? Guess how many use GPL software in the stack. Just guess. Come on. Show of hands, who uses MySQL? Heck, for the new fangled folks, who uses Ruby on Rails?

    This goes beyond the internet, man. The goddamned NSA uses Linux. Yes. RMS' work has contributed to the safety and security of the United States, FWIW. :)

    You should take another look at what the FSF has in their directory. Just, give the page a while to load, OK? It's big.

    http://directory.fsf.org/all/ [fsf.org]

    Emacs? Screw Emacs! What would the world be like with GCC? Without glibc? What about if Perl just disappeared? What if wikipedia and all the sites based on mediawiki disappeared? And over half of sourceforge? And on and on and on...

    And the funny thing is, the individual projects and products are almost beside the point.

    What would the world be like if we didn't have the collaboration that happens in free software projects? We can't even count how many technical achievements were only possible this way, when everyone feels safe contributing, knowing that their work will not be taken and exploited by others who will not give back to the community.

    Why is it that virtually none of the proprietary unices still survive? Why is it that BSD's marketshare is miniscule compared to Linux?

    I'll give you a hint, it's not because of whose command line argument styles were better and it's not Linus' winning personality. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:27AM (#28502569)

    If you do not like the mean bad old boss or I.T. department mendling on the systems you use at work then buy your own computer.

    You lack the historical context. At the time the quote was written, and for many years afterwards, the MIT systems that RMS was most associated with ran completely "open" anyone could log in (initially from just the MIT campus and but ultimately from anywhere on the internet). ... It was a sort of garden of eden and that quote reflects the innocence of that time and place.

    Mm.. you got me thinking about my early days on the internet (circa 1983). Guest accounts were abundant (the MIT one was called testuser), and machines were quite open. A vax at the local state university didn't even have a password for root. You're right about it being a garden of Eden. I have fond memories of that era of the Internet.

    captcha: angelic

  • Re:"M$" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday June 28, 2009 @02:41PM (#28505889) Journal

    Uuhhhhh....how many times have you heard the expression "first impressions count"? Do you think I made that expression up? And I never used that "LOL" BS. I said that the Kubuntu theme is quite nice and pleasing to the eye, the Win7 and OSX themes are quite pleasing and eye catching, and the default Ubuntu theme looks like....well either dirt or poo, your call on that one.

    You can't honestly tell me that with all the talented graphic artists that use FLOSS that is the best they could come up with. Look at screenshots of Kubuntu VS Win7 VS OSX VS Ubuntu and I'm sorry, but I seriously doubt you would find any average Joe that would pick Ubuntu as the best looking, or even give it a second glance.

    Remember, we are talking about a product you need to sell to the masses here. They don't give a flying fart about your security model, just ask MSFT about trying to sell Vista on security. They care about looks and performance. You already have the performance down, why would you want to hamstring yourself with the looks? That just doesn't make any sense, and I have even seen developers from Canonical saying that the human theme is "an acquired taste" which of course we all know is a nice way of saying "it's kind of ugly but you get used to it". And don't forget the average Joe sticks with the defaults, so if your default is ugly he will just move on, as he has NO desire to tweak. Just look at how many themes and hacked MSStyles there are for WinXP, and I don't remember seeing a single one in the wild. Folks just stick with whatever it comes with by default and the default Ubuntu theme just isn't as nice as the competition.

    It also doesn't change the fact that "LOL" speak instantly has you labeled a douche no matter how good a point you have. I think I have just demonstrated that I do have a point on the human theme, and I did so without having to resort to "LOL Unbongo" crap. See how easy that was?

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