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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 ionix5891 (1228718) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:34PM (#28496269)

    rename it to GNU/Mono

    • Stallman also says no to web browsing. [lwn.net]
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:08PM (#28496583)

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bonch (38532)

          "Personal reasons" = he's a kook.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228)

            No Shit. And the guy just gets fricking weirder and weirder as the years roll on. By now I'm sure everyone has seen him eating toe cheese [youtube.com] on stage, and THIS is the guy you want to listen to on the direction of Linux? Really?

            If there has to be a guy at the head, like Bill or Jobs, then let it be Linus. He always seems to have a smart answer and a good head on his shoulders. With RMS, hell MSFT couldn't ask for a better spokesman. If I worked marketing in MSFT I would just make a clip showing Gates or Ballmer

      • Why GNU su does not support the wheel group (by Richard Stallman)

        Sometimes a few of the users try to hold total power over all the rest. For example, in 1984, a few users at the MIT AI lab decided to seize power by changing the operator password on the Twenex system and keep- ing it secret from everyone else. (I was able to thwart this coup and give power back to the users by patching the kernel, but I wouldn't know how to do that in Unix.)

        However, occasionally the rulers do tell someone. Under

      • by Concern (819622) * on Saturday June 27, 2009 @10:29PM (#28500129) Journal

        The man basically made a lot of the internet and the modern computing experience possible. His foundation is responsible for some of the most vital, widely used, and essential software in use today.

        And yet whenever he opens his mouth, cue the ad hominem attacks. They come hard and fast. Ignore what he said. Just question his character - change the subject, pick apart some wacky thing from his life. That should settle the matter.

        Do you only converse with people who are absolutely normal, totally conventional, and who never make any mistakes in anything they have ever said? Because that's the only way you can bring this stuff up and be intellectually consistent.

        And what's worse, this is not the ESPN forums. We're supposed to be nerds here. The man can't be weird and still be right?

  • MS not M$ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basementman (1475159) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:35PM (#28496279) Homepage
    WTF is up with these editorialized summaries. The abbreviation is MS, or Microsoft if you prefer the long hand. Let people form their own opinion without stupid name calling.
    • Re:MS not M$ (Score:4, Informative)

      by timothy (36799) Works for Slashdot on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:11PM (#28496617) Homepage Journal

      You're right.

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

      timothy

  • by doas777 (1138627) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:35PM (#28496297)
    he can't make us call it "gnu-mono", so it must be bad.
  • by eyepeepackets (33477) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:37PM (#28496315)

    It's absurd that Stallman has to actually issue this warning considering Microsoft's history of behavior not only with competition but with their business associates as well. Anyone who has been both alive and conscious these past twenty-five years knows forming any sort of relationship with Microsoft, either directly or indirectly, customer or partner, is just asking for a raping.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by saleenS281 (859657)
      Funny, we've been a customer of Microsoft's for 20 years and have yet to experience this "raping" you speak of. I know it's all sorts of fun and games to bash MS on slashdot, but seriously? Comparing them to rape? Grow up.
      • by weav (158099) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:08PM (#28496581)

        Ask Spyglass, the company from which MS "licensed" what became MSIE, whether they felt raped when MS started giving away MSIE thus rendering the royalties to Spyglass $0.00 (plus the minumum quarterly fee)...

        Maybe as a customer you haven't had anything to rape you for aside from license fees for products. If you were a developer / business partner, I suspect you would say differently.

      • by aztektum (170569) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:11PM (#28496627)

        Rape doesn't simply mean forced sexual intercourse. As a verb... well...

        Verb

        Infinitive
        to rape

        Third person singular
        rapes

        Simple past
        raped

        Past participle
        raped

        Present participle
        raping

        to rape (third-person singular simple present rapes, present participle raping, simple past and past participle raped)

              1. To force sexual intercourse or other sexual activity upon another person, without their consent.
              2. To abuse an object in an extreme manner.

                            The loggers raped the virgin forest

              3. (slang) To dominate in a contest.

                            My experienced opponent will rape me at chess.

        I'd say they have abused their dominance in the tech world to the extreme more than once.

      • by myxiplx (906307) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:31PM (#28496811)

        20 years? How many examples do you want:

        - illegally burying Lotus 123, and replacing it with an inferior product
        - illegally killing stacker, and replacing it with the inferior doublespace
        - buying winternals, and burying one of the most promising security tools for XP I'd ever seen
        - illegally forcing their browser onto the market, creating some of the biggest security headaches IT admins have ever seen
        - changing file formats with every release for no reason other than to force companies to upgrade Office

        I'm a big user of Microsoft software, but I'm under no illusions as to their business practices, motivations, or horrendous track record when it comes to security and interoperability.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:15PM (#28497219)

          Most of those are bogus:

          Microsoft didn't bury Lotus 123, Lotus shot themselves in the foot, then the head, and then the foot again. They then proceeded to walk off a cliff. They bet on OS/2 (which failed), and delivered a product for windows extremely late, that was buggy and not even close to what excel was delivering. They then attempted to do a rewrite for years that they never delivered, and then finally produced lotus symphony which was crap. Not until 1998 when they released SmartSuite 9.0 did they have anything that came close to competing with Excel. To say Microsoft killed lotus 1-2-3 is a joke. They killed themselves -- repeatedly.

          Stacker? Stacker was simply a one trick pony that couldn't deliver a second product, and unfortunately their first product only had a short lifetime. Developing a product that only worked on MS-DOS 6.0 when windows was just taking off only left them a very short window. Their second product ReachOut wasn't accepted very well, especially when there were other products already on the market that did that, and more (pcAnywhere, etc). In the end, they walked away with both a good chunk of money, their own software sales, AND $5.50 for each and every copy of MS-DOS 6.0 that was sold. That's a pretty sweet deal considering it was also $25 million PER EMPLOYEE.

          Winternals is still updated regularly.

          The rest is your opinion, which I don't share. I appreciate my HTTP explorer built into my OS, just like I appreciate my FTP explorer, FAT/NTFS explorer, network exporer, picture viewer, sound/music player, calculator, and simplistic notepad, paint, and a graphical UI. Only those people with an axe to grind or a software suite to push think otherwise. These things are in almost every OS built today, and have been for a very long time (before Microsoft).

      • by tukang (1209392) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:37PM (#28496879)
        Funny, we've been a customer of Microsoft's for 20 years and have yet to experience this "raping" you speak of

        Are you sure you're not suffering from stockholm syndrome?

        • The fantasist (Score:3, Insightful)

          by westlake (615356)

          Are you sure you're not suffering from stockholm syndrome?

          Microsoft offers a bundle of products and services which have become the de facto global standard for office work.

          That solves many problems for your employer.

          He can open an office anywhere south of the Arctic Circle - an office of any size - with perfect confidence that an MS Office solution will scale to his needs and that local recruitment and training will present no particular difficulty.

          It is rather typical of the geek to focus on something l

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by schon (31600)

            Microsoft offers a bundle of products and services which have become the de facto global standard for office work.
            That solves many problems for your employer.

            No, it doesn't. It might, if the file formats weren't changed on each version solely to fuck all of their customers.

            He can open an office anywhere south of the Arctic Circle - an office of any size - with perfect confidence that an MS Office solution will scale to his needs and that local recruitment and training will present no particular difficulty.

            Only if the version he's using is the same as the version used in all of the other locations. Otherwise, he gets on the upgrade treadmill, and *everybody* gets fucked.

            It is rather typical of the geek to focus on something like the "openness" of a file format - and miss the significance of The Ribbon.

            Au contraire, it's rather typical of the MS shill/apologist to invent scenarios that don't actually happen in an attempt to claim that MS is a good solution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by StormReaver (59959)

        > Funny, we've been a customer of Microsoft's for 20 years and have yet to experience this "raping" you speak of.

        Everything is fine if you're in lock-step with Microsoft's business plans. But try getting out from underneath Microsoft's thumb, and you'll start to understand.

  • Manged Code (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> 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.

  • Yes to Mono! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by burisch_research (1095299) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:41PM (#28496345)
    I'm a C# [doze] developer, but I'm with the Linux/GNU crowd when it comes to FOSS ideologies. Installing mono by default on all Linuxes I think is a great idea, because it gives me the opportunity to port my apps painlessly to the widest possible audience! This includes mac.
    • Re:Yes to Mono! (Score:4, Informative)

      by IRWolfie- (1148617) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:57PM (#28496469)
      but as stallman was saying: there is still the risk if people starting writing new apps in C# that there will be a big dependency on it which could be crippling if removed a time later
    • Re:Yes to Mono! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @04:00PM (#28497075)

      Do you remember WISE? Windows Interface Source Environment. A program that purportedly allowed developers to write software to Windows APIs and run the resulting programs on Macintosh and UNIX systems. It was issued in 1994. By 1996 Microsoft had captured a large share of the corporate market and has proceeded to the next step: Microsoft has extended the Windows API without copying its changes to the WISE program. This meant that developers could no longer smoothly port applications to UNIX and
      Macintosh. In public, however, Microsoft continued to lead developers into believing that this software was still fully cross-platform. In 1997, Bill Gates noted in an internal email that those developers who wrote applications for the then-available software without realizing that it would not port all APIs to UNIX and Macintosh were "just fucked."

  • by nateman1352 (971364) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:42PM (#28496361)
    Microsoft sueing the mono project and forcing it underground through software patents would be an enormous shoot to the foot. Mono does nothing more and proliferate the .NET platform, often at the expense of Java. The thing that Microsoft likes so much about .NET is that while mono and Portable.NET provide a way to make true cross platform apps, there are many, many Microsoft specific extensions to the core, which makes it very easy to make a .NET app that is not portable. In the late 90s Java was the same way thanks to Microsoft's JVM with builtin COM support, and various other Microsoft technologies. The Java of today however is designed in such a way that it is difficult to make a Java app that is not cross platform, which is why that hate it so much. Mono makes .NET exactly what Microsoft wants it to be, technically open yet easily locked to thier platform.
  • by coryking (104614) * on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:43PM (#28496365) Homepage Journal

    In short:

    Microsoft is evil and is "probably" planning to kill every independent implementation of C#. We have no proof of this, but you have to trust us.

    Also... use our C# implementation "DotGNU Portable.NET" instead [gnu.org]. We are immune to everything I just said in the article and I won't bother you with why.

    In otherwords, I'm confused. Does he like C# or not? If he doesn't, why does the FSF have their own .NET implementation? What makes theirs so special?

    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:12PM (#28496633) Homepage
      As he explained, a C# implementation is useful in that it lets you run C# code that already exists, on non-Windows OSes. That is a good thing, and that is why he says he has no problem with the implementations. But, he says, writing our own apps in C# is a bad idea.

      Feel free to disagree with him, but I thought the distinction between the C# implementation and the act of writing apps in C# makes a lot of sense.
  • Confused (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wampus (1932) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:44PM (#28496373)

    Mono is a cleanroom implementation of the CLR as specified by EMCA and .Net libraries, right? What exactly do you risk by using it?

    • Re:Confused (Score:5, Informative)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:04PM (#28496545)

      Mono is a cleanroom implementation of the CLR as specified by EMCA and .Net libraries, right? What exactly do you risk by using it?

      Submarine patents for one. Investment of effort into technologies where MS can break compatibility for two. Buying into standards MS has too much influence on is simply asking for them to use that influence to hurt you at a later date. After the 20th or 30th such instance you'd think people would learn to be a little less shortsighted.

    • Re:Confused (Score:5, Informative)

      by binarylarry (1338699) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:05PM (#28496549)

      Being owned in court by Microsoft due to patent infringement.

      Or more likely, losing customers because mid development cycle Microsoft starts threatening to sue companies using Mono, as it infringes their patents.

      They've rattled this sabre before.

  • by jjb3rd (1138577) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:47PM (#28496399)
    Mono is a free (GPL) reimplementation of commercial software. Isn't that how GNU got started in the first place? Didn't Stallman and friends reimplement the commercial Unix libraries as free (GPL) software? Wasn't he potentially violating patents? Why was it okay then when it's Unix, but not okay now when the technology came from Microsoft? Do the commercial Unix vendors holding those patents behave any differently than Microsoft (ahem SCO)? Mono is 2 generations behind Microsoft, yet has a pretty good stable offering and makes a very nice easy path for the majority of all developers in the world (WINDOWS Developers) to make the transition to Linux and GNU...this isn't something Stallman should be against, IMHO.
  • by Vahokif (1292866) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @02:54PM (#28496451)
    GNU and GCC are just as much open source implementations of proprietary technology from convicted monopolists as Mono is. QFT [apebox.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wampus (1932)

      How is this a troll? C and UNIX were both developed by an even bigger, eviler company than MS could ever hope to be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > GNU and GCC are just as much open source implementations of proprietary technology...

      A couple of important differences.

      1. The patents have long since expired on the core ideas in UNIX. we are rapidly approaching the point where Linux has existed longer than a US patent is allowed to exist and BSD embodies almost all of the user visible APIs and goes back even longer.

      2. C is an ANSI Standard that again is older than any patent could threaten from. C++ is more recent but was developed by real standar

  • Love him or hate him, but at least listen to what he is actually saying.

    1. He isn't saying that he doesn't "like" C#
    2. He isn't saying that he is "against" C#
    3. He isn't saying that Portable.NET is "better" than Mono
    4. He isn't saying that "just because" it's .NET, it must be teh 3vil

    All he is saying is that Microsoft has already publicly claimed [cnn.com] that Linux violates a couple hundred MS patents. Recently, Microsoft invoked the Linux angle in a patent suit [cnet.com] it filed against Tom Tom.

    Therefore, he says, it should be obvious to all that MS intends to enforce its patents. So, the more one uses software based on MS technologies, the more likely it is that you may be impacted by a suit in the future. He calls this a "gratuitous" risk.

    Or, in his words:

    The problem is not in the C# implementations, but rather in Tomboy and other applications written in C#. If we lose the use of C#, we will lose them too. That doesn't make them unethical, but it means that writing them and using them is taking a gratuitous risk.

  • Not true. (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:13PM (#28496645) Homepage

    > "Debian's decision to include Mono in the default installation..."

    Mono is not included in the Debian "default installation". It is merely pulled in by one of the several "tasks" that the user may (or may not) choose to select. The Debian "default installation" -- all pacakges of "standard" or higher priority -- does not even include X.

  • For *Tomboy*? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Grendel Drago (41496) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @03:28PM (#28496779) Homepage

    Oh, hell. Isn't anyone concerned that this is all for Tomboy, an app which is frequently so sluggish as to be completely unusable? Remind me why we're not all simply using Gnote?

  • 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

  • by Phatmanotoo (719777) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @06:40PM (#28498469)

    Any competent and well-informed programmer knows that the openness of C#/.NET is a total sham. Sure the core is open, but there's so many Windows-only extensions that it's virtually impossible to make cross-platform apps. Plus the fact that the Mono implementation is always waay behind Microsoft's.

    But MS has been very clever. They know that it's only technical people who can see this; the rest will just get the subliminal message that ".NET is now also cross-platform, just as Java".

    This is the real damage of Mono. Its existence provides the right excuse for PHB and clueless tech decision-makers to sway the decision towards .NET instead of Java, because, "hey, Microsoft is also cross-platform now".

  • The dotGNU strategy (Score:3, Informative)

    by extrasolar (28341) on Saturday June 27, 2009 @07:29PM (#28498829) Homepage Journal

    For those of you saying that RMS is being hypocritical with the Portable.Net project, you should read this first:

    Don't get caught in .NET [gnu.org]

    With all the RMS-bashing that slashdot has turned into lately, you'd wonder what the point is in providing arguments for your position.

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