Dousing the Mono Flames

The Free Software community is up in the arms and split into two factions on whether Mono is polluting the ecosystem? The discussions are endless and there is no hope that it will ever subside. I have been following ubuntu-devel-discuss and the topic “shameful censoring of mono opposition” has got the attention of nearly everyone on the list. I think save me, everyone has answered to that discussion. Heck! I am still getting mails now.

I find all these discussions to be getting out of control. Check boycottnovell.com and a tons of other sites. Mono supporters and mono haters are busy discussing whose stand is holier.

Threat

Let me be impartial. There is a threat that Microsoft may one day sue the FOSS companies on the use of it’s IP. Is it true? I don’t find Microsoft can do much as the bigger question is that can they sue each and every single user? They should sue Novell since they are leading the project. Will they sue each and every user out there using Mono?

The threats are more of speculations. Probably Ballmer can tell us what he thinks of Mono exactly, but for that he needs to find time from his busy schedule of dancing and throwing chairs.

Reality

Whatever Mono haters say, the reality is that there is no at par substitute for for GNOME applications like F-Spot, Tomboy and GNOME Do. I would be happy if GNOME is made mono free, but what about these three applications? When it comes to media player, I find Banshee much better than Rhythmbox. Amarok is much better but it is for KDE. I am talking about GNOME apps which don’t need KDE libs to be installed.

I don’t use Tomboy and F-Spot, but GNOME Do is really good. It saves a lot of time. The keybinding saves a lot of time. Everything need not be geek-oriented, but should be such that everyone can be use it. This is in accordance with GNOME Human Interface Guidelines

If anyone wants that GNOME should forget Mono we first need to find good substitutes of the above softwares. An alternative for Tomboy is Gnote. I agree it is lighter, but still it has a long way to go. If Gnote really kicks ass one fine day, that is a day for celebration for anti-mono campaigners.

Middle Ground

Time is money. Let us not waste time by just fighting who is correct and who is wrong. Mono lovers find the other camp stupid and vice-versa. Will the flame ever end? Mailing-lists are too busy these days discussing whether Microsoft can kill Linux by just issuing threats! So what can we do next?

Solution #1

Make it easy to remove Mono stack from GNOME. Probably make it dead easy to do so by including it in Synaptics.

Try issuing this command on the terminal

sudo apt-get remove –purge mono-common

and you get

The following packages will be REMOVED
banshee f-spot libart2.0-cil libavahi1.0-cil libboo2.0-cil libflickrnet2.1.5-cil libgconf2.0-cil libglade2.0-cil
libglib2.0-cil libgmime2.2-cil libgnome-vfs2.0-cil libgnome2.0-cil libgtk2.0-cil libgtkhtml3.16-cil
libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil libmono-addins0.2-cil libmono-cairo1.0-cil libmono-cairo2.0-cil libmono-corlib1.0-cil
libmono-corlib2.0-cil libmono-data-tds1.0-cil libmono-data-tds2.0-cil libmono-security1.0-cil libmono-security2.0-cil
libmono-sharpzip0.84-cil libmono-sharpzip2.84-cil libmono-sqlite2.0-cil libmono-system-data1.0-cil
libmono-system-data2.0-cil libmono-system-web1.0-cil libmono-system-web2.0-cil libmono-system1.0-cil libmono-system2.0-cil
libmono-zeroconf1.0-cil libmono1.0-cil libmono2.0-cil libndesk-dbus-glib1.0-cil libndesk-dbus1.0-cil libtaglib2.0-cil
mono-common mono-gac mono-jit mono-runtime tomboy

Which is enough to scare the shit out of you. Such a long list! Is the system going to break?

To solve the above problem Mark Packages By Task can be a good place to place Mono. Just Uncheck and Voila!

Mono should also find a place here
Mono should also find a place here

Solution #2

Accelerate Gnote development! Gnote is lighter, faster by still behind Tomboy when it comes to features. I personally prefer physical sticky notes at my workplace or at home. I am not here to discuss which one if better, the above is just my persona views and I hope many people agree with me.

I think Tomboy is like a flagbearer of Mono community. Like Linux is for FOSS. Of all my friends who know something about Mono know about Tomboy. Probably it us the other way round – due to Tomboy they came to know that something called mono exists.

Concluding

I have worked on .NET on windows, but prefer Python on Linux. I also think that we can do without mono, but not at this situation when we don’t have better options to Tomboy, F-Spot and GNOME-Do. I always feel that discussing on the cleanliness of mono is required, but it should end somewhere or the other. Why keep it discussing it over ages? Whenever I read a mono v/s anti-mono thread, two thoughts come to my mind which I summarised above.

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14 thoughts on “Dousing the Mono Flames

      1. Yes. I also tried getting the development headers, but version conflict gives the problem.

        Debarshi, why is it strictly <=0.17 ? Something very special in that library version?

  1. The reason it does not compile on the latest ditributions like Fedora 11 and Ubuntu Jauntu Jackalope is that Exiv2 and Libgda broke their APIs and we are yet to install them on our workstations.

    However, the situation is set to change very soon. Current Git HEAD uses Exiv2 >= 0.18, but we are yet to migrate to Libgda 4.0. This combination is only readily available in Debian Sid.

    Not only that, glibmm and libgdl has some issues which are mentioned in the README: http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/solang.git/tree/README Those are mainly to do with bug-fixes which either need backported patches or an update to a newer release. Being a Fedora packager myself, I try to keep the Fedora end of things as up to date as possible, but the same can not be guaranteed for other distributions. My co-developer, Santanu, is a Debian user, but Debian seems to be a bit slow in incorporating downstream fixes. I have no idea how to address this.

    1. Great Debarshi! 🙂 I too want a native photo manager, but have no other option other than F-Spot at this moment which has its own runtime overhead.

      Even though F-Spot is good, still it s a resource hog like all Mono and Java apps. Yesterday while importing 890 pictures my laptop was running at 100% CPU usage for 6 minutes or more and the temperature reached 82 degrees. 😦

      A native app is the need of the hour and Solang looks very promising.

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