Yep. Monotremes and Monotrolls. Monotremes, because they lay eggs. Monotrolls, because in their efforts to get Mono more widely accepted, it appears that they’ve had the opposite effect. There have been so many articles and posts in the last several weeks, that it’s difficult to properly cover them all.
But it’s worth trying.
Exactly when the fireworks started I don’t know. I know that there has been concerns about Mono for years, and yes, I’m one of those who have been automatically removing Mono from any Linux installs I do for years. However things have really heated up within the last month or so.
One of the earliest articles in the current war was Mono: An Infectious Disease. Nice title. Sure to get both sides fired up. But is the title accurate?
A couple of days later Sam Varghese posted an article titled Fedora casts Mono into outer darkness. Not quite as inflammatory, though it makes one wonder if Sam isn’t a Mormon.
But the war didn’t really start there. It appears that the person to blame for the war is an out of work programmer, who made an April Fools Day post statingIn my attempts to fight my own boredom, as an unemployed hacker, I took on myself to do something: porting Tomboy to C++. It is actually not that hard, just a lot of work to do manually because there is over a dozen of thousands of lines of code. This show me that the door is open to reimplementing Gtk# software (or parts) in C++ with not too many problems, making it easy to have them available for C applications.
Now he wasn’t trying to start a war, but that was the effect. On April 6th he posted about the 0.10 release of Gnote, and the comments were interesting. The Tomboy community was outraged that someone could try to out Tomboy, Tomboy. But hey, this is Free Software. Why do you think we have KDE, XFCE, Gnome, Enlightenment, etc. Because someone was scratching an itch.
Of course the anti-mono folks spotted a chance. You get rid of one more mono application, you are that much closer to removing Mono. So then Jo Shields posted an article in Apebox called Fitting the kitchen sink onto a CD. In this article it’s pointed out that space could be saved on the Ubuntu CD if certain things were done. These things would have increased the number of programs that depend on Mono in the Ubuntu install CD to three (Tomboy, Fspot, and the newest one would be Banshee).
At this point things started to go downhill fast. Banshee would have replaced Rhythmbox, so the Rhythmbox fans were upset. It would have increased the number of Mono programs, so the anti-mono camp was upset. About the only people not upset were the bloggers like me. We were getting a ton of great copy!
Me and Ubuntu tried to clear up some of the issues, with a series of articles, Disinformation Disinfected, Pt. 1, Disinformation Disinfected, Pt. 2: The False Dilemma, and Disinformation Disinfected, pt. 3: Banshee in Ubuntu, and then wrote a final article I give up.
So what does it all mean?
It’s quite simple. A fairly large number of us have severe issues with Mono. We have concerns about whether Mono should be included as part of a Linux Distribution CD because there is no way to be sure of the legal status of the Mono project at the present time. We don’t believe that the Mono cheerleaders are acting and thinking logically. We don’t believe their assurances that Mono is unencumbered with Microsoft patents, because quite frankly they cannot make that statement. Only Microsoft can make it, and Microsoft, at present, is remaining curiously silent.