Miguel de Icaza, Microsoft MVP

Samuel Thurston, III sam.thurston at gmail.com
Sat Jan 16 22:44:23 GMT 2010

> If Mono was sitting in Ubuntu's universe repository and you decided
> that you wanted to install it, that's fine by me.  But the problem I
> have is that Mono is installed by default.  To quote the LOLcats, DO

Don't use the mono apps.  Uninstall them.  The Ubuntu team feels that
the inclusion of mono apps adds value to the common user, who doesn't
know nor care about the FOSS purity debate.

>>>> There's less to complain about with respect to what Miguel does.  It's
>>>> not as though mono will ever become part of the core infrastructure of
>>>> a linux distro,
>>> The fact that Mono is installed by default in Ubuntu means that has
>>> already happened.
>> libmono is installed because it's a dependency of F-Spot.  There is
>> apparently a push from the release team to replace F-Spot with
>> something ideologically pure.  But is there anything that is both as
>> easy to use and as full featured as F-Spot from the FOSS community? If
>> there is, great include it! and if not, well then, we have mono there
>> to fill the void until such time as the purists answer the call.
>> But including a library because it facilitates a photo app hardly
>> makes it part of the "core infrastructure" of the distro.
> In Karmic there's F-Spot and Tomboy.  To fully purce mono you have to run:
> sudo apt-get purge libmono* libgdiplus cli-common libsqlite0
> libglitz-glx1 libglitz1

FYI all "purge" does versus "remove" is clear configuration files.
# sudo apt-get remove libmono*
would remove any packages that depend on mono automatically.

>> But, let's say that by 10.04 gThumb perfectly does everything that
>> f-spot does and it replaces F-Spot.  libmono no longer satisfies any
>> dependencies and is removed from the install CD.  What damage has been
>> done? Where's the terrible downside to the proprietary gateway drug
>> that is Mono?
> In Lucid it looks like they're adding gbrainy.  I am worried that Mono
> usage is increasing not decreasing.

This may be so.  But my point is you can remove it at your discretion,
and users are served by giving them the best applications available,
regardless of what GPL'ed api they use.  The onus is on the purists to
produce the superior product.

> Some of the things he started have turned out nicely, but he has
> always had an... exceptional fondness for Microsoft, shall we say;
> things went really bad though when Novell signed their patent deal
> with Microsoft.

That doesn't really answer my question.  Are you eschewing gnome
because it has UI features which are most definitely covered by
microsoft patents and was developed by a known MS apologist?

>>> Nvidia graphics is actually a really good example of the 'not
>>> Linux-optimized hardware' that I was talking about; for Linux to
>>> thrive it needs GPL-compatible drivers, NOT proprietary ones.
>> Right, after all, it was the open drivers that got microsoft where it is today.
> No, but open drivers are what are going to get Linux in general and
> Ubuntu specifically where they are tomorrow.

I don't see how that follows. See below.

>> You don't have to be careful.  The closed drivers work fine regardless
>> of how you feel about them from an ideological standpoint. This has
>> nothing to do with hardware optimization and only to do with ideology.
> Not necessarily true and I have a good example of why:
> http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/releasenotes/810#nVidia%20%22legacy%22%20video%20support
> "The 71 and 96 series of proprietary nVidia drivers, as provided by
> the nvidia-glx-legacy and nvidia-glx packages in Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, are
> not compatible with the X.Org included in Ubuntu 8.10. Users with the
> nVidia TNT, TNT2, TNT Ultra, GeForce, GeForce2, GeForce3, and GeForce4
> chipsets are affected and will be transitioned on upgrade to the free
> nv driver instead. This driver does not support 3D acceleration."

excellent work pulling out a two-year old bug to prove a point about
how things aren't improving.

> If there was a good open driver for those cards, they could be altered
> by the community and still used for 3D acceleration.
> If I wanted proprietary, I would use Windows or Mac; one of the joys
> of really open software is that it can be fixed by anyone with the
> ability to do so.  Proprietary means being forced to rely on the whims
> of people who don't have your interests at heart.

Here's where the ideology clashes with the reality: there are lots of
things you can't do with only truly open software.  The gimp is a
great toy, but in 10 years it hasn't even gotten close to being good
enough for professional use.

> Also, what happens if you aren't allowed to redistribute things like
> firmware?  Suddenly there's an * next to "closed drivers work fine"
> because getting them running becomes increasingly difficult.
> If I cannot put an Ubuntu Live CD in a system and have all the
> hardware working perfectly without proprietary drivers, I consider
> that a real problem, ESPECIALLY when there are good alternatives that
> don't need the proprietary component.

This is a design feature of the linux kernel.  Purists argue that a
stablized ABI will permit third-party hardware vendors to write
distributable binary drivers that would technically be in violation of
the GPL.  Companies, such as nVidia, on the other hand, have licensing
agreements in place which legally prevent them from open-sourcing
their drivers.

Is it the responsibility of the OS to enforce openness across the
spectrum of hardware vendors? Should nVidia offer an inferior product
because they are unable to use specific technologies?  It's an ugly

>> And it's about to be completely moot since 2.6.33 has the new open
>> nvidia drivers included.
> Ah, but are they as good as the proprietary ones?  Not yet anyway AND
> they had to be reverse-engineered; Nvidia would not help with even
> documentation as I recall.  Nvidia deserves my purchase why?

Again, they're not legally permitted.  They don't deserve your
purchase, and if this is a big stumbling block for you, don't buy.
Frankly I find both intel and ati chipsets to be substandard with few

Here's the difference: I place a premium on bang-for-my-buck, and
don't care about whether someone had to reverse engineer an open

>> there will always be non-standard crap
> And that's why I think RMS is a neat guy, because he will always fight
> that when most people would just give up and buy a computer with
> Windows preloaded.

 You may as well fight entropy itself as chaotic innovation in
technology. Fight he will but fat lot of good it does him aside from
earning quite a bit of ire and scorn.  I think there's a pretty vast
gulf between accepting libmono and buying windows 7 preloaded,
wouldn't you agree?

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