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Debian and Ubuntu Mono packager Jo Shields has come up with a Mono-free remix of the last released version of Ubuntu, version 9.04, which he has chosen to call Chicken Little Remix.

Announcing this at the end of a lengthy, well-written post on his personal blog - in which he advised those who oppose Mono how they should act if they wanted people to listen to them - Shields offered links to both x86 and amd64 disc images of the Mono-free remix.

For the uninitiated, Mono is attempt to create an open source version of parts of the Microsoft's .NET development environment. The project is led by Novell vice-president Miguel de Icaza.

Shields' post began by noting that the numerous arguments over Mono were unproductive; he listed several obvious things about the flame fests that have taken place ever since Mono was announced:

"Immovable, entrenched, irreconcilable viewpoints amongst combatants;

"A degree of outright lunacy exhibited by both sides – but (sorry) mostly by some on the “anti” side;

"A willingness to canonize anyone with a matching viewpoint, rather than use of independent thought and research;

"Demands from the “anti” side that they be obeyed;

"Demands from the “pro” side that the “anti” side shut up and go away. With added smugness;

"No fear of bending, distorting, or even denying reality to support an opinion; and

"An embracing of collateral damage as long as the main goal is achieved."

Shields marshalled his arguments into five sections; accepting that people feel differently, understanding why people do what they do, understanding governance within free and open source software projects, understanding the relative value of contributions, picking one's battles and leading by example.

His method of leading by example is by creation of the remix.

It is not certain that future Ubuntu versions will be dissected in this manner, though; in response to a query which followed his post, he said that it all depended on whether a community built up around it as he did not have the time to keep creating the CLR for every new Ubuntu version.

There are fears in many sections of the FOSS community that Mono may prove to be a patent trap down the line as .NET is totally Microsoft technology. Mono advocates argue that there are many other technologies used by FOSS projects which may also infringe patents held by Microsoft.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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