Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce How Mono apologists drive developers away

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"I have an Asus EEE PC Surf with 2GB of Flash (the lower end model, even lower than the basic EEE PC 701) and I have been trying to fit into it an openSUSE 11.1 with GNOME," Figuiere told iTWire at the time.

"To that end, I removed as much as I deemed unnecessary; this included Mono which is not a small chunk at all, and Python-GNOME. Also I have been wanting to know how easy it was to port Gtk# code to C++/Gtkmm for my personal curiosity. So I chose an application I was using and thought would make sense to have on the netbook. It was Tomboy."

But would the Mono crowd accept this explanation?

Hardly a fortnight had gone by when they were out with their pitchforks. Responding to a post on the Ubuntu forums, Jo Shields, who packages Mono for Debian, had this to say: "Ignoring the legal issues that surround it, GNote is nowhere near as functional as Tomboy yet - it doesn't support WikiWords, has no documentation, no syncing to anywhere, and no integration with any other apps. Its RAM consumption IS better (9.8M versus 23.4M out of the box), as long as you don't mind the lack of functionality."

Legal issues? Tomboy was released under the LGPL (version 2.1 only) and Figuiere released Gnote under the GPLv3 - which he is entitled to do. The text of the LGPL version 2.1 clearly says: "You may opt to apply the terms of the ordinary GNU General Public License instead of this License to a given copy of the Library. To do this, you must alter all the notices that refer to this License, so that they refer to the ordinary GNU General Public License, version 2, instead of to this License. (If a newer version than version 2 of the ordinary GNU General Public License has appeared, then you can specify that version instead if you wish.) Do not make any other change in these notices."

Shields, it must be noted, uses any and all tactics to drive his arguments, even to the extent of using racist terms to describe people and then feigning innocence.

Here he is again, on April 14, in a thread which began with a user posting Figuiere's announcement of the release of Gnote: "Still missing most of Tomboy's features, and involving wholesale license & copyright violation But remember, kids - stealing code is fine as long as it's "one in the eye" for Free Software developers like the Tomboy authors!"


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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.