Wednesday, 03 June 2009 06:17

Even OpenSUSE recognises drawbacks of Mono

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Mention Mono in a story and you are certain to draw two kinds of readers - the followers, those who have drunk the kool-aid ladled out by Novell vice-president Miguel de Icaza, and the detractors, who realise that it could cause them patent headaches a few years hence.

Given this, I was not surprised at the fuss over the appearance of Gnote, an application for notes, which was a rewrite of Tomboy. The difference? Tomboy is dependent on Mono. Gnote is not.

(For the uninitiated, Mono is an attempt to create an open source clone of Microsoft's .NET development environment; De Icaza claims this will pull Windows developers over to GNU/Linux. Something like my great-aunt who used to claim that she was regularly visited by the archangel Gabriel.)

There was something strange about the articles that discussed Gnote; for example, "computer journalist" (his own term) Bruce Byfield wrote a piece titled Striking the right Gnote which had many more quotes from Tomboy developer Sandy Armstrong rather than from Hubert Figuiere who developed Gnote.

(What is really strange about Byfield's piece is that he quoted information about Figuiere from all over the web instead of asking the man himself. This was in stark contrast to the publicity Figuiere got in these columns - I wrote to him and found him more than willing to answer questions at length.)

Now it looks like the people who run the OpenSUSE project - that's the community GNU/Linux distribution sponsored by Novell - have themselves realised that Mono can be a stumbling block.

Nothing else can account for the fact that OpenSUSE has decided to create a port of Easy-LTSP, an application used for configuring thin clients.

Easy-LTSP was originally written in C# but, according to the OpenSUSE project "Easy-LTSP was designed to work on any distribution, but unfortunately it is not integrated anywhere other than openSUSE, discussing with the upstream LTSP developers suggested the slight reservation could be due to it being written in C#."

Easy-LTSP is being rewritten to include new features and OpenSUSE has now decided to use Python instead, "which would be easier to attract more contributors and increase possibility that users of all distributions running LTSP server can benefit from it inclusion in their preferred distro."

Miguel, looks like there are traitors to the Mono cause within your own ranks. Or is it that, just for once, commonsense and logic has asserted itself at Novell and its associates?
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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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