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Of Monopolies and Mono


Mono, the open-source development environment based on Microsoft’s .NET, has really gotten people ticked off lately. The long and short of the argument is that Mono is a Trojan-horse that will introduce Microsoft poisoned patents into Linux. After, Richard M. Stallman, free-software’s dad wrote, “Debian’s decision to include Mono in its principal way of installing GNOME, for the sake of Tomboy which is an application written in C#, leads the community in a risky direction. It is dangerous to depend on C#, so we need to discourage its use,” the fight was on.

Or, it should be said, the fight had been renewed. Stallman and many others, had often objected over the years to Linux, or other free software users embracing Mono’s implementation of C# or application written in Mono.

Stallman believes that “The danger is that Microsoft is probably planning to force all free C# implementations underground some day using software patents. This is a serious danger, and only fools would ignore it until the day it actually happens. We need to take precautions now to protect ourselves from this future danger.” Of course, no one is suggesting that any part of Linux, or any other operating system, be written in Mono. The problem is that several popular open-source programs like Tomboy, a well-regarded note-taking program; Moonlight/Moonshine, which enables users to listen and view Windows Media-bound music and videos on Linux; and Banshee, a Linux music player, are based on Mono.

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