back to article Debian rejects open-source .NET threat claim

Debian, the foundation of Ubuntu, has rejected claims that it is potentially holding Linux's future hostage to Microsoft by including an open-source implementation of .NET in its code. A project spokesman has said GPL daddy Richard Stallman was wrong to say Mono will be featured in Debian's default installation, adding Mono …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is just Debian

    it really isn't that important, but of course we were all hoping the Debian opensource zeal would give us some popcorn munching moments,

    It was a bit tight of ubuntu to not just start from scratch, it is a much better way of doing things, and of course you can look at the packages from other distros. Half the fun really, coming up with your own package manager.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So how will it be being held hostage? Surely the open source nature means that if future versions of the code are released under a different license, it matters not? I fail to see the issue, other than "Microsoft wrote it". I'm sure there are worse programmers contributing to Linux.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft, please put

    the champagne bottle back in the fridge for now. Don't be sad, just give them some more time and your patience will be rewarded.

  4. Doug 3

    big mistake

    The road is littered with companies whos lawyers thought they could sign contracts with Microsoft and actually get what they thought. What ended up happening was Microsoft got their customers and technology in just a few short years.

    It may take a few more years but when Linux starts really taking over as the standard IT computing platform, Microsoft will pull out the lawyers and start threatening any large org using Linux and force them to sign licensing agreements which make Windows look like a bargain. And didn't Microsoft help finance the SCO effort which did this exact thing?

    Debian is making a big mistake and if Ubuntu follows, they too will be making a massive error that'll end up hurting Linux and OSS for at least 10 years after Microsoft pulls the pin on the IP bomb.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Good News

    As a non Debian/Ubuntu family Linux User, I do applaud the move by the Debian Team to do this. I hope other leading Distros follows suit.

    It could end up that SUSE is left on its own here for obvious reasons.

  6. Toastan Buttar


    No, you don't NEED to install Mono, just as you don't NEED to install GNOME. Unfortunately, the default form of Ubuntu (i.e. the one with the name "Ubuntu") which most Linux newbies will be drawn towards, features GNOME and Tomboy and hence Mono. I'm pretty sure it's the same situation for Linux Mint.

    Not that I'm particularly worried about including Mono but it's disingenuous to say that it's an option for most Debian-based distros.

  7. The Other Steve

    Embrace, Extend, erm, what was the other one ?

    While on the one hand, I really can't find it in myself anymore to give a toss about Stallman et als increasingly hysterical jihad against people getting paid for their work, I must say I have always wondered at the fascination of a certain subset of the linux developer community with windows toys. KDE is a straight rip off of Windows 95's interface for instance, all Linux boxes read/write FAT filesystems, samba is a must have and then there's Mono, of course.

    I'm mildly surprised that it has taken so long for the beardy wanker to throw his toys out of the pram about it, to be honest. But also mildly surprised that anyone bothered to implement an MS toy on linux. These days it seems that never the twain shall meet. Seems there are still some linux devs out there who are able to judge things without their frothing idealogical zeal getting in the way.

    Still and all, while C# is desirable (once you get used to the non deterministic finalisation), ripping off the MS framework is just stupid, if MS really wanted to support platforms other than Windows they would do it themselves. .NET is the single most significant technology to come out of Redmond in years (and yes, that's not saying much), they are literally betting their future on it, development wise, and they really like to get paid.

    And to be honest, I, along with most other grown ups, am actually prepared to pay actual money for decent interoperability. Shocking, I know.

  8. Matthew Evans

    When linux takes over?

    Had to guffaw.

    "...but when Linux starts really taking over as the standard IT computing platform..."

    Its been around for over 10 years, and its sitting at < 1 % of desktop / laptops. Every OEM manufacturer who has a go at selling a Linux desktop / laptop pulls the plug quick smart, because they discover that the market for linux is a small number of shouty techies. Most users just dont *want it*

    Linux had its best ever opportunity to grab consumer market share with netbooks. Guess what ? Windows own the vast majority of that market . MS didn't force it down peoples throats, users WANT it. More to the point, they DONT want Linux.

    Linux shines as a commodity cheapie web server O/S , beyond that forget it.

    Convulsing about Mono on Debian is just .... taking yourself too damn seriously

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Change the misleading title

    The title suggests that "Debian rejects .NET threat" but it appears that they acknowledge it very much, by not including it.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    = Linux zealots + paranoia

    I like Linux - I regularly use RedHat and I like Ubuntu - especially as it plays nicer than Windows does with an old Fujitsu box I have. On the flipside, I happen to think that it has a whole raft of faults, mainly around usability and ease of maintenance compared to Windows.

    What really hacks me off, not too mention a hell of a good number of dare I say it, 'moderates' who are happy to see a world of Windows and Linux (so long as it does the job, I don't care if it runs on bloody Sinclair Basic!), is the near fundamentalist fervour raised by the open/closed source argument. When the open source zealots stop wasting time ranting about the evils of Microsoft and/or closed source, some polish can be added to a great number of apps.

    The problem is, there are too many 'me too' open source apps. Some (MySQL, Apache) are as good, if not better than closed source equivalents, while others (OpenOffice) are absolute pants.

    So get real, boys and girls: use or develop whatever software works for you in a given circumstance, be it Windows and MS SQL, or RHEL and MySQL. In some circumstances, they'll operate together (a good number of opensource firewalls and proxies protect Wndows clients, after all).

  11. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Only a minority ?

    I don't see how that's so or how anyone can predict the future of .Net on Linux - There's certainly a desire or the Mono project et al would never have got of the ground.

    Ultimately it all comes down to what Apps there are, if a Killer App (TM) does arrive which requires Mono then Linux will probably be forced to embrace it or lose users to Microsoft OS. Simple as that.

    Linux and open source philosophy is a "political issue" for those in ivory towers and 'extremists' but for most user's who wouldn't know a command line when it popped-up it's mainly a question of pragmatism and wanting to use Apps to do a job and largely don't care on which OS, but they do care about look and feel and particularly familiarity with what they are used to.

    To them it's a question of does Linux give them what they want, or not ? Even those who don't particularly care for Microsoft stick with them - adopting piracy if needs be to save money - when there's a perfectly free and legal alternative in Linux. The reason is simple; Linux doesn't give those users what they want.

    Where Linux does win is where it delivers what users want, for example in the server market.


  12. Fragula

    excrement for brains


    "KDE is a straight rip off of Windows 95's interface for instance,"

    Get some education! Look at Windows 85, then go look at RiscOS from the 80s!

    Then find out where the RiscOS boys got their ideas from.

    *THEN WHEN YOU KNOW SOMETHING* feel free to whine!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to fear... embrace .NET in Linux

    I don't believe there is anything to fear here.

    Microsoft has for once made an awesome new language, and has made C# an open standard governed by their favourite standards institute, ECMA (See C# is also known as ECMA 334, much like JavaScript's official name is ECMAScript.

    There's nothing outlining that mono being a linux CLR (also an ECMA standard: can't be open source. Sure they may have originally implemented, but having a CLR for linux created by the open source community allowing us to leverage C# as an open standard is only a Good Thing.

    The only thing about .NET that is closed is some extra Win32 classes and ASP.NET that are bespoke to running .NET apps on Windows. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be a System.Web implementation for Apache nor a kernel.* namespace for leveraging *nix-specific functions...

    To say that C# is not an open standard is to say JavaScript is in the same boat as well, and that was Netscape's invention... And they've gone far further in making .NET and C# open for all than Sun has with Java as well.

  14. The Other Steve

    @Fragula - pwned.

    Yes, I was waiting for some knee jerk linux jihadi to take the rather obvious flamebait there, I am well aware of the genesis of the WIMP paradigm all the way back to Xerox PARC and beyond, thanks.

    I'm also familiar with RiscOS and it's UI, and indeed Next Step and its various progeny.

    If you have a look at a screen shot of RiscOS and then screen shots of early KDE releases and screens from Win95 it's quite obvious which KDE was based on. Look at that start button on the left, and the notification area on the right with the clock. Then, if you're feeling really educational, go have a look at some of the window managers that predate it that come with a "windows" skin and observe the similarity.

    Thanks for playing though. And thanks for proving the excellently made point by AC Friday 3rd July 2009 09:38 above.

    BTW if you write a post flaming someone about their lack of education, using "Windows 85" is a bit of a schoolboy howler.

  15. Robinson
    Thumb Down

    Cross Platform

    Unless Mono provides an implementation of WPF, it's going to be left far behind in terms of support for future paradigms in User Interface development in any case. I don't see how it can possibly keep up with Microsoft's release cycle and still be a relevant choice for developers over, say, Qt. I'm not sure why Linux developers would use it at all when there are other more suitable cross-platform choices one could make.

  16. Ron Murray
    Gates Horns

    A small number of users??

    "Mono would be used by just a small number of users."

    I don't know about that. I've been running Debian on several boxes for years, and I've spent quite a lot of time trying to get rid of Mono on all of them. I've never installed Tomboy, but it seems that every third innocent-looking package insists on installing Mono.

    And that means spending half an hour removing every package that contains the string "mono" (and ignoring packages like monotone), after going through dependency hell first, trying to find and remove the packages that depend on them (and, before that, the packages that depend on _them_, etc. etc.).

    I wish the thing would just go away. I refuse to have it on my machines.

    It would help if Debian had a "do not install mono under any circumstances" switch.

  17. John Sanders

    MS employees rampage on forums lately spreading Bull*hit

    @"The Other Steve"

    Sir your ignorance speak volumes about yourself, and you wish you were half the man Stallman is, are you by any chance a Redmond employee?

    Everybody takes ideas from everywhere this is no exception, Linux software borrows from Windows, Mac, the Amiga and the like, so does MS and so does Apple, and so does everybody else.

    Or does MS invented the concept of the GUI, mouse, buttons, menus, etc? Did MS invented TCP/IP? the web? email? word processing? IM chat? CAD? presentation? file sharing? printing?

    So far what you call ideology has lead to the biggest non-commercial software ecosystem ever, and it seems all that ideology is more necessary than ever to prevent companies with a dubious legal track record from screwing that ecosystem that no one forces you to use or like.

    So run windows and go watch some porn with IE.

  18. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    I'm glad it's not part of the default gnome desktop

    That already comes with too much rubbish if you ask me. It don't need ekiga, vinagre, sound-juicer, epiphany or rythmbox on my netbook, thanks. Installing a .net runtime simply for a note-taking application seems like ridiculous amounts of overkill to me.

    Also, @The Other Steve - If you think MS invented the popup menu, the notification area or the clock then you're something quite special.

  19. cor

    Flamethrower Friday, got a light boy?

    @ Matthew Evans : "Linux shines as a commodity cheapie web server O/S , beyond that forget it."

    Well, clearly you think all the money is in consumer-based toy gadgets from PC World and Dixons.

    That being your world, I can't blame you. But saying that a Ford Mondeo is the best because people don't (want to) know how to handle a Maclaren F1 does not win any argument. If you go and rerun your stats in the *professional, industrial world* where it actually counts, you will see that Windows is just a non-runner. I'm not making this up, I have been involved with the Big Boys for 15 years now, and mentioning Windows in an R&D, Medical, High-Availability, Secure, Critical or Storage environment will just make people laugh, or worse, 'guffaw'.

    @ Jason Bloomberg : A good summation of the reality. I agree, but would add that there is little motivation to pander to consumers' desires. Linux is still very much a 'by techies for techies' product, and frankly *doesn't care* if it competes with MS or whatever. There is no market to speak of. Most people can't get their head around that.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't know where you are working, but I've been in Financial services for about 12 or so years and IT generally for a fair few previously to that and Windows is most certainly used for critical and storage related systems. Not all the time or by any means exclusively, but it is certainly used. In fact the sort of person who laughs at people's suggestions of which OS to use, without having heard the reasoning tends not to get very far in most companies.

    By the way, I work in storage, specialise in Linux and Windows, with a healthy dollop of UNIXes thrown in. We use what is best for the job, you wouldn't use a Maclaren F1 to do your weekly shop, would you?

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Dang but would I like to use a McLaren F1 to pop off to the shops. That'd be more than a little fun I reckon. Thanks for the thought though. I shall now go and torment an American. Why? Because he exists!

  22. Quirkafleeg
    Dead Vulture

    Rejection? Really?

    I see nothing here which is either acceptance or rejection of any possible problem regarding mono; just a statement of what's presently the case.

    Well, almost.

    The dependency in question isn't actually a hard dependency: it's a recommendation (and will remain so for lenny, whatever happens in testing/unstable), which means that if you tell the package manager not to automatically install recommended packages, tomboy won't be installed when you install gnome.

  23. tjdennis

    When will Linux users learn from history

    I'm still surprised that Linux users refuse to learn from Microsoft's accomplishments. What is the one big reason Windows became so popular in the business world? The answer is Visual Basic! That one tool allowed millions of companies to start writing their own internal applications quickly and easily.

    Well, the old Visual Basic is now out and .NET is in whether it be with VB.NET or C#. Companies are again doing all their new internal desktop development on these languages and this technology. If the Linux user base ever wants to get Linux in the door of these businesses and on user desktops, it MUST start promoting the use of .NET and mono. Supporting these company's .NET based applications takes away an excuse to stay on Windows.

    I also don't believe Microsoft is going to come after the mono team. Microsoft is going out of their way to help enhance MySQL, PHP, and now Apache to run on Windows. They just want things to run on Windows as well as they do on Linux. If .NET applications are portable between the two, that makes them happy as well since you could choose their OS.

  24. Sitaram Chamarty

    @Mathew Evans (

    >It's been around for over 10 years, and its sitting at < 1 % of desktop / laptops. Every OEM manufacturer who has a go at selling a Linux desktop / laptop pulls the plug quick smart, because they get arm twisted by MS threatening to pull their OS completely from them or jack up the price enormously.

    Fixed that for you; and no need to thank me -- I'm just that kind of helpful guy, I'd do it for anyone, even people like you.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The Other Steve

    "BTW if you write a post flaming someone about their lack of education, using "Windows 85" is a bit of a schoolboy howler."

    Stops to think ....

    Hmmm ...

    The 8 is right next to the 9 on the keyboard ....

    Perhaps it was a typo ...

    Must remember that attacking people's intelligence over simple typos is a schoolboy howler.

  26. cor

    @Fraser ..

    Ok, you got me. Surfin' for pR0n works better under Vista, but I still can't classify that as 'critical'. :P

    But seriously: I too have worked in a large Financial IT environment. (Now a govt. owned one). Most of the projects were migrating stuff from windows servers to Solaris/Linux 'cos windows couldn't hack it. Too many hard sums, too fast and the klickity-klick admin interface went blue and burnt out.

    Probably could blame the Fin. Crisis on the few Windows servers being used in banks, if we didn't know better.

    - Look I actually agree windows has its place, and that is preferably on (someone else's) desktop.

  27. Robert Forsyth

    @Matthew Evans

    Linux may not be in your desktop, but it is probably in your boardband router, your TV or set-top-box, etc.

    MS-DOS and Windows were influenced by Unix (and CP/M and MacOS), OK it has flipped a bit, from the MS-DOS/Windows version of an Unix program/utility to the Linux version of an application.

  28. ElReg!comments!Pierre
    Gates Horns

    As long as it stays in non-free reps...

    As long as Mono stays where it belongs (in the "non-free" repositories), it won't be a problem. Sure, MS can (and probably will) get their lawyer on the back of any successfull open-source project writen in C#, but if it doesn't include anything critical it should be OK. Just pull the plug on the affected project. That's why OSS people should refrain from starting time-consuming projects in C# (it will be time wasted in the end, I think it was Stallman's point), but getting the Mono thing in the non-free section to provide support for the odd small gadgets won't hurt. Probably. That's what the non-free repositories are for, after all.

    And for the ones who spouted nonsense about Ubuntu, I think you'll find that this particular Debian's bastard child is considerably less free than its grown-up parent. It'll presumably be the first to go when shit hits the fan. And starting from Debian and it's rock-solid, almost universal hardware support, it's second-to none package management system and it's fuckastically huge package repositories was probably the brightest idea Canonical ever had. I mean, when you're looking for a free, just-work-out-of-the-box base with a software package or ten for every possible need, what other choice do you have nowadays? (the first to shout "windows" will get a sharp kick to the gonads. Same for "Apple OS"). Maybe Gentoo*? But seriously, who in the luser world is gonna compile their own system from the ground up?

    *Quite sadly, I'm being serious here.

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