Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Free Software Set To Be Further Poisoned With Mono?

Homer's picture

You may recall that I posted an article last year, voicing my concerns that Fedora (and indeed most distros) was being slowly poisoned by Microsoft's encumbered C# technology, in the  form of Mono. Well now it seems that Beagle (Novell/Gnome search tool) developer, Debajyoti Bera, wants to extend that infestation even further, by converting Beagle's support libraries to Mono too.

d-Tech-t: Open letter to OpenSUSE users

We would be extremely happy if beagle only used C# for all its operations. Unfortunately, we have to depend on a lot of C libraries for indexing certain files.

At the time of my original article, there was quite a furore, both here and on BoycottNovell, resulting in screams of denials from the various parties involved in this corruption. One specific denial was that Yelp's (the Gnome help system) new dependency on libbeagle (a support library for Beagle, which is written in Mono) did not mean that Gnome was set to become dependant on Mono, since libbeagle itself is written in C.

Certainly, libbeagle is an optional dependency, but this is only an option during the build process. The default package selection and dependencies means that, for most hapless Fedora (and other distro) users, the reality is that libbeagle is not optional at all, unless they delegate to remove Yelp also, thus depriving themselves of a fundamental part of Gnome - its help system. One could also rebuild Yelp to remove such undesirable dependencies, but again the reality is that most users will not have the skills to do so, or frankly even be aware that their systems are infected. Given the size and complexity of the Gnome project, it may not even be possible to remove these encumbered components in the future, without a massive undertaking to produce a fork of the entire Gnome Desktop.

If Bera gets his wish, then the future of Gnome looks very bleak for Free Software advocates.

Powered by ScribeFire.


Anony Mouse's picture

To know more

Good read, as usual. Some software patents probably do represent the spirit of what patent laws originally set out to protect. Mostly, though, companies like Microsoft (and others) use their patent libraries to muscle the industry and destroy competitive innovation. Litigation constipation.

I'm glad to see the baby steps around Mono. Small progress is better than no progress. But much more is needed.

Anony Mouse's picture

I appreciate your fight

I appreciate your fight against against bistros to include C# software. Thanks for sharing.

Anony Mouse's picture

Its a very nice post, Thanks

Its a very nice post, Thanks for your time.

Anony Mouse's picture

I love posts in such spirit!

I love posts in such spirit! Thanks huge

Anony Mouse's picture


The conversation in the reply was very helpful in understanding your position. I would also like to know your view on DotGNU. If the C# programs were written using DotGNU, I assume you will still advice people to refrain from using it.

Homer's picture


AFAIAC DotGNU is just yet another implementation of Microsoft's .Net technology, so yes ... I do still advise people to refrain from using it, or any other encumbered Microsoft technology, wherever possible.

I support Linux (the kernel), but that does not mean I agree with everything Torvalds says (Torvalds: "I think Tivoization is *good*"). Equally I support Free Software, but that doesn't mean I agree with everything Stallman says either. IMHO Stallman's support of encumbered Microsoft technology via DotGNU, is a serious mistake.

Anony Mouse's picture

DotGNU & GPLv3

If DotGNU ever came to be:

- licensed by the FSF under the GPLv3 (as it surely will)
- redistributed by Novell

then Novell either arranges with Microsoft that their patent protection extends to everyone else, or they're screwed.

Nice deal eh?

Anony Mouse's picture

The End is not far :)

I appreciate your fight against against distros to include C# software. Since I dont work for any distro and neither do I use Gnome, I guess you have nothing against me :).

I just want to point out a couple of reality checks, just some information:
- Its not correct to say that Beagle is a Novell/Gnome search tool. Currently Novell has none working on Beagle and Beagle does not require any gnome library to build or run. Hell, beagle is a service, a bunch of libraries and tools without any GUI of its own. It has a Gtk GUI but it also has a KDE GUI. Do you still feel its a Gnome search tool :) ?

- Yelp is currently broken with respect to beagle. I filed a bug with them but no one has looked into it. While I dont care too much about distros but I do care if users complain to us. I am hoping your blog will wake some yelp developer to look into the problem. On second thoughts, this could be a good time for you to ask yelp people to drop beagle support altogether ... it anyway does not work ;-) Sneaky ... eh ?

Thanks for your time.
- dBera

Homer's picture

Nit-picking diversion

Thank you for your comments.

It is difficult for me to express my anger, fear and frustration over this issue, without sounding like I am launching some kind of personal attack, but that is not my intent. The core issue is that Free Software is slowly being poisoned by encumbered Microsoft technology, regardless of who is doing it or why.

WRT the provenance and current maintenance of Beagle, I'm quite happy to take your word that it is not a Novell/Gnome project. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to where Beagle did originate, and what other projects the current developers and maintainers are primarily affiliated with, since I was always under the impression that Beagle was developed and maintained primarily by Gnome and Novell contributors.

I must admit that I grow weary of Gnome and Novell people constantly trying to distance themselves from Mono and OOXML issues, with excuses and trivialities. I also find it quite ironic, since if (as many of them maintain) there is nothing wrong with either Mono or OOXML, then why would they be so keen to deny any involvement.

But like I said, if neither Novell nor Gnome have had any involvement in Beagle whatsoever, then I'll happily take your word on the matter. However certain facts would seem to contradict your claim, such as the fact that Beagle is hosted at Gnome (both ftp and cvs):

Then there's this:

InfoQ: How is development of Beagle funded?

Joe Shaw: From the beginning Novell has funded at least one person full-time to developing it.

Regardless, that detail is irrelevant to the core issue, and being sidetracked by it is little more than a diversion.

WRT Beagle support in Yelp being broken, again this is irrelevant, since it does not alter the fact that libbeagle is indeed being pulled in as a dependency by Yelp on Fedora (and I believe other distros too). In and of itself, this fact is not alarming, until one considers the possibility that libbeagle, and other Beagle dependencies, might also end up being written in C#, thus further poisoning Free Software, and making Gnome absolutely dependent on Mono (via Yelp).

If this is, as you say, nothing more than a bug ... then may it be fixed quickly.

But something tells me that this will not be the last we see of such "bugs", since there are so many people out there quite determined to poison GNU/Linux with Mono.

Fortunately there are also plenty of us who resist this infestation. We'll be watching.

Anony Mouse's picture

Political Correctness

I have a nasty habit of making politically correct statements. Thats what happened above :)

Indeed beagle was started by Novell and there was for a long time 1 or 2 Novell employee working on it. They and other contributors were gnome users so beagle was hosted in gnome cvs, used gnome bugzilla and is released in gnome ftp. Beagle directly depended on gnome libraries and all the GUI was gtk based. That was the history.

Fast forward now. There is no one from Novell currently working on Beagle (and I dont see anyone filling that position anytime soon). Beagle UI has been separated from the core service and API library (so that there are as many gtk based GUIs as there are KDE/Qt GUIs). If the Gtk UI is not installed then beagle does not depend on the gnome libraries. We do continue to use the Gnome bugzilla/svn/ftp service. I am one of the co-maintainers of beagle currently, and apart from beagle all my other contributions have been in K-land :)

So you see, I was being politically correct though in a way you are right, beagle and gnome are somehow connected.

If you believe that developers work on open source projects with intentions of having fun (helping others, chasing freedom and other noble deeds are present but they alone are hard to justify the addiction to open source software), then I can personally tell you that writing program in C# is a wonderful experience, java and python comes next (having written program in almost all languages). At the end of the day, its the desire to scratch an itch that drives me to hack on beagle. From programming point of view, purely from programming point of view, dealing with C libraries is not fun in C# (error prone and hard to maintain). Thats why if beagle could depend on a C# chm-library, C# exif library then it would be nice for us. We never proposed beagle for inclusion in gnome and I personally have no desire to run Gnome on C#. Apart from the fact that I dont run Gnome, C# is suitable for certain things and not suitable for certain others.

Anony Mouse's picture


Political correctness is one of the most idiotic ideas - a new censorship.

Homer's picture

Separating politics from technical issues

From a technical perspective, a language is just a language ... there is nothing inherently sinister about it. Similarly, programmers are, as you say, generally motivated by curiosity and fun, not political agendas, although those who are paid for their efforts are also unavoidably influenced by money too.

But there are, nonetheless, political issues that pose a great threat to Free Software. I can only guess at who drives these political agendas. AFAICT you are not one of them.

From your perspective, and the perspective of most others who use Mono, I'm sure that you really don't intend to cause any harm to Free Software, but you are inadvertently helping those who do, by supporting Microsoft's encumbered technology; designed to embrace, extend, and extinguish everything it touches.

The ECMA RAND promise covering .Net, is about as trustworthy as Ballmer himself (define "Reasonable"), and has already been broken anyway, with the exclusive "protection" afforded to Novell in their pact with Microsoft. IOW the RAND "promise" is neither reasonable nor non-discriminatory. It is nothing more than a farce, and coming from liars like those at Microsoft ("Red Hat customers owe us money"), isn't worth the paper it's written on.

GNU/Linux has software that "clones" proprietary technology from other companies too, so why should I be so obsessed with the encumbered technology coming from just one company, Microsoft? It is simply because none of those other companies operate an illegal global monopoly, are guilty of anti-trust crimes on at least two continents, or behave like thugs and gangsters by spreading FUD about GNU/Linux ("Linux is a cancer"); sabotaging charities like the OLPC; and bribing Nigerian officials to dump Mandriva for Windows. Their corruption over OOXML is also well documented, bribing Swedish voters with promises of "market subsidies" in exchange for votes.

Microsoft's Mafia-like behaviour is extremely well documented (it fills several pages at Groklaw, not to mention nearly 3GB of court papers here on Slated), indeed they seem quite proud of it. You should read Microsoft's now infamous "Evangelism is WAR!" training brief in particular, for a profound insight into their malevolent doctrines and immoral behaviour. In general, most other software companies (Patent Trolls aside, many of whom are just Microsoft shell companies) have no desire to destroy GNU/Linux, so even though they may have encumbered software that is "cloned" by GNU/Linux (e.g. Adobe Flash), I am not especially concerned about it.

My one and only concern is Microsoft, one of the most vile and reprehensible corporations in history. They are a threat to everyone, even their own partners (e.g. the PlaysForSure fiasco).

Voluntarily using Microsoft's encumbered technology is suicide, and extremely damaging to Free Software, since it indirectly promotes Microsoft's vicious agenda. I just wish I could persuade Mono programmers of that fact, since they are so preoccupied with the technical issues, that they seem to be completely oblivious to the political ones. They (and you) may not have an agenda, but Microsoft does, and you can be sure that they mean to execute it. Like it or not, by using and promoting Mono, you are helping them.