Post-FOSDEM thoughts

March 8, 2008

FOSDEM was interesting, this year - I knew a lot more people than last time. Going to talks was a pain, because everywhere was so crowded; but the best bits are outside the talks, anyway.

I eventually managed to sign my keys from the keysigning, and even caught up with some left over from last year. The next day I fell horribly ill - I was recovering for the whole of last weekend.

I thought about Mono a bit. Miguel wasn't there this year, because last year he gave a talk or two about proprietary software that wouldn't even run on GNU/Linux. During a conversation, someone pointed out that Mono is designed to be binary-compatible with .NET executables compiled for Windows, and so its main aim is simply to run non-free software. Now, of course, there are some reasonable free apps written in C#; and there is an argument that GNOME needs rapid-development tools like Mono. But with the fun I've been having lately with f-spot, I'm not so sure that their community has the right idea about reuse of code and so on - they just keep bundling (and sometimes modifying) the source to libraries in their tarballs. Only this evening, I've found that f-spot have modified their copy of the FlickrNet library - it's not even grabbing a more recent upstream version, it's just their own code. Sure, rapid development - but at what cost?

So I'm not feeling keen on Mono at the moment. The trouble is, I don't really want to be associated with the trolls at boycottnovell, etc. I don't buy the conspiracy theories about submarine patents and so on - if you use Gtk# rather than the Windows.Forms implementation then it should all be fairly safe. Perhaps people troll because it's easier than coding?

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