Monday, December 20

A mono-free Ubuntu desktop

An interesting thing turned up with the latest release of Ubuntu.  The replacement of f-spot with shotwell along with the ppa for Synapse has freed me from my mono dependency.  Previously there was no way I was giving up gnome-do and I have a love-hate relationship with f-spot.  However, since I couldn't find anything I liked better, f-spot it is.

Now, no one is going to confuse me with RMS as far as free software goes.  I am not necessarily dumping mono because of any free software concerns.  I am all for making money if you can off writing software, and I don't ascribe to the idea that software is knowledge that should be shared with everyone.  In my opinion, software is knowledge applied, which inherently makes it the intellectual property of the person or people who applied it.  The thing that makes open source software so practical and,  by nature free, is the fact that many people collaborate, so many that you either need to form some type of organization out of the contributors if you are going to make the software proprietary, or you open source and give it away because it just isn't worth the trouble to determine ownership share and so on.   That's a decision that is solely the developers and shouldn't be anyone's business in terms of pressure to make it open or closed.

That being said, the practical nature of open source usually means a better product for a number of reasons, not the least of which are artificial timelines and resource limitations that software companies are hampered with.  Don't get me wrong at all, I love open source software; I love the collaboration, I love the fact that it's a way to reduce cost for businesses, and I love the fact that such good software is available.  Lets face it, there are a large number of small businesses around the world who simply couldn't compete without open source software.  I just don't like the idea that the community can enforce it's sometimes artificially moralistic sentiment that software should be free... which is usually formed by people who just want software for free(as in beer) and don't give a rip about freedom(as in speech).

So why do I care about getting rid of mono at all?  I just don't like useless crap on my machine.  One of these days I'll get around to writing the article on why C# was a stupid idea and basically a redundant language but, in essence, I have seen mono in the past as a means to an end, one of those means being real interaction with an exchange server.  However, hasn't become a reality and I don't think it will be.  So right now, aside from the two programs I have needed it for in the past, mono is mostly useless to me.

Anyway, since I did the update from 10.04 to 10.10 and I have been heavily reliant on gnome-do mono came along for the ride.  However, a recent article I read on Synapse made me realize that, with the addition of Shotwell, I have replacements for all the mono-dependent software on my machine.  So out with Tomboy, F-Spot, and Gnome-do.  In with GNote, Shotwell, and Synapse.  So far so good.  I don't find that I'm missing much if anything and it feels good to keep my system clean.

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