Debian to Stallman: Mono Not Default

Jul 03, 2009

In a response to Richard Stallman's open letter warning about introducing Mono into Linux, Debian made it clear that no plans are indeed forthcoming to adopt Mono-based programs into the default installation of its free Linux platform.

Debian developer and spokesperson Alexandre Reichle-Schmehl reacted in a blog entry to FSF founder Stallman's open letter of June 26, "Why free software shouldn't depend on Mono or C#", Stallman had especially targeted the Debian GNU/Linux distro for its inclusion of Tomboy software, which uses Microsoft's .NET-compatible Mono, in an unstable branch.

As precise as Stallman's language can be, it may have been based on a misunderstanding, according to Reichle-Schmehl. He counters Stallman's statement that Debian is "not to include Mono in the default installation, for the sake of Tomboy"; with, "The default GNOME installation... hasn't changed. It still installs a more or less minimal Gnome Desktop without Tomboy and without Mono" He admits that the Tomboy note-taking software has become part of a meta-package that depends on Tomboy "and will indeed pull in Mono, too," but has no effect on the standard installation.

Opponents of the Mono-based software fear that Microsoft might lay patent claims against Mono implementations. While the Ubuntu technical board doesn't foresee any problems in that respect, the Fedora community is playing it safe by installing Gnote, a Mono alternative, in GNOME 2.28 by default.

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