Ubuntu Unbundles Mono
Written by Mike James   
Tuesday, 08 November 2011

The next release of the Ubuntu is unlikely to include Mono, which will come as a blow to Mono supporters who saw its inclusion on this Linux distribution as an important validation.

The reason being given for this reversal is that the Mono-dependent Banshee music player is being dropped as it does not work on the ARM platform used by most the mobile phones and tablets.

Dropping Banshee will also see the return of RhythmBox, which was used in earlier releases before being ousted by Banshee on the grounds that Banshee's smaller size would permit distribution on a single CD.

However, the next Ubuntu release, Precise Pangolin aka 12.04, is in the region of 750 MB and will need to be be burnt on a DVD. So why drop Mono? OK, Banshee cannot work without Mono, but Mono, the open source implementation .NET, can work fine without Banshee. Removing Mono also leads to the disappearance of two other apps - Tomboy, used for note-taking and the brain-teaser game, gbrainy.

The explanation is presumably continuing mistrust about whether Mono really is free and open source software given that it implement's Microsoft's proprietary .NET technology - but not entirely as it includes some behavior which is not part of the .NET specification, thus making it vulnerable it to the possibility of a copyright or patent lawsuit.




Whatever the reason, dropping Banshee from the 12.04, distribution after the jubilation just a year ago when it was accepted in 11.04, will come a blow to Mono supporters. Especially so when Microsoft seems to be turning its back on all things .NET in favour of alternative technologies that return to COM and C++.

Of course, Mono and the missing apps, are not being excluded from Ubuntu - they will remain installable from the Ubuntu Software Centre but you can't but help think that this is another negative event for Mono and the wider .NET world.


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