GIMP getting the boot from Ubuntu and Mr De Icaza drooling over Silverlight 4? Whatever next? It certainly appears though the community isn't drooling over F-spot.

Since Im suffering with the seasonal flu that does its rounds, this article was intended to be published rather earlier, as such I have only just got around to spell checking and publishing.

Its being reported that GIMP will be removed from default packaging with Ubuntu 10.04.  To be honest I have never really been a user of the GIMP.  This stems from the fact that the investment of time required to learn the package cannot be justified with my requirements in a graphics package.  My needs for photo editing etc are pretty infrequent and often very simple.  Ive found that online apps provide more than enough features for my needs. Thom Holwerder giving the reasons behind this decision as follows:

The reasoning behind removing the GIMP from the default Ubuntu install is solid. The application is geared towards a different audience than Ubuntu itself; it’s for technical and skilled high-end graphic editors. This makes it unsuitable for quick image editing, because thanks to all its plug-ins, the GIMP’s loading time is long. To make matters worse, because the GIMP is a complicated and advanced application, its interface reflects that.

So personally that decision makes sense.   A few things that I would challenge however,  “because thanks to all its plug-ins, the GIMP’s loading time is long.” which I would question the validity of.  Ive just run GIMP on a 5 year old PC and its  load time is about 6 seconds.  Is that too long for Thom?  I doubt Microsoft would ever adopt this ethos since I can’t even get IE to load in Windows 7 within 6 seconds[1] and if Microsoft started stripping out packages that took 6 seconds or more to load, I don’t think there would be much (if anything) left in 7.

I would question the skilled and technical point too.  So gfx designers don’t use Ubuntu?  I’d suggest a pro gfx user would want an OS as simple and as easy as possible so that they can concentrate on their profession.  I’d say Ubuntu is exactly the distro they would be after.

At the end of the day though, its all academic and just how the default bundling of Open Office doesn’t prevent me from removing it in favour of AbiWord, this is a minor point and one thats as simple as me removing Mono from Ubuntu.

Moving onto Mono

Whilst the Mono supporters claim that it benefits FOSS, they apparently are not too keen with anyone expressing their opinions on that Free and Open ethos.  In my experience with them free speech is acceptable, as long as its in agreement of Mono.

Ive repeatedly felt the need to say that I don’t believe Mono is some sort of patent trap.  If I don’t repeat that now, my opinion will be cheapened and distorted with all sorts of implications.  I personally don’t use Mono or any of its affiliated wares.  Thats my choice.  You can make up your own mind.

However I digress.  When I originally asked the question about the Mono killer app, I was cheapened by Mono supporters.  My point was simple, if Mono has no killer app to its name and people are happy with non-Mono software, whats the point of having Mono on your system?  Is it not just bloat?

Worryingly that question was answered all too quickly for my liking at the news of GIMP being removed.  Whilst F-Spot has been looking to get into users regular choice it too has an issue (apparently) when wanting to edit photos (that being load time).  Allegedly the viewer software or light version is fine, however full one with all the advanced features was the one that took the time to load.   It is reported by Thom:

F-Spot developer Stephane Delcroix added the editing tools to the view mode within mere hours of hearing of Ubuntu’s plans to remove the GIMP.

Thom’s comments on GIMP were in my opinion fair enough, where it was spoilt was the news of F-Spots leaping into action to try and fill that gap.  That makes me suspicious.  Ive always said the Mono/Moonlight packages (either intentional or not) were not for me firstly because they are based on a Microsoft framework and secondly because they appear to be a sickly sweet taster for the full blown “hard stuff” only available from Microsoft.  This is not paranoia.  Compare Mono/Moonlight for yourself.  Forget patent traps, this is in my opinion like a supermarket offering tasters of wine (no pun intended)

Roy Schestowitz makes a valid comment:

If Canonical thinks of disk space as an issue, then why not remove Tomboy (or replace it), then remove Mono altogether

and in the spirit of space saving it will certainly make a difference.  Of course in my view this has nothing to do with space saving does it?  As we see next there are plenty of space saving alternatives (or simply just alternatives)

F-spot though (and its Mono framework) are not all they are cracked up to be if you read some opinions on the net and certainly in the past there have been issued raised:

I quite like F-spot’s interface, but its slow as all hell, and not terribly stable. I blame Mono.

or

I can’t get F-Spot to do anything but crash

Taken from the Ubuntu forums in 2007 here: http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-444071.html

Although as you will read in the next section, in my opinion the feelings continue today with a poll conducted on the Ubuntu forums.

Alternatives to F-Spot

I digress.  I am sure that Stephane is a supporter of freedom of choice as much as they are free software, so with that in mind, lets give Thom a little help here and offer solutions that take even less time to load (since that seems one of his problems)

If like me, your requirements of photo editing are small, here are just a few online tools that require no installation and (which Im sure Thom et al will celebrate) make your distro gb requirement shrink even further.

http://fotoflexer.com/

http://www.phixr.com/

http://pixenate.com/

Thats just a small selection, you get the idea.

So what do users think?  Well if the Ubuntu forum poll is anything to go by when asked if they use F-Spot:

No. I find it to be unusable. I use gthumb, digikam, picase instead. 32%

No. I find it to be unusable too, but use file manager for browsing photos. – 34%

Yes, I use it, but I use gimp for photo correction. – 20%

Yes, I use it, and I use embedded image editor for photo correction – 11%

So currently then only 11% actually use it for viewing/editing.  Thats hardly a glowing recommendation and in addition tends to put down Thom’s opinion that the majority of Ubuntu users find GIMP unusable.  On the basis of those stats I would suggest its more a reason to get rid of F-Spot than GIMP.

Mr De Icaza “drooling”?

Apparently so and with news of F-spot updates and GIMP getting the boot from Ubuntu he may have another reason.  Over on his blog, he seems to be jumping (in relation to Silverlight 4):

But having Microsoft stand behind this new model will open the gates to a whole new class of desktop applications for the desktop. The ones that I was dreaming about just two weeks ago……Droolingly yours,
Miguel de Icaza.

and maybe now he will also be pleased with the news of GIMP and F-Spot?

What a lovely mental image I am building up here.

Now before its claimed that this is some attack on Mr De Icaza (which it is not) lets have a look at some of his more recent Twitter comments:

Why I am uber-super-fascinated by Silverlight 4:

Lovely.  So why is Moonlight dragging so far behind and why not (if you are such a champion of Silverlight [1]) do you not just be done with it and migrate to Windows where you can assist in that community instead?

Silverlight 4 Beta available now at http://silverlight.net, will ship first half of 2010. w00t!

Mr De Icaza does seem to love his Microsoft technologies.  Nothing wrong with that, but it makes me wonder, what on earth is he still doing here if thats the case.

Mr De Icaza also has this to say with how he is being portrayed (I am presuming in relation to Boycott Novell):

I am their favorite defamation target. He lies, twists and misrepresets me. That site is 1% fact 99 bile

Im not sure who “their” is.  Roy is responsible for his own opinions (many of which I differ from) and as far as Im aware Roy acts by himself.  There is no collective of agreement or exclusive gang over on BN Chat.  Anyone can check the logs to see the amount of debates people have with differing views.  So where is the bile here Mr De Icaza?  Have I misquoted/misrepresented you?  Please let me know.

Mr De Icaza, its not unfair to say that maybe, just maybe people moved from a Microsoft platform to Linux because they were disappointed and let down by it.  Its not Microsoft hatred to not want to go back to those days or at least aspire to emulate Microsoft technologies.

Conclusion

As always its up to the reader to draw their own conclusions and decide which route is best for them.   For me personally it makes no difference as any new distro containing Mono (and subsequently any of its wares) is removed upon install.  I do wonder why Mr De Icaza harks after Microsoft technologies as much as he does, but more importantly doesn’t consider the effect of doing this on, IMO an un-trusting Linux community in regards to Microsoft.

Notes

[1] I am currently still running/reviewing Windows 7.  I intend to spend longer with it than with any of my Linux distro reviews just to ensure that I am not unfairly representing it.

Links for further reading

http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2009/Nov-23.html

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1333177&page=6

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com