Fancy a Pinta? Whats your poison? - This round is on Novell. Lets forget "patent trap" allegations and look at who really uses Mono...

There has been talk for some time regarding the removal of the default GIMP packaging from Ubuntu, now as Gnome DE seems to move more in a Mono direction, could it be that Ubuntu (and others) will go for a Mono app replacement?

Ladies and gentlemen meet Pinta, no, not the type you buy down your local pub, this type of poison is a Mono app aimed at being a “clone” of Paint.net for Linux and a potential replacement for GIMP?  Now normally I would be the first to support an opensource project.  If Pinta had been the culmination of a “bedroom coder” who was keen to release his/her work to the public I would have supported it fully.  But the reality is not like that.

I’ve often made the point that if Mono is so great, where is the killer app for it?  Where is the app that everyone MUST have?  Whatever coders think about Mono and whatever they create, its the end-user who will decide on its future and I challenge anyone to show me a FOSS project that continues to run when nobody wants to use it.

Over at http://jpobst.blogspot.com/2010/02/over-holiday-break-i-stumbled-upon-this.html where the Pinta project has a blog, the authors description says:

…I’m Jonathan Pobst and I am a full-time open source hacker for Novell. I work on Mono, specifically on Mono Tools for Visual Studio.

and he certainly has “great” aspirations for this software.  Full time open source hacker?  You mean employee then?  Implying that he is inspired by Paint.net.  Inspired by Paint.net eh?…..moving swiftly on….

and not so obvious (in fact on the official site) is a comment about a topic which many people have remarked on before – Mono bloat, this comment was found in the FAQ in relation to the question “Pinta memory usage keeps growing” (and maybe a reminder to many of experiences of Microsoft products:

This is caused by keeping around infinite levels of Undo. In future versions, this will be mitigated

Im sure….it will be better next time….I would expect then that 10.04 Lucid NBR won’t even consider Pinta then since its ethos seems primarily to remove excess for a netbook deployment?  You can visit the official page of Pinta here: http://pinta-project.com/

I digress, forgetting that I have opinions on Mono, why should I not champion this product?  Simply because its being made by a Novell employee and hardly an enthusiast/impartial/bedroom coder.  When I asked previously about killer apps and Mono, it appears that the people trying to make them are the very people trying to push Mono.  Where is the independent coder support here?  As I see it, the popular packages that people want are NOT made with Mono and maybe Novell have realized that our “traditional” and respected developers are not going to touch it?

If I had seen a mass of Mono apps being released to “hungry” end users I may have seen the need, but when Novell is seemingly trying to create its own killer apps to promote its own implementation of a Microsoft framework then I really can’t see the point of this “gift to the world”.

In the case of Mono and its associated “wares” the most important person is not the coder(s) behind the projects, but the end-user – YOU.  The success or failure of such projects will solely depend on if they are taken up by the “average desktop user” who outnumber enterprise/advocates/coders many times over.  Ask yourself did you move to Linux for a “FOSS” implementation of a Microsoft technology which is headed up by Microsoft MVP Mr De Icazza or did you (like me) move because you were tired of inhibiting licenses, crashes, bloated software and the blame being placed at the feet of anyone but Microsoft? Were you fed up of the ethos of “everything has a price” or the takeaway menu style purchasing of Microsoft products? – I’ll let you decide.

In the meantime, if you think Microsoft want’s to play nicely with FOSS, lets remind ourselves of comments made by Microsoft.  But before we do that we only have to cast our minds back a few months to the allegations against our “FOSS friendly” Microsoft when it was claimed that they had stolen code from another project – Plurk.  You can read more about that here.

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches,

Steve Ballmer – Microsoft CEO.  Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/06/02/ballmer_linux_is_a_cancer/

Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism….

Steve Ballmer – Microsoft CEO. Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/07/31/ms_ballmer_linux_is_communism/

Now lets have some comments from Mr De Icaza from the Mono team and the people who want you to use Mono and its related apps.  If you look back on Mr De Icaza’s Twitter and blog, you can see he does praise Microsoft technologies:

Why I am uber-super-fascinated by Silverlight 4

Mr De Icaza – Mono team.  Source: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2009/Nov-23.html

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

Mr De Icaza – Mono team.  Source: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2009/Nov-23.html

and lets not forget Mr De Icaza’s comment:

Thanks to everyone that participated in the campaign to nominate me for a C# MVP award

Conclusions

Mr De Icaza from what I have seen is a very nice chap and the purpose of this article is not an attack or critism of Mr De Icaza.  He has his agenda (whatever that is) and he has his own opinions/views.   The Mono framework, Moonlight and any associated wares are there for people to choose if they wish.

Previously I said that I had found GIMP to have a rather steep learning curve and something that I could not justify learning for the limited need of a GFX app that I have.  That being said, I’d rather learn GIMP than have Pinta or similar package on my system.  Time will tell if the “average user” agrees or not, however in the absence of a killer app I think Mono will continue to be promoted by those who have a vested interest in it and largely ignored by mainstream app developers and if thats the case, should any distro have Mono packaged as default in the future?

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com