Ubuntu one step closer to dropping Mono

By   |  June 14, 2010

Maverick Meerkat will drop the Mono-based F-Spot image organiser in favour of Shotwell, reducing the number of Mono-based apps in a default Ubuntu install to just one.

Change is afoot. Ubuntu developers have already said that Chromium will be the default browser in the Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) 10.10 release and now news is in that Shotwell will be the default image organiser in Maverick Meerkat.

Update: This has also been detailed by Rick Spencer, engineering manager for the Ubuntu desktop team.

The decision will please the growing anti-Mono crowd which is keen to rid Ubuntu of it. Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .Net platform founded by Novell’s Miguel De Icaza. Mono is used to run applications such as F-Spot and Tomboy notes on Ubuntu but there is a distinct movement towards removing Mono-based applications from Ubuntu releases, particularly UNR in which space is at a premium.

The decision will also please the users that complain F-Spot is unstable and unreliable as an image organiser. F-Spot has been the default image organiser in Ubuntu since the Edgy Eft (6.10) in October 2006.

Because Shotwell does not rely on Mono it is lightweight and still has a full range of features. Apart from organising images, Shotwell also includes a wide range of editing features and can publish photos to online platforms including Picasa, Flickr and Facebook.

With F-Spot being shown the door Tomboy could be next. Tomboy is the last remaining Mono-based app included in Ubuntu by default and could well be replaced with something like GNote to remove the last signs of Mono-dependency.


14 Responses to “Ubuntu one step closer to dropping Mono”

  1. Andrew
    June 14th, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    Yay. just purged the last mono packages off my lucid installation. Drop #mono asap.
    thanks for the news. (saw this via twitter)

  2. Jonathan Carter
    June 14th, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

    Source? Just because there’s a specification it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be implemented. On the ubuntu-devel list it was stated that f-spot will not be dropped in favor of shotwell.

  3. 6205
    June 14th, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

    IMO that is BS, because AFAIK for future the’re planning to replace Rhythmbox with Banshee, which is mono app. Anyway entire Mono runtime is small and there are many other things to remove than Mono, like OOo Draw and Math. Many obsolete xserver-video drivers from Pentium era etc and list goes on…

  4. Alastair Otter
    June 14th, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

    I’ve added an update with additional links, including http://theravingrick.blogspot.com/2010/05/track-desktop-and-une-in-maverick.html
    Looks fairly certain at this point, unless you know more?

  5. Alastair Otter
    June 14th, 2010 @ 4:13 pm


    Banshee as the default media player is speculative at the moment as far as I know. Sure there are other things to remove as you point out, and Mono is potentially one of them.

  6. nomono
    June 14th, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

    Unfortunately, AFAIK there’s one more Mono app… The newly (10.04) introduced default game gbrainy. I hope they get rid of it ASAP!

  7. oiaohm
    June 15th, 2010 @ 1:06 am

    Sorry Mono runtime not small. Lot like to say it is. You could fit another 8 programs on the disk for removing it. Ok not big programs but critical ones at times.

    The worst part is how Mono handles on a live cd. Since mono is a JIT its program memory allocation is in the memory is all cannot be freed at will. Native code program only the data section used by program cannot be freed at will but the built executable code section can be freed at will. More programs running less ram.

    Over all non mono programs have a smaller memory foot print. Ubuntu would be better off focusing on getting gcc 4.5 working in LTO mode. This can reduce the overall size of lots of native programs as well as increasing their speed.

  8. Guillermo
    June 15th, 2010 @ 1:19 am

    MOno Opensource ?
    Is a .NET copy.

    I wish to learn a GOOD opensource like QT.

    Mono is = Virus, M$ Monopoly-

  9. Abe
    June 15th, 2010 @ 1:43 am

    Nice to hear this. Personally, I run Kubuntu and currently prefer Digikam. So far, I haven’t seen any trace of Mono with Kubuntu.

  10. T.C.O.
    June 15th, 2010 @ 5:42 am

    Mono’s fine to have in repos, but it has no place in a default installation.

  11. Trav1sty
    June 15th, 2010 @ 6:09 am

    I’ve been removing all mono apps from my installs since 9.04. I’m all for Ubuntu dropping the mono dependencies.

  12. Joe Ryan
    June 15th, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

    I don’t think it is anything idealistic about the decision though. I watched one of the Ubuntu Developer Summit videos and one of the leaders at the meeting mentioned that the photo app decision was only because Shotwell was a better app and was moving forward with a better story then F-Spot. He made it clear that their position was not anti-mono by any means. Go to the bliptv site the videos are posted. Ubuntu isn’t against the Mono story as much as some in the community would like to think so. If their position changes I’m sure we’ll all hear about it. That being said I don’t see a lot of developers building apps with the Mono framework as Miguel would have liked to have seen. My opinion has always been that the apps that so many stick with Windows for are not .Net apps they are still the heavy C++ type apps. I never believed that Mono would make that much of a difference on the Linux desktop as a whole. I heard Miguel in interviews say how he was tired of building apps in C and such but unfortunately the Photoshops and 3d design application on the Windows and Mac platforms are not being built in manged code. C# and Mono has not been up to the task in the performance area. Managed code is way too resource heavy. I know the garbage collection and memory management helps programmers build safer programs in C# but to me resources in computing are always going to be scarce because users are always looking to squeeze the best performance out of the machines

  13. Believer
    July 13th, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

    So, now my customers will have one more hoop to jump through to enjoy my C#.NET application. And this is considered progress in the linux world. You STILL don’t get it do you?

    Listen, mainstream users don’t care about byte optimization. They want a solution that works quickly and easily. They don’t care if it’s written in C, C++, .NET, java or python.

    “Managed code is way too resource heavy”. And a human writing code in ASM is MUCH more efficient than a optimized compiler
    Nice to see you haven’t updated your technical knowledge in 20 years.

    Memory and disk are pennies.

    It’s easy to see with this myopic attitude why linux will ALWAYS remain a toy operating system for nerds, hackers, and those to cheap to use professional strength tools.

  14. Joe Ryan
    July 17th, 2010 @ 3:14 am

    “Memory and disk are pennies”
    Unfortunately those pennies add up very quickly when scaled in millions of clock cycles on a CPU.
    Managed code is not the silver bullet as you may have bought in to just look where apps are being written nowadays on the web. Not .Net. There is a niche market that being Enterprise corporate IT shops that the “Microsoft Astronaut Architecture” framework is the answer. What has .Net or Mono brought to Linux that brought it closer to a platform that people are writing are dieing to build applications for ie the likes of a Photoshop, Office Apps. You know the ones that are lacking on the Linux platform. Mono is not suited for that and neither is ,Net on Windows. They are still in need of at the very least a C++,C backend so the application is not a slow, memory, and CPU hog. No matter what the benefit is for the developer in productivity the app still has to perform adequately to be a realistic option. Memory and Disk, may be pennies but clock cycles add up very quickly when running on a Desktop with not only your program running but the other thousand or more that currently fight over the CPU trying to complete operations in a time that is optimal to be useful. Mono and .Net may be fast for developers but again slow on the metal. Pennies may be cheap but those pennies will never equal free. If everyone was building on .Net then maybe you could say may knowledge is dated 20yrs. Ask Adobe or even Apple why .Net or even Java for that matter isn’t their defacto language since they could save so much money in their programmers development time. It still matters even in 2010 that your programs run efficiently and not dog slow.

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