How to remove Mono from Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx [Updated]

Monogenea

Monogenea

Monogeneans are ectoparasites, meaning they live on the surface of their host’s body (as opposed to inside of it) and feed mainly on mucus and other detritus. To ensure they do not lose grip of their host, Monogeneans have very highly developed attachment appendages such as suction devices, pincers, hooks or spines. Most species require only one host to complete their life cycle and they are mostly hermaphroditic. Monogeneans are a type of Platyhelminthe (flatworm) and as such have only one “opening” where food is ingested and any waste is expelled.
OK, that’s enough of a biology lesson. If you are reading this then you probably know why you are here already.

To remove Mono from your shiny new desktop installation of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx enter the following command (after taking the usual precautions like backups of your data etc):

sudo apt-get purge libmono* libgdiplus cli-common libglitz-glx1 libglitz1

[UPDATE: Many thanks to Directhex who pointed out my error regarding the need to remove libsqlite0. I've removed it from the command above. He also requested (you can see in his comment below), that I mention that the mononono package is no longer particularly effective at preventing Mono from being installed. Thanks for the prompt Jo, I was going to but I just forgot.]

This is almost the same one as used for the Karmic Koala release (9.10), and for me the result of the above command was as follows:

The following packages will be REMOVED
cli-common* f-spot* gbrainy* libart2.0-cil* libflickrnet2.2-cil* libgconf2.0-cil* libgdiplus* libglade2.0-cil* libglib2.0-cil* libglitz-glx1* libglitz1* libgmime2.4-cil* libgnome-keyring1.0-cil* libgnome-vfs2.0-cil*
libgnome2.24-cil* libgnomepanel2.24-cil* libgtk2.0-cil* liblaunchpad-integration1.0-cil* libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil* libmono-addins0.2-cil* libmono-cairo2.0-cil* libmono-corlib2.0-cil* libmono-data-tds2.0-cil* libmono-i18n-west2.0-cil* libmono-posix2.0-cil* libmono-security2.0-cil* libmono-sharpzip2.84-cil* libmono-sqlite2.0-cil* libmono-system-data2.0-cil* libmono-system-runtime2.0-cil* libmono-system-web2.0-cil* libmono-system2.0-cil* libmono2.0-cil* libndesk-dbus-glib1.0-cil* libndesk-dbus1.0-cil* libnunit2.4-cil* mono-2.0-gac* mono-gac* mono-runtime* tomboy*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 40 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
After this operation, 49.8MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

I chose to accept this and proceeded. Of course YMMV so please check carefully before hitting that enter key. The purge switch of this command removes any configuration files as well as the packages themselves.

Compared to Ubuntu 9.10, in 10.04 there appears to be just one new Mono dependant application called gbrainy (in the Games menu) which is described thus: “a platform to train memory, arithmetical and logical capabilities with many sorts of different exercises of different difficulty levels”.

Unfortunately it appears as though the “training” objective of gbrainy might not be realised…

Over the last year or so, the BBC have carried out an experiment which examined “brain trainer” games. Subsequent analysis of the data found that these brain trainers are an empty promise as reported here in The Guardian:

Practising brain-training games will improve your performance on brain-training games, but that effect will not transfer to other aspects of brain function. They will not make you brainier, so you may as well just pootle around on the internet.

It seems that not much grey matter will be lost by removing the gbrainy package then ;-)

Gnote and Getting Things Gnome

Gnote and Getting Things Gnome

The other applications expunged by removing Mono from the default Desktop installation are the same as last year: F-Spot and Tomboy.

For a very similar alternative to Tomboy try Gnote, and as I like task-related management too I also recommend the excellent GTG [Getting Things Gnome] application. To install these two simply type: sudo apt-get install gnote gtg.

The alternative for F-Spot I usually use is a combination of gthumb and Gimp, the latter of which has been removed from the default Lucid desktop install to make space for other things. Both of these applications can be easily installed by a simple sudo apt-get install gthumb gimp command. However there is now a new kid on the block which looks quite exciting called shotwell. Shotwell will be the default camera/image app in the forthcoming Fedora 13 distribution replacing gthumb (as it has no dependencies on Mono in the default desktop installation). It is also, I was pleased to discover, available in the main Lucid repository so can be installed using either the command line: sudo apt-get install shotwell or you can use the very easy and graphically attractive Ubuntu Software Centre (as you can for the other applications listed above also). This is how Fedora describe Shotwell in the preliminary release notes:

Shotwell is an open source photo organizer designed for the GNOME desktop environment and has replaced Gthumb by default in Fedora 13. It supports the following features:

  • import photos from any digital camera supported by gPhoto
  • automatically organize events containing photos taken at the same time
  • use tags to organize your photo collection
  • edit non-destructively when altering photos, without ruining originals or using disk space for each copy
  • publish photos to Facebook, Flickr or Picasa
  • one-click auto-enhancement
  • rotate, mirror, and crop photos
  • reduce red-eye and adjust the exposure, saturation, tint, and temperature of your photos
  • edit any photo, even if it’s not imported to the Shotwell library

I haven’t used Shotwell yet but it sounds like a good one to try out.

There you have it and hopefully that will be it for another 6 months on this subject.

Sam Varghese Got It Wrong?

On the 10th of February I updated my original “Is Canonical becoming the new Microsoft?” post to make it clearer that what I was actually asking was about whether the company is becoming the next organisation that we love to hate because of the increasing level of criticism aimed at it and it’s flagship product Ubuntu.

Today, the 15th February, Sam Varghese has written about a conversation iTWire have had with Mark Shuttleworth regarding my original post. Unfortunately not only does he seem to have missed the point of that original post, but he also writes as though I was making an accusation or statement rather than asking a question:

“He was responding to queries from iTWire about a recent blog post that has claimed Canonical is becoming the new Microsoft.”

He goes on to list some of the points I made:

The blog post had listed a number of reasons why the writer thought Ubuntu was allegedly becoming the new Microsoft: the inclusion of Mono as a default; the creation of Ubuntu One, a proprietary software repository; removing the GIMP and other applications from Ubuntu; changing the default search engine to Yahoo!; discussion about what proprietary applications should be included in the Ubuntu repositories; and the appointment of Matt Asay as chief operating officer.

Please, let’s get this straight. I have noteworthy opinions on one or two of the points I mentioned, but that was not the point of the post. They were supposed to be taken as examples of a collection of decisions that are apparently, in various quarters, providing the fuel for an increase of criticism overall.

Personally I really am not bothered about the Gimp being removed (it is easy to install), nor OpenOffice.org from the UNR (I actually install the desktop edition on my netbook anyway), nor am I upset about Ubuntu One; it’s an interesting solution, I use it sometimes myself and I’m sure a Windows version will be most welcome by many around the globe. Neither am I bothered about the Yahoo search thing (If Canonical can get money from Microsoft then that’s just funny IMHO), and I was actually pleased about Matt Asay’s appointment; he will bring a wealth of commercial experience, a good dose of much needed sales & marketing skills to the operation and I’m sure much more besides.

Sam also didn’t mention any of this from my original post:

I really like Ubuntu. I use it everywhere, I help in the Ubuntu-uk irc channel when I can and we [our company] promote Ubuntu to our customers and I [as an individual] to friends and family.

What concerns me is not any particular item in the list above: some I care about, others I do not; as I am sure many of you will do too. It is the increasing volume of criticism and vitriol as a whole. It is getting louder. This, I believe, is indicative of a turning tide that, if we are not careful, will result in Ubuntu losing popularity and more of the FOSS community exercising it’s freedom.

I did not claim Canonical was becoming the new Microsoft. I asked if it might be. I also (admittedly not very clearly on my first pass) was interested in the reasons why Canonical/Ubuntu is getting more criticism directed at it at a time when it is becoming more successful and more important and was hoping to solicit some ideas and opinion as to how we could stop that increasing criticism and prevent what seems to be a fairly common occurrence with big and successful companies; we are even seeing it with Google now. Ubuntu/Canonical is built on very different principles to traditional commercial enterprises, so could we, as the community, come up with any ideas to prevent the “love-to-hate” syndrome?

I don’t read iTWire much. I only noticed this post from Sam as I had a couple of referred clicks to this blog today and was interested in where they were coming from.

Sam, your article paints me with a brush which I do not believe to be fair or accurate.

Is Canonical Becoming The New Microsoft? [Updated]

[Update: It seems I made my point very badly. Please read this follow-up post where I try to explain what I was asking].

Whoah! Hold on everyone. Let me don my asbestos suit first will you.

Thanks.

Right then. I have been thinking about this post for some time and I think the time is probably right for pressing the old “publish” button.

I am not trying to incite riots or wars in the halls of residence or corridors of power but Canonical/Ubuntu is starting to catch more “bad karma” than is healthy for it IMHO.

  • Let’s start with Mono. Yep. It’s been a prickly thorn for many and the concerns expressed are not going away. There’s no point in raking over the old ground; it is just one of the bad-karma attractants in a growing list.
  • Then we have Ubuntu One. Proprietary, closed, caused much debate and friction when announced and now the possibility of a Windows version too.
  • Next comes dumping GIMP, OOo and other much-loved applications from the default installation of versions of the forthcoming distribution.
  • Then the discussion about what closed/proprietary applications should be made available in the Ubuntu repositories.
  • Then we have the change of the default search engine from Google to Microsoft Yahoo.
  • Then Matt Asay joins as COO which should be, and probably is, good news. Matt is well known, respected and experienced, yet some of his prodigious public commentary tugs at the heartstrings of many a Freedom Fighter.

I don’t really want to comment on the individual points above; the point is that this list is growing…

I really like Ubuntu. I use it everywhere, I help in the Ubuntu-uk irc channel when I can and we [our company] promote Ubuntu to our customers and I [as an individual] to friends and family.

What concerns me is not any particular item in the list above: some I care about, others I do not; as I am sure many of you will do too. It is the increasing volume of criticism and vitriol as a whole. It is getting louder. This, I believe, is indicative of a turning tide that, if we are not careful, will result in Ubuntu losing popularity and more of the FOSS community exercising it’s freedom.

I’m pretty thick-skinned (I think I will need to be with this post!) so if you think I am barking up the wrong tree, or just plain barking, then say so. But I am noticing increasing criticism and anti-Ubuntu rhetoric which is not just because it is becoming more popular, although that is certainly one factor.

Something is changing and I am not sure it is for the good of Ubuntu or our community.

Thunderbird 3 on a netbook?

I’ve been discussing the layout of the forthcoming TB3 release on their mailing list recently.

Since I installed it on my new Asus 1008HA on top of the Ubuntu Karmic Alpha build I’m having a bit of an issue with the [relatively] huge size of the header panel for messages. According to a quick measurement in the Gimp, the header is using 137px of vertical space. Netbooks typically have a 1024x600px resolution, some are even smaller. 137px represents almost 23% of the available vertical space.

TB3 Classic View

TB3 Classic View


Here’s a screenshot showing the typical layout I prefer clearly showing the space required by the header. Note that I also have the Calendar plugin Lightning installed too.

There used to be a “compact header” layout that took up much less space but allowed you to see more of the information if needed. But for reasons I do not understand that has been dropped from the current builds which seems a bit of a shame to me. The size of the header is making TB3 quite difficult to use on the increasingly popular and common ultra-portable devices. I am assuming this will be same if you are using another operating system too.

It was suggested that I try one of the other “views” or layouts that you can choose in TB and provide some screenshots too. Here you go then:

TB3 in the Wide View layout

TB3 in the Wide View layout


TB3 in the Vertical layout

TB3 in the Vertical layout


TB3 Vertical layout with the Today Pane removed

TB3 Vertical layout with the Today Pane removed

As you can see, the header impacts the available message body considerably in all layouts. One thing I realised though is these screenshots show a plain text email from a newsgroup reader. How about another common type of email then? HTML…

TB3 Classic View HTML Email

TB3 Classic View HTML Email


TB3 Wide View HTML Email

TB3 Wide View HTML Email


TB3 Vertical View HTML Email

TB3 Vertical View HTML Email

I find these images even more telling. Note how there is virtually no working space in the Classic View to determine if the mail is one you want to allow images to be loaded. I don’t think the Vertical view works at all and even the Wide View which is probably the most usable of the three seems to just draw your attention to the header and not to the message itself.

I also notice that there is a rather silly bit of wastage to do with the Calendar and Tasks buttons (underneath the search box). Why can’t they appear alongside the rest of the main toolbar? If you have multiple tabs accessible then I can see why we need the row to hold the tabs, But when there isn’t a tab open, is it really necessary? Whatever the case, I see no reason why the Lightning buttons need to have their own toolbar. That’s just waste and unintuitive. I’d expect those buttons to be with the others, not out on their own like that.

I will post a link to this blog page on the mozilla.dev.apps.thunderbird mailing list for all to see and hopefully comment.

Don’t get me wrong though. I really like Thunderbird. I have a strong preference to it over Evolution. Whenever I have tried Evolution I’ve found it difficult to use (in the sense it isn’t obvious), and it failed to work with our CalDAV calendars which was a known and long standing bug (I am not sure if this is still the case). It also didn’t feel as stable as TB, and considering I regularly use Alphas or nightly builds of Thunderbird and Lightning that is saying something. There is also a bug that has been open since 2004 with the title “Evolution is unusable in 800×600 or 1024×768″. It has seemingly received little attention since it was reported 5 years ago.

A recent post to the bug above pointed me to a blog post by Srini Ragavan discussing a new development going on for Evolution specifically to create a UI that is better suited to small resolution displays called Anjal.

Anjal looks to be a very interesting development and one I will be following closely. If Evolution gets to be as easy to use and as polished as I feel about Thunderbird, then I might well end up giving it a try again.

Did Microsoft make Firefox?

This post by Matt Assay discussing how we got to a competitive browser market got me thinking. (Dangerous I know, but bear with me.)

… I suppose the truly intriguing thing is not that we have a competitive market for Web browsers again, but how it happened. Baker told me recently that Firefox is “an anomaly” because it managed to beat back overwhelming Microsoft market share. Can we do it again?

What was the tipping point when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team finally had to start paying attention to Mozilla’s Firefox browser? And when did Google decide that it couldn’t subsist on Firefox’s roadmap and instead had to forge its own browser, Chrome?

Mozilla FirefoxMy own take on this is it was all Microsoft’s own doing. Think about it. Their browser, Internet Explorer [and more specifically IE6], was locked into the operating system that ran an almost every PC sold. So for Mozilla’s Firefox browser to take more than a 20% market share is pretty staggering. If you use Windows (as certainly a few years ago almost everyone did) you already have a browser on that Windows PC so why go and download another one? It isn’t quite the same for OpenOffice.org or Gimp for example. You are having to make a decision about acquiring an Office Application Suite or an Image Editor; whether you pay for commercial code or use FOSS is your choice. But with the browser, you already have one.

My conclusion to Matt’s question is that it comes down to just how bad IE6 really was. If it had been a half decent browser with acceptable support for the standards it was supposed to support then I don’t think Firefox, and possibly the entire FOSS ecosystem, would be as strong as it is today.

Presumably Microsoft could have patched and updated IE6 during the course of it’s life but they chose not to, and instead stuck to delivering a half-baked, non-compliant browser full of leaks and security holes and proprietary features that lead many unfortunate souls to build sites that only worked with Microsoft’s browser.

I think that it was the web development community that started this movement. Being professionally involved in helping Graphic Designers make websites work across browsers, I know just how BAD IE6 really is when it comes to supporting standards. If it hadn’t been so terrible, or even got fixed, I don’t think the web developer community would have started using Firefox in the numbers that they did and then espousing it’s virtues with quite the same level of gusto.

Of course, as well as being a decent browser, there were many new and innovative ideas and features in Firefox, a huge extension and plug-in library and cross platform support too. But as “most” users of a browser are simply surfing, then if IE wasn’t such a pile of steaming poo in the first place I don’t think many consumers would have been inclined to change at all.

What do you think?

Open Source Makes REAL Money

This is such a great story that needs no further comment from me.

http://pythonide.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-make-money-with-free-software.html.

So cooooool.

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