From the ‘it’s not contagious is it?‘ files:
Mono – Novell’s implementation of Microsoft’s .NET framework on Linux is an interesting technology. It enables some valuable Linux applications like Tomboy (for note taking) and also raises some interesting legal questions.
Since Mono benefits from the Microsoft/Novell interoperability agreement, some in the Linux community have concerns about the legal status of mono when it comes to redistribution. Among those that have a concern is Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields.
While Mono is part of the new Fedora 11 distribution (in the repository), at this point it’s likely not going to be part of Fedora 12. Frields told me that the change for Fedora 12 is mostly around the fact that there is now another project to replace Tomboy (gNote) that does not require Mono.
That said, Frields also told me that in his view there are some problems with the language used in the legalese surrounding Mono and its redistribution.
“We do have some serious concerns about Mono and we’ll continue to look at it with our legal counsel to see what if any steps are needed on our part,” Frields said.
While Mono is part of Fedora, Mono is not part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and hasn’t been since 2006. It’s not clear if mono will stay or go for the final Fedora 12 release when it appears 6 months from now.
“We haven’t come to a legal conclusion that is pat enough for us to make the decision to take mono out,” Frields said. “Right now we’re in a status quo. Gnote is a relatively recent development and unfortunately was too late in the Fedora 11 development cycle to include by default.”
Legal issues aside — that’s the real crux of the matter. It’s all about the apps. If there are mono apps that really add value, that mono enables then surely mono will either be bundled directly or downloaded by users — regardless of the position taken by any distribution itself.