mether's Fedora Blog

Random thoughts, usually on Fedora

Banshee and F-Spot to depend on Moonlight

Planet Debian points to the news that Banshee and F-Spot is going to depend on Moonlight in the future. Moonlight is forbidden from Fedora. If this happens, Banshee and F-Spot have to be dropped from Fedora. Following the recent Microsoft announcement, I was expecting the Mono community to take steps to not depend on anything outside the ECMA subset of Mono under that promise (assuming here that that the promise is actually meaningful. Somone like SFLC should confirm this). Instead we are seeing some of the major applications developed by Novell moving to a technology that Miguel himself seems to accept is not under community friendly terms. Not a good turn of events.

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Written by mether

July 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

22 Responses

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  1. This makes things far far simplier. With f-spot and banshee out for good…and tomboy replaced…the mono stack becomes more isolated and less of a issue to try to squeeze into a desktop.


    jef spaleta

    July 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

  2. This is not correct. There will be an additional UI for banshee that will be written in moonlight. Nereid (the current UI) and Cubano (the “netbook” UI) aren’t going anywhere.


    July 17, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    • If that is the case, it would be easy for Fedora to ignore the additional UI but I will wait for a confirmation from the developers involved in the project on how clear the separation is going to be.


      July 17, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    • That seems like a very slippery slope to go down. Today it’s an additional UI, tomorrow it’s a new feature of that UI that is so fantastic, that upstream wants to make it the default UI, so on, so forth. Code tainting is also a concern. Bad juju all around to start using known non-free stuff in an OSS project.

      Jesse Keating

      July 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm


        The LICENSE file tells me LGPL, MIT, and the MS-PL, which is an OSI-approved license, what non-free stuff are you referring to?


        July 18, 2009 at 12:20 am

      • Nonfree in the context that I am not free to distribute it to people in the USA, or other places that the patents would be enforced.

        Jesse Keating

        July 18, 2009 at 12:26 am

      • The XAML dictionary is under the OSP allowing 3rd parties to implement engines to convert to and from XAML without worries about patents, since Moonlight really is “only” an engine that speaks XAML then it should be covered by the OSP already not the CP.

        There should be no threat.

        However since to get multimedia support you need to either use the Microsoft provided binary or compile against ffmpeg. The latter being very ill suited for splitting up to keep patented parts in rpmfusion that is a problem. However I would argue that providing Moonlight without codec support is much akin to what is done with so many other things in most distros that it is acceptable. Additionally this solution would still allow for applications to use Moonlight to define interfaces and be shipped in Fedora.

        Note that Silverlight 3 allows for additional codec support provided it comes fully managed. Vorbis and Dirac (I also believe someone is working on Theora) support should already be present in such a form and support for this present at such a time as Moonlight 2 ships despite it being a SL3 feature. Delivering out of the box thus the very same experience we do for anything else in Fedora with the same recommended path for additional codec support (get it somewhere else and bother them with your bugs).

        I don’t see any reason why we would need to pull otherwise very useful software from the repos. Nor keep Moonlight out of Fedora.


        July 18, 2009 at 1:37 am

      • David Nielsen,

        I could refer you to things like

        But before we get into a legal analysis, let’s take a step back.

        Who are you trying to convince? It seems that you are trying hard to convince Fedora on the whole to accept Moonlight. In that case, you should bring it up in Fedora Legal. If all of your arguments has already been brought up to Fedora and you have failed to convince legal, my blog post is hardly the place that is going to change anything at all. So I fail to see what would motivation you to go into a long explanation of the legal issues when neither of us are lawyers.

        Fact is Moonlight is forbidden in Fedora currently after a review by legal. If more software depends on Moonlight, they automatically get removed from Fedora because of that reason. Period. If you want to argue about Moonlight inclusion, the right place would be Fedora Legal list and not my blog.


        July 18, 2009 at 2:19 am

      • If Jesse is allowed to utter his belief that Moonlight is tainted then I should certainly be allowed to utter a differing opinion, no?

        To address your concerns:

        I have previously made Spot aware of the above points and requested that Legal consider them (on at least one occasion). To the best of my knmowledge he has not yet taken these considerations before RH Legal. I don’t believe there is more I can do, except stem posts like that Jesse made, till Legal considers this argument and gives us clear guidelines.

        The OSP coverage of the XAML dictionary is how Debian ships Moonlight if precedence matters.


        July 18, 2009 at 3:42 am

      • You are allowed to express whatever belief you want but I think it is important to remind people of the right forum to do so. That applies to everyone and not just you.

        I am not sure why you believe that Spot hasn’t taken your input to Legal Red Hat lawyers are subscribed to fedora-legal list and there have even replied directly on occasions. So take your ideas there and even cc them directly if needed.

        Can you provide a reference to your claim that OSP is what Debian include Moonlight? Debian doesn’t set any precedence since they include a MP3 decoder by default in their distribution. They don’t have to care about software patents much if at all.


        July 18, 2009 at 4:34 am

      • Here is pkg-mono’s page on Moonlight.

        If you want a distro that uses the same reasoning to ship Moonlight, but also doesn’t ship mp3 support by default then one could use Foresight Linux as the example. Debian has better documentation of the legal considerations though.

        According to quotations from Mark Webbink on the OSP FAQ page Red Hat’s official position on the OSP is that it is sufficiently clear to allow OSI licensed implementations of the listed specifications. So provided the technical argument for Moonlights functionality holds up in terms of it being a “mere” implementation of a XAML renderer then there should be no problem so far as I can see.


        July 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm

      • Again, Debian’s considerations of patent issues are irrelevant considering that they ship mp3 decoder by default.

        Foresight Linux is not in the same legal position since they are now managed by a non-profit entity

        All you can do if you want to pursue patents is to ask them to stop distribution. No liabilities there. Same as Debian.

        Unless a commercial organization in the US is directly responsible for the distribution, there is no precedent. Ironically, the one entity that might have been considered as precedent is Novell but since they signed a MS patent agreement, they cannot be counted now.

        The only people who can answer this conclusively is Red Hat Legal (not the ex lawyers but the present ones). Fedora-legal list is the place for that discussion. Good luck.


        July 18, 2009 at 2:47 pm

  3. Time to install Digikam by default instead of F-Spot? The kdelibs are about the same size as Mono and they don’t suffer from patent threats.

    Kevin Kofler

    July 18, 2009 at 4:21 am

    • I am not going to suggest installing all of kdelibs and a KDE program within other desktop environments. Solang seems a good alternative within GNOME or Xfce or LXDE.


      July 18, 2009 at 4:36 am

      • Back in the Bluecurve era, this was done for K3b, people liked it. FWIW, there are GNOME users still using K3b even now that there are GNOME-based alternatives.

        Of course it wouldn’t be an option for the GNOME live CD for space reasons, but F-Spot is not on the live CD either, for the same space reasons. (Mono is also huge.)

        Kevin Kofler

        July 18, 2009 at 4:55 am

      • Obviously we aren’t in the Bluecurve era anymore. It can’t be a fit into the live cd and Solang can be (since it uses gtkmm that is used by the system monitor as well as Gnote already included in the live cd). Anyway, I wasn’t looking for suggestions to alternatives and you wouldn’t miss the chance to include KDE in any discussion you can even if it feels contrived. So feel free to continue.


        July 18, 2009 at 5:03 am

    • How do you know that they don’t suffer from patent threats?


      July 18, 2009 at 4:43 am

      • Everything may suffer from hidden threats, but Mono and especially Moonlight are suffering from KNOWN patent threats. That’s not the case for KDE.

        Kevin Kofler

        July 18, 2009 at 4:50 am

  4. […] interesting post and comments on Mether’s blog about Banshee and F-Spot depending on […]

  5. Do you remember the times when KDE was de facto the leading desktop environment and small percentage of users have been using GNOME and others?

    When GNOME gained more users, fights between users began, Mono matured and made problems.

    I’d like to go back to the good ol’ times and because of that I’m using KDE4, which as a surprise – I found really mature, usable, stable, functional, useful and much comfortable.

    I know it sound being fanboy, but GNOME means problems.

    Yes, I used to use GNOME.


    July 18, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    • Yeah, I remember when Qt was proprietary as well. Can we get back to the present, then.


      July 18, 2009 at 8:57 pm

  6. […] arriving at the actual point of this post, the community is rapidly becoming aware of Novell’s Mono-Moonlight intersection, which we covered in [1, 2, 3]. It is nothing but trouble, unless we all support Microsoft and […]

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