.NET technology in the form of Mono is making in-roads into the high profile Ubuntu distribution - but the fact that Mono isn't entirely safe from legal wrangles does sour the situation.
Ubuntu has done much for making Linux a popular desktop operating system and it is worrying some that the next version is going to be a radical change. The next version Natty Narwhal (or 11.04) is dropping the Gnome shell in favour of Unity - which is already the standard user interface on the current netbook edition of Ubuntu. What has been less well reported is the fact that Banshee is to replace Rhythmbox as the default media player. Changing a media player is a big deal for users because it's something they use - a lot. However in this case it is also a big deal for programmers because Banshee is a Mono based C# application.
Mono is the open source implementation of .NET so another headline way to report this news is that ".NET is a big part of Ubuntu". Well perhaps this exaggerates this the situation but you can see the idea.
For many .NET and even the open source version of Mono represents the enemy and therefore they resist their inclusion in an open source OS like Ubuntu. The situation with Mono is also slightly messy due to the fact that it implements some .NET behavior which is not part of the ECMA specification - and this opens it to the possibility of a copyright or patent lawsuit by Microsoft. Miguel de Icaza, the man behind Mono, has promised a version that doesn't make use of the potentially Microsoft proprietary technology.
Banshee isn't the first .NET app to find its way into an Ubuntu distribution, however, and it is estimated that three .NET apps could be part of the next distribution. Although Banshee is a C# .NET application it currently isn't available as a download for Windows. although there are notes on how you can compile it from the latest development version.
Clearly the Banshee team is pleased with making it into Ubuntu - from the developer list:
We will be the default music app for Ubuntu 11.04!
This will mean millions of new users. To give them an awesome first impression and ongoing experience, let's focus during 1.9.x on polishing our UI, UX, stability, and performance. We will undoubtedly add some new features, but "Polish! Fix!" should be our mantra.
Technically the .NET framework and the C# language have advantages for app development on any OS and, on the face of it, the open source versions of C# and the framework should be received with some enthusiasm - but clearly the taint of Microsoft is difficult to wash off.
Mono gets UI support