After many years and a lot of resistance, it may be that Microsoft worked it’s way into the Free Software world. And the result may be more horrifieing than one can imagion, but the way was maybe to simple to see in the beginning. It all started in 2000 with the release of the specifications of .NET and in 2002 with the release of .NET 1.0 by Microsoft.
In 2004 was the first release of Mono ready and Novell jumped on it like a lioness on a wildebeest. The integration in the OpenSuSE 10-tree started, but others like Redhat refused for the same reason Java from Sun was an issue. But here played Microsoft ball like no one else as they found someone to implement there platform for free under the GPL. Novell takes the blame when thing go bad and Microsoft gets a grip on Linux-market when thing go well.
As SuSE being a KDE-distribution Novell had some issues since other bigger players had selected GNOME as the new defacto desktop. This has changed over time and with a lot of GNOME developers on the payroll of Novell these issues where fixed. Critical applications like Tomboy, F-Spot, Banshee and Beagle where build in an attempt to let GNOME depend on Mono. They partially succeeded, because Beagle was bloatware and developers found a solution in MetaTracker, but Tomboy was added to the releasecycle.
The discussion gets a second round as the biggest Linux-distribution on the planet gives Mono a go by starting depending meta-packages in there distribution. The change in Debian starts to split the community as time goes by. And remember, this is the distribution who thinks they should be more free then Richard M. Stallman. But with the next release a lot of new installations start to include Mono and for Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu this may even become on an earlier moment.
One may ask how this could happen, but it may be more wise to see how we can stop this for spreading. I’m not gone run any .NET-based applications as I’m glad to see Java go from my machines (yes, NetBeans appears to be nice, but give bloatware a new definition). Also tests with other GNOME-applications to remove support for Python or Perl where a good indicator for me to try to drop support for them. It only leaves me with the final question what to use when Debian goes bad? And with a growning dependency on Mono and OpenJDK this could happen.