Friday, May 14, 2010

F-Spot is Gone: Now Can We Get Rid of Tomboy?

Main screen of Tomboy 0.10.2, a notetaking app...Image via Wikipedia
F-Spot has been voted off the island by developers at UDS this week. The Mono application will be replaced by Shotwell, written in Vala. Since the only other Mono application I see in the default install is Tomboy, would it make sense to conspire to kick Tomboy Notes off the show next week and Mono off the CD the following episode?

This isn't a political demonization of Mono -- I'm actually quite surprised that F-Spot got the boot since so much work was done to it in order to have it be a stand-in for the Gimp. Still, it makes little sense to keep Tomboy and the Mono runtime when space could be freed on the CD by using Gnote, a C+ program that is basically a drop-in replacement for Tomboy.


  1. Tomboy can be linked to Ubuntu One and that maybe a reason to keep it. Not sure if Gnote can be linked to Ubuntu One.

  2. F-Spot was garbage anyway. It trashes EXIF data and has done so for years. It makes sense to do away with Mono, but don't hold your breath. Ubuntu seems to be joined at the hip to it. They have increased Mono content at a time when others are doing away with it. Look for more Mono not less from Ubuntu. I expect Banshee will replace Rhythmbox and gbrainy, Gnome Do and Docky to make it to the CD. Can you detect the disappointment?
    Ubuntu has, if anything, been deaf to its users over the past months who have had to resort to posting bug reports because Ubuntu is not listening to Brainstorm and its user base.
    Now we know who has the pull in Ubuntu and it is not the users, but developers. Community is just a word that they use at their convenience.

  3. Gnote is a line-for-line port of Tomboy from C# to C++, so I assume that Gnote could sync to U1 with little trouble. It doesn't matter, though. The report is that Tomboy is in for 10.10.

  4. LinuxCanuck --
    This wasn't an anti-Mono post: I just thought that carrying the baggage of a whole runtime for one, small application seemed silly. You're probably right that Banshee will replace RB, though. It's been proposed every year and gets more support each time.

  5. Daeng, Gnote is an *incomplete* line-for-line port of Tomboy from C# to C++. It does not support any kind of note synchronization.

  6. Sandy,

    I didn't mean to imply that Gnote was complete, merely that continuing the port to the sync functions should be fairly straightforward. Sorry for being unclear.

    Gnote is the default now for Fedora so you can be pretty sure adding some kind of sync support is a priority somewhere in the chain. And let's be honest -- if note sync isn't supported in 10.10 and returns in 11.04, it won't be the end of the world.

  7. [I should probably disclose (for those that don't know) that I'm the maintainer of Tomboy, these are just my opinions, etc etc]

    Daeng, it's easy to say that implementing something is "fairly straightforward". It is a common statement from users who wonder why their favorite feature doesn't exist yet. Whether or not it's true, the fact is that Gnote has been around for over a year, and default in Fedora for something like 6 months, and there have been no signs in git, bugzilla, or gnote-list that they are even thinking about working on sync.

    But certainly it's doable. There are now implementations in C# (Tomboy), Java (Tomdroid), and C (Conboy), so a C++ port would have plenty of references available.

    As for whether or not removing a default feature is "the end of the world", well...this is just software...nothing is "the end of the world". :-P

    But Canonical has invested a fair amount of time and money into Tomboy note sync in U1, so it seems unlikely to me that they would intentionally regress on that.

  8. Sandy,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Like I said in the post, this is not an anti-Mono thing. It isn't an anti-Tomboy post, either, as I like and use Tomboy all the time and have since it became part of Ubuntu: I felt (and still feel) that the overhead of the Mono/GTK# runtime isn't worth Tomboy, as good as it may be. When F-Spot was in the default installation, you wouldn't hear me calling for the removal.

    If Ubuntu is looking toward more Mono apps like Banshee or Gnome-Do, then ripping out a working piece of the desktop obviously doesn't make sense. If that's not the case, the devs should be working toward something lighter for a single-CD distro.

    p.s. Thanks for a great piece of software.

  9. Thanks Daeng, I appreciate your comments. Your post was very clearly (to me, at least) not anti-Mono or anti-Tomboy, so no worries on that regard.

    If the math shows that Tomboy and its dependencies take up too much space on the Live CD (where 10 megabytes is a big deal), then obviously choices have to be made at that point. The latest packaging improvements to Mono make the dependencies increasingly light, so I personally hope this won't become an issue.

  10. It's my understanding (i haven't checked it out yet) that Fedora removed both Tomboy and F-spot (I assume they wanted to remove the bloat from the Mono libraries) but the cd is still 680ish MBs...
    And although i heard Gnote is a capable clone of tomboy, Shotwell isn't compring that welll...

  11. Shotwell is fairly young, and written in Vala. I assume that it is not nearly as capable as F-Spot, which has years under its belt, but I also know that F-Spot has quite a few problems WRT speed. Vala is a popular GNOME language right now, so I assume that the Ubuntu devs thought that adding the required features to Shotwell would be easier than to F-spot.

    Fedora went with GThumb and Gnote in F12, I think. I plated with F13 a few weeks ago, but I don't remember a photo manager. At the time, the iso was 900+MB.

  12. Daeng Bo,

    Fedora 13 beta image was around that size but the general release has it back to CD size. Shotwell is indeed the default for Fedora 13 and has replaced Gthumb and F-Spot.


    Debarishi Ray, primary developer of Gnote currently is already working on sync and has code written that he needs to clean up and commit. It will likely happen soon.

  13. Thanks for the info.


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