Life Without Mono: Removing Mono from Ubuntu

I removed Ubuntu from my system yesterday; I’ve already got problems with memory and decided I didn’t want it cluttering up my already sparse memory (1Gb!). One gigabyte isn’t enough? Don’t get me started…

Anyway, I removed it, and it was interesting to see what went with it:

  • sysinfo
  • tangerine
  • tomboy
  • f-spot
  • beagle
  • banshee
  • gnome-do

These are good apps, but I don’t need another runtime environment cluttering up my sparse (sparse??) memory. There are a lot of other applications: the Mono folks have compiled a list, and the folks campaigning against Novell (and Mono) have a list also.

Most of these I never use (except F-Spot and Gnome Do) but I won’t miss them. Ubuntu has officially replaced F-Spot with Shotwell, and Gnome Do is not quite as good as the original Quicksilver (I’ve a Mac Mini with Quicksilver installed).

I’m already using some massive memory-abusing apps. For example, consider Google Chrome with a gazillion tabs, or NetBeans, or Gnome itself. I can’t replace NetBeans (unless I want to use the massive Eclipse instead…) but sometimes I use Midori instead of Google Chrome, or WindowMaker instead of Gnome (all very nice and highly recommended!). It also appears that the Google Chrome extension Too Many Tabs will free up memory when you “suspend” a tab; fantastic!

Try some of these lightweight items and see if you won’t have a snappier system!

Making Scala and NetBeans work under Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

Scala is an object-oriented language designed for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and a very interesting language. The inventor of Groovy suggested that Groovy would never have been created if Scala was around at the time, and the inventor of Java named Scala as a language he’d use.

NetBeans is an integrated development environment (IDE) which is particularly suited for Java (and was developed in Java besides).

Getting Scala and NetBeans to work together requires some adaptation; the basic directions are at the NetBeans website. There are, however, some caveats to making this work, especially under Ubuntu.

Install NetBeans from the Ubuntu repositories; this will be version 6.8.

The version of Scala installed by default in Ubuntu (the current stable release, 2.7.7) is not suitable. The current release candidate (2.8.0-RC3) from should be installed instead, and into a single directory – /usr/local/scala is a good location. When done, the directory should contain these directories:

  • bin
  • doc
  • lib
  • man
  • meta
  • misc
  • src

The directory which contains these will be SCALA_HOME. Create a file under /etc/profile.d/scala like so:


Then, add this to the file /etc/netbeans.conf (at the end of the netbeans_default_options):

-J-Dscala.home=/usr/local/scala -J-Xmx1024m

At this point, let’s add the modules to NetBeans to support Scala. Download the archives and unpack them.

Start NetBeans, and select the Tools menu, followed by selecting the Plugins menu item. This brings up a new window. Select the Downloaded tab. Click on the Add files button, and select all of the nbm files that you just unpacked. After they appear in the list (all checked), click on Install.

NetBeans will have to be restarted to complete the process.

To check and make sure that everything works, create a new project and check for a category folder for Scala. Also try selecting the Tools menu, and then Scala Platforms – make sure that the path is /usr/local/scala.

Have fun with NetBeans and Scala!

Whither Sun Microsystems?

The recent fourth quarter reports from server manufacturers was dim, and Sun Microsystems was by far the worst (with a 35% loss compared to the same period last year). On top of this, Sun just announced in October (within their 8K filing for the SEC) intentions to lay off 3000 employees in the next 12 months. Infoworld also had a nice piece on this; according to Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, the company is losing $100 million each month the European Union regulators put off accepting the merger.

With the Oracle acquisition in progress, there are a lot of questions about the future viability of Sun Microsystems, and of some of its products.

I don’t think people realize just how important the Sun group of products are, and what an impact it would have if most – or even some – of the products were cancelled. Consider this list of Sun products:

Most of the most popular products were mentioned by Oracle in their Sun Acquisition FAQ (PDF), stating that they will increase money spent on each over what Sun spent. These products include: Java, Solaris, SPARC, StarOffice, NetBeans, virtualization products, Glassfish, and MySQL. Other products were not mentioned – such as Lustre, the Modular Data Center, and others.

The list above also does not list the technologies that were spearheaded by Sun – and some still are: ZFS, NFS, NIS (and NIS+), dtrace, containers, and smc.

It would be unfortunate – and materially significant – if Sun were to go under or if any of the majority of their products were to be cancelled. One can only hope this does not happen…