Mono Continues without Novell / Attachmate

by Ostatic Staff - May. 16, 2011

Miguel de Icaza announced on his blog today the formation of a new startup working on Mono-based products. Mono has always been controversial in Linux circles for several reasons, but mainly due to possible patent problems. For a while the pro-Mono and anti-Mono war raged until most distributions took a stance. Once the controversy died down few beyond developers really cared. When Attachmate bought Novell, they decided to terminate Mono development. Again, a collective "meh" traversed the Interwaves. But today when Icaza announced Xamarin it was big news - judging by all the big commercial Websites relaying the announcement.

Icaza is a big name in Open Source circles, after all, he was the co-founder of GNOME (among other things). Icaza was often spoke of with reverence, much like Linus Torvalds. Although his brand took a hit with Mono, there's little doubt of his contribution to the Open Source world. So, I guess if he was announcing a candy bar company it'd be big news.

However, it isn't candy bars Icaza hopes to peddle, it's .NET tools for Apple iOS and Google Android as well as support and custom implementations. Actually, Icaza has been trying to spin Mono out of Novell for quite some time, so the layoff may have just played into his plans. With mobile platforms continuing to grow everyday Icaza just might be onto something.

In his blog post today Icaza said that development started this morning and although some funding has been secured, the new company is looking for additional investment.  He said he was "bummed" by the lay-offs of himself and his fellow Mono-ites, but they "have a plan in place, which includes both angel funding for keeping the team together, as well as a couple of engineering contracts that will help us stay together as a team while we ship our revenue generating products."

The new versions of .NET will be source compatible with previous versions and it sounds as though the open version will continue to be provided. If this will effect Linux distributions and those popular Mono-based applications will soon become apparent, but for now no news is good news.