Son of SCO?
Why can't I shake this sinking feeling that within a year we will hear that Attachmate is all about "vigorously protecting our intellectual property" and we will see the exciting sequel "Attachmate - Just When You Thought SCO Was Dead"?
The founders of Mono – an effort to build an open source version of Microsoft's .NET platform – have launched a new company around the project, just fourteen days after they were laid off by new Novell owner Attachmate. The new company is known as Xamarin, and according to a blog post from Mono founder Miguel de Icaza, it will …
This brings on the specter of legal action by Attachmate. While there has always been the thought that Mono could be sued by Microsoft, such as lawsuit would require Microsoft convincing a court that it was “just kidding” and the CLR/C# patent covenants are non-binding. Between their obligations to the ECMA standards body and the legal principal of equitable estoppel, the chance of this happening is slim to none.
Attachmate is a completely different story. Even if they aren’t supporting it, they do own a product that is in direct competition with Xamarin’s future offerings. Without some sort of legal arrangement between Attachmate and Xamarin, the latter would face the daunting prospect of proving that their new development doesn’t use any the technology that the old one did.
As a result of this, as well as the general uncertainty of any new product, some developers on the mono-android mailing list are stating that they are moving back to Java development for now.
And the answer is, it provides an escape hatch to MS shops and allows independant devs without huge buckets of resources to run source-compatible code against Apache while using their work-gained skills or even training those skills for future employment.
DON'T let it die. It's vital. When told of the layoffs, the Systems Manager where I work said "oh well, fuck linux then. You can now only work on IIS".
Now he might reverse that decision. Just because you don't see the need doesn't mean it isn't there.
If I as a developer had to stop and think about that then I wouldn't get any work done.
java-> Oops Oracle might do this and that
iOS-> Oops Steve might not like what I am doing here.
Android -> Oops google might change its API's
Besides I think MonoTouch is a great way to get your applications ported to both android and iOs.
Although I wouldn't code for it myself, Mono has a big place in the gnome toolchain. It is better integrated with the OS than Java (which pretends all platforms look the same), and can be used to produce high quality code.
-python and ruby and the like are also fast enough on modern machines, and even easier to deal with
-Google's Dalvik runtime has given the Java language a boost on phones, and removes the need for Mono there.
-Apple are very fussy about what they let run on their phones -witness their treatment of adobe's Flash runtime/cross compiler.
I wish them well, but fear that between android and apple, it's going to be hard
Seriously, are there any OpenSource apps built on Mono? I can't imagine what reasoning would lead someone to deploy an ASP.Net web app on Linux using Mono. I recall there used to be an app included with Gnome that was based on Mono, but it was replaced amid a chorus of disapproval. So who exactly is using Mono? And who of these would pay to keep this new company viable?
They need to prove this has at least as much indemnification from Microsoft IP claims (patent and other) as Novell offered. Without the umbrella of patent cross licences Novell had it's going to be a challenge convincing the world their customers are safe.
Or more accurately, convincing the world they have an equally uncertain level of protection from Microsoft.
On a more personal level, this project needs to die. I'm forced to run .NET on my PC, a gigabyte of Microsoft bloat just to run a bloody PVR, this much bloat has no place on mobile devices.
I've become more saddened over the last few weeks as the news from Attachmate has leaked out. As a small developer we have found that monotouch allowed us to push on with iphone development a lot quicker than learning Obj-C. With the added benefits of easily sharing code with windows and WP7 projects, Mono for Android did look like we would have something which would extend this further.
Seeing this though, I can't help but think the new company could be in for a rocky ride.
I don't think I would trust any Attachmate announcements around this, so it looks like we'll be using the 3 months until Xamarin say the first iOS version will be around getting up to speed on Obj-C and Java, rather than releasing apps.
They obviously didn't want to keep the Mono team on their payroll, so why would they spend money trying to "kill" Mono when they're obviously not even remotely interested in it?
Also: I think it's safe to assume Miguel de Icaza has spent some time looking into the legal issues. The Novell - MIcrosoft patent stuff was all about *GNU/Linux*, not about Mono. Microsoft gave Mono their blessing years ago and *need* Mono to continue. Without Mono, Microsoft's .NET technology becomes just another platform-specific environment—on a platform that's now *losing* market share.
There may be an SCO-type brouhaha, but consider that SCO didn't exactly come out of that ridiculous battle unscathed. Attachmate are unlikely to have any more success.
Besides, the key "enemy" for Attachmate is Google, not Microsoft. .NET and Mono are complementary tools. (And, if you're a Unity developer, or have every played one of the hundreds of iOS, Android, Wii, Windows or Mac games written in it, Mono is also important: Unity uses the Mono scripting engine.)
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