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GNU is Not Unix Programming

Miguel De Icaza Forms New Mono Company: Xamarin 286

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed dept.
rubycodez writes "After being thrown out on the streets by Attachmate, the purchasers of Novell, Miguel De Icaza has formed a new company Xamarin to make .NET development tools for Android and iOS. The company will also provide commercial international Mono support. There are those who would say Mono poses a risk of drawing Microsoft patent or other IP litigation for its inclusion in some major Linux distributions, and that these recent events might be the beginning of the demise of widespread use of Mono and other .NETiness in open source software, a good thing."
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Miguel De Icaza Forms New Mono Company: Xamarin

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:46AM (#36153558)

    They failed in their first attempt at making Mono a ubiquitous development platform by keeping their mobile ports behind a paywall. Now they lost access to those proprietary parts and decided to start again, in exactly the same fashion... brilliant.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oakgrove (845019)
      I'm not going to lie. I know nothing about C# other than the blindingly obvious, i.e., it is compiled bytecode designed to run in a virtual machine, it does automatic garbage collection, and it appears to be the premier platform for MS development. I'm pretty well versed in Python and Javascript and I've learned Java to code for Android. I really like Python and with Psycho, it runs plenty fast. And since the GUI widget toolkits like tk are compiled natively just exposing bindings to Python, the graphic
      • by tepples (727027)

        what is so great about C# that people seem willing to practically move heaven and earth to shoehorn it in to every platform they can get their hands on.

        What's so great is the popularity of Microsoft products in a few areas. For example, Xbox Live Indie Games won't run anything but C# and other languages that compile to .NET bytecode meeting some specific criteria. The big advantage of C# is that your video game for Xbox 360 and your game for another platform can share game logic.

      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:25AM (#36154108)
        The problem isn't with C# itself as it is a decent language. I view it as C++ enhanced to be better than Java. The problem is Mono. Mono attempts to port the .NET framework into other platforms like Linux. While there has been a great deal of work done, it still is incomplete and missing some parts that many consider crucial. Add to that there is the looming threat of MS legal action at any time. Given the MS sabre rattling on how Linux violates hundreds of MS patents, it is understandable that some regard Mono as not safe enough.
        • So you complaint is that Mono isn't "a complete .net" and even if it was, then it would be bad because it's "a complete .net".

          Am I reading you right?

          Mono has addressed the legal issues by seperating the Microsoft proprietary stuff from the ISO standard stuff, and supplying non-proprietary alternatives to several parts of the system. If Microsoft sues, they can easily jettison the proprietary stuff. If you're concerned about it, don't write to the proprietary API's.

          • No I am complaining that Mono is incomplete which I believe kinda crucial. And even if it were complete, Mono presents legal implications. If I remember correctly some of those proprietary APIs are essential to Windows. You can get around them but that means your code works differently for Windows than other platforms which defeats the purpose of being cross-platform.
            • You remember incorrectly. Mono has developed replacements that work the same on all OS's, such as GTK# to replace Windows Forms.

              • Great and you promise that MS will never threaten legal action on anything developed in Mono. Has Ms made assurances of any kind? You haven't addressed that point.
      • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:29AM (#36154164)

        Some of it's probably personal preference -- I'd personally rather use almost anything than Eclipse, though I know a lot of people love it. (For me, at its best, it's a pair of left-handed scissors and I'm right handed, and I don't get a lot of 'best' days.)

        Some of it might be the versatility of the .NET framework with respect to language -- for example, if you prefer writing Python to Java, in theory in the .NET world you could just switch over to writing in IronPython instead of C# and call it a day, and either way it becomes .NET bytecode.

        Some of it might just be a desire for competition. For several years Java was the de facto standard for solving a lot of kinds of problems -- for example, writing custom apps for businesses. That having happened, Java as a language really stagnated in a bad way. It wasn't until C# surpassed Java (in terms of features) that Java really got going and was driven to improve again. In that sense, even if you prefer Java or something else to .NET, having .NET around will probably spur it to be better.

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          In theory, .NET is the only language/runtime/framework/library you'll ever need, but in practice......

          in practice, you use different tools for different jobs. Line of Business apps are still being written in Java, more "hardcore" apps are still being written in C++, more webserver apps are being written in PHP. I think I like this state of affairs, because I wouldn't want to be tied into a single system forever. Apart from being a bit boring, you hit the reason right - it stagnates and never sees any need t

      • by murdocj (543661)

        I've programmed in both Java & .Net languages (C# & VB.Net). I'd say that advantage is that the .Net languages benefited from having Java go first. You might think of them as "Java with the rough edges taken off".

      • by ByOhTek (1181381)

        Here are my reasons.

        (1) The API is very well document. Admittedly, Java and python are about as good. All three seem to have differences in where their documentation excel/lack, for me the .NET documentation seems a bit better.
        (2) Even considering Psycho, it is faster than Python, and depending on the task, the speed can go between slightly faster, parity and slightly slower than Java
        (3) Visual Studio is an excellent IDE, probably my favorite (but opinions vary). I just started using MonoDevelop, and it has

  • Q. Who didn't see this coming?
    A. Miguel.

    "Xamarin" - because "Ximian" was already taken.

  • Good news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nicholas22 (1945330) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:46AM (#36153572)
    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. Source: http://www.infoq.com/news/2011/05/Mono-II [infoq.com]
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      If it's under the GPL and LGPL, it's going to be a rough case Attachmate would be making, considering that it's open licensed and they just kicked the team to the curb. Unless Attachmate has enforceable non-competes, along with carrying Mono forward, they're not going to have all that much of a case. Violating Copyright? Not really.

      As much as I wish that this stuff would have MS take the spectre of patent lawsuits away from this, or better yet, just die the death it needs to- this isn't a concern I have

      • If developers writing competing software having prior knowledge of [parts of] the code of the original was not a problem, the concept of clean room reverse engineering wouldn't exist.
        But since the Mono project used not to accept contributions from people that have seen Microsoft's shared source code, they are definitely aware of the danger and must be confident that a lawsuit from Attachmate isn't coming.

      • I don't think they will be GPL and LGPL? The MonoTouch and MonoDroid clones will be commercial offerings following a similar closed philosophy according to Miguel de Icaza (see www.tirania.org/blog)
        • by tepples (727027)
          Then how can developers of free software (by the GNU definition) for the Android platform can afford $400 for Mono for Android plus $250 per year for updates? Or should developers of software for the Android platform just plan to ignore Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360, and other .NET-only platforms entirely?
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            That road goes both ways you know, maybe MS should start supporting dalvik.

          • By charging for the apps?

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            Or should developers of software for the Android platform just plan to ignore Windows Phone 7

            Yes. It's not going anywhere.

            • by tepples (727027)

              Or should developers of software for the Android platform just plan to ignore Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360 [...]?

              Yes. [Windows Phone 7 is] not going anywhere.

              Should developers also just plan to ignore Xbox 360?

          • by oakgrove (845019)
            When Google or Microsoft ports .Net over to Android, I may consider developing in it. Otherwise, there is no way I'm going to use a second class dev environment on my first choice platform. Here is a list of the top grossing games on Android:
            • Paradise Island
            • Bakery Story
            • Restaurant Story
            • iMobsters
            • Homerun Battle 3D
            • Gun Brothers
            • World War

            What percentage of these games were written in mono?

            I don't have a list for ad supported stuff like Angry Birds but the Roveo people said they were planning to make a mill

            • Otherwise, there is no way I'm going to use a second class dev environment on my first choice platform. Here is a list of the top grossing games on Android

              Does an Android-powered device capable of running apps come in a set-top form factor? I haven't seen one. If not, then Xbox 360 is pretty much the only platform for indie console games, and any such game needs to be written in .NET so that it can run in the XNA environment.

              • by oakgrove (845019)
                I've looked high and low. None of the top selling apps on Android are written in mono. All of the developer documentation for android is written assuming you will be using Java. If I run into any weird issues or bugs in Android, I'm going to be in a much better position to get help if I'm using the officially sanctioned development methods. The Android SDK is just going to enable me to write a better app. I'd rather write the best application my abilities will allow rather than hamstring myself worryin
      • by kripkenstein (913150) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @01:37PM (#36156114) Homepage

        If it's under the GPL and LGPL, it's going to be a rough case Attachmate would be making, considering that it's open licensed and they just kicked the team to the curb.

        The FOSS code is not a concern here.

        The issue is the proprietary code that Miguel et al worked on in Novell, the Android and iPhone runtimes. That is owned by Attachmate now, and this new startup contains exactly the same coders, who are intentionally going to write the exact same product from scratch - they will be 100% "source compatible" with the old runtimes.

        So legalities are a reasonable concern. Even if no code is copied, the same people writing the same product - immediately after writing it the first time - may lead to basically the same code being written. It might be hard to prove no code was copied even if none was. Lawsuits are filed for much less.

        Of course, this only matters if Xamarin is a big success - no one sues a failure. Time will tell.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:46AM (#36153576)

    Doesn't Apple have a prohibition of using a framework other than Objective C for their iOS apps? I know some tools get around this by making Objective C source code.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:48AM (#36153602)

    ...that the submitter should just state his opinion rather than hiding behind weasel words.

  • It's a trap!
  • Given that there is nothing MS would have liked to do more than to shut down Novell for ANY reason whatsoever, why would people consider the demise of ".NET" ness that is clearly open source and in many ways immune to patent litigation (although possibly not DMCA reverse engineering litigation -- I've heard that folks thought that was a possibility at one time) a good thing?

    That would be like saying that SCO's lawsuits had merit for including major Linux distributions in it's target scope, would it not? And
    • and in many ways immune to patent litigation (although possibly not DMCA reverse engineering litigation -- I've heard that folks thought that was a possibility at one time)

      Reverse engineering for the express purpose of interoperability is not grounds for a DMCA suit according to 17 USC 1201(f) [cornell.edu]. Say what you want about Universal v. Reimerdes, but I'd bet it would have gone down much differently if DVD Jon had waited until Linux had stable UDF support before releasing DeCSS.

  • it's not a good thing that Mono should go away

    it is a good thing from the point of view of ideology, however

    but as a working programmer, i like getting things done. to hell with the ideologues

    • The point of view of the ideologues is that they want it to remain legal for you to get things done. What assholes.

  • Surely... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:53AM (#36153682)

    these recent events might be the beginning of the demise of widespread use of Mono and other .NETiness in open source software, a good thing

    Surely thats a matter of opinion?

    • Re:Surely... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PsychicX (866028) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:09AM (#36153900)
      It's a matter of unnecessary Slashdot editorializing, promotion of stupid viewpoints by stupid people. Free Software, amongst other things, exists to promote choice amongst developers and users both. So why is losing effective development choices productive? It isn't. But because there's a vague connection to Microsoft here, it must be evil and be destroyed. Especially now with Java in Oracle hands, what does this accomplish? It's like these people never got out of college and think their professors' dedication to C and a UNIX variant is the only legitimate viewpoint.
      • Re:Surely... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:38AM (#36154308)

        But because there's a vague connection to Microsoft here, it must be evil and be destroyed.

        First of all, it's not a "vague" connection between .NET and Microsoft, they created and own the platform FFS. The connection is as explicit as can be.

        Second, Microsoft has proven time and time again that given half a chance will fuck over anything and anybody that stands in their way. And has never stopped trying to take out FOSS, GPL, Linux, open standards and, again, pretty much anything they see as threatening their cosy monopolies. As we speak they're mounting another covert attack on Linux using software patents.

        Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Trust Microsoft? Sorry, never again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cyber-vandal (148830)

        People's lack of trust in Microsoft's behaviour is not some paranoid delusion but the result of years of experience of watching them misbehave. How do you know that Microsoft won't try to say that Mono violates their patents? They've already said that Linux does, but in the case of Mono they may well be able to prove it. I work in C# .NET and I really enjoy my job but I wouldn't trust Microsoft not to shit on a competitor. Even a brief look at their long and chequered legal history would show that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by npsimons (32752) *

      these recent events might be the beginning of the demise of widespread use of Mono and other .NETiness in open source software, a good thing

      Surely thats a matter of opinion?

      Please cite, specifically, what Mono or C# brings to open source platforms that aren't already there and done better. There's nothing new in C#, and the JVM is already taking off with new programming languages, plus it's finally fast enough for most everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that C# is exposing programmers to advanced lang

  • I don't get it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935)
    Most companies won't touch it...if they're running on Linux, they're going to go with a language that's native to the platform, like Java. If you're a home user, most relevant software written in .NET isn't going to work with it. This just seems like an extremely futile attempt. Is Miguel hoping that one day Microsoft will say "hey, we really like what you've been doing...come work for us!"?
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nicholas22 (1945330) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:59AM (#36153750)
      Java isn't native to Linux. But I get what you were trying to say.
      • By native, I mean there's a fully supported jvm available for it that isn't currently trying to play catchup with an upstream vendor.
    • by tepples (727027)

      if they're running on Linux, they're going to go with a language that's native to the platform, like Java.

      Say a company wants to make an application available to the public, and the public owns a mix of iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 devices. But the developers don't want to perform a complete, error-introducing rewrite of the application logic when porting the application to another platform. So they have to write the application logic* in a language that iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 devices can all run. The only ones I can think of are C# and other languages that compile to verifiably type-safe IL.

      • That company would be best advised to bite the bullet and implement it 3 times...using the correct and supported languages for the targeted platform...that is if they enjoy staying in business.
        • That company would be best advised to bite the bullet and implement it 3 times...using the correct and supported languages for the targeted platform

          Then what method do you recommend for ensuring that a program written in Objective-C, a program written in Java, and a program written in C# do exactly the same thing in all circumstances? Which N-version programming [wikipedia.org] tools do you recommend?

      • by Locutus (9039)
        one problem I see is that Microsoft is well known for locking its developers onto their platform. This is a well known business method used on the Windows OS. Given that, why would you want to fall for using the platform they control( MS .Net) to create applications for the 2 dominant phone platforms, iOS and Android, so you can get the also-ran Windows Phone 7 and be subject to losing iOS and Android at Microsoft's whim?

        For crying out loud, Microsoft created their .Net stuff to thwart Java because Java was
        • Given that, why would you want to fall for using the platform they control( MS .Net) to create applications for the 2 dominant phone platforms, iOS and Android, so you can get the also-ran Windows Phone 7

          True, Windows Phone 7 might be considered an "also-ran" worthy of ignoring, but Xbox 360 is not. Like applications for Windows Phone 7, Xbox Live Indie Games also use the .NET Framework.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Most companies won't touch it...if they're running on Linux, they're going to go with a language that's native to the platform, like Java.

      What maks JAVA any more "natively" Linux than .NET or Mono?

      • The fact that there's a fully supported jvm for it that isn't constantly trying to play catch-up with the upstream vendor.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by greap (1925302)
          The bits that make sense in cross platform systems have been done: http://www.mono-project.com/Compatibility [mono-project.com]

          Those that are missing currently (almost entirely limited to entity framework and workflow) have open source alternatives already available (EG NHibernate for EF).

          In terms of release cycles it varies fairly wildly. Mono actually was at release for several parts of Framework 4 before Microsoft had their version out of the door, Microsoft tend to be fairly verbose with the roadmap and also put out
    • by BRSloth (578824)

      Not sure what you mean "native to the platform, like Java". Java is mostly platform-less (more or less) as most code can run unmodified in any platform, be it Linux, OS X or Windows (again, let me say "more or less". There are some differences between platforms, even in Java).

      Also, most Linux home users already run Mono applications, like Banshee and Tomboy, which are part of the GNOME desktop.

      That being said, in my opinion the biggest problem with Mono (apart from the whole patent debacle) is that it was a

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:01AM (#36153778) Homepage

    From TFM:

    The new versions of .NET for the iPhone and Android will be source compatible with MonoTouch and Mono for Android. Like those versions, they will be commercial products, built on top of the open core Mono.

    "open core" is not free software, and it's not open source.

  • Obsession (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Muad'Dave (255648)

    Miguel's obsession with creating an open source version of .NET borders on mono-mania [wikipedia.org].

  • Wow, he's gonna port his open source implementation of .NET to iOS.

    That could rip a hole in the space-time continuum.

  • ...a drug to help with the depressive side effects of internet addiction?
    • by instagib (879544)

      I don't know, it really is a country club in Africa [sa-westcoast.com], but I think Miguel went for "Tamarin", which is a type of monkey [wikipedia.org]. But unfortunately this name is already occupied by a Mozilla project [mozilla.org], which strangely is some kind of scripting language, and to his dismay is also being used as the name for a Java framework [sourceforge.net]. *head asplodes*

  • Not a "Good Thing" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrbluejello (189775) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:14AM (#36153974)
    It is not a "good thing" to have Mono or .NET interoperability taken out of reach of Linux users. Interoperability layers such as Mono allow Linux systems to participate in networks that are dominated by Windows and other commercial systems. If it weren't for software like this, Linux systems may not be invited into some corporate networks, and would not get a seat at the table. The idea of a "pure" linux or no linux is going to continue having linux sitting out in the cold all by itself. Interoperability is crucial. If anything, we need more software like Mono, not less.
    • Java is one language. Python is one language. With .Net-like technology, FOSS can invade the windows space like never before. There's the potential to share business logic on everything from Android to XNA. Wake the F*@& up. The growth of cross-platform FOSS breaks down the walls that separate platforms and prevent cross-platform competition from occurring.

      The day that FOSS comes up with a totally free CLR and CIL that allows static inclusion of the VM in the binary is they day that people can tal
  • by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:15AM (#36153990)
    Seriously, isn't it a little juvenile to rally against a software platform just because it's based on something created by a company you don't like? And isn't it hypocritical to bolster Java when it's supported by Oracle, which has a reputation for destroying everything it touches?
    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      For me, as a non-programmer, the rally against .net is a call for simple cross-platform functionality. We are spending a lot of money on ERP/accounting software for my company, and due to the .net backend and client, we are forced to add windows servers and to forego mobile access. It does have a web client... that just works in IE.

      The situation is typical in dealing with software that went down the .net path. It reduces flexibility and limits beneficial use.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:23AM (#36154082)

    1st of all:
    Quit picking on Miguel. You may not share the same opinion as he on bigger issues, as do I, but treating him the way the majority here does is primitive. He deserves all respect and professional merit you can give. Unless you are Linus Torwalds, RMS or someone other of the rare few on which who's work his work is based on, you are not entitled to picking a fight with him or destructively ragging about his decisions and/or motives. The others actually aren't either, but at least they have a track record to back up their ego.
    He's done considerable contributions to the cause of FOSS, more than most of humanity anyway and way more than anybody of the wannabees here on slashdot could ever dream of accomplishing, so suck up any stupid and/or ignorant and/or snide remarks you may have ready and just STFU. Thanks.

    2nd: Mono may be a controversy in broader issues, but that's not to say it's not a good project. As for the product itself and products based of it: I know at least one that is a game changer and a major leap forward in its industry, that is based entirely on Mono and wouldn't be possible without it ( http://www.unity3d.com/ [unity3d.com] ). Cudos to Miguel and the Mono team for making it possible. I know for sure that the other large x-plattform around, Java, would have been beyond pointless as a foundation for realising this and would have failed miserably. Mono and Monodevelop are cool cross-plattform toolkits, and as far as I can tell they get the job done.
    Who can say that about their pet FOSS project?

  • beginning of the demise of widespread use of Mono and other .NETiness in open source software

    This seems to VERY incorrectly imply there once was, or currently is, widespread use of Mono and other .NETiness in open source software. Is it a yogi-ism to say its so widespread that nobody uses it anymore?

  • by Locutus (9039) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:25AM (#36154120)
    Since Attachmate didn't sell Mono to this Xamerin group are there not two versions of Mono? That would then be a Duo. Because two Mono's don't make it right.

    That reminds me, Miguel already has a dual personality with his proclaimed love of open source yet his constant admiration for everything made by Microsoft.

    LoB
  • Haters are gonna Hate. That's just what they do.

    I wish Miguel and his team the best of luck. I was actually reading Slashdot when Miguel started Gnome, actually remember the email announcement. Gnome was an incredible success. His other ventures all got bought out ( a successful exit strategy ).

    If Xamarin would except micro-investments ( ie. 100K ), I'll be first in line to sign up. I've got something in the 401K, the wife has this ( morbidly weird ) funeral savings I might be able to get at. Heck, th

  • Can someone tell me who uses Mono "commercially"?

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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