Miguel De Icaza, the founder of Mono, has created a new company a couple weeks after he and the Mono team were fired by Novell's new owners, Attachmate. The new company is called Xamarin, and will focus on delivering Mono-based products, as well as Moonlight, an open-source implementation of Silverlight.
De Icaza's decision to go independent was not a direct result of his dismissal, according to an explanation posted in his blog:
"We have been trying to spin Mono off from Novell for more than a year now. Everyone agreed that Mono would have a brighter future as an independent company, so a plan was prepared last year."
This plan was hastened by Attachmate's decision to give De Icaza and his Mono developers and engineers their walking papers earlier this month.
"To make a long story short, the plan to spin off was not executed. Instead on Monday May 2nd, the Canadian and American teams were laid off; Europe, Brazil and Japan followed a few days later. These layoffs included all the MonoTouch and MonoDroid engineers and other key Mono developers. Although Attachmate allowed us to go home that day, we opted to provide technical support to our users until our last day at Novell, which was Friday last week. We were clearly bummed out by this development, and had no desire to quit, especially with all the great progress in this last year."
With a plan in motion "to maximize the pleasure that developers derive from using Mono and.NET languages on their favorite platforms", Xamarin has secured funding to move forward and ship initial products- which will be source compatible with Novell's MonoTouch for iPhone and MonoDroid. Xamarin will also provide commercial support for Mono, in addition to custom development work.
De Icaza says you can help his new company by providing feedback on a survey found here.
Although this speedy transition to independence may bode well for Mono, Ruby Codez at Slashdot didn't seem to be too bullish on Xamarin's future:
"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."
And Kroc Cameron, who posted about this at OS News, expressed some concern about where Mono is headed.
“From the beginning I have always worried that Miguel’s disregard for Microsoft’s patents on .NET will one day come back to bite him. This latest action doesn’t strengthen my faith in his decisions. Now he has decided to port Mono to iOS, a platform where the vendor has been extremely hostile to alternative development tools in the past and has a penchant for changing the rules with no recourse for developers. That said, Miguel is clearly no idiot and knows far more about the situation than I do. To be in control of his own destiny again, I give him much praise and wish him the best."