Mono Gets a New Lease of Life, Xamarin Obtains A Perpertual License for Mono

About 3 months ago, Mono  founder Miguel de Icaza was laid off by Novell following their acquisition by Attachmate. Miguel was quick to launch his startup, Xamarin, which would be  focusing  on Mono based products. However, until now, the future of Mono remained unknown – would it exist? Would it need a rewrite?

Miguel cleared the air with his blog post  announcing a few key points:

  • SUSE to partner  Xamarin in supporting Mono customers
  • Xamarin has obtained a perpetual license to all the intellectual property of Mono, MonoTouch, Mono for Android, Mono for Visual Studio and will continue updating and selling those products.
  • Xamarin will be providing the support for all of the existing MonoTouch, Mono for Android and Mono for Visual Studio customers.
  • Developers will be able to purchase MonoTouch and Mono for Android from the Xamarin store. Existing customers will be able to purchase upgrades.
Miguel also mentioned that Xamarin will take over the  care taking  of the Mono open source community project. Commenting on the roadmap, Miguel mentioned that Xamarin would be looking at ensuring that all of the critical and major bugs are fixed. Xamarin will also be  introducing  priority support that can be  purchased   upon the first order of MonoTouch or Mono for Android. Existing customers can opt for an upgrade to get the priority support.
The announcement comes as a big relief for Mono developers and customers, who have been jittery since the first announcement of Attachmate’s  acquisition  of Novell and the subsequent layoff of the Mono team.

Mono founder Miguel de Icaza Launches Xamarin

Barely a fortnight after being laid off by Novell post the Attachment acquisition, Mono founder Miguel de Icaza and his team of Mono engineers are back on their feet with a new startup, Xamarin. Announcing in his blog post today, Miguel mentions that his new startup, named Xamarin will  focus on Mono-based products.

He mentions that development has already started, and Xamarin is looking at delivering the iPhone stack first, followed by Android and Moonlight ports will follow. The new .net for iPhone and Android will be source compatible with MonoTouch and MonoDroid.

Talking about the situation at hand, Miguel writes,

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.

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.


Now, two weeks later, we 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.

Our plan is to maximize the pleasure that developers derive from using Mono and .NET languages on their favorite platforms.

We do have some funding to get started and ship our initial products. But we are looking to raise more capital […]

Here’s wishing Miguel de Icaza & his team the very best!




Red Hat Responds to Kernel Source Accusations

The entire open source community frowned upon Red Hat releasing kernel sources with all its patches and fixes upstream. This troubles any business that is around the release and can be termed as simple obfuscation that renders the open source code release useless. Red Hat is using a known method to protect its business.

If you must release the source, release it obfuscated and by the time people will have figured it out and started working on it, you will be out with a new version defeating all their work.

The response at Red Hat says,

The competitive landscape has changed. Our competitors in the Enterprise Linux market have changed their commercial approach from building and competing on their own customized Linux distributions, to one where they directly approach our customers offering to support RHEL.

Frankly, our response is to compete. Essential knowledge that our customers have relied on to support their RHEL environments will increasingly only be available under subscription. The itemization of kernel patches that correlate with articles in our knowledge base is no longer available to our competitors, but rather only to our customers who have recognized the value of RHEL…

Red Hat is  right in its own place. This will prevent Oracle and Novell from providing RHEL support. However, in making this change, Red Hat is ignoring the fact that it just killed a number of developers and small businesses based around the Red Hat kernel releases. Though, CentOS co-founder has claimed that they are not worried by this change. Red Hat has also made a statement specific to CentOS saying,

We haven’t at all restricted CentOS’s ability to grab source code and recompile it and clean-out trademarks and package it. It’s just some of the knowledge of the insides that we’re hiding,

Red Hat has also made some effort in cleaning its name off the case by saying it makes changes in the upstream even before releasing them in RHEL. However, even if we agree that Red Hat aimed this at business competitor Oracle, we cannot overlook the fact that others open source projects took a hit. Even if CentOS developers can make do with this, many others cannot.

The explanation does not do any good and this change is still not welcome. Red Hat should not consider other projects based around itself as casualties of the war with Oracle.

Attachmate Corporation to Acquire Novell for $2.2 Billion

Attachmate Corporation has agreed to buy Novell for a sum of 2.2 billion. Novell was up for sale, was accepting buyers on Wednesday, and has finally agreed to sell. Novell got a  buyout offer earlier this year from Elliott Associates, which was valued at $1.8 billion.

Novell is also selling its intellectual property separately to CPTN Holdings at $450 million. CPTN Holdings is a consortium of technology companies with Microsoft as its head. This has raised some concerns in the Linux world as Novell IP with MS is like the magic sword falling into the hands of the wrong people.

The  Novell press release says,

Novell also announced it has entered into a definitive agreement for the concurrent sale of certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft Corporation, for $450 million in cash, which cash payment is reflected in the merger consideration to be paid by Attachmate Corporation.

Attachmate corporation has decided to run Novell as two separate units, one as Novell itself and another as SUSE Linux. Novell expects both the transactions to end by the first quarter of 2011 and this will mark the end of long standing rumors of Novell selling out that started in 1990.


Novell gets a Buyout Offer, Attracts more Buyers

Novell the company behind Suse Linux has recently received an unsolicited buyout offer from Elliott Associates, a hedge fund. The offer states the value of Novell at $1.8 billion. The Wall street Journal wrote,

Elliott Associates LP, a hedge fund that holds an 8.5% stake in Novell Inc., offered to buy the rest of the software company for about $1.8 billion.

This report has sparked up some recent changes. Some believe that the company will have Microsoft amongst prospective buyers besides HP, SAP Oracle and IBM. This has caused prices of Novell shares to drop by 26 percent. The offer to buy the company for $5.57 per share in cash, and investors are sure of the buyout happening.

Novell has been the center of attraction for buyout rumors from 1990. The services and software offered by Novell are largely varied and have become popular over time. At the current scenario, dropping prices means that investors can see a huge risk factor involved in sticking to Novell any further. Also, the response to the buyout news this time is indicative of a good chance of the buyout actually happening. Thevarguy has listed all the possible buyers and their relations with Novell. The only question here is that what happens to Suse Linux then?