Trouble for the Mono team and projects…

EDIT: May 9, 2011
The latest I’ve heard is that the original layoff reports may have been a bit speculative. There has been nothing from the Mono team yet (that I’ve seen) to confirm or deny any layoffs. The little that has been said is that any existing product roadmaps will stay in place. I suppose this means that Mono has some life left. I’m hoping for the best, but still concerned about Mono’s future.

 

Attachmate recently bought Novell. This also meant that they got the Mono team, including Mono, Moonlight, MonoTouch, MonoMac, and MonoDroid.

Layoffs…

It sounds Attachmate doesn’t want anything Mono and have (or will) lay off most of the Mono team, along with many others at Novell.

http://techrights.org/2011/05/03/mono-developers-laid-off/
http://blog.internetnews.com/skerner/2011/05/attachmate-lays-off-mono-emplo.html

I’ve followed Mono since it started and very much appreciated their work. They guys on that team are BRILLIANT! They re-implemented much of .NET without reflector or the Rotor share source. They just looked at the public API and made it happen. AMAZING work and amazingly fast too.

Well, now that looks to be in jeopardy. With the team being let go, I’m not sure what’s next for Mono stuff. I suspect that the Mono project (being open source) will continue on, but I doubt it will continue at the same pace without the team.

As for the commercial products (MonoTouch / MonoDroid), I have no idea. Those aren’t open source, and without a team behind them, I don’t know what to expect. It’s early in the game, but I hope these will find a home and continue on.

And lastly, there’s Moonlight (an implementation of Silverlight built on Mono). As far as I can tell, Microsoft appreciated Mono’s work in this area because it got Silverlight into other platforms. Is this another knock at Silverlight’s penetration and future?

The fallout…

Well, the GNU / FOSS zealots are all saying “Told you so… Told you Microsoft would kill Mono… it was a patent trap from the start…”. The whole thing is rather ugly if you ask me.

Regardless, I think this is something to watch closely. Software patents are a huge issue (IMHO) lately and only getting hotter. I am eager to see what Microsoft does in response and to learn if they had any involvement in these developments. They are tangentially involved since Novell sold off their patents to a holding company that includes Microsoft, Apple, and others. I hope this is not a sign of trouble ahead.

Condolences to the Mono team. I hope that they all get sweet severance packages and find a new job quickly. Maybe Microsoft would even pick up some of these guys and pay them to keep Mono going!

Cheers

– Nathan

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