Mono for Mobile Is Back
Just as excitement was building around MonoTouch 4.0 for iOS and Mono for Android 1.0, Attachmate laid-off Novell's Mono development team in May and delivered what many perceived as the death knell for the existing Mono-based mobile SDKs.
MonoTouch and Mono for Droid are commercial toolkits based on the Mono Project, a cross-platform, open source implementation of the .NET Framework. The SDKs enable developers to use C# and .NET Framework technologies to develop native apps for Apple and Android devices in the MonoDevelop IDE and Visual Studio.
Never underestimate Miguel de Icaza. The founder of the Mono Project in June 2001 (prior to the release of .NET in 2002) and the former head of Mono development at Novell, which was acquired by Attachmate in April; de Icaza had to hand out pink slips on his way out in early May. Later that same month, he formed a new company called Xamarin and recruited many of the former Mono developers.
On Monday de Icaza announced a deal with SUSE, a business unit of Attachmate that provides enterprise Linux solutions. The agreement gives Xamarin "broad rights" to a perpetual license for the intellectual property for MonoTouch, Mono for Android, Mono Project and the Mono Tools for Visual Studio. Under the agreement, Xamarin will update and sell the mobile SDKs at its Xamarin store, according to de Icaza, who commented on the immediate product roadmap in his blog about the announcement:
Our immediate plan for both MonoTouch and Mono for Android is to make sure that your critical and major bugs are fixed. We have been listening to the needs of the community and we are working to improve these products to meet your needs. You can expect updates to the products in the next week.
Xamarin had already started to build its own mobile SDKs based on Mono called XTouch and Xdroid. Some of that technology will be introduced into MonoTouch and Mono for Android, initially through beta channels, according to the company's roadmap.
The company will also continue to work on Moonlight, an open source implementation of Silverlight for Linux developed during Novell's technical collaboration with Microsoft. Moonlight 4 was released in April.
The silver lining in this transition may be that de Icaza had wanted to spin off Mono from Novell because the mobile technologies did not fit with the former company's infrastructure strategy. Express your thoughts on the resurrection of MonoTouch and Mono for Android. Is this the best possible outcome for Mono, Moonlight and the mobile SDKs? Drop me a line at email@example.com.
Posted by Kathleen Richards on 07/19/2011 at 12:54 PM