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18 July 2011, 16:37

Mono lives on with SUSE/Xamarin deal

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SUSE and Xamarin have announced a deal to support existing SUSE Mono customers, while Xamarin will get a "broad, perpetual licence" to all of SUSE's Mono intellectual property including Mono, MonoTouch and Mono for Android. Xamarin will also become the new home for the open source Mono project. SUSE's Mono customers will now receive support and updates directly from Xamarin via for the rest of the lifetime of their support subscriptions.

Xamarin is the company formed in May 2011 by Miguel de Icaza and members of the Mono team at Novell after being laid off in Attachmate's post-acquisition reorganisation. He was joined at the company later that month by Novell's former open source strategist, Nat Friedman. The company's plan at that point was to redevelop the proprietary Mono systems for iPhone and Android from scratch using the team's experience; the open source Mono tools continued to be developed during the interim.

The new deal with SUSE means that Xamarin can now skip the re-engineering step and offer the tools that they originally developed at Novell. SUSE president and general manager, Nils Brauckmann, described the deal as a "triple win", for SUSE, Xamarin and SUSE's customers, adding that it would enable "Xamarin to achieve success in their promising new venture and provides continuity of stewardship for the Mono open source community project in the very capable hands of its most passionate evangelists".

Miguel de Icaza, talking with The H, said that the deal was good as it meant that the Mono community "know where we stand as the community can move forward". The engineer-strong Xamarin (25 employees with 19 engineers) will now be able to get to market sooner, said de Icaza, and there is plenty to be getting on with. On the open source front, a new release of C# with asynchronous programming baked in, a scalable garbage collector and extensive bindings for Mac OS X should offer a lot to desktop Mono developers. De Icaza noted that the proprietary Mono mobile platforms would be needing updates; MonoTouch will need updating for the forthcoming iOS5 and there has been a number of Android updates which will require refreshes of MonoDroid.


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