Richard Tallent writes some thoughts about today's aquisition of Ximian by Novell, and specifically how that may or may not affect the Mono Project.

I just wanted to express some of my feelings about what this means. Personally, I think that it's a good move for Novell. I, as is Richard, am no fan of Novell's OSes, but this acquisition can mean a revamp of how Novell does business. Specifically on the front of Mono, it's probably a good thing for the community at large that a major corporation is backing this open source project to port .NET over to Linux. This probably also means that the product will need to be supported through a standard technical support architecture. Overall, the community (including Microsoft) gains on this front. One of the major points of .NET is that the CLI and C# are both ECMA and ISO standards. This in itself means that anyone can go and implement “.NET” on their own. Borland is the first to do this commercially with the release of their own C# Builder (not sure if they actually rewrote the C# compiler or not, but they went out and started to produce a development environment for C#). Now Novell-Ximian can be the first to [commercially] release Mono as the .NET platform for other operating systems. Getting back to the point as to how this is a win for all...

  • Developers: now Windows developers will be able to port applications between Windows and Linux with ease
  • Consumers: applications written in .NET for Windows *may* run without issue on Linux (this statement may become “more true” with future versions of Mono)
  • Microsoft: I think that ultimately Microsoft wants to see .NET ported to other platforms. Microsoft themselves have released Rotor for FreeBSD and Mac OS X as a showcase that yes it could be done. Now they “leave it as an exercise to the more experienced reader“ to go and implement .NET on yet other platforms. The specs for the CLI are there for everyone to look at, the specs for C# are there as well.

So, in general I think that this purchase by Novell is overall good for themselves and it may actually give .NET a bit more “umpf” too. The only hope now is that Novell doesn't kill off Mono.