Summary: Mono developers have an opportunity to learn and promote non-Microsoft APIs now that they are out of work
A few days ago we pondered AttachMSFT's reluctance to even mention Mono, which together with Moonlight helps infect GNU/Linux distributions with Microsoft APIs. Some people — even in Ubuntu — help that happen. Google has had similar problems.
In an E-mail titled “Attachmate say no to Mono” a reader tells us: “Attachmate CEO looks like thinks that Mono is not trustable product.” Yes, it’s about those layoffs that we mentioned early in the day. We correctly predicted that this would happen, but we did not expect it to include Mono. “Attachmate lays off Mono employees” says the headline from a journalist who mostly sympathised with Mono over the years.
Today Attachmate laid off an unknown number of U.S. based Novell developers that were working on the open source Mono project.
Layoffs are never good news because families are affected and feelings are sequashed. But let us hope that the affected staff can retrain and adjust to other APIs and endeavours, such as Python’s. The matter of fact is that .NET is unpopular in a world which increasingly goes Web based. Windows just works poorly on servers and almost no major Web company (as judged by number of operated servers) bothers with anything other than BSD and/or GNU/Linux. The Web of tomorrow does not need Mono and neither do desktops or devices. The only thing Mono does is, it increases Microsoft’s control and also increases the patent risk to GNU/Linux, for known reasons. █
Update: Phoronix said that everyone had been given notice:
I’m now settled in for the evening in Germany and the news of the Novell Mono developers being let go has been confirmed. Mono is out at Attachmate. I’m told that it’s around 30 developers that were employed by Novell working on the Mono platform, which is an implementation of Microsoft’s .NET for Linux and other non-Windows operating systems.
What’s not known though is if Miguel de Icaza (leader of Mono) is still with the company, if Novell will attempt to be spinning off any of the Mono assets or work to any other firm(s), or if any other companies will spring up and attempt to poach these soon-to-be-let-go developers. The Mono and Moonlight communities will certainly live on in one form or another even without any corporate backing.
Update #2: According to this and this report, “around 700 to 800 employees are being laid off.” Microsoft boosters mourn the loss of Microsoft-esque projects like Mono and Provo is hit most badly [1, 2, 3, 4].
Update #3: Bradley M. Kuhn says that “Anyone who uses Mono faces software patent danger from Microsoft. This is precisely why using Mono to write new applications, targeted for GNU/Linux and other software freedom systems, should be avoided.”