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05.17.11

Xamarin Analysed

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xamarin site

Summary: A preliminary look at the new home of .NET boosting that’s masqueraded as “open source” (even though it is open core or proprietary)

A MICROSOFT MVP is creating and currently registering a Mono company with a registrar near Microsoft. “Mono’s Not Dead Yet,” claims this headline and we never claimed it was dead. Nobody claimed that. What happened was, the project got orphaned and de-funded. As far as Novell and AttachMSFT were concerned, the team got canned. We patiently waited to see the team’s next move and after a long pause, the ringleader blogged about his plans.

Throughout the day we did some research via IRC and here are some of our findings (full IRC logs will be available for reading tonight). Oiaohm wrote: “just did my first check Xamarin does not have a trademark registration yet. [...] My problem is I don’t know where the USA equ[ivalent] to Australian ABR. Australian business registry [...] [in] Australia we have 3 central registrations to check.”

Later I inquired: “Why won’t the funders be identified?”

Miguel and his workers mostly live in Boston, but travel to Microsoft a lot (at least Miguel does). “Boston is Massachusetts,” replied Oiaohm, “Massachusetts requires anyone who is conducting business under an alias (i.e., any name other than their own), including corporations, to file a business certificate (“doing business as”) in the city or town where the business is principally headquartered. Nice… no searchable index. Washington does have a index.”

XamarinThen I asked, “but must they have registered it by now? And if so, will the site DB have been updated?”

“Project lead of mono makes out that he was trying to break mono away for over a year, so why did a domain/trademark need taking out at the last minute?”
      –Oiaohm
“No list in Washington,” Oiaohm claimed after checking, “and Washington is like Australia, the record is with their tax department. I would guess registered in Massachusetts [...] And failed to take out the require trademark. In theory someone else could take out the trademark and shut them down. Basically what has been done is legally risky and I am not surprised from the lead developer of mono [...] Before annoyance a trading name to the world you really should hold the trademark.”

“Exactly what day was the mono project lead fired,” Oiaohm asked. I told him the date. “So why so many days delay,” he asked, “[t]o holding the domain name.”

It is “probably all those days were spent groveling at Microsoft,” MinceR said jokingly, “that or coming up with another x* name…” (like Ximian).

“I am reading the registrars of the domain record,” claimed Oiaohm. “I know it does not reveal that much information. [...] Project lead of mono makes out that he was trying to break mono away for over a year, so why did a domain/trademark need taking out at the last minute?”

BetterWhois.com doesn’t reveal additional information. The owner is masked, oddly enough. “Also take a close look at the moonlight logo,” Oiaohm suggested. “It is the “same as the new xwhatever logo,” claimed MinceR and Oiaohm too said: “same logo as what is dominate on the new mono site. It was just a observance thing. interesting not there now. No part of the company any more you should not be using the logos. [...] All Novell trademarks and the like are Attachmate’s. This include the name Mono [...] the old project lead of mono is about to be in a legal crap storm.

“They don’t even have there own logo yet either. [...] little bit of observance is showing major problems.”

Indeed, the service that xamarin.com is registered through is a non-existent Whois Agent with a sex site (whoisprivacyprotect.com). The company that carries Mono (rename possibly required) announced its existence just one day after the domain had been registered (registered for just one year, so not much of a future perhaps). It’s all rather odd.

“If you where breaking away you would think names and icons for a split away company would be designed,” added Oiaohm. “Particularly if this was planned 12 months go. To me all the evidence points to a last min attempt to save tails. The angel funding might be the employees own separation pay.”

“[P]robably all those days were spent groveling at Microsoft”
      –MinceR
Miguel has a lot of money as he admitted to people who used to comment in this site. But the Mono developers are still look for more funding and they might actually find it. Microsoft staff suggests that Canonical should sponsor Mono. Well, if Microsoft wants Mono to survive, why does it not fund it directly? Is it like SCO’s lawsuit? Does it want other companies to offer payments that serve Microsoft’s interests? Even Novell was paid hundreds of millions to serve Microsoft’s interests. That was before Novell gave its patents to Microsoft. “Novell MS deal is not transferable,” Oiaohm reminded us. “Neither is the sale agreements of Novell [...] so unless Mono can get MS backing they are basically a complete legal sitting duck now. This is not the Novell sale this is after the sale. Attachmate is starting to make a new home for itself. Also, Attachmate has not shut down the mono project sites. So their could be more hell to come yet. I would not put it past Attachmate to allow mono developers to setup shop by themselves then patent black mail them for free labour.”

Yes, the sites could be shut down (or used for leverage), “But at this stage Attachmate has not [done so],” said Oiaohm. “Why fire the staff and leave the site up [...] Basically something is badly off here.” Attachmate still owns all the mono sites/domains. Will it bother paying the hosting bill? Will it relinquish control? Oracle gives concerning precedence after the Sun takeover.

Looking elsewhere, positive spin on the news was not at all welcomed in Linux Today, leading to comments like: “Mono was a zombie project since its inception. Attachmate put a bullet in them, but, as we all know, zombies are hard to kill. You must take out the brain…” (some comments are a lot more offensive). Susan Linton (who appears to be sitting on the fence regarding the Mono question) writes:

Although his brand took a hit with Mono, there’s little doubt of his contribution to the Open Source world. So, I guess if he was announcing a candy bar company it’d be big news.

Microsoft Florian retweets the Mono news twice, which helps keep those Microsoft APIs in circulation. It’s rather telling, isn’t it?

Speaking of Bellevue (where the new Mono company had the site registered), it is the home of many Microsoft executives and former executives, including the world’s latest patent troll, who is filing lawsuits via other companies. According to Microsoft booster Todd Bishop, this patent troll does not wish to speak about his patents being used to attack small developers:

Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures, the patent holding company and invention house run by former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold, confirmed today that it once owned the patent at the center of a controversy over in-app purchasing in third-party iOS applications.

To be clear, that would be past tense. A spokeswoman for the company tells GeekWire that IV sold the patent and has no ownership interest in Lodsys LLC, the company that sent cease-and-desist letters to a series of iOS developers last week.

We wrote about this case in [1, 2].

Todd Bishop also has this article about Nokia allegedly working to sell Microsoft its Mobile Unit. Murtazin’s claims is translated as saying: “Next week Nokia will start the negotiations about the sale of it’s phone unit to Microsoft. For now the results of the negotiations won’t be public, but the deal might close before the end of 2011. Both companies are in a big hurry.”

Nokia denies this. “So, denial from Nokia but this hasn’t stopped the rumour mill going into overtime,” concludes this article. But that just goes beyond the scope of this post.

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