05.26.11

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As Mono Runs Out of Money Developers Avoid It

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 8:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Mono is all about the money

Summary: Monetary losses make Mono less appealing to developers; Mono’s future is uncertain enough to deter some people

A while ago in our IRC channels, G. Forbes stated that BZFlag developers were considering using Mono for future releases. After further investigation it turned out that this idea had come just days before AttachMSFT laid off the entire Mono team. To quote this page from the BZFlag forums, “C# was a serious suggestion. With the help of Mono, we could use a single set of binaries across Windows, OSX, Linux, and whatever else supports Mono. We could write a lightweight launcher application for each supported operating system and have that handle downloading the latest version automatically and starting it.”

Mr. Forbes told us today that, based on follow-up research, BZFlag has given up on the idea. A more recent message on the forum enquired, “Will it be built using .NET/Mono? Because considering the current situation surrounding uncertain future Mono development, as well as the looming patents issue, I wouldn’t think it would be a wise decision.” The answer, provided by a developer, is “No”.

While we are discussing Mono, we ought to clarify about our Fedora-Mono article from yesterday. When we said “removing Mono”, we meant “removing it from the default installation”. By comparison, Debian does include Mono in the default installation. Someone from the Fedora community has asked us to clarify this. As an aside, another member of the Fedora community has just recommended a Mono-based application, Sparkleshare [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]

Relying on anything Mono right now is risky because Mono has no financial security, with funding provided only from Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza and another as-yet unnamed party. It is also proudly headed by someone who used to work for Microsoft. Moreover, Novell’s patent deal with Microsoft expires within months, which enhances the magnitude of the patent threat.

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4 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Gravatar

    So except for the astroturfers there is no one praising it. And except for the developers using their own money, no one is buying either. It sounds like high time for distros to reconsider including Mono even in the repositories. The distros do need to face up to how it got included in the first place and adjust their workflow so that astroturfers and shills can’t pull one over again.

    Having applications that depend on Mono … well, we don’t even need to say how that looks now.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There was an interesting discussion in IRC today, where some people basically claimed that Android &CyanogenMod have become hot targets for Mono astroturfers. It’s not surprising since Android is a major source of Linux growth, and one that Microsoft frantically attacks with patent lawsuits, secret blackmail, patent trolls, etc.

  2. twitter said,

    May 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Gravatar

    I wish developers would just forget about Windows. Free software developers surely should. People have been better off with free software for a long time. Developers should tell their friends this and move on.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Many schools have pressure applied to them by Microsoft and the Gates Foundation so that they teach young people Windows and Microsoft development, at taxpayers’ expense. That too is a root of the issue — one we must acknowledge and then address.

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