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Open source Mono suffers layoffs

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The fate of an open-source version of Microsoft's .NET running on iOS and Android is unclear after Novell's new owner Attachmate laid off members of the project, according to reports.

Attachmate has let go of US staff working on the Novell-sponsored Mono Project as part of a move centering on Novell's Linux-related efforts back in Germany.

Attachmate Group's chief executive and chairman Jeff Hawn told InternetNews that the German city of Nuremberg has been "re-established" as the HQ for Novell's SuSE business.

"Prioritization and resourcing of certain development efforts - including Mono - will now be determined by the business unit leaders there [Nuremberg]," he said.

"This change led to the release of some US based employees today. As previously stated, all technology roadmaps remain intact with resources being added to those in a manner commensurate with customer demand."

Mono is a binary compatible implementation of C# and the Common Language Runtime (CLR) for Linux, Mac, and Unix that comes with tools that plug into Visual Studio. Mono was started in 2004 by well-known open sourcer Miguel de Icaza.

de Icaza and his team have also delivered MonoTouch and MonoDroid, letting developers build C# and .NET-based applications for Apple's iPhone and iPad and on Google's Android.

de Icaza is based in Boston, Massachusetts. There was no word on what's happened to him or how many members of the Mono team have gone. Novell would not comment beyond Hawn's statement, other than to that all technology roadmaps remain in place.

Attachmate completed its acquisition of Novell last week after regulators in the US finally approved a re-worked sale of Novell patents to a consortium led by Microsoft.

Novell bought the brains behind Mono when it acquired desktop and server-Linux specialist Ximian SuSE in 2003 as part of a strategic push into the Linux and open source markets. de Icaza had been Ximian's chief technology officer.

de Icaza also started the open-source implementation of Silverlight, Microsoft's alternative to Flash, under a project called Moonlight. Microsoft has benefited from Moonlight because it has helped support Microsoft's claims that Silverlight is a cross-platform technology and furthered interest in its own media runtime. Silverlight runs on just Windows, whereas Moonlight runs on Mac, Unix, and PC. ®

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