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Open source .NET mimic rises from Novell ashes

On the fourteenth day, there was Xamarin

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The founders of Mono – an effort to build an open source version of Microsoft's .NET platform – have launched a new company around the project, just fourteen days after they were laid off by new Novell owner Attachmate.

The new company is known as Xamarin, and according to a blog post from Mono founder Miguel de Icaza, it will offer new commercial .NET offerings for iOS and Android; continue the development of both Mono and Moonlight, an open source implementation of Microsoft Silverlight; and "explore Moonlight opportunities" involving mobiles and Apple's Mac App Store.

"We believe strongly in splitting the presentation layer from the business logic in your application and supporting both your backend needs with C# on the server, the client, or mobile devices and giving you the tools to use .NET languages in every desktop and mobile client," he said.

Work on the new products began on Monday morning, de Icaza added. The iPhone Mono stack will be the first product out the door, followed by Android Mono and then Moonlight products. The Mono products will be source-compatible with Novell's MonoTouch (for iPhone) and MonoDroid, and they will be commercial products built atop the Mono open source core.

The new company will also offer support and custom development for Mono users.

According to de Icaza, he and others have been trying to spin a Mono outfit from Novell for more than a year. This never happened, but on May 2 Attachment laid off the Mono teams in Canada and the US, and a few days later the layoffs hit the European, Brazil, and Japan teams as well. The layoffs affected all the MonoTouch and MonoDroid engineers as well as other "key" Mono developers.

"Although Attachmate allowed us to go home that day, we opted to provide technical support to our users until our last day at Novell, which was Friday last week," de Icaza said. "We were clearly bummed out by this development, and had no desire to quit, especially with all the great progress in this last year. So...we hatched a plan."

The plan was Xamarian, and it already includes angel funding and a "couple of" engineering contracts to keep it afloat before the first products arrive. ®

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