SUSE and Xamarin Entered into a Partnering Agreement

Mono isn’t dead, and SUSE isn’t giving up on it entirely either. Attachmate’s SUSE Linux division today officially announced a deal with startup Xamarin for support and ongoing development of Mono.

Xamarin is a company founded by former Novell employees including Nat Friedman and Mono founder Miguel de Icaza. The pair founded the company after Attachmate laid off an undisclosed number of Mono developers in May, following their acquisition of Novell.

“What we’re announcing is that SUSE and Xamarin have entered into a partnering agreement, which will make sure that we are able to effectively support customers using Mono-based products,” Holger Dyroff VP Product Management at SUSE told InternetNews.com. “As part of the partnership we are granting Xamarin a broad intellectual property license.”

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Is this the end of Mono? Of Novell?

Well, that didn’t take long. I had thought that after Attachmate bought Novell it would be keeping its open-source teams working. Indeed, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn had told me that, “Business will operate as usual.” While Attachmate will be keeping SUSE Linux as a spin-off company, Mono, the open-source implementation of Windows’ .NET, is being shut down and there have been hundreds of additional Novell layoffs. So much for business as usual.

Mono, since its implementation of a proprietary Microsoft software stack and C# language, has always had its enemies in open-source circles. Frankly, I didn’t like some of .NET’s licensing ; I wasn’t comfortable with how close it brought open-source programming to Microsoft; and, having nothing to with software development politics or licensing, I didn’t like that Mono would forever be trying to catch up with its proprietary big-brother .NET.

On the other hand, there have been several great programs written in Mono. As far as I’m concerned, Banshee is the best open-source media player out there. I’m not the only one to think that since Canonical decided to make Banshee its new default media player in Ubuntu 11.04.

But, without its corporate backer, what happens now to Mono? I really hadn’t expected this. Microsoft sponsored Attachmate’s purchase of Novell. I had presumed they’d be happy to see Mono keep going. I was wrong.
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Attachmate acquired Novell

As expected, the buyout of Linux power Novell by Attachmate has finally gone through. On April 27th, Attachmate acquired Novell for $6.10 per share in cash–approximately $2.2-billion. With this deal completed, Novell is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Attachmate Group, the parent company of Attachmate Corporation. Immediately prior to the merger Novell completed it’s “previously announced sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash.”

Attachmate has attempted to assure Novell customers and openSUSE users that it will be business as usual under the new regime. One interesting change though has already popped up, according to the Attachmate Group site, Novell and SuSE will be separate companies. Novell acquired SuSE for its Linux operating system in 2003.
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