Here’s an interesting concept. Mary-Jo Foley reports that Novell has released a Visual Studio add-on so that .NET developers can target Linux and Macs.
This raises several issues:
1) Are there really any .NET developers out there? No, I’m serious. I did a survey a while back on a couple of websites where developers hang out as to what people are using, and .NET was way down the list. I’d have to dig to find the numbers, but less than 1% of the developers who answered the survey were using .NET.
2) Do MAC users need Mono? There’s a huge range of MAC applications available already. Mono on the Mac seems like a non-starter.
3) Novell has also come up with an IPhone dev kit for Mono. They seem to be ignoring the huge number of apps available for the IPhone written in C. Does anyone really need Mono on the IPhone?
I think I know what Novell is doing. Novell is targeting the Enterprise, providing a single, unified environment that can be used for Windows, IPhone, OSX, and Linux. Corporate Applications are a lucrative market. There are far more programmers working on internal corporate software than for the major software companies. And it’s corporate programmers who use Visual Studio and program .NET applications.
This could be a success for Novell. It’s definitely a market that is willing to pay for results, and if Novell can deliver the results, the money will roll in. Could it make Novell profitable? Maybe.
How many companies run a mix of operating systems that would require a cross platform development environment? The IPhone has made some inroads into the corporate market, but is a distant second to Rim’s Blackberry devices. If Novell was to add BlackBerry OS capabilities, this would be a real seller. Linux hasn’t done well on the desktop, and while it does well in the server room, most .NET applications are designed for the desktop. Corporations who use OSX tend to do so exclusively, and wouldn’t employ Visual Studio anyway.
Without the capability to produce applications for the Blackberry OS, I can’t see this as bring Novell in enough revenues to stop the slid. And that has to be a concern for any corporate types looking at this as a solution. Buying from a vendor who has financial problems introduces a level of uncertainty that Corporate IT doesn’t like.