Visual Studio add-on for Windows devs to target Macs and Linux

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.

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7 thoughts on “Visual Studio add-on for Windows devs to target Macs and Linux

  1. Regarding the mono-nono.com article, and it's reference to Microsoft's codecs, "…and they will only be licensed for use with Moonlight on a web browser…"Which makes it pretty useless for video editing and such. But an odd thought crossed my mind. What if your OS is the browser? I know, it doesn't sound like it makes much sense. But when I watched the demo of Chrome OS, that's what the OS is your browser. (Yes, I know Linux is the basis, but what the user sees is a machine that is a browser.) I suspect the world is about to change in a way Microsoft won't be pleased with.Another minor detail. Chrome will run Flash, and I believe the ARM processor. But so far, the only Linux Microsoft is working on porting Silverlight to is Intel's Moblin. Microsoft is working very hard to exclude themselves from a significant market share.What really gripes me is content that is only available in Silverlight.Regarding Flash, I know that is proprietary. I don't know that they've made any noise about protecting their valuable patents. Am I overlooking something? Personally I'd prefer Flash remain dominant. I don't have to install an infrastructure, ie Mono and Moonlight, to make it work, completely leaving out the patent issues.

  2. Regarding the mono-nono.com article, and it's reference to Microsoft's codecs,"…and they will only be licensed for use with Moonlight on a web browser…"Which makes it pretty useless for video editing and such. But an odd thought crossed my mind. What if your OS is the browser? I know, it doesn't sound like it makes much sense. But when I watched the demo of Chrome OS, that's what the OS is your browser. (Yes, I know Linux is the basis, but what the user sees is a machine that is a browser.) I suspect the world is about to change in a way Microsoft won't be pleased with.Ever notice how everything is designed to limit your options? Microsoft is willing to let you use Silverlight ONLY according to their terms. The MPAA/RIAA will only let you use their Movies/Music according to their terms. The aim is to force you to pay more. If you want to watch Star Trek on your IPod, you can't rip the files from DVD (if you live in the US anyway) because doing so would mean defeating the DRM on the DVD. Instead they want you to buy a digital copy for your IPod. And another, incompatible copy for your Zune. Tinkle, tinkle.But if the terms aren't what the consumer wants, change can happen. Eventually the RIAA member companies were forced to ship DRM free music. Eventually the MPAA will be forced to ship DRM free Movies (unless they can get ACTA implemented and a significant number of countries to sign on to the treaty). And eventually Microsoft will be forced to license Silverlight under more liberal terms, just as Adobe was forced by the market to license Flash under more liberal terms (in part in reaction to HTML5).Another minor detail. Chrome will run Flash, and I believe the ARM processor. But so far, the only Linux Microsoft is working on porting Silverlight to is Intel's Moblin. Microsoft is working very hard to exclude themselves from a significant market share.Um, who cares? With HTML5 you don't need flash. The IPhone has proved that quite nicely. Adobe and Microsoft aren't happy. They wanted to control 'Content', and with HTML5 they won't be able to. Apple doesn't care. They want to sell hardware. Control of 'Content' isn't in their interest, unless they control it. Anyone else controlling 'Content" is a danger to them. As long as Apple doesn't control the Codecs, they will be on the side of freedom.What really gripes me is content that is only available in Silverlight.Complain. That's what I do. If the 'Content' provider gets enough complaints, Silverlight will be dumped. It's already happened in several cases. The next big problem is the Winter Olympics. I wonder how many IPhone owners will end up screaming at the organizers?Another part to follow – I hate Blogger's comment editor!

  3. Regarding Flash, I know that is proprietary. I don't know that they've made any noise about protecting their valuable patents. Am I overlooking something? Personally I'd prefer Flash remain dominant. I don't have to install an infrastructure, ie Mono and Moonlight, to make it work, completely leaving out the patent issues.Flash is a special case. Adobe wants Flash to be the 'Content' delivery platform of choice, so they can sell their 'Content' production tools. They really don't care about DRM. Just as long as they make lots of money selling their tools, they are happy.For Microsoft DRM is the Holy Grail. With DRM Microsoft can force you to use their OS to have access to 'Content'. Google can see the danger in this, which is why they've been working with Apple (Youtube doesn't use Flash if you go to it using an IPhone/ITouch).It all comes down to the money.Google makes it's money from Search.Apple makes it's money from Hardware.Adobe makes it's money from Content Generation Software.Microsoft makes it's money from Operating System Software (and software to run on the OS like Office).Microsoft is the most dangerous from our point of view. They want DRM to force everyone to use Windows when viewing/playing media (I've gotten sick of typing Content!). More sales of Windows equals more money. This is also why Microsoft is a staunch defender of Software patents, even though they've lost more patent infringement cases than any other company I can think of. With patents they can control what software you use to view/listen to media, and make sure it's theirs.

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