When I originally started writing this article, Miguel de Icaza was in a difficult situation. The situation has now been addressed. On his blog yesterday Miguel announced that there is now a Novell/Xamarin Partnership around Mono.
Miguel came up with the idea of developing a Linux/Unix implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Application Development Framework, otherwise known as the Common Language Infrastructure. He named it Mono. Miguel developed Mono while he was working at Novell (I think that under the terms of his employment contract it became a property of Novell).
When Novell was sold to Attachmate, apparently Mono wasn’t considered to be a core part of the business. In April 2011 hundreds of staffers were laid off. A month later Miguel founded Xamarin to support Mono, and this month, was able to come to an agreement with Attachmate to take over support of Mono. The two specific statements from his blog post that are most important are:
- Xamarin obtained a perpetual license to all the intellectual property of Mono, MonoTouch, Mono for Android, Mono for Visual Studio and will continue updating and selling those products.
- Xamarin will be taking over the stewardship of the Mono open source community project. This includes the larger Mono ecosystem of applications that you are familiar with including MonoDevelop and the other Mono-centric in the Mono Organization at GitHub.
Why are those points important?
Some of you know that one of my interests is Copyright Law. Two of my major suggestions, which has caused a fair bit of upset at the Canadian Recording Industry Association were that
- Copyright should be non-transferable
- Copyright should be owned only by people
Consider the position that Miguel was in. Because of the change of ownership of the company, he was no longer working for the company that held the copyright to his work. This is why he had to go to such lengths, to regain control to his own creation. Was that right?
I don’t think so. That is why Copyright should not be transferable. Miguel got messed over totally, through no fault of his own.
I’m no fan of Mono. But I’m less of a fan of an artist (and a programmer is an artist) getting screwed over by the system, and Miguel got screwed over by the system. Sure, he ended up back in control of Mono, but he might not have.
What if someone else had approached Attachmate and made a better offer? Miguel could have ended up sitting on the curb, with no control over his own work. That would have been totally and utterly disgusting.
Tuesday July 19, 2011