In a May 16 blog post, de Icaza announced the formation of the Xamarin startup and mentioned some of the initial efforts the company will undertake.
Mono is a free and open-source project (formerly led by Novell and prior to that by Ximian) to create an Ecma standard-compliant .NET-compatible set of tools including a C# compiler and a Common Language Runtime. The stated purpose of Mono is not only to be able to run Microsoft .NET applications cross-platform, but also to bring better development tools to Linux developers.
Attachmate acquired Novell for $2.2 billion in November 2010, and then, in early May, the company began letting Mono developers go.
And de Icaza further explained the situation, saying:
"We have been trying to spin Mono off from Novell for more than a year now. Everyone agreed that Mono would have a brighter future as an independent company, so a plan was prepared last year. To make a long story short, the plan to spin off was not executed. Instead, on May 2, the Canadian and American teams were laid off; Europe, Brazil and Japan followed a few days later. These layoffs included all the MonoTouch and MonoDroid engineers and 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. 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, with a heavy dose of motivation from my music teacher, we hatched a plan. Now, two weeks later, we have a plan in place, which includes both angel funding for keeping the team together, as well as a couple of engineering contracts that will help us stay together as a team while we ship our revenue-generating products."
Meanwhile, some of the things Xamarin will be doing include building a new commercial .NET offering for iOS; building a new commercial .NET offering for Android; continuing to contribute, maintain and develop the open-source Mono and Moonlight components; and exploring the Moonlight opportunities in the mobile space and the Mac App Store.
"We believe strongly in splitting the presentation layer from the business logic in your application and supporting both your back-end 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," de Icaza said.
He said Xamarin will first deliver the iPhone stack, followed by the Android stack, and then the Moonlight ports to both platforms. "The new versions of .NET for the iPhone and Android will be source-compatible with MonoTouch and Mono for Android," he said in the post. "Like those versions, they will be commercial products, built on top of the open core Mono."
Xamarin also will provide support and custom development for Mono, de Icaza said. Moreover, "Our plan is to maximize the pleasure that developers derive from using Mono and .NET languages on their favorite platforms," he added.
The Xamarin team is asking for developer input via filling out its survey to see what platforms and features to address next.