Disclaimer: This interview was conducted via telephone. All of Miguel's answers were transcribed as he spoke and should be regarded as paraphrases of what was said, not verbatim reproductions.
1. As the lead of the Mono project, do you see Novell having immediate use for Mono?
Yes, of course, I'd say there's use immediately in every company! A few companies have already deployed applications and projects that are Mono based, even though it's not 1.0 yet, but they know the risks. Mainstream deployment, however, should really wait for 1.0 release first. By that point, we'll have finalized our APIs and know what we're dealing with. But it's definitely useful today - even Microsoft released .NET products when it was pre-1.0.
2. Do you know the future of Ximian Gnome, Red Carpet, and Evolution? Most people would agree that Evolution has become the de facto e-mail client for Linux, and Red Carpet has become a way to distribute software easily within a corporate environment. Will these packages continue to be developed by Ximian developers?
Everything will continue operating as is. They [Novell] want to learn. They want to integrate. Our products will absolutely continue to be developed. Ximian will be a business unit. But it's exciting, because we'll be developing slightly differently. There will be a connector for groupwise. We'll want to be integrating the desktop with a Novell environment. But we will continue to support our products, and we will continue to support open source.
3. It's already been suggested that Ximian's attractiveness to Novell is the knowledge and experience reverse engineering proprietary Microsoft protocols. Many casual and business Linux users know Ximian for adding polish and UI changes to an otherwise rough interface. Do you think either one of those impressions may fade as your priorities as a Novell entity are altered?
With Connector and Evolution - you're often talking about tools used to migrate from Windows to Linux. when there's no migration, though, you're really talking about "best of breed." Ximian simply didn't have the resources to provide what we ultimately wanted - without the channel it's difficult to get your products out. It costs a lot of money, and few people realize that. We want to bring our products to more people. Novell can offer this. To get to your question though, no - I don't think Ximian as you know it will change significantly.
4. What, if any, is the Ximian team's experience with Novell products?
Some of us knew about this purchase before it happened. We had to chance to use NetWare and really learn about it. Obviously, we'll be getting to know them as we look to adapt their programs into ours. Red Carpet and ZEN Works, for example. I see those two working together, down the path.
5. Will Ximian remain an independent entity or will it be absorbed into Novell proper? Will the brand name Ximian still exist?
Obviously, long term, something will change. In the short term, however, we will continue to operate as is. We will be known as "Novell Ximian Services" business unit. NXS. Kind of like that Australian band. For now, our logo and name will remain.
- "Miguel de Icaza, Part I"
- "Miguel de Icaza, Part II"