We asked about Mono getting included with a Gnome of the near-future, but Miguel is not overly occupied by this thought. If the Gnome community would like to use Mono, great; if not, life goes on and Mono will find application on other parts of the industry's ecosystem.
We asked whether a Mac OS X native version of GTK# or Cocoa# is planned, but the answer was negative. Ximian is not working on OSX native toolkit bindings (and he doesn't think that Apple is working on something like it either), however all the other parts of Mono 1.0 will be able to work on Mac OS X natively (and with GTK# via X11). Miguel told us that Quark is using Mono for their next major Quark Xpress release! Apparently Quark is working on Obj-C bindings for Mono. However, the graphical toolkit bindings will be minimal (an update on this here), so he hopes that Mac enthusiasts will jump in to complete a full Cocoa# solution, or natively port GTK+ 2.x ("shouldn't be too difficult," he said) in order for GTK# to work on top (using the Appearance Manager) and without the use of the awkward (for many Mac users) X11 on top of Aqua.
Not everyone is as enthusiastic to use Mono though. Mr Curtis Sasaki of Sun Microsystems told us last September that there are zero chances of Sun including Mono in their Gnome-based JDS desktop. We asked Miguel what he thinks about this and he replied, "That is good news for the Novell-based Linux desktop! This means that they won't be able to use the new Evolution, or F-spot or the handy iFolder. This adds more value to our solution at Novell." He believes that the Glow project (an Evolution-clone based on OOo and Java) started out by Sun exactly because of Sun's fear that Evolution will be using C# in the future, but Miguel is not concerned about Glow, as Evolution is already 4-5 years ahead in development, and he is confident that the high level language of C# will speed up their development even more. Besides, Ximian is also working to achieve interoperation between Evolution with OpenOffice.org.
We expressed the thought that the purchase of Ximian and SuSE by Novell must have being quite a shock for Red Hat -- the number one Linux provider in US --, however Miguel is optimistic. The two companies work together on Gnome, and in fact, he believes that the relationship between the two companies is better now than it was in 2001.
Miguel is actually a Debian fan: "In terms of adoption, Debian is larger than anything else. What we hope to bring to the table ourselves is not direct competition to Debian, but an enterprise/commercially supported version of Linux." He is aware of how widespread Debian is: "you can find Debian maintainers everywhere else in the world, something that isn't the case for other distros. If anything, we want to *learn* and work with Debian as much as possible, given that its users are a huge contributor to enhancing open source in general." "Its community commitment is fantastic, but is a very hard platform to support for an ISV," he wrote last year on a paper.
We asked Miguel about Mandrake, and he said that Mandrake was kept a bit behind developments the past year because of their financial problems, a problem that happened because "they kept funding every F/OSS application out there that they found 'interesting,' without evaluating sensibly if some of that money can come back to the company," Miguel said.
Gnumeric and desktop plans
The internal co-operation with SuSE and Novell is going great, we were told, with Nat Friedman (co-founder of Ximian) heading and steering the desktop happenings at Novell. Novell itself is moving on deploying SuSE Linux internally to more than 3,000 desktops, and that's a very exciting moment for the company.
We asked Miguel about the Gnumeric spreadsheet, a project that Miguel started many years ago. "Jody Goldberg, the new maintainer, loves the project," he said. Miguel is very happy with the developments of Gnumeric, he mentioned that it is now possible to separate the GUI from the engine part, and to use Gnumeric as a library inside other applications.. When compared it to its KDE counterpart, Miguel said: "Last time I checked KSpread had more subtle problems: the computational engine was behind (no dialog box poping up, but definitely not as advanced as Gnumeric, but its not visually obvious from a screenshot)."
Near the end of our meeting, we asked Miguel to consider developing a home video editor, as part of Novell's new desktop initiative. Miguel acknowledged the need for such a tool on Linux that is well-designed and usable by normal users, but he mentioned that "in the F/OSS world things are created only if the developer needs them" -- a point he believes is one of the shortcomings of the F/OSS system. "Developers should realize that they don't make applications just for themselves anymore," he said earlier over our UI/usability discussion too. However, Miguel told us that he has already talked to Nat Friedman about a Ximian video application, and that the idea is under consideration while he asked us enthusiastically "and you do know what language that would be written in, right?".
"GTK# on Mono, of course," I replied smiling.
- "Chatting with Miguel, Page 1/2"
- "Chatting with Miguel, Page 2/2"