[Mono-osx] An open letter to the OS X Mono group.

Robert Mullen robertm at autowc.com
Tue Mar 27 15:52:38 EDT 2007

Thanks, this helps to evolve our thinking a little bit. We are uncertain of the scale of development needed and this gives us at least a finger in the air feeling of what development would look like. It is not at all impossible to find a group willing to foot the bill for such an effort as I can tell you without question that we would be willing to contribute to such an effort once metrics and controls were clear. What is really needed though has already been alluded to and that is buy in from Apple themselves. Again it would not be impossible without it but approaching other parties hat in hand is much easier when a.) the hat is not empty and b.) there is recognizable backing for the project. Has Apple stated an official stance on Mono?

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Satori [mailto:dru at druware.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 11:06 AM
To: Robert Mullen
Cc: Eoin Norris; Mono-OSX List; Miguel de Icaza
Subject: Re: [Mono-osx] An open letter to the OS X Mono group.

The only other way this works is if a large enough group of small  
companies can band together to support 1 or 2 senior level people to  
focus on nothing but Mono & Mac related efforts.  I figure a rounded  
cost total of about 300k / year in hardware and personnel.

Obviously the first person I'd tap would be Geoff, as he has  
established a good relationship with Miguel and Paolo (I haven't, I'm  
not even remotely a good candidate).  Next you'd have to get a couple  
of parts in place.  I'd probably suggest a couple of machines for  
testing and developing, and then someone to really act as a planner  
on the project.  Not many projects have been blessed with leaders  
like Miguel that can both code and project plan well.

You figure you get one really senior person near 100k / year, a  
junior person in the mid 50's, and a project planner / manager  
working p/t for 35k per year, enough hardware to support the  
development efforts, at another 15k per year, add insurance and  
benefits for the employment of said people, and you are just shy of  
the 250k mark. Add 50k for marketting the platform to attract  
contributors (travel, time, etc) and you have a start.  To really  
make things attractive, to the point of sexy and appealing to Windows  
developers, you need over a million.

1 full-time person to focus on a debugger for Mach-O
2 full-time people to work on Apple technology integration  
(QuickTime, CoreData, CoreAnimation etc as C# libraries)
1 full-time person to focus on XCode integration and tracking with  
Xcode changes
1 full-time person to triage and direct support traffic to keep the  
coders from overload.
1 full-time person to get Windows Forms up and running in an Apple  
native toolkit, not some half assed GTK# to GTK+ that looks like Aqua  
but doesn't actually use Aqua.
1 full-time person to create & maintain an Apple native, Xcode plug- 
in or compatable external editor for creating Windows.Forms, and  
eventually WPF User Interfaces
1 full-time person working on Web integration, including ASPX editor,  
hooking the debugger into Apache &&/|| XSP.

and finally a full-time person dealing with installers for all of the  
above.  Packaging everything so that any novice to the Mac can  
install and use the tools and deploy to a Mac server or client.

It's a Massive undertaking.  I'm not saying it isn't worthwhile, just  
that doing it half-assed isn't going to woo most developers coming  
from VS.NET.  Precious few developer's are going to give up VS.NET  
and it's integrated debugging, syntax awareness and other creature  
comforts for vim, emacs and bash.  Even fewer are going to embrace  
Makefiles.  Some might go to nant, since they might be using that on  
Windows, I'd say still less than 10%.

The worst part about it all, is there is very little opportunity for  
direct profit from this.  The only companies that stand to gain from  
this are large ISV's with established C# codebases that want/need  
additional platform targets or Apple, which is why I think it is such  
an overwhelming task.

I'm sure I sound negative, but this is very much what *I* want, and I  
am comfortable in Objective C.  I came from Windows, and I like C#,  
but right now, most of my legacy code is in Pascal (Delphi), and my  
new code is in C# for Windows and Objective C for the Mac because I  
wasn't willing (nor am I today) to give up graphical tools and  
integrated debuggers for asserts, WriteLn()'s.


On Mar 27, 2007, at 1:03 PM, Robert Mullen wrote:

> I can see shades of this in the information I have gathered so far.  
> I hope (and it is a somewhat naïve hope I will admit) that Apple  
> will recognize that the release of Vista may have given them an  
> entry point on the business desktop that has not existed before. I  
> am writing this email from a Vista desktop and can say that as  
> promising as some of the technologies are, the desktop simply is  
> not ready for prime time. Apple integration of a Unix backend  
> positions them exceptionally well from a strategic standpoint *but*  
> they must execute. If they make the lock in mistake they will miss  
> this opportunity IMO. None of that is to say they should not focus  
> their primary resources on Cocoa which is a nice framework but they  
> must realize that the time to get their foot in the door is now and  
> the most immediate way to do that is via Mono. Cocoa-Objective C is  
> not ready to be a business application development platform. I  
> think Cocoa has potential but am less certain of Objective C.  
> Clearly a strength of Microsoft is their developer tools and APIs.  
> I have developed on these as my primary responsibility for my  
> entire career and have seen the progression which has been  
> impressive. With Mono, a large developer base can be leveraged and  
> that alone eases a major cost of transition. I guess the question  
> becomes whether Apple is content with the "Creative" niche as far  
> as business desktops go or whether they really want to challenge  
> for dominance. If they want to challenge they need to ease the path  
> of transition for those willing early adopters and do what they can  
> to minimize the risk of transition. It is a monumental task for a  
> Windows shop.
> I will be going to my first WWDC this year and hope to meet some  
> likeminded individuals and possibly make some contacts within Apple  
> itself. The company I work for was a pioneer adopter of Intel- 
> Windows in our industry (we were actually featured in Intel  
> brochures) and we think the time may be coming for another  
> pioneering effort. We hope to find Apple to be supportive. As  
> a .NET shop that would almost certainly have to include Mono as a  
> foundational piece.
> From: mono-osx-bounces at lists.ximian.com [mailto:mono-osx- 
> bounces at lists.ximian.com] On Behalf Of Eoin Norris
> Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 3:01 AM
> To: Andrew Satori; Mono-OSX List
> Cc: Miguel de Icaza
> Subject: Re: [Mono-osx] An open letter to the OS X Mono group.
> If Apple step up to the plate on mono they will, I think, be  
> pushing their own core technologies ( read : Cocoa) as well as  
> mono. i think they may be interested in some version of the  
> dumbarton project, if anything. Were mono to be the main platform  
> for development on the Mac, then the OS/AppKit team would not be in  
> a position to innovate for developers.. If you read Apple's spiel  
> on it's newest operating system releases the marketing does not  
> focus on just what is available for consumers, but what new  
> technologies are available for developers - and this is standard  
> marketing guff sold to everyone not just sold on specific developer  
> mailing lists ( the latest such technology to be touted is Core  
> Animations, a Cocoa framework for cool animations probably used in  
> the iPhone).
> It is a stretch to believe that they will create these technologies  
> and immediately port them to mono ( which in any case could create  
> a disconnect between the Apple mono api set and the standard api set).
> The API defines the OS, to a large extent. As does the UI.
> That said, this year's WWDC is about  getting windows developers  
> onto the Mac. I wonder if a senior representative on this list  
> could point Apple developer connection to the possibilities of   
> using mono, Cocoa#, or Dumbarton/Objective C on the Mac  . I think  
> Apple would be most amenable to promoting a mono back-end, and a  
> cocoa front-end.
> However, they may not be following the possibilities of mono on the  
> Mac, at all, but this is the year to push it.
> -- Eoin Norris
> On 27 Mar 2007, at 03:13, Andrew Satori wrote:
>  Until a big
> player, (and I think that player almost *has* to be Apple) steps up,
> I don't think we'll ever get enough Mac specific resources to get
> Mono on the Mac to be a full peer to Mono on Linux.

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