When I was deeply involved in technology and company acquisitions at Novell, I learned the hard way how difficult it is to merge disparate corporate cultures.
Money usually only helps a little.
Company after company acquired by Novell disappeared from the planet. Often times with disastrous results. It was only on occasion that an acquisition yielded any measurable benefit.
This is why I winced and expected the worst when Novell announced the acquisition of Ximian back in 2003. How Miguel de Icaza survived the Novell acquisition gauntlet is a mystery to me. When I read Attachmate fired all of the people working on the mono project a few weeks ago, I figured the axe had finally fallen and that the Mono project was dead.
Not a good thing. It certainly speaks to the visionary skills of the new Suse management team. Mono was the ONLY innovative thing happening at Suse. Everything else is just playing catch up to Red Hat.
Even the language of the announcement sucked:
“We have re-established Nuremburg as the headquarters of our SUSE business unit and the prioritization and resourcing of certain development efforts – including Mono – will now be determined by the business unit leaders there,” said Jeff Hawn, Chairman and CEO of The Attachmate Group in a statement sent to InternetNews.com. “This change led to the release of some US based employees today. As previously stated, all technology roadmaps remain intact with resources being added to those in a manner commensurate with customer demand.”
To fully understand this announcement, a quick lesson on “vendor speak” is appropriate. When a vendor invokes anything that resembles “Our actions are based on ‘customer demand’” you know that you are being fed a line. It is what magicians refer to as “misdirection.” It is a form of deception in which the attention of the audience is focused one thing in order to distract its attention from another.
A vendor that states its future planning is based on customer demand is a vendor in cruise-mode with no budget or plan to do anything about the particular topic. Thus the interpretation of the vendor speak “…all technology roadmaps remain intact with resources being added to those in a manner commensurate with customer demand” is: “we have no logical explanation for this irrational behavior.” In other words, you’ve just been fed a line of bullshit.
Then I heard the welcome surprise, Miguel announced the formation of Xamarin. Unlike the bumbling headless Attachmate strategy, he nails a clearly articulated plan and vision for Xamarin.
“We believe strongly in splitting the presentation layer from the business logic in your application and supporting both your backend 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.”
I am so happy to see the Mono team emerge from 8 years of suppression and fighting for an incredibly visionary cause with no support, marketing budget or corporate sponsorship.
Well done Miguel. Breath easy, the worst part is over.
Novell is dead, but—thank the Gods of good code—the mono project lives on.