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Microsoft To Acquire Xamarin (phoronix.com) 130

New submitter androlinuz writes: Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a leading platform provider for mobile app development. In conjunction with Visual Studio, Xamarin provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin's approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to build mobile apps, and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each device platform.
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Microsoft To Acquire Xamarin

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ho hum... .Net was better off as 2 companies instead of 1

    • I thought so too. No one is surprised, of course. Even the Express editions of Visual Studio targeted Xamarin.

    • by joaommp ( 685612 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @06:09PM (#51577713) Homepage Journal

      "Embrace, extend, extinguish"...

      • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @09:43PM (#51579243) Journal

        Microsoft lacks the power to do that shit any more, and they know it. They're not betting the company on the success of the Windows phone. They're hoping people will develop apps for Android and iPhone (and Windows) using C#. As someone who prefers C# to Java, I really want to see this happen seamlessly.

      • Hi, the 1990s called and wanted their stupid anti-Microsoft soundbites back.
        • by joaommp ( 685612 )

          It's not an anti-Microsoft soundbite. Actually, some time ago, when the news came out about Microsoft starting the collaboration with Xamarin and the Mono team, a lot of people warned about this and used that exact expression. I was one of those who defedend Microsoft. But now, the pattern is emerging. So no, it's not an 1990 stupid anti-Microsoft soundbite, it's a reasonable expectations since the company, still today keeps applying the same tactics.

          • by dave420 ( 699308 )

            You seem to have forgotten to include any corroborating evidence... Surely an oversight on your part, I'm sure...

          • But now, the pattern is emerging

            So, lay it out for me, how is Microsoft going to firstly "extend" a product they own, not based on any standards that can be extended, and then extinguish it? Include some details please.

      • "Embrace, extend, extinguish"...

        Why the hell would they even do this? Kill off a tool that attracts more and more people to C# and the .NET platform as a whole? Stop with the idiotic quotes.

  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <agnosticpopeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @05:52PM (#51577587) Journal

    Looks like Miguel de Icaza has officially become part of Microsoft. Maybe he can pull a Elop [wikipedia.org] and get Windows 11 to use Gnome as its desktop environment.

    • by alexhs ( 877055 )

      Looks like Miguel de Icaza has officially become part of Microsoft.

      Yep. This being Slashdot, I expected this story's title to be "Miguel de Icaza at long last a Microsoft employee".

      Maybe he can pull a Elop and get Windows 11 to use Gnome as its desktop environment.

      Not going to happen. I'm not sure he was involved even in GNOME2.He's been fully devoted to .Net since the start of this millennium.

  • Makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by akweboa164 ( 629425 )
    Now that Microsoft open sourced .NET (https://github.com/Microsoft/dotnet) this makes sense. Really happy for everyone at Xamarin, they are one of those companies that put in the work and deserve this.
  • He's been an apologist for MS in the OSS community for as long as I can remember, this seems like a natural move for him.
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by bickerdyke ( 670000 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @06:04PM (#51577683)

    fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin's approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to build mobile apps

    Wow.

    Someone ha d a second glass of the cool aid.

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @06:13PM (#51577737)

      >> Xamarin's approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of Visual Studio to build mobile apps

      FTFY. When we were building our last set of apps, we were happy that our developers could reuse their Visual Studio / C# skills; we purchased Xamarin so we wouldn't have to care (as much) about what the compiled code ran on, and specifically so we could avoid hiring more than a handful of dedicated Android or iOS developers (to perform touch-up work if necessary).

      • Now THAT sounds completly sensible.

        However, leveraging the power of production synergy or whatever along those lines the summary said, sounds like complete PR BS

      • How did it go? Were you happy with the quality of the output? Did it seem as good as if you'd made the apps natively?
        I'm interested in practical anecdotes using this tool (since it's the best data we have at this point)
        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

          by PmanAce ( 1679902 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @12:34AM (#51580121) Homepage
          When I built my app for droid and touch (android and iPhone as you can imagine), my client couldn't tell the difference between native apps and my apps because the end result was a native app.
        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @02:06AM (#51580469)
          I've been doing it as well.

          To be fair, I come from a really long history of bringing multi-million line projects to up to 80 different platforms (everything from Symbian to Mac to Qnx to Nintendo Wii) and from the beginning of the project focused 100% on portability to begin with... I chose C# because C is for OS Kernels (write those too) and C# is for apps. They're the two universal languages in the sense that they are the two languages who can access APIs on any platform.

          I found that with good planning, I have been able to make a program which runs on Windows Store, Windows Desktop, Mac OS X, iPad and Android using all native UI components as well as pixel perfect print support with less effort than I ever put into with Qt or my own homegrown. As a result, I can't really imagine ever writing in anything else again. I let me focus on learning platform APIs and not screwing around with things like SWIG or crazy assed Android C++ adapters.

          Oh... let's not forget that by managing my data structures intelligently (my document format is almost as complex as Microsoft Word's), I was able to outperform manually management memory schemas every time and by hooking the garbage collector I was able to implement a memory defragmentor which I've done in C++ in the past and required so much template hell that the code became unmaintainable. By defragging the memory through the GC, I was able to take advantage of language level relocation and as a result, the code is readable and manageable... oh... and quite a bit more performance efficient since it generally runs as a FSM during idle cycles.

          C# allowed me through a single language to quickly implement about half a million lines of code and focus more on productivity and less on dicking around with things like SWIFT compiler errors and warnings which look like "Something is wrong an caused a parser error within a 100 lines of line 241 that makes this line think it's a chicken.. please call again later when you comment out 90% of your file and restructure you code to manually find the actual error".

          C# compiler errors suck too, but at least the Visual Studio GUI makes it pretty easy to drill down to root cause.

          I'll say this much, they started as a development tool company, they always nailed the development tool thing and now with LLVM support offering C standard compliance directly within Visual Studio, I think Microsoft has really nailed it.

          Now if they throw enough money at compiling for Mac and iPhone without a Mac that would be awesome. Programming in XCode is so painfully slow it's unbareable. If you made the mistake of buying a Mac Pro and are wondering why it's so damn slow, install Windows 10 on it and use Visual Studio instead and run OS X in a virtual machine to compile against. It's a HUGE improvement.

          Last thing to fix I think is getting remote app support for iPhone simulator. Then make it so if I press F5, I get just that Window. I'm using iRapp at the moment which isn't awful, but it's a bit intrusive.
    • If .Net ever truly becomes write once deploy everywhere... terrifying.

      • Terrifying... because needing to re-write code is a good thing? Because people should be using languages like C++ instead? Because it would mean Microsoft has, in effect, achieved what Sun and Oracle never *quite* pulled off (though right now they're still probably closer)? Because C# should be less useful than Java, even though it's a more-capable language? Because .NET includes Visual Basic .NET? (OK, that last one is a bit scary...)

        I suppose some Slashdotters find the thought of MS succeeding at anything

        • Actually I like C# but I still see idiots drag-n-dropping crap with the supper easy IDE... but that's not a MS problem

      • Partnering with RedHat to bring DNX to Linux is a big move.
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Sheesh, how young can a person be, it's Kool-Aid...and get the fuck off my lawn...

  • Backdoors and telemetry on all platforms!

  • Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @06:24PM (#51577797)

    Normally, I would say that this is a bad thing, but Xamarian's pricing is brutal anyone who just wants to play around, explore, and possibly try to sell an app or two if they're halfway decent. When I was looking at cross-platform development tools, I was really interested in using Xamarian, but I wasn't about to fork over $1000/year just to play with developing cross platform software (ie: mobile AND desktop). And their starter edition only runs with Visual Studio, which is Windows only.

    QT is even worse. Their documentation actually states "Please consult a lawyer before using QT for commercial development". Their pricing is so brutal they don't even advertise it on their website. I had to google for leaked price lists just to get a ballpark figure, and the prices almost made me fall out of my chair. So heaven forbid you write an app and think, "Hey, this ain't bad. I'll put this on the app stores and see if anyone likes it." QT will be suddenly expecting several thousand dollars right up front before you legally able to sell.

    I really like the "It's ok, you can pay us once you're making money" system that Unreal and Unity have switched to. THAT's how you encourage indie adoption. Unfortunately they're geared primarily for making games, not regular applications, so if you wanted to create some kind of database-type system or whatever, then those toolkits are not a good fit.

    • I'm guessing MS's current pricing model will turn into "free if you also release a Windows Phone version"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was super excited to try Xamarin last year. I spent a night downloading and installing their software after seeing that they did have a free tier for developers to test their apps to see if Xamarin worked for them. The download and setup took so long that I ended up having to call it and finish the next evening. So I sit back down at my computer the next night, only to then have to go give my life story to Xamarin just to open their software. Finally, account registered, I open up their own tutorial which

      • Interesting. I had a feeling the free tier was useless, you confirmed that for me, thanks. Yeah let's hope that it becomes part of the MSDN subscription.
      • put some of the basic functionality in Express so I can finally try it out

        Why express? Community Edition, which is basically the same as once was Professional, is free.

    • FYI, I just came across this blog article and thought people would find it interesting.

      Apparently efforts have been made to make it easier to use Unity for application development. Resource utilization may still be a deal-breaker for some though.

      https://medium.com/@raquezha/u... [medium.com]

      I haven't checked Unreal yet, maybe there's stuff for that too.

    • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

      by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @11:53PM (#51579927)

      QT is even worse.

      I used Qt extensively for years. Qt >= 4.0 is LGPL (unless that's been changed when I wasn't looking), meaning you are free to use it for closed-source purposes as long as you don't modify the library itself.

      That being said, I find Java to be much better than Qt for desktop software in almost every way.

      • ONLY if it's not statically linked. Last I checked, this is not an option for Apple. Dunno about Android or others.

      • https://wiki.qt.io/Licensing-t... [wiki.qt.io]

        So basically, if I take the gamble and turn out wrong, I can end up with some OSS SJW making my life miserable. You can see why anyone would be nervous to produce closed source code with QT if they arn't a megacorp.

    • I just went to QT's website and found their pricing within a few seconds:  $350/month/developer

      https://www.qt.io/buy-product/?pid=7051

    • Normally, I would say that this is a bad thing, but Xamarian's pricing is brutal anyone who just wants to play around, explore, and possibly try to sell an app or two if they're halfway decent.

      Sounds like you have no business model and no idea.

      QT is even worse. Their documentation actually states "Please consult a lawyer before using QT for commercial development". Their pricing is so brutal they don't even advertise it on their website.

      It's Qt. Qt is open sourced, and now LGPLed which is a stick people have loved to beat it with over the years, so it really isn't hard to get started.

      I don't know if you've noticed, but commercial development tools to tend to cost a bit of money. That isn't going to change any time soon. I've heard the endless whining at Qt over the years in particular.

      • I have noticed. I've also noticed that expensive software is virtually unused and unknown in non-corporate circles, because the cost alone means the average developer isn't even going to waste time downloading the free trial. How many people do you know are, for example, running officially licensed copies of Websphere to run their website? Or Oracle 12c?

        That's why what Unity and Unreal have done is such massive news. In one single stroke, game development is now feasible for massive swaths of people for

      • Oh, and I forgot to respond to you first point. No, I *don't* have a business model. Not everyone wants to turn everything into a business venture. If I have an idea to make something, I shouldn't have to quit my day job and put my entire life on the line just to satisfy some ridiculous notion that it's pointless to do something unless you go balls-in.

        Not everybody can get a "small loan" of a million dollars from their silver spoon wielding parents.

  • In the past .NET was a way to lure dev to Windows and to anchor them there.

    What is their incentive today for
    1) open sourcing .net
    2) supporting and now purchase of Xamarin?

    If xam/mono gets MSed than it seems even less safe to use .net as they may pull the plug on Mono anytime.
    Is it a ploy to sell more VisualStudios? And then WinOS for devs? Can't see a big money in this for MS...

    • by ndykman ( 659315 )

      Like most stuff at MS these days, it's Azure. A mobile app is just another front end to a web applications, and this makes the case of having using .Net from end to end and hosting in Azure and using things like Azure Mobile Services, Service Fabric and so on.

    • Lol

      Reading these is like someone going on a rant about IBM. Strange today, as MS lost the monopoly they had.

      The incentive is simple. Why do they still sell Office to Mac users? To make money. Visual Studio is another money maker. If they can't beat em on the mobile platforms at least join them and make money for app makers. VS code already runs on Linux natively and VS 2015 community edition even has full Android SDKs and emulators and java 7 jdk. No I am not making this up.

      MS incentive also is the new CEO

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dutch Gun ( 899105 )

      Xamarin simply sponsored Mono, but that doesn't necessarily grant the ability to kill it. How would they "pull the plug" on an open-source and free project? Besides, it would just scare people away from .NET in general, so I just don't see that happening.

      Microsoft is simply embracing other platforms, especially mobile, as they well understand they don't really have a serious dog in that fight with Windows mobile. They'd like to keep developers on Windows, and offering high-quality tools for multi-platfor

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cbhacking ( 979169 )

      As the monkey once said, Developers Developers Developers! It's Microsoft trying to get people used to using Microsoft tools. If you use Visual Studio, you can use its built-in Xamarin integration to develop your Android and iOS apps. Once you're doing that, you really might as well also publish for the Windows app store - it's minimal additional effort and nets you at least a few percent more of the market - and that's what Microsoft really needs people doing.

      The whole "Windows Phone / Windows 10 Mobile is

    • The 1990s called and asked you return your paranoia.
  • .NET has productivity and power?? Who knew??
    • Re:.NET (Score:4, Insightful)

      by terjeber ( 856226 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @05:19AM (#51580975)

      In the late 1990s our company released some serious Java software for a very significant US market. We were very successful with it, and Sun used our logo as one of the success stories when taking out some double-page ads in papers like the New York Times. I have always been a huge fan of Java, but these days, when I do something for the JVM, it tends to be Scala. I much prefer Scala to Java.

      About six years ago I was asked to take on some C#/.NET stuff, and it was surprising to me how easy it was coming from Java. C# was clearly a "copy" of Java. This was .NET 3.5. After a while I realized that the MS tooling plus the C# language and the .NET environment made me more productive in C# than I had been on Java. Tooling in particular was very good, but also some of the language features of C# were simply more mature and more well thought-out than in Java land. C# does, for example, auto-boxing properly while Java autoboxing is a cluster fuck (compiler-stage autoboxing an Boolean object to a bool, for example is an idea that must have come out of the excrement of a brain dead developer, for example).

      Then C# developed. Took on functional aspects, got Linq, moved on. Java on the other hand. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. For years and years. Death by committee. Today a decent developer is probably twice as productive in C#/.NET as it is possible to be in Java, and things do not seem to be improving much. If your shop uses Windows PCs, Active Directory etc, you'd be practically insane to use Java/JVM over C#/.NET.

      Now, if the Xamarin move pans out, if you are a Windows shop who need specialized mobile apps, you'd be insane not to use C# or (important, I would typically use this) Cordova.

  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @07:10PM (#51578105)

    Miguel de Icaza, you earned it.

  • by ndykman ( 659315 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @07:26PM (#51578229)

    It was overdue. Oddly, I think it was Xamarin that delayed this acquisition. I think MS would have been happy to pick them up two years ago. For all the flack Miguel de Icaza gets, he is a big open source supporter, and I bet he was concerned with how that would work being at MS and all. But, when .Net core happened, the writing was on the wall, and now they can just get .Net core to be what it needs to be.

    Make no mistake, this is a play to displace some existing players and to encourage adoption of hosting on Azure and using Azure services. It's a good story for a lot of companies. You can use one set of skills (C#/.Net) to address development from end to end and you get pretty streamlined hosting (via Azure). Compared to having to assemble all the pieces from front to back, plenty of companies will take the ecosystem lock in.

    • Make no mistake, this is a play to displace some existing players and to encourage adoption of hosting on Azure and using Azure services

      TBH does it really make a difference whether you are running on the proprietary Amazon cloud, or the proprietary IBM cloud or the proprietary Microsoft cloud? Just as long as none of those players get a monopoly, I think it will be ok.

  • I just renewed my license back in December.

    As others have noted, the license structure was brutal - I'm a consultant and just needed Tamarin for a few times a year I have to help out a particular client with a Tamarin built application.

    They wanted *$1K* for a license, even though I'd hardly be using that. Luckily I was able to talk them down a fair amount after explaining the situation, but given how many consultants are active these days in helping smaller companies build applications, they really should

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Whatever. I was forced to use Xamarin in a previous job and it is the clunkiest piece of SW I have ever used. There is a mantra that every dev should chant - cross platform toolkits do not work at least if you are interested in writing UI once and deploying across multiple platforms . They are fine for an enterprise level piece of SW but ultimately they resort the LCD and you end up fighting the tool and wishing to god you could just write native code.

  • I don't know about you, but with me MS has burned a lot of trust. I mean a ginormous amount. I don't trust MS and I don't trust the judgement of anyone who isn't wary of MS. MS isn't looking as evil as a few years ago, and their surface hardware looks quite neat actually. But there is quite a bit more that has to happen before I trust MS again with running anything mission-critical for me.

    I don't know if this is going to help or destroy Xamarin - I'm sorta caught in the middle. Or so I wish. ... But glancin

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