Miguel de Icaza: Mono, Open Source, Visual Studio, and Xamarin

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At Xamarin Evolve 2013, I caught up with Xamarin CTO Miguel de Icaza after his keynote. It's been a while since I last chatted with Miguel, so it was great to catch up. Clearly, he and team have been very busy pushing Mono forward and building Xamarin—a new technology that enables developers to target multiple platforms by writing apps in C# and .NET. During his keynote, Miguel announced that F# is now a part of the Xamarin family, too. Smiley

Xamarin ships with a Visual Studio plugin, making it possible to write iOS and Android apps on Windows using the best IDE in the world. Of course, VS natively supports the development of Windows and Windows Phone .NET apps, so you can imagine that Xamarin makes it possible for .NET developers to target all major mobile platforms, sharing as much core code as possible across them - effectively enabling C# to be everywhere you want it to be.

Here, we learn why Miguel et al. started Mono, how they ended up at Xamarin, and, potentially, where they're heading in the future with their excellent cross platform development technologies based on .NET. We talk about open source and proprietary software today, Visual Studio, and more. This is a Channel 9 interview, so it goes as it went. The only editing was cosmetic, not topical. Tune in.

It was a real pleasure to attend Evolve 2013. The Xamarin team pulled off an excellent event. It certainly didn't feel like an inaugural developer conference. Great production!

Huge thanks to Miguel for spending time with Channel 9. We'll make sure to get him in front of Camera 9 again soon.



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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    It's awesome to see him again on Channel9.

  • User profile image

    Ya know... he brings up an amazing friggin point with the concept of "open-source IE".  I actually believe MS SHOULD do this for IE6 only at this point in time.  You guy's (MS) are going to end support of IE6 & XP etc soon enough SO Microsoft should, I believe with all my heart and logical conclusions, open source IE6 and given to the open source community to work on as a modern IE6 clone project to improve on as an option alternative to the actual IE6 rendering engine and JS Engine built into XP which is going to EOL.

    The whole IE infrastructure and code I think is already all replaced with new-generation code and concepts so allowing an open source community to work on an IE6 clone built directly from the IE6 source and built to uphold IE6 terrorizing situation while helping a built-in IE6 -> modern web shim wouldn't infringe on any current generation stuff for IE9+.  As IE6's stagnant web problem that Microsoft has created without malice is indeed still a massive problem, and everyone still on XP is making this be a huge issue continue to be an issue.  

    So, for administrators that must keep XP in-house or for home users, allowing an IE6 clone to maybe shim the architecture of IE6 while maintaining problems which are "bug-as-a-feature" status may actually help the web move forward just even a little.  Doing so would also indicate that Microsoft may actually want to help dig the WWW out of the hole it accidentally created by showing good intention to the world by open sourcing IE6 by itself and re-invigorating just a tiny bit of never before seen trust seen before out of Microsoft history.

  • User profile image
    Adrian Avila

    Miguel, are you going to upload videos of Evolve sometime?

  • User profile image

    Microsoft should just hand over the entire developer stack to Miguel. He gets it. Help the developer write great software for the customer rather than help Company X sell more devices, OS licenses, and/or advertisements. Glad there are people like Miguel working in this space.

  • User profile image

    I am very very thankful for Mono. With that, I can code for Linux and especially my Raspberry Pi using Visual Studio and C#.

  • User profile image

    Miguel's Mono is a great counterpoint to .NET. @DeathByVisualStudio - You got it wrong, Miguel gets it, but guys like The Gu gets it equally/even more. 

  • User profile image

    Great talk.  Really good to know that Xamarin uses native UI calls.     

  • User profile image

    Miguel, great talk, but sad to hear that you're by heart against cross-platform UIs...
    I was still hoping you were planning something in this direction.

  • User profile image

    Yeah really [currently] enjoying developing Android Apps in Visual Studio and C#, thanks to Mono for Android. Great tosomeone appreciating the .NET stack for cross platform developent, when Microsoft let us all down.

    Just a shame that most of us Indies can no longer afford Xamarin Professional lisences, and so will no longer be able to use Visual Studio. They are forcing us to use Xamarin Studio instead. Oh well.

  • User profile image

    I personally have not used Mono but heard of it. But, really what's with all the "Love" for Apple from Miguel. Pleeeeeeeeeease, the most limiting and closed platform ever. And, when there is an Express version of VS, am not getting the complaint about free this and free that.

    When Miguel talks about the way he codes, it worries me as it sound very much seat of the pants and lacking planning. As coders, we need to take more respect for the profession and write some lean, and mean code. Set some standards, do some planning before you start coding.

    I want to try Mono to code for Android.

  • User profile image

    I am unsure about it. Somebody tell me about xamarian. Do xamarian allow any Jar/ DLL (third-party) to be used in free plan.

    for student how much it will cost. I means I just want to start without pay :)

  • User profile image


    When Miguel talks about the way he codes, it worries me as it sound very much seat of the pants and lacking planning. As coders, we need to take more respect for the profession and write some lean, and mean code. Set some standards, do some planning before you start coding.

    I want to try Mono to code for Android.


    So Carlos what makes you some high and mighty professional to represent software development and how things should be done.   Miguel has accomplished a lot and he can do as he pleases.   He has executed and delivered products.   Persistence is what is needed.  I don't see any lack of planning on his part either.  Show me what you have done to be critical of successful ventures.   I think Xamarin is a good way to develop for Android.   Another option is Dot42 but it is not as complete.   

  • User profile image

    How about a Mono port for Windows RT (on unlocked RT devices :-)
    since they don't support Silverlight

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