de Icaza: I'm Miguel de Icaza and I work on a project called Mono. It's an open source implementation of the .net framework that runs on non-Windows platforms. It runs on a Mac, on Linux -- It runs on interesting devices like the Playstation or the iPhone and we're also working on Silverlight implementation for Linux. So, that's kind of where my passion is: .net for other platforms.
Spolsky: Cool. Silverlight is sort of like a subset of .net, isn't it?
de Icaza: Yeah, that's right. It's kind of a -- yeah, they picked a small interesting subset of both .net and WPF and made it into a plugin for the web and they added video and audio.
Spolsky: So it's supposed to be a Flash equivalent?
de Icaza: Yeah, exactly. You know, to me it's interesting because I get to write code in C# and I just happen to like the language. Silverlight is interesting from that perspective. Also because when Microsoft did that thing it's also a subset of WPF, it's a subset you can actually learn as opposed to WPF which I find [laughs] ginormous. [Continues...]
Spolsky: So it's the only port of WPF that the Silverlight guys could figure out [Laughing]
de Icaza: Exactly, exactly. It's like the good subset instead of the over-engineered version of it. So, I really like Silverlight and what I wanted to do, since the very beginning was to not oly use it for the Web, but also use it for desktop Linux. You know, using the traditional Unix APIs - just using Silverlight as cross-platform desktops apps. That's kind of where the motivation came from - ah - we get the APIs and we make the developers from the .net platform to also make their apps available on Linux that way.
Spolsky: And they're going to look better than all those TK things that are ...
de Icaza: We hope so! [Laughs] You know, we have some nice-looking applications these days on Linux, but nothing compares to the amount of designers that the other platforms have...
Spolsky: Well, it also matters if you want to make a cross-platform... I mean the choices that people have had to make cross platform GUI applications usually resulted in something that look ugly or look wrong on one platform, I guess.
de Icaza: Yeah, that's right. As a matter of fact, we're facing that problem right now, ourself. We built our own IDE, and it was very Linux-centric, with our very own GTK APIs - and it looks great on Linux, and it looks a little out-of-place on Windows and Mac OS. The thing is, we don't really have the time or the man power to make native applications for each platform. But, I think we're going to have to bite the bullet and just look "off" in other platforms. It's... [garbled]
Splosky: It's interesting that programmers are the first ones to notice when something looks "off" like that [de Icaza laugh], but when you actually show it to users - they don't even notice when you say "Doesn't his look weird to you?" [de Icaza more laughter] It's like, you go to the File menu and under Exit it says "Alt +F4" and, of course [both laughing], you do that on a Macintosh and people think you're crazy.