De Icaza says "it's fair to give credit to GNU," but that he didn't want to spend a lot of time on the naming efforts. "If we needed to give credit to everybody [who contributed to Linux], we would have a very long name," he says.
Regardless of what you call it, Linux-based operating systems have been a major force in computing -- not so much on the desktop side, really, but on the servers in data centers that power the Internet. Although de Icaza's immediate future may be uncertain because of Novell's pending acquisition by Attachmate, de Icaza is excited about the future of open source.
"I think it's fascinating. I can't be more excited for it," he says. "It's interesting that now pretty much everyone considers open source as the foundation for whatever they're building."
In terms of the Attachmate acquisition, de Icaza says, "I have no concerns myself."
De Icaza says he shouldn't comment on Microsoft's attempt to purchase 882 patents from Novell, at least until the Attachmate acquisition is completed. But he notes that Microsoft has slowly accepted the presence of open source software, after spending years trying to eradicate it. A decade ago, Microsoft "exaggerated the threat" from Linux, de Icaza says. "Certainly, the quotes of 'We're going to sue everybody using Linux' didn't go well with many people in the open source community."
De Icaza also gave his thoughts on some Microsoft technologies, including Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight.
When asked if HTML5 will make Silverlight unnecessary, de Icaza says ,"I think that to a large extent it does. Silverlight on the Web has been declining."
But he notes there is still demand for Smooth Streaming, a Microsoft video technology that uses Silverlight. Silverlight is also the development platform for Windows Phone 7.
While de Icaza isn't going to get rid of his iPhone anytime soon, he says he is excited about Windows Phone 7 because it could boost usage of C#. "That was exciting for me, because it makes Mono relevant," de Icaza says.
Mono is picking up steam as a platform for mobile game development, and an Android version will soon be released to complement Mono for iPhone, which is a proprietary product from Novell, de Icaza says. Apple's Steve Jobs recently showcased an app built with Mono (Rome -- Virtual History) while demonstrating the new iPad, according to de Icaza.
"It's been a really good year for us," he says.