I will though readily admit that the GNOME bindings for Mono are not as good as they should be. This is something about which I could speak more but it feels like it would be off-topic, the summary though is that it is getting better, we have a plan, code is starting to appear and a GNOME foundation supported Mono+GNOME love hackfest is being planned to address these issues as well.
And still, Mono has so many more applications that it seems trivial to always focus on icons for users to click on to hear sweet music.
MonoTouch e.g. is used in multiple of the most popular games section on the iPhone (so I am informed, I do not have an iPod, I sadly am stuck with an N900 for which I have growing amounts of hate).
The biggest desktop distribution (Ubuntu) still ships Tomboy, and have committed to switching to Banshee for the upcoming 11.04 release. A process the Banshee community is highly invested in to fulfill the job (I say this wearing my Banshee developer hat for clarity).Banshee, F-Spot and Tomboy are the only Mono-using OSS applications with any usage, and two of them have been more or less deprecated by distros.
That leaves Banshee for people who refuse to use Amarok and Rhythmbox.
They did admittedly switch to Shotwell from F-Spot, out of fears that the F-Spot community would not be able to revive the codebase and build a community capable of maintaining it. So far Ruben who stepped up as the new maintainer of F-Spot has managed to revive the codebase and make it compile in MonoDevelop as well as share code with Banshee (he stepped up to the plate on the day before the decision was officially made). Thus laying the foundation for a small but growing and productive community around F-Spot. Progress though has slowed a bit after Ruben, who remains the superstar developer of that project, has had less time to devote to F-Spot. I think time will favor F-Spot provided the community continues to grow at the current rate. A prediction would be that F-Spot may be considered for the default once again. It would make sense since upgrades from the last LTS would still have F-Spot and that release they have to maintain for years. They are already invested in F-Spot and will continue to be so. Shotwell probably isn't a bad application either, though I have not tried it extensively.
You say in bed, I say made a business deal to the benefit of both involved and one that has resulted in great benefits for Novell, Linux and has helped Microsoft starting to open up.You're probably right, and Novell is having some use from that, and they probably feel safer being in bed with Microsoft than being in bed with Oracle.
No comment on Oracle, them boys crazy, they'll pop anyone with anything no matter how thin to turn a buck. Ah capitalism and sociopathy, a match made in heaven. Hardly the image of Microsoft today, with what 4-5 Patent infringement suits filed in the history of their existence and the increasing engaging Open Source more on our terms.
If Mono is abandoned by Novell, I am sure Miguel would be the first person to start a company to develop it, taking with him many of the people working on it now. It makes money and it is what he loves. Then the situation wouldn't be to dissimilar from when he ran Ximian and started the project to ease development. Mono was one of the reasons Novell acquired Ximian for 50 million dollars. They saw it was a good investment.Still, they could have used Python and saved a few million $$$. It probably owes its prolonged existence to Miguel's very high position within Novell. If he ever leaves, I expect Mono to be abandoned overnight.