The newest version of Mono, the open-source implementation of Microsofts .Net, makes it much easier for developers to deploy .Net programs.
The Mono Project, which is sponsored by Novell Inc., provides the software needed to run and develop Microsoft Corp. .Net client and server applications on Unix, Solaris, Linux and several other operating systems. Microsoft .Net runs only on Windows platforms.
The brain-child of the noted developer, Miguel de Icaza, Mono has faced an uphill battle from development toy to production system. One major reason for this has been that its been unable to auto-host Web applications.
So, for example, if you wanted to port an ASP (Active Server Page) .Net application to Mono, which enables authorized users to run a variation of an application, you have to run and configure a new instance for each user.
This was not only a pain for administrators and developers; it was wasteful of system resources. With Mono 1.1.1, though, a single instance of Mono can run multiple Mono applications using the Apache Web server.
As de Icaza wrote in a recent status report, "The basic idea is that we turned the 1.1.xx series into a release that can be deployed on production as opposed to merely a development release."
The new Mono also has a near-complete C# compiler. This supports all of the C# 2.0 specification, except for recent changes in the specification to null types. It does not, however, support C# 3.0 features.
However, Novell will no longer be supporting the development of an open-source Visual Basic compiler. It currently exists as a beta program, and the open-source group, Mono Brazil, will continue its development, according to de Icaza.
The latest Mono has also taken large steps forward to address concerns about its rather large hunger for memory. A new heap profiler has helped "tremendously in identifying the fat in the class libraries and spots for easy optimization." This, in turn, has led to Mono becoming more memory-efficient.
While Mono is still a work in progress, with 1.1.1, it now appears, as de Icaza has said, ready for deployment.