Mono 2.0 Takes .NET Cross Platform

The Mono Project announced the availability of Mono 2.0, which provides all the necessary software to develop and run .NET client and server applications on Linux, as well as other operating systems. Mono also powers the Moonlight project to deliver a Linux implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight platform.

The Mono Project, an initiative to deliver an open source implementation of components of the .NET Framework, has announced the availability of Mono 2.0.

Miguel de Icaza, founder of the Mono project, said Mono 2.0 is an open source, cross-platform .NET development framework. Mono 2.0 provides all the necessary software to develop and run .NET client and server applications on Linux, as well as other operating systems. The new Mono 2.0 release is now compatible with the desktop and server components of version 2.0 of the Microsoft .NET framework and features the Mono Migration Analyzer (MoMA), an analytical tool for .NET-to-Linux migrations.

"We built a tool to understand what we were using from .NET -- like which APIs -- because .Net is so large," de Icaza said. "So we wanted to look at how we prioritize. The Mono Migration Analyzer helped us figure out which APIs people were using the most."

MoMA, which runs natively on .NET or on the Mono framework, helps developers quantify the number of changes required to run their .NET application in a Linux environment. In an analysis of 4600 .NET applications using MoMA, 45 percent of the applications required no code changes to work with Mono. An additional 24 percent of the applications were shown to require fewer than six code changes to run on Mono. Moreover, de Icaza said more than 2000 .NET applications are Mono 2.0 compatible with no code changes

De Icaza also said with Mono 2.0, developers can leverage their existing investment and skill sets to build .NET 2.0 applications for deployment on a variety of platforms, including Linux, Solaris, Unix, and Mac OS X.

"Mono 2.0 benefits a wider range of developers, ISVs and end-users by allowing them to write their applications once and run them on any OS platform, dramatically increasing portability and expanding their market reach," de Icaza said.

Meanwhile, one of the most recent successful uses of the Mono framework is the rapid development of Moonlight, an open-source, Mono-based plug-in version of Microsoft Silverlight, which is used to create and host next-generation, rich interactive applications. De Icaza said a beta version of Moonlight 1.0 will be available by the end of the year. And although the project has delivered a Moonlight 2.0 engine, "it is not quite ready" for release, de Icaza said.

In addition, de Icaza said the Mono team has been able to take Moonlight out of the browser "and we've been able to build desktop apps with it. So you can take online Silverlight apps and turn them into desktop apps." In that respect, Moonlight is able to behave akin to the Adobe Integrated Runtime, better known as Adobe AIR. "Some of our demos are almost identical to what AIR does," de Icaza said. "It would be nice if Microsoft did the same. That way it would run on Windows and the Mac OS. Right now it's just for browsers."