Mono Arrives, Brings .Net to Linux

At long last Mono has arrived and it brings .Net programming to Linux and other Unix-style operating systems.

After years of work, Novell Inc. announced Wednesday the availability of Mono 1.0, an open-source development platform based on Microsoft Corp.s .Net framework.

The brainchild of noted open-source leader and developer Miguel de Icaza and Novell vice president of development, Mono is designed to enable software developers to create .Net applications that will work on Linux, Windows, Solaris and other operating systems.

Mono includes a C# compiler, a .Net-compatible runtime and two stacks of APIs (application programming interfaces). The first stack is a Mono stack that takes advantage of Linux; the other is compatible with the Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1, which provides support for ASP.Net, ADO.Net and other components. Mono 1.0 also incorporates such key .Net-compliant components as a portable execution system that includes just-in-time and pre-compilation support.

The projects developers strive to avoid the problem of being tied too closely to a possibly changeable Microsoft standard by basing its.Net implementation on the ECMA International C# and the CLI (Common Language Infrastructure) open standards.

While often seen primarily as a way to bring C# to Linux, Mono also supports VisualBasic, Python, Jscript and, via the open-source iKVM project, Java.

Mono is covered by several open-source licenses. The C# compiler is released under the terms of the GNU GPL. The runtime libraries are under the GNU Library GPL, while the class libraries are released under the terms of the liberal MIT X11 license.

"Even as Linux grows on enterprise desktops, developing applications for the Linux desktop has been challenging because existing tools were extremely technical and complex," said de Icaza in a statement. "Mono is an extremely usable, commercial-grade development platform for Linux desktops and servers with a complete set of tools and APIs. Its based on published standards and proven programming languages and libraries, and Monos cross-platform capabilities also extend to applications for Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS X and other flavors of UNIX."

To further aid developers, a new Web site has been launched with tools, resources, project road maps and detailed information about Mono. Previous project Web sites focused on creating and contributing to Mono, while the new site caters to users of Mono and those deploying applications with Mono, in addition to project contributors.

Mono is not a lab experiment. Novell is using Mono internally in the development of products including iFolder and ZENworks.

"With Mono we can integrate Linux systems into our IT service management solution," said Matthias Bauer, head of development for Voelcker Informatik AG, a Berlin-based consulting company working with the city of Munich. "Mono is a very important step that allows us to easily create cross-platform management solutions and integrate Linux as a manageable server system into standard Microsoft networks."

Mono 1.0 is available for download at its Web site.

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