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Mainsoft, Mono Help with Crossover Development

It’s no secret that developers dabble in open source even if their primary development environment is Microsoft’s .NET. According to a study by Evans Data, one in five developers whose primary IDE is Visual Studio .NET has also written at least one Linux application. The study also indicates that more than half the .NET developers surveyed used open-source components in their application development.

That’s good news for Mono, the open-source implementation of .NET, as it moves toward a new release later this year. Recognizing the untapped audience that the millions of Microsoft-centric developers in the world represent, cross-platform development company Mainsoft is working to make it easier for .NET developers to write applications for Linux and other Java-enabled platforms. Mainsoft also aims to make it easier for .NET developers to contribute to Mono.

Because Mono’s libraries are completely open, outside companies such as Mainsoft can contribute to the code base, according to Mono founder and CEO Miguel de Icaza, who is also VP of platform development at Novell. “The collaboration with Mainsoft has to do with the fact that our class libraries are completely open. They’ve contributed a tremendous amount of code to the library,” de Icaza says.

Mono’s release of version 1.2 will address some performance issues in the current version, according to de Icaza, and the fact that Mono is now being used with some “serious server applications and longtime desktop applications.” The new release will also include a desktop search feature for Linux called Beagle, and some Novell ZENworks management, he says—all built using Mono.

For its part, Mainsoft has just announced that its contribution to Mono will include a freely available Visual MainWin for J2EE Developer Edition, a Visual Studio .NET plug-in, as well as technical articles and a developer zone, where developers can add classes, enhancements and bug fixes to the open-source Mono runtime. These enhancements are incorporated into both the Mono project and Mainsoft’s Visual MainWin for J2EE.

Mainsoft’s announcement offers includes ASP.NET for Linux capabilities for Visual Studio developers. In addition, .NET developers will be able to contribute to Mono’s open-source development project using Visual Studio software.

About the Author

Linda Briggs is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She can be reached at lbriggs@lindabriggs.com.

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