Mono 2.0 Takes Flight

Mono version 2.0, an open source effort to implement the Microsoft .NET development framework for Unix, Linux and other platforms, was formally released Monday.

Mono 2.0 brings the project into broad equivalence with the APIs and feature sets presented by .NET Framework 3.5, according to Miguel de Icaza, Mono Project lead and Novell vice president of developer platforms.

"Mono 2.0 is .NET 3.5 minus the three big stacks that were introduced with .NET 3.0. So think of it as .NET 3.5, minus Windows Presentation Foundation [WPF], minus Windows Workflow Foundation [WF] and minus Windows Communication Foundation [WCF]," de Icaza said, adding: "Work on WCF is happening."

Among the key enhancements to Mono 2.0 is an improved C# compiler and support for Windows Forms-based development, which had been missing in the previous version. Mono 2.0 also extends support for Language Integrated Query (LINQ), adding LINQ to XML and LINQ to databases. The new version also boasts significant performance improvements, de Icaza said.

"We pretty much are able to deliver the same performance that people expect from .NET, but we deliver for Unix and for Linux and other operating systems," de Icaza said.

Industry watcher Peter O'Kelly, principal analyst for O'Kelly Consulting, said Mono could help Microsoft capture dev shops that might otherwise avoid the Redmond stack entirely.

"I think the killer sweet spot for Mono is for people who want to be able to do ASP.NET applications and want to be able to run them on servers other than Windows Server," O'Kelly explained.

He added that Microsoft, which has offered both technical support and patent assurances to the Mono project since last year, has a vested interest in seeing the effort succeed. "They are doing it because they are being pragmatic about market realities," O'Kelly said. "It is useful to have Mono to bring others to the ASP.NET platform that would otherwise not do it."

Also released is the Mono Migration Analyzer (MoMA), which lets developers assess their code for performing .NET-to-Linux migrations. de Icaza said the Mono Project has received five or six thousand MoMA reports.

"About 45 percent of applications that people reported to us will run out of the box with no changes," de Icaza said, while another 17 percent require minor tweaks to run properly. "There are 5 percent to 7 percent of applications that in my opinion you might as well rewrite."

About the Author

Michael Desmond is the founding editor of Redmond Developer News. Contact him at [email protected].