Mono 2.0 Takes Flight
Mono version 2.0 is released, featuring an improved C# compiler and extended support for LINQ.
The Mono Project -- the open source effort sponsored by Novell to develop a platform that allows applications written for Microsoft's .NET Framework to run on Linux, Macintosh and Unix environments -- earlier this month released the second version of its namesake tool suite.
Mono version 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's vice president of developer platforms.
"Mono 2.0 is .NET 3.5 minus the three big stacks that were introduced with .NET 3.0," de Icaza says. "So think of it as .NET 3.5, minus Windows Presentation Foundation [WPF], minus Windows Workflow Foundation [WF] and minus Windows Communication Foundation [WCF]. Work on WCF is happening."
"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, minus Windows Workflow Foundation and minus Windows Communication Foundation."
Miguel de Icaza, Mono Project Lead and Vice President of Developer Platforms, Novell
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 says.
"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," says de Icaza.
Mono could help Microsoft capture dev shops that might otherwise avoid the Redmond stack entirely, says Peter O'Kelly, principal analyst for O'Kelly Consulting. "I think the killer sweet spot for Mono is 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 explains.
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, he adds. "They're doing it because they're being pragmatic about market realities," O'Kelly says. "It's 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 native .NET-to-Mono migrations. De Icaza says 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 says, 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."
According to Novell, about 2,000 .NET applications are Mono 2.0-compatible without requiring changes to existing code.
Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.