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Mono 1.2 brings enhanced .NET features to Linux
Nov. 09, 2006

The first fruits of Microsoft's and Novell's new-found collaboration were on display Nov. 9 in Barcelona Spain, where at a Microsoft TechEd Developers Conference & Expo, Novell introduced Mono 1.2.

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Mono 1.2 enables Linux and Unix users to use Microsoft .NET code and applications. This new version, which brings performance improvements and support for Windows Forms, is seen as an important milestone toward compatibility with the .NET Framework 2.0. Other enhancements in the latest release include virtual machine upgrades, enhanced Java support, better memory consumption, stability improvements, and support for more .NET 2.0 features.

With full Mono support for the Windows Forms API (application programming interface), the GUI (graphical user interface) portion of the Microsoft .NET development framework, developers can now bring their existing Microsoft-based client applications to Linux while significantly minimizing the time and effort required to migrate these applications.

Earlier, less complete support of Windows Forms has already lead to the release of several well-received Mono-based desktop Linux applications, such as the Banshee music player, F-spot photo management tool, and the Beagle desktop search tool.

Miguel de Icaza, VP of developer platforms at Novell and maintainer of the Mono Project, explained, "With this release, we've solved an important issue by making it easier to translate the Microsoft user interfaces to Linux, an important contribution in increasing the number of client-side Linux applications. Now feature complete, Mono has matured to the point that we believe the migration from ASP.NET and Windows Forms to Linux is easier than ever before and gives developers access to all the added benefits of Linux."

Software vendors, such as Versora, which specialize in Windows and Linux interoperability, agree. "Mono is really attractive for Windows developers because they can carry over their existing skills to Linux," said Versora CTO Jon Walker. "The feature and performance enhancements in version 1.2 will only bolster Mono's reputation as a mature, viable solution for Windows to Linux migration."

De Icaza, who approved of the controversial Microsoft-Novell deal, recently said on his blog that "I had been calling for a long time for collaboration between Microsoft and Open Source and Microsoft and Novell."

This was not, as some have suggested, because of any infringement of Mono of Microsoft patents, according to de Icaza. "I do not know of any patents which Mono infringes," de Icaza said. Further, while it's now possible to place code covered by Microsoft patents into Mono, "we will not integrate such code, as Mono is a community project," he added.

Developers can download the latest Mono framework from the Mono download site.

-- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

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