Looks like developers of the Mono Project have proved the naysayers wrong.
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"Mono was one of those projects where people were saying you'll never be able to do it, the technology challenges are too great and you're going to fail," said Mono senior product manager Erik Dasque this morning, a day after Novell released Mono 1.0. "Yesterday, we got a lot of comments saying, 'Wow, I seriously doubted you'd deliver a solid [version] 1.0.'"
Mono is an open source development platform based on Microsoft's .NET framework. Developers can now use Mono to build Linux and other cross-platform applications.
"We heard from a lot of people yesterday who downloaded Mono and built a C# application in less than a minute," Dasque said. "It was really an emotional day yesterday. It was a long project, and we built a great community around it of around 150 developers that puts it on a par with Apache, JBoss and other important open source projects."
Mono features a C# compiler, a .NET-compatible runtime, and two APIs: a Mono stack for Linux servers and desktops and a .NET Framework 1.1 API that supports ASP.NET, ADO.NET and other components for building rich client, Web services and client applications.
Beta versions of Mono were available in May and lead developer Miguel de Icaza said at the time he hoped the community would download a beta, tinker with it and report bugs and other feedback.
Dasque said this morning several serious bugs were repaired and packaging changes were made in anticipation of Mono 1.0.
"These were serious bug reports that we could only get if 15,000 people were looking for it," Dasque said, praising the open source nature of Mono. "It was extremely helpful."
Novell, meanwhile, is eating its own dog food, so to speak. The vendor, which last year acquired Ximian, co-founded by de Icaza, is using Mono to develop its next-generation file-sharing software iFolder and ZENworks management software.
Mono supports several programming languages -- VisualBasic, Python, JScript and Java-- making it amiable for enterprise developers.
"When you're doing IT development, you're used to tools that deliver great productivity, standardization, plenty of documentation and resources from the Web," Dasque said. "The tools available for Linux [prior to Mono], you could not use if you were an IT organization."
Mono, Dasque said, eliminates the mixing and matching of platforms. Linux developers would seek out Perl or Python libraries, for example, but those libraries were often abandoned or unsupported leaving developers on their own. The Mono Project, meanwhile, based its .NET implementation on the ECMA International 3.4.4 and 3.4.5 international standards in order to avoid being subject to changes implemented on Microsoft's timetable.
"Mono can be used immediately by developers. They know C#. With that API, they can take their skills on Mono and develop applications on Linux within a day," Dasque said. "That's what we're shooting for."