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InfoQ Homepage News Miguel de Icaza’s Keynote at Monospace

Miguel de Icaza’s Keynote at Monospace

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Michael Cote, aka RedMonk, has provided an audio recording of Miguel de Icaza’s keynote at Monospace. Miguel talked about Mono’s history, some plans for the future, Silverlight, and he gave a demo of building a Linux appliance.

Mono's team’s motto has been “Never ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. That’s how we’ve done a lot of the things in the Mono world.” Miguel thinks that Silverlight should follow Adobe’s lead and he hinted that Moonlight might be ported to other platforms:

Moonlight which is a Silverlight implementation for Linux, for now. … I think we can work with Microsoft to help them see the light with Silverlight because, you know, I think they should work towards what Adobe Flex is doing. So we will push them gentle in that direction by competing.

Miguel mentioned MonoTouch which is Mono for the iPhone and they intend to create a Mono for Android. On the same tone, a Brazilian developer has adapted an abandoned XNA project called Mono XNA and another project called Silverlight XNA intended for creating XNA games for Silverlight, and he created XNATouch, a framework for developing games for MonoTouch/iPhone.

MonoDevelop no longer has a GPL license but an LGPL one which means “commercial plug-ins can be developed for MonoDevelop.”

Regarding ASP.NET MVC, being open source, “it runs in our ASP implementation” without writing a single line of code, according to Miguel. He also mentions other Microsoft open source projects, AJAX library, DLR, and “without those things Mono would probably be a few years behind.” Without the ECMA specification “there would be no Mono.”

Miguel tells the story of how he and some friends started Mono. They wanted the productivity .NET was bringing to Windows to have available on Linux. So they started a simple project which was supposed to be done in 6 months, and a JIT compiler was done, but it took two and a half years to complete stage 1. And he also explains how they ended up with MonoDevelop, which was initially supposed to be an editor and turned out to be an IDE. Mono “has blown out of proportions” being a 380 MB framework, but it can be shrunken down at 2 MB if someone wants a basic compiler and a garbage collector. At that time, Miguel appreciated the .NET Framework and wanted it to be available on what he thinks is the best operating system, Linux, but he considers the effort too great having only 35 people on staff at Novell and between 30 and 70 people contributing from outside.

On the future developments, Miguel said that next year

Mono 3.0 will have C# 5.0 [this sounds like a joke]. That means we’ll have Microsoft C# 4 plus embeddable C# that they still don’t have and the core .NET 4 API which we already have some of those right now, but at this point we don’t have plans for WPF, so forget about WPF, WWF, and we will only have a partial WCF. Other than that, you’ll probably have everything they have in .NET. Just don’t use those broken API’s and you’ll be fine.

Miguel believes that Silverlight has a brighter future than WPF because it runs on Mac, on Linux, and on Windows. Also, he considers that Silverlight is easier to learn that WPF. He does not like the fact that Silverlight is limited to a sandbox that runs in a browser. The out-of-the-browser experience still limits Silverlight to a sandbox having a limited set of possible interactions with the OS. Moonlight will bypass this limitation by offering access to the entire .NET 4 API.

The Mono team is not going to be involved with WPF anything soon because they do not have “the bandwidth and the resources.” The solution is the use Silverlight with .NET 4 API.

Miguel also demoed the building of a Linux appliance, a topic covered by InfoQ in Generating Linux Appliances from Visual Studio.

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