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Mono Beta for 1.2 Released...

And more from the Mono archives

Mono has released version 1.1.13.5 and 1.1.14. Version 1.1.13.5 is actually the first release since 1.1.13, even though there were four internal releases in between. The purpose of this release is to document the changes in those releases; there are no new features in this release, just bug fixes in all areas of the project. One reason for multiple releases was to keep testers current during the run-up to the major 1.2 release. Release notes are at http://go-mono.com/archive/1.1.13.5.

The 1.1.14 release is considered the first beta for the upcoming 1.2 release. This will be Mono's third major release, the first two being the 1.0 and 1.1 releases. The biggest visible addition in this release is full support for the Mac-on-Intel. Another big advance that isn't visible is the new version of the Boehm garbage collector that Mono uses. The garbage collector currently doesn't support compacting or moving, which can cause memory problems on long running programs. The new version of the garbage collector includes a lot of internal changes in preparation for a future version, which will do moving and compacting.

Included in this release are System.Transaction, better support for the Boo and IronPython languages, improvements in libgdiplus, and more optimizations in the JIT compiler.

Separately, IronPython is rapidly releasing betas for testers and getting ready to release version 1.0; see the IronPython homepage at www.gotdotnet.com/workspaces/workspace.aspx?id=ad7acff7-ab1e-4bcb-99c0-57ac5a3a9742 for details.

Great Moments in Mono
This month I'll finish my take on the six most important events in the history of the Mono project and the next big milestones.

Mono Launches a New Version of SWF
Switching from the old WINE-based SWF to the new managed SWF was a big move for Mono. On one hand, it prevents deep compatibility with the real SWF, because only a minimum set of WinProc messages can be hooked from SWF controls, and standard Windows Pinvokes that could have been made won't work with the managed SWF. On the other hand, removing the WINE dependency freed Mono from changes that the WINE project was going through, and let SWF be ported to non-Intel architectures (including Mac), which would have been far more difficult with a WINE-based implementation. I think that as more applications and SWF controls become fully managed, this decision will look better and better.

Mono Keeps Up With .NET Version 2
In the early days of Mono, a common question was whether Mono could keep up with changes in Microsoft's .NET specification. The fact that the Mono C# compiler and .NET runtime were compatible with .NET 2.0 within days of its release pretty much answered this question; but there are still questions about some of the newer technologies such as Microsoft's Avalon and WinFX, but the Open Source community is working on them. The class libraries are a mixed bag. Depending on the difficulty of implementing the library, some have long been 2.0-compliant, while others still struggle to be 1.0/1.1-compliant. Once a library is written, it's easier to keep up with changes in new versions, so this should improve over time.

Commercial Use of Mono
Early in Mono's development, a number of small companies used it to move their .NET applications to Linux and Mac. This did several things for the Mono project: it gave it credibility and it provided a lot of real-life test code that pushed improvements in several parts of Mono, especially its Web Services and remoting technologies. Several companies also paid developers to help with critical parts of Mono. SourceGear and Winfessor are two companies that bet on Mono during the early days.

Not a big a milestone, but Mono has now been incorporated into Fedora Core 5. Until now, Mono has been never been included in any Red Hat-related product, and it still won't be included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), the official Red Hat release.

What the Future Holds for Mono
The biggest headlines in Mono's future are likely to be the completion of SWF, followed by the release of Mono 1.2. These are tied together and should happen in the next few months. Completing the .NET 2.0 libraries, and the release of a Visual Basic.NET complier are the other big milestones down the road. Currently there are no dates forecast for finishing VB.NET or the 2.0 libraries.

Odds and Ends
MonoDevelop, an IDE for Linux, has released version 0.10. This is a big release with a lot of features, including a GUI designer for GTK#, one of the most popular graphics tool kits on Linux. The full release notes can be found at www.monodevelop.org/Release_notes_for_MonoDevelop_0.10.

More Stories By Dennis Hayes

Dennis Hayes is a programmer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta Georgia where he writes software for the Adult Cognition Lab in the Psychology Department. He has been involved with the Mono project for over six years, and has been writing the Monkey Business column for over five years.

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