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A Bare-Bones Linux+Mono+GUI Distro?

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the essentials-only dept.

Programming 158

nimble99 writes "I am a computer software engineer, focused mainly on the Windows platform — but most of my development time is spent in .NET. I would like to move my .NET development to Linux in the form of Mono, in an attempt at building a media-center type of device. All I require, is a base operating system with simple hardware support, Mono, and a window manager that (preferably) does nothing but act as a host for mono applications. Is this available? I dont know a lot about Linux, so I thought I would ask if there is already something like this available. Obviously a 'Mono Operating System' would be the cleanest solution, but a similar thing could be achieved with the barest minimum of Linux distros right?"

cancel ×

158 comments

Don't. (0, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556605)

If you want to use Linux, don't plan to develop for it in a Windows-bound way, and don't expect Linux developers to support Windows infrastructure on their system.

Mono is Miguel's pet project, and no one outside Novell and Microsoft cares about it.

Re:Don't. (3, Informative)

jsrlepage (696948) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556651)

Did he ask you your opinion on the .net Framework/Stack? I am pretty much against Microsoft as much as anyone, but given the fact that their .net is pretty-much-fkinly-successful, maybe Mono can get some .net programmers to cross the bridge.

Also, Mono TECHNICALLY isn't a Windows infrastructure. It's heavily based on a Microsoft-created execution and "vm" stack (vm not so much, but i disgress), but it's a reimplementation of .net. Therefore, it is NOT a microsoft product. It's more akin to Wine than Windows.

Re:Don't. (1, Flamebait)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557435)

I think GP's comment is quite valid. His comment was on the popularity of the framework on the Linux side of the fence, which is pretty much true. Outside of Suse, I'm not sure there's a lot of traction for Mono.

Re:Don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557721)

Outside of Suse, I'm not sure there's a lot of traction for Mono.

The SanDisk Sansa Connect players run Mono on Linux.

Re:Don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557989)

Wow. One product. Whoo!

Re:Don't. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23558145)

You ideologically blinkered zealots still hold yourselves superior to every other life form on the planet even though this is the best sort of argument you can muster up. If this is what it means to be a geek, I'm burning my card now.

Just use MythTV. (1, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557807)

The question was how to build a media PC with mono. The answer is you can't and that the purpose is better filled with MythTV, a mature project, than it is trying to rewrite it in .NET. Vista's DRM makes media a headache [slashdot.org] . There is no way M$ will share enough information, keys or patents for Mono to work even that well. Just skip the whole mess and learn to modify the thing that works and does not listen to the broadcast flag.

Re:Just use MythTV. (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558125)

Myth is a bit of a nightmare though, and personally I don't think the media player side of it is that great.

If you don't need PVR then I can heartily recommend XBMC, it's awesome.

http://xbmc.org/ [xbmc.org]

Re:Just use MythTV. (1)

willyhill (965620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558483)

The answer is you can't

Why?

the purpose is better filled with MythTV

I would agree if it wasn't for the fact that you yourself have said in the past it's a nightmare to get running correctly.

Vista's DRM makes media a headache

Agenda much?

no way M$ will share enough information

Ah, the "M$ will kill Mono" meme. I'm not sure what good it would do if I even try to address that. People who are smarter [tirania.org] than me have tried and gotten nothing but ridicule and abuse from people like you.

How to advocate free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559085)

twitter [slashdot.org] , please read this carefully. Following this advice will make Slashdot a better place for everyone, including yourself.

  • As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your Chief Executive Officer. Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has of the Linux community.
  • Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
  • A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their respect for your knowledge and abilities.
  • Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone, their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you do offend someone, please try to make amends.
  • Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.
  • Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  • Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using "creative spelling". If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel. Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project , MIT, Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would not be very useful to most people.
  • Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  • There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

From http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/Advocacy [ibiblio.org]

Mod parent down (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559251)

MythTV? Yeah, that should be easy to set up.

Unless you're recommending it as a packaged solution already installed on the box, I'd recommend you STOP pushing MythTV. It's bloody impossible for 99% of people to install and configure correctly.

That and the fancy "M$" thing pretty much tell me you're just peddling it because of extremism - not functionality, convenience or reality.

Wait until things actually work (and I mean end to end) before you go advocating their use. You'll be much more helpful to FOSS that way. Joe Public is not going to be happy when he tries your solution, and in the end he's just going to to a commercial product anyway. He doesn't care about freedom, Linux, apple pie or your hatred of "M$". He just wants to record TV shows.

Re:Don't. (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558409)

Actually it goes further then this:

Mono's .NET API implementations (WinForms etc) are to .NET what WINE is to Windows. (I.e. great for easy porting, but destined never to be perfect). Though WinForms is a much simpler and better documented API then the Win32 beast.

However Mono's VM is more comparable to x86. It is a published standard and Intel's initial development of it doesn't give them much intrinsic advantage over AMD. (And hopefully Mono's OSS nature will prove equivalent to Intel's fabrication advantage).

Mono's compilers can also be directly compared to GCC v Intel's compiler. No one would write off either, just because Intel also designed the architecture.

Then you come to Mono's own libraries GTK#, Tao, Gecko#.

See http://blog.secondlife.com/2005/08/01/second-life-in-mono/ [secondlife.com] for a clear example of Mono as the best tool for the job.

The following contains sarcasm: (5, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556671)

Thank you for answering the question. A truly informative, well thought out, and highly insightful post. I'm sure with your great advice the asker will make great strides in his project. And following along your high standards more technical solutions and products will be introduced to the market.

Thank you,

-Rick

Re:Don't. (4, Interesting)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556743)

I'm a Windows developer who uses Linux at home.

As a user, I am philosophically opposed to Mono as an unwanted Windows fingerprint on my completely FOSS system (except for my nVidia drivers; alas, I am not perfect).

As a developer, I am so completely convinced of the superiority of the .NET model and the C# language (Anders Hejlsberg has been my hero ever since he developed Delphi during his Borland years) that I cannot help but prefer its usage, even in a Linux environment.

I'm thinking about developing a split personality to deal with this paradox.

Re:Don't. (5, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556817)

Bah. The yardstick is not 'has nothing to do with Microsoft Windows' but rather 'gives you and others freedom to use, share and change the software'. If you just wanted to eliminate Microsoft you could buy a Mac and not buy Office for it. Mono is completely free and open source software. Yes, it is a clone of a proprietary system, just as GNU started out as a clone of proprietary Unix.

Re:Don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559637)

Yeah, but that's UNIX. UNIX is cool. Microsoft is uncool. Microsoft has never had anything to do with UNI--wait, they *what*? Crap.

Re:Don't. (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556849)

I'm thinking about developing a split personality to deal with this paradox.

Both of you let us know how that's working for you!

foss schmoss, mono sux (-1, Flamebait)

poptones (653660) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557045)

I'm opposed to the use of mono because, so far, everything I've seen that uses it sucks utterly. Banshee comes closest to being cool but it doesn't work any better than the better supported rhythmbox. And f-spot... jeezus, what a lethargic clusterfuck of unusability - it's like it was designed by high school boys in their extra lab time.

Re:foss schmoss, mono sux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23558097)

Preach it, brother! I don't know how long it took me to figure out how to import (you have to *select* the thing that's *already* selected in the menu!), and then... there's no fucking UNDO button! Whoever is behind F-Spot should take up gardening instead.

Re:Don't. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557297)

I didn't realise that the guy who did Delphi had anything to do with C#. I quite like Delphi and use it for any Windows GUIs I make. I still don't really want to start using MS' proprietary anything, even if it was designed by a genius, but thanks for the info.. if MS can clean up their act with Windows 7 then I may be able to put up with them for another while, and may even look into .NET (if Delphi doesn't already use it by default).

Re:Don't. (1)

renoX (11677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557447)

>I am so completely convinced of the superiority of the .NET model and the C# language

Your sentence is missing something: the superiority of C# *compared to what*??
Or you believe that C# is the best language currently?

I agree that C# is superior to C++ for ease of development (but not for speed and memory usage),
but I don't find it superior to Scala.
A small intro to Scala: http://www.artima.com/scalazine/articles/steps.html [artima.com]

Re:Don't. (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558113)

.NET is nice. But it doesn't seem such a massive improvement as some people make it seem. I use .NET a lot, and I have touched Java and I am familiar with C++. I don't see much that .NET exclusively offers. My favourite language is still Python however. And I may be letting my perception of Microsoft and the destruction of Delphi cloud my judgment. .NET is nice on Windows, definitely. But on Linux, there are so many more alternatives.

Re:Don't. (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561379)

My favourite language is still Python however.
Python + DLR = scary.

Re:Don't. (3, Interesting)

mounthood (993037) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558161)

Check out Vala [gnome.org] : C# like syntax, no runtime, FOSS.

I think... (1)

TaleSpinner (96034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558471)

> I'm thinking about developing a split personality to deal with this paradox.

I think both of you already have. =)

Re:Don't. (4, Informative)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558515)

As a developer, I am so completely convinced of the superiority of the .NET model and the C# language (Anders Hejlsberg has been my hero ever since he developed Delphi during his Borland years) that I cannot help but prefer its usage, even in a Linux environment.
If .net took away your free will it doesn't sound like you had much of it to begin with.

After reading the interviews on artima.com with Anders it's pretty clear that he's mostly a blowhard -- like Beck, all style and no substance. Take this [artima.com] for example:

Bill Venners: ... you said: "We can observe that as people write code in Java, they forget to mark their methods final. Therefore, those methods are virtual. Because they're virtual, they don't perform as well." ... Another thing that happens in the adaptive optimizing JVMs is they'll inline virtual method invocations, because a lot of times only one or two implementations are actually being used.

Anders Hejlsberg: They can never inline a virtual method invocation.

Bill Venners: My understanding is that these JVM's first check if the type of the object on which a virtual method call is about to be made is the same as the one or two they expect, and if so, they can just plow on ahead through the inlined code.

Anders Hejlsberg: Oh, yes. You can optimize for the case you saw last time and check whether it is the same as the last one, and then you just jump straight there. ...

Not only is Anders being handed his hat by the interviewer, but he doesn't even realize that for almost ten years all Java methods have been effectively final until overridden, doing exactly that which he says is impossible. There is no 'same as last time' check since it is compiled as if there was one function. There is no 'jump straight there' when the method is inlined, and no performance lost from virtual methods that are not overridden. In contrast, .NET could not even inline more than one method deep, or methods with over 32 bytecodes, or methods with any flow control whereas Java was inlining virtual methods as much as 5 calls deep.

None these guys on the core C# team were anywhere close to the same level as say Joy or Bracha, and it shows. Yeah, if you're coming from Win32 and MFC then C#/.net seems pretty awesome, but it's not. They made a lot of really bad design decisions that make it really suck compared to what it could be and what they ripped it off from. So it kind of depresses me a little bit when people gush quixotic about how great .NET is and how awesome the designers are -- it isn't, and they aren't.

Re:Don't. (3, Informative)

AppleOSuX (1080499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559565)

Wow, you took a miscommunication about a very complex technical feature and turned it into "getting his hat handed to him"?

Furthermore, Anders is actually correcting the interviewer because the JVM isn't "inlining virtual method invocations", it's optimizing them.

Re:Don't. (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559889)

They made a lot of really bad design decisions that make it really suck compared to what it could be and what they ripped it off from.
Could you give some examples?

Re:Don't. (4, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561373)

For inlining a function to mean anything, it cannot be virtual. An inlined function is in essence a macro.

And Anders is more accurate than Bill. What Bill says translates to: you can turn a virtual function into an inline function with a if ( this_class__is_not_X_or_Y ) jump_to_virtual_function_table type structure. What Andres says translates to: Sure, in that case. But it's an optimization.

I see that you get the best of both worlds in that situation, but Andres is right in his unequivical "You cannot inline a virtual function." Because you cannot. You can inline exactly one version of a virtual function with an if at the top, or more if you use a bunch of ifs/a switch. But the latter removes the benefits of inlining. So, a clever compiler can have a sometimes inlined response.

And the begining of your critique is just as poor. He said that it was impossible to inline a virtual function. Stating that most functions are not virtual attacks the fact, not the logic. He said "this [disproved emperical condition] results in poor performance because of [insert logical rule] makes it impossible." Disproving the emperical condition does not disprove the logical rule.

Re:Don't. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559663)

As yet another irrational FOSS zealot, I am philosophically opposed to Mono as an unwanted Windows fingerprint on my completely FOSS system (except for my nVidia drivers; alas, I am not perfect).
Fixed that for you. It's your machine, so obviously it's your right to run it how you want, but it also sort of marks you as a zealot who shouldn't be counted on for rational discussion of these matters.

Re:Don't. (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560937)

Except for the part where I said a Microsoft language was the most superior available? That's too zealously anti-Microsoft for you to include me in a "rational discussion of these matters?" Holy crap, the fanboys have gone off the deep end.

Re:Don't. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561353)

I didn't say your zealotry was anti-Microsoft. You are striving to have only FOSS software on your system, and implied that you refuse to use closed software even if it's useful to you (unless no other option is available). That's the zealotry to which I refer, and it is quite irrational (picking software on any basis more than whether it meets your needs is nothing short of idiotic, in my opinion). Thus, it calls into question your ability to discuss other things rationally, because people aren't usually irrational on just one issue.

Re:Don't. (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561473)

You are striving to have only FOSS software on your system
Yep.

and implied that you refuse to use closed software even if it's useful to you (unless no other option is available)
Except I explicitly stated otherwise.

Re:Don't. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560293)

There is no "windows fingerprint". .Net is free to implement, the fact that microsoft originally wrote the spec should mean fucking nothing.

Linux dorks run Samba, don't they? They have no problem with a FOSS rdp client. They have no problem with FAT filesystems on their thumb drives, or burning CD's with Joliet extensions. And hey, what would a linux desktop be without Microsofts font pack for the web?

So why the fuck would they get their philosophical panties in a bunch over mono?

Oh yeah, I forgot. It's because they aren't real geeks, let alone coders, and they don't know what the .Net framework even is. If they weren't so deeply involved in the FOSS vs MSFT movement, they'd be on gamefaqs posting about how superior the PS3 port of GTA4 is to the EVIL COPRORATE XBLOCKS 3-SHITTXTY OMG LOL THE CONTROLLAR IS BIG! If only they could open two browser windows on their fancy new OLPC.

One word: (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561055)

Patents.

And yes, they exist on elements of the ECMA-334 and ECMA-335 specifications.

Re:One word: (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561693)

They exist on all the other MS-originated technologies I listed, too.

It isn't about patents, copyright, copyleft, GNU, or any such concept.

It's simply everyday sycophants doing what they do best, feigning outrage for something they don't even understand. Someone on some stupid forum, maybe this one, set the trend that Mono is a bad thing(tm), and god fucking forbid anyone draw their own conclusions, because that would requiring some knowledge - expertise even - in the subject matter at hand, and frankly, that's a lot like work.

Re:Don't. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556927)

I wonder how many people moderated your first post troll and flamebait as a proxy for moderating the original question as a troll. It's pretty hard to view it as anything else, when there is no real justification for actually wanting Linux given.

Re:Don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557351)

I'm guessing no-one, because the GP is, in fact, a troll.

Re:Don't. (0, Offtopic)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558783)

Actually I am an embedded Linux software developer.

Re:Don't. (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557323)

I don't see how this is a flamebait. He's absolutely right. I use Linux for Linux development, and Windows for Windows development. The only exception is when I'm scripting in Python or something, then I can just check os.name or the like.

Re:Don't. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557699)

I don't see how this is a flamebait.
Astroturfing is real.

Mono != .NET (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557607)

If you want to use Linux, don't plan to develop for it in a Windows-bound way, and don't expect Linux developers to support Windows infrastructure on their system. Mono is Miguel's pet project, and no one outside Novell and Microsoft cares about it.

Mono has little to do with a "Windows infrastructure". Standard Mono installs on Linux contain the ECMA C# runtime and libraries, plus Gtk# and a lot of other FOSS libraries. .NET applications don't run on Mono out of the box.

If you want to run .NET apps, you need to install the .NET libraries for Mono. I can't think of any Mono desktop app on Linux that actually uses those.

Mono = .NET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557985)

Mono != .NET
"The Mono Project is an open development initiative sponsored by Novell to develop an open source, UNIX version of the Microsoft .NET development platform."
Doesn't matter how you spin this. Mono is .NET! Gotta love that Microsoft stuff in your GNU/Linux...

Re:Don't. (2, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559709)

Bull. I, for one, care. I like .net development a great deal, and watch the mono project with a great bit of interest, because if it succeeds it'll mean that I can, if necessary, develop cross-platform apps with my preferred toolbox. Or hell, even just develop apps for my own use, with the satisfaction of knowing that any interested Linux users will also be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

And I'd bet money that I'm far from alone in thinking this.

Re:Don't. (0, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559817)

That will never happen.

Not that lack of applications made by .net-only programmers would be a great loss on any platform.

Re:Don't. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560507)

That will never happen.
I'm inclined to agree, but that wasn't what you said. You said no one outside of Novell/Microsoft cares, and I was addressing that ludicrous claim.

Not that lack of applications made by .net-only programmers would be a great loss on any platform.
Nice... not only are you implying my programming skills suck (for no reason), but working under some false assumption that choice of language is in any way related to how much of a bad programmer you are! What a gem.

Re:Don't. (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561199)

I'm in the same boat with you. I'm a .Net dude for windows, but it's a huge gear shift to go to C++ or C again when I jump back to linux, so I'd like to have the 'same platform' (even if that requires quotation marks) on both OS's if I could as well.

Gentoo (4, Informative)

armanox (826486) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556607)

You could build a Gentoo install to satisfy this. With Gentoo you build the system to fit what you want out of it.

Re:Gentoo (1)

pm_rat_poison (1295589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557037)

Another similar choice would be Linux from Scratch. Choose whichever one you like. They can be quite a hassle to set up, but the reward is that you have a completely customized system, with complete control on what's installed.

Hmm.,..why (2, Funny)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556617)

I mean, it's like if an icecream maker would like to make icecream on an refrigerator inside an oven. Hell, I am a Windows developer, so I develop on Windows. But, hey, whatever move your train....

Monoppix? (4, Informative)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556637)

Monoppix perhaps? [monoppix.com]

I haven't tried it yet but the description sounds about right.

Re:Monoppix? (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556725)

That's an interesting link but it doesn't sound like the minimalist setup he wants.

Doing it himself seems like the best bet. Certainly if he's planning to develop a commercial product based on this, it's worth figuring out a custom distro that does exactly what he wants.

Re:Monoppix? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556987)

given that he's new to linux, he may consider that a year down the line but for now monoppix is his best bet

Re:Monoppix? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557527)

I understood his question differently than most of you did: I thought he was asking about a platform for the device he plans to build, not just a personal development platform.

If the latter is correct, I'd suggest whatever distro his friends or coworkers can best help get started with (Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, whatever) and not worry about Mono-specific wrinkles.

Re:Monoppix? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558087)

Well, I think you make a really good point.

When you are developing, you are a user. Which means you are a pain in the ass to somebody.

Once the box goes out the door, it means it's in the hands of users, who will be a pain in the ass to you.

The way to make money in tech is to find something that people will pay money for (duh), but the important point is that it doen't have to be much money, so long as they never ever call you for support. I know a guy who launched possibly as many as a dozen commercial software products, in every case addressing a real need somebody had. With one exception, each of those products staggered into oblivion under the burden of support costs.

Anyway, this guy's pet peeve are people who make more profit than he ever saw selling ring tones. Unfortunately, he hasn't learned his lesson: profit comes from low support costs. If your support costs are zero, then you've created the proverbial printing press for money.

The way this applies is that you want a distro that has as close to nothing in it consistent with being able to run your application. You do not want your customers calling becuase an update to Ubuntu has broken their box.

I'd probably roll my own distro. Certainly I'd be doing a custom kernel in any case, because every K of RAM or disk used to support something that isn't in my box comes out of my profit margins: bigger "disk", bigger memory, less room for growth. By the time you've stripped everything out you don't need, all the daemons, and utilities and drivers and whatnot, you're practically there anyway.

I'd probaly start with uCLinux -- it works for Cisco, after all, and runs on some pretty low end (cheap) hardware. Don't know how this interacts with the need for Mono or what his app does, but it makes sense to start with something that's already pretty small. Otherwise, if I were planning on deploying on x86 hardware I'd roll my own using Linux from Scratch and simulating the hardware in vmware.

Ubuntu Server Edition (4, Informative)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556681)

Ubuntu Server edition installs as just a command line without all the fluff. From there you could add Mono and any GUI of your choice.

Re:Ubuntu Server Edition (2, Informative)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556799)

Without all the fluff, how is it not just Debian?

Re:Ubuntu Server Edition (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556913)

It has all of Ubuntu updatedness in the kernal that might not be present in the general Debian release? I have no freakin' idea, actually. The majority of my linux experience is Ubuntu. I have a learner box that is just running Server edition on which I have installed and uninstalled different GUI's and been learning the command line.

I do know the server edition is tuned to give background tasks more priority.

Re:Ubuntu Server Edition (2, Informative)

croddy (659025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557579)

ubuntu's APT repositories are separate from debian's, and many packages are at different versions due to the way in which ubuntu is periodically synchronized with sid and then bugfixed by ubuntu people. ubuntu's metapackages also differ from those found in debian.

Re:Ubuntu Server Edition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557931)

many packages are at different versions due to the way in which ubuntu is periodically synchronized with sid and then bugfixed by ubuntu people.
Don't the ubuntu people feed fixes upstream? Why should the end result be different?

Re:Ubuntu Server Edition (1)

nhaines (622289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559747)

Because Ubuntu releases an update every six months and Debian stable (this is a server we're talking about) releases an update every two years.

Debian and Ubuntu maintain the same version of their packages as is released for each version, generally applying only bugfixes.

Re:Ubuntu Server Edition (2, Funny)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557965)

This one has screaming Linux fangirls and fanboys throwing their panties and bras on stage at your feet. And something about going to 11. Petrified.

Re:Ubuntu Server Edition (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558313)

Ubuntu iterates through stable versions much faster than Debian -- even the "long term support" versions come out faster than Debian Stable.

I run Sid myself, but you can't get your security updates separate from your "might break all your dependencies" functionality updates. For my single development box, that's fine, but when you've got multiple production deployments, that's really bad.

Debian or Ubuntu Minimal. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560807)

Just grab the Ubuntu Alternate install CD, or start from Debian. Same principle, but no real point in getting Ubuntu Server -- you probably want the generic kernel anyway, not the server kernel.

Debian (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556689)

Just install a basic net installation of Debian. You'll get nothing but a console. Apt-get the GUI of your choice. Apt-get Mono. You're done.

Damn Small Linux (2, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558039)

DSL is also a good choice for a set-top box - only 50MB of disk space required, and it is based on Debian so pretty much any application you want/need is already packaged and available in the repository.

That said, if you are going to be doing Mono development you will want a full desktop environment - for that any distro will work fine. I'd go with a full Debian install on your development machine so you have the same library versions/builds on both systems.

For the final media center PC, you don't actually need a window manager - you can run X11 applications without a WM, and if all you are doing is running a single fullscreen app that is often preferable. I used to do that when running quake on memory starved systems. Do a search for the xinitrc file to learn how to set that up.

OpenSuse Vmware Image. (4, Funny)

megalex (761610) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556737)

If you are on windows and have decent ram you can try the mono vmware image. It boots opensuse desktop and has mono and monodevelop ready to go. go here: http://www.go-mono.com/mono-downloads/download.html [go-mono.com] Click on the vmware image.

Re:OpenSuse Vmware Image. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557485)

Anyone care to explain why this is '+2 funny'? It seems a pretty useful idea for the initial development stages at least.

Re:OpenSuse Vmware Image. (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559257)

VMWare emulates a fixed (and $deity-awful) set of hardware, it's completely unusable for any development targeted at embedded platform.

Try SuSE (5, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556753)

Mono is developed by Novell, so if that's your main app it would make sense to use their Linux distribution, SuSE. Either as OpenSuSE (or whatever the capitalization is these days; cf NeXTStep) or SLES. It is not minimal but it includes the latest Mono stuff and you can probably pay for support if you want. Since there is some overlap between Mono developers and GNOME developers and some GNOME applications like Banshee, F-Spot and Tomboy are written in C#, it probably makes sense to use GNOME as your desktop environment.

That said, I'm quite happy with Fedora, Mono packages are included, and if you need something more recent than the last Fedora version you can easily compile it yourself.

Your job is to be a software developer, not a desktop-customization weenie. So forget about spending time on making or finding a 'minimal' environment. Any modern Linux distribution won't get in your way and will let you get on with porting your apps to Mono.

No you don't (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556775)

No you probably don't.
What about a web browser for research? An IRC client for asking questions?
Ubuntu is will do what you want. It may have a few extras you don't need so uninstall them.

rpm -e mono... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23556797)

The first thing I do after Fedora install.

Qt... (5, Informative)

ninevoltz (910404) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556801)

Use Qt4 and forget about MONO and .NET. You won't regret it.

Re:Qt... (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557459)

agreed.

Re:Qt... (2, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558129)

I like everything I've read about Qt4. But you can use Qt4 with .NET

Re:Qt... (2, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559325)

You can also bake cookies on a space station, however that would be neither an efficient way to bake cookies, nor a good use for a space station.

Re:Qt... (1)

vossman77 (300689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560813)

That is the greatest quote I've heard in a while. I'm putting it up in the cubicle.

Re:Qt... (2, Informative)

losinggeneration (797436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558373)

Or maybe they could check out Qyoto [qyoto.org]

Look at Debian Live (4, Interesting)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556861)

I've been playing around with Debian Live [debian.org] recently and the level of control you have over package selection and customization is impressive. It takes a little work to get used to the build system and how to customize your final image, but after you get through it once it is very simple.

You also have the ability to build images for CD-Rom's, usb sticks, netboot or hard drive images.

If you are not familiar with Linux, this route may be like jumping into the deep end. As others have mentioned, you may be better off using a canned distro like Monoppix [monoppix.com] while you do your development so you know exactly what you need in the end. Once you are comfortable and ready to move toward your final product, look towards Debian live.

Warning: The following contains stupid questions. (1)

mckinleyn (1288586) | more than 6 years ago | (#23556873)

There are an infinite number of solutions to this problem. Everything from Gentoo to Knoppix to Puppy Linux (for the love of God, avoid the last).

Do you:

( ) Intend to use it as a liveCD?
( ) Want disk tools in the installer to allow you to keep a windows partition?
( ) Want to avoid significant configuration?
          ( ) Have no Linux experience whatsoever?
( ) Want it to exist in a partition WITH Windows?

( ) Have better things to do than sift through the inevitable 2541 comments?

There are a dozen different distributions that would fulfill any of the possible permutations of the above requirements. Coupling that with giving you the smallest possible distro that's as full featured as you need, we could narrow it down to one (or two, or three, depending on the cooperation of the Linux geeks in question) solution(s).

I'd say, hold the mono. (0)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557001)

I know this does not answer you question per se, but I would recommend you take a look at solid alternatives to Mono for Linux.

Hold the Mono, Please [chronogears.com]

DSL + modification (1)

nicholasperez (249531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557179)

I had this exact requirement for building my point of sale device. My solution was to go with something like Damn Small Linux [damnsmalllinux.org] and modifying it. Basically, I altered it to be apt enabled yet again instead of using their package management and then pointed it at the debian repos. One apt-get install later and I had everything I needed to host a .NET GUI application. You could probably get away with a minimal debian install as well, but DSL and its brethren generally have good package selection for smallness.

Try windowmaker (1)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557197)

its the simplest and lightest windowmanager that I have seen. Ofcourse, tthere are probably other options. Generally, the packages are available for most distros but I would advise you to use gentoo since you can make it as lightweight as you want depending on your requirements, but gentoo requires you to know a thing or two already about linux.

OK, I'll bite... (2, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557199)

I don't know why, but this question sounds really, really weird to me: if you are doing .NET development, why move to Mono and Linux? Why not just stay under Windows, especially since you say (and I quote):

I dont know a lot about Linux, so I thought I would ask if there is already something like this available.

Anyway, here is my suggestion, but, as another poster has already pointed out, any Linux/GUI permutation would probably work just as well:

  1. Slackware [slackware.com] for trhe Linux distribution.
  2. Fluxbox [sourceforge.net] for the GUI.
  3. Then, you can use either the Gnome Slackbuild [gnomeslackbuild.org] or the Slackbuilds [slackbuilds.org] files to compile Mono on your Slackware machine.


Some people would argue that using Slackware for this is crazy, but (a) Slackware is a lean and mean developement platform, and a very lean Linux distribution and (b) it will teach you a lot of things about Linux, and UNIX in general.

I hope this helps!

Re:OK, I'll bite... (1)

incripshin (580256) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557689)

I tend to agree. I started with Slackware, and it taught me most everything I know. Wait a minute ... don't use Slackware. (Just kidding on that last part.) If you were more experienced, I would recommend Gentoo to roll your own distro, since it's easy to just install only what you need. Besides, the install process was pretty fun. Too bad I never had to reinstall it in the last three years (I know, right?). I remember trying to install a links+ package in Ubuntu without an internet connection and it was trying to pull in X =very annoying. I also hate the way that Ubuntu doesn't include a compiler in the default install. I don't understand how a unix-like distribution could come without a compiler in the default install. My opinion is that Ubuntu (probably also Suse and Fedora) is not meant for developers like myself, or you (poster of article) for that matter.

Re:OK, I'll bite... (1)

capebretonsux (758684) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558681)

As much as I love Slack, and for as long as I've used it, I would never recommend it to anyone I know... just imagine the questions! My God, there wouldn't be enough hours in the day. That being said, I love Slack and likely won't be using anything else in the near future. Mind you, I've always wanted to know how everything works 'under the hood', and that's ultimately what keeps me using Slackware. I've best heard it described as being 'as user-friendly as a coiled rattlesnake.' It does nearly nothing for you, and you're expected to go it alone for the most part. Personally I love it, but for a first-time linux user? Clear your schedule.

More on topic, why not a BSD box? FreeBSD is the only one I can recommend from personal usage, but I've read good reviews about PCBSD. Linux-wise, if you're a new user nowadays I'd wholeheartedly recommend Ubuntu. It didn't end up staying on any of my computers, but it was the most user-friendly linux distro I'd ever used.

Re:OK, I'll bite... (2, Interesting)

akadruid (606405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560909)

I don't know why, but this question sounds really, really weird to me: if you are doing .NET development, why move to Mono and Linux? Why not just stay under Windows, especially since you say (and I quote):

I dont know a lot about Linux, so I thought I would ask if there is already something like this available.
I can answer this, being in much the same postion.

Like a lot of Slashdotters, I get paid for coding, and so I use C# and .NET at work, but I love my Ubuntu setup at home. Mono lets me use a language I am comfortable in for pet projects.

Linux is perfect target environment for the kind of (ambitious) pet project he has in mind, it's far more suitable than Windows for repurposing older kit or scratch building, it has no cost or licensing hassles, drivers are built in, and everything is open.

Of course the same thing means Mono might well be a problem for Microsoft. While developers like us might get paid for running XP + VS 2008, it does't take us much extra coding to deploy to Linux and Mono, and, unlike desktops, the kit that does the databases, web services and ASP.NET hosting doesn't have bundled Windows licenses. In fact, Windows server is a 450 quid option on a 500 quid server. That kind of margin pays for quite a few hours testing.

Tell us more (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557281)

All I require, is a base operating system with simple hardware support, Mono, and a window manager that (preferably) does nothing but act as a host for mono applications. Is this available?

Is that exact arrangement pre-made? Probably not. Why don't you let us know what you're trying to accomplish so that we can steer you in the right direction?

I'm a KDE guy, but my first suggestion would be to install Ubuntu with the stock Gnome desktop. Just because you can run other applications doesn't mean that you have to.

Why not just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557401)

echo "All your base are now belong to Microsoft; sucker!" > /etc/issue
Same effect, none of the risk.

Many Choices (1)

manboy9 (891227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557471)

AFAIK, there is no such thing as a Linux-based "Mono OS". You'll probably need to modify an existing distro. Since you claim not to be a Linux expert, Ubuntu might be a good choice, but it's a bit of a heavyweight. You'd need to spend a lot of time disabling features to trim it down, which requires quite a bit of Linux knowledge, so it doesn't really help you avoid learning Linux. Same applies to Fedora, SuSE, etc. If you intend to develop on a platform that closely resembles your target platform, keep in mind that these are arguably "nicer" distros for daily use than the ones I'm about to suggest. Something like Gentoo gives you a lot of customizability, and works on lots of hardware (possibly a plus if you plan to put your media center on exotic hardware). Easier to use, but still lightweight, is Arch Linux, which would be my personal preference for a project such as this. It's very lightweight, and relatively easy to use. You still need to be comfortable with command-line, config files, man pages etc., but it's better than Gentoo or LFS. The only isssue I can see is that it's 686-optimized, so it might not fit your hardware.

DIY (1)

hlt32 (1177391) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557489)

#1 Download debian netinst or ubuntu server.

#2 Install distro.

#3 aptitude search mono

#4 sudo aptitude install etc.

#5 sudo aptitude install xorg fluxbox

#6 ???

#7 Profit.

yeah, it's called... (4, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557517)

"I am a computer software engineer, focused mainly on the Windows platform -- but most of my development time is spent in .NET. I would like to move my .NET development to Linux in the form of Mono, in an attempt at building a media-center type of device. All I require, is a base operating system with simple hardware support, Mono, and a window manager that (preferably) does nothing but act as a host for mono applications. Is this available?

Mono is not .NET. Mono is C# with a large number of bindings to FOSS, including Gtk+ and Gnome. So, that means you need a fairly complete complement of all the C libraries. If you want .NET on Linux, you need all of that, plus the .NET compatibility libraries; those are not usually installed. In addition to that, Linux needs its package management, installation, upgrade, system maintenance, indexing, and other tools. Those mean that you have to have a POSIX environment and a reasonable complement of C and C++ libraries.

So, basically, what you want is one of the basic Gnome or XFCE distributions, with the additional .NET compatibility packages installed. Ubuntu and Xubuntu are good choices.

Everybody occasionally dreams of getting rid of all the "old stuff" and just replacing it with something "modern" written entirely in the language-du-jour. But there are several reasons against that: (1) the old stuff works well enough, (2) it's not clear that you can do better, and (3) the old stuff has proven that it has staying power; C# may be gone in three years and you have to start from scratch.

I would also recommend against programming in .NET on Linux; use Gtk# and C# bindings of the Linux native libraries instead. Monodevelop should make it pretty easy to get started, and Gtk# is a reasonable and easy-to-learn toolkit.

Re:yeah, it's called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557795)

> the old stuff works well enough

Every time you read about a buffer overflow attack, you're seeing proof that the old stuff does in fact not work well enough. I consider "can't get pwn3d through normal use of the app" to be functionality, and when an app fails to implement such a feature, it's quite broken.

> C# may be gone in three years and you have to start from scratch.

The CLR is here to stay. You can use your stuff written in C# from any of dozens of different languages from VB to PowerShell to Python.

Re:yeah, it's called... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23557895)

C# with gtk#? Do you also ask your boyfriend to wear lipstick when he does you up the pooper so it doesn't feel gay?

Bare Linux (1)

treak007 (985345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23557697)

If you are looking for a barebones distro, try gentoo (gentoo.org). For a barebones window manager, perhaps try something like fluxbox or blackbox. Pretty much, gentoo will give you a base system and it will be up to you to set everything up.

Ubuntu / Debian ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559009)

You can build your dreambox this way with a Debian based system:
- install the "barebone" distribution => "server" or "cli"
- apt-get the most high-level stuff you need => all the dependencies will be installed

for example, just:
sudo aptitude install monodevelop

next you can fetch a pretty window manger / desktop environnement

Look at LFS (2, Informative)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559549)

It's not for the feint of heart, but you might look at using LFS to build such a minimal system. I don't really see the harm in using a "full" Linux machine for the development environment, and then using LFS to build the embedded image that you deploy to "real" devices. We do this where I work.

http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ [linuxfromscratch.org]

It'll get the job done. If your totally new to Linux, it might be a bit much, but the folks on the lists are quite helpful.

Kirby

warning: this is slashdot! (1)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559723)

As much as it makes sense to ask the question here, I'm afraid of the thunder of distro bashing this is going to start.
This is slashdot. We're not always rational, and we argue our tastes in linux distributions and other functionally equivalent software.

That said, someone suggested gentoo, and while as a gentoo user I applaud the suggestion, I cannot help but think that it is a little steep in the learning curve to fulfill these (relatively simple) goals. While I don't think anywhere else would like to have a distro bash party like slashdot only can, I don't know that the poster will find a decent answer...

Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560481)

Windows seems to satisfy this person's requirements:

* Very barebones - doesn't even come with an ssh client
* Good hardware support (usually)
* Should run all of .NET quite well
* Exceptionally simple window manager

It's not Linux, granted, but it's close enough and very simplistic.

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