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Mono and dotGnu: What's the Point?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the fighting-words dept.

Programming 493

joeykiller writes "The Register features an opinion by Neil Davidson, asking 'Mono and dotGnu: What's the point?' Some of the points he raises may seem irrelevant for open source supporters (like why make a C# compiler while Microsoft's is free anyway), but others are thought provoking and maybe a little bit controversial. You may not agree with his opinions, but it's an interesting read anyway."

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doh (-1, Offtopic)

McAddress (673660) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269542)

would you use a M$ product if you did not have to.

Re:doh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269819)

I see that shills from Microsoft are moderating Slashdot again. The above post is actually right on topic (but expects a bit much in the inference department).

tettitie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269544)

tettitie tettitie is the reason

Milk Rap (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269553)

Straight to your bones,
from the farm to your fridge.
We know what you want,
cuz we know how live.
We got the big bad Bessie,
with the M-I-L-K...
We be chillin'

More milk,
uh huh uh huh uh huh
I said more milk,
uh huh uh huh uh huh (ooh baby)

Free for who? (5, Interesting)

abrotman (323016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269559)

Last I knew, the .NET framework was only available for Win32 and FreeBSD. Has this changed recently? I dont really see a problem with Mono. If they can make it so that System.Forms works with GTK/Qt, that would be rather nice. I would imagine this would lead to tons of portable apps. Of course .. Maybe i dont understand .NET

Re:Free for who? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269597)

They are not working on winforms ..... with GTK (and Ximian working on QT ... God forbid !) ... they have a crude wrapper over Wine which lets them compile Mono as a windows app and run it via wine ... I'd rather not run such an unstable mix. Btw, DotGNU already runs winforms on win32/BSD/Linux/OS X which is kinda too cool ... and MDI too !

Re:Free for who? (5, Informative)

miguel (7116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269824)

You are incorrect.

We have turned Wine into a library, very much like Gtk+ is a toolkit on top of X, or Motif is a
toolkit on top of X, we have turned Wine into a toolkit on top of X.

The reason for doing so is that Windows.Forms is not a perfect API, it is modeled after the
Win32 API, and this Win32-ism is exposed at various points, for example every Control in
Windows.Forms can override the Wndproc method and handle Win32 messages itself to implement
some of the advanced features that are not possible with the simple binding provided.

Most GUI special effects are achieved in this way, and most third-party libraries that you can
download from the network will call into the Win32 layer, skipping the Windows.Forms API.

It is certainly possible to emulate a lot of this without using Wine, but you would just end up
replicating a lot of the work that has been done in Wine.

So instead, we chose to turn Wine into a library that we dynamically load whenever a
component needs to use Windows.Forms.

We made Wine work on multiple platforms (so you can run your Windows.Forms applications on
MacOS X for instance), and we also are integrating it with the Gnome desktop,
so things look and feel the same to end users.

You can learn more about the technical details here:

Re:Free for who? (5, Informative)

Utopia (149375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269713)

The implementation you are taking about - Rotor - is also ported to support Mac [] & Linux []

Re:Free for who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269718)

.NET is available on FreeBSD? Where?

Re:Free for who? (2, Informative)

abrotman (323016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269772) milyId=3A1C93FA-7462-47D0-8E56-8DD34C6292F0&displa ylang=en

i think thats it .. there was a story on slashdot a while ago about it i think

Re:Free for who? (4, Insightful)

Shillo (64681) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269840)

Mono is currently focused on properly wrapping Gtk and GNOME functionality (pure wrappers, without going through Forms). There are already a few apps that use this, and at least one is IMHO a potential killer app (namely Dashboard).

It goes without saying that both Gtk and Gtk# (Gtk wrapper for Mono) work on Windows, too. So you don't lose cross-platform angle, but this does show that Mono is *not* just a .NET knockoff.


Hello (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269565)

I just put some screenshots of these here [] . Enjoy.


Re:Hello (-1)

Hall and Oates (575706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269581)


Re:Hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269626)


Nice comeback dude.

I hope you get your site back online. Sorry about the .cx admin taking back your domain name.

BTW: You are my hero. Hero tag from Fark

Re:Hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269669)


Where you been. Nice btw. You gonna make a new site now?

Incase no one knew... the parent is from Goatse dude! Heh!

PS: Cool hardware.

Technical Director? (2, Insightful)

uberchicken (121048) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269566)

It reads like a troll. A software company directory who doesn't "get" why you need to
bootstrap a compiler.

Re:Technical Director? (3, Informative)

daBass (56811) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269698)

He understands why you need to do that, at least he says so. It's just that he doesn't see the point in the compiler in the first place.

As for me, I think it's a cute project, but it's only use I see is cross-platform GUI applications. (a good thing for Linux adoption by the masses) And Mono is way off for doing that.

Re:Technical Director? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269702)

Why a company director should have to know why you'd need to bootstrap a compiler is far beyond me.. I'd rather they were looking after the company rather than screwing around with compilers!!

One quibble: (5, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269573)

By the time Mono is anywhere near 90 percent of the current functionality of .NET, Microsoft will have released Whidbey, Yukon and probably Longhorn.

Right after we see the releases of Duke Nukem Forever and Doom III.

Re:One more quibble: (1)

Ryatt (604246) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269825)

...and a Simpsons movie.

Um... not free exactly... (4, Informative)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269574)

It's not really free if you are using Microsoft, because they anticipate that in order to use C# compiler, you will need other Microsoft products that cost money. They aren't a non-profit organization! That's a great reason to make YAC#C.

Re:Um... not free exactly... (5, Funny)

Vargasan (610063) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269664)

I thought it was supposed to be a GNU, not a YAK.

Free as in beer... yes (4, Informative)

MochaMan (30021) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269727)

You can download the Rotor source [] free and compile/run it on Windows XP, FreeBSD and Mac OS X. Or maybe you meant on Linux [] .

Theoretically you could write C# applications for those platforms just like you could write C, C++ etc. applications for them. I don't see how you would need any other Microsoft products to use their C# compiler, though obviously Microsoft currently produces the most comprehensive development environment for C#.

He obviously doesn't get it (4, Insightful)

Meat Blaster (578650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269578)

The points are avoiding vendor lock-in, remaining within a comfortable framework, and having the potential to extend things in your direction instead of Microsoft's.

Although their time might be better spent in designing a true alternative to Java and C# instead of a copy that allows you to write a GNU application that runs everywhere, it's hard to fault Mono for recognizing a market niche and running with it. For example, maybe they'll make C# work on Linux embedded devices where Microsoft wouldn't go?

Re:He obviously doesn't get it (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269662)

"For example, maybe they'll make C# work on Linux embedded devices where Microsoft wouldn't go?"

Good idea. Take something that is extremely bloated (.NET) that produces extremely bloated and slow programs (C#) and use them where you have no room for bloat (Embedded systems). Good idea, sir!

Re:He obviously doesn't get it (5, Informative)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269881)

Well, J2ME seems to be the alternative choice for embedded apps, so I don't really see why not. It's not like they are going to implement an RTOS kernel in it. The point of these kind of managed code is to provide a sandbox for 3rd party apps to run on embedded devices, so they don't mess things up, and to provide a cross platform environment so app developers don't need (in theory at least) to have separate products for every single device out there. Sure it's slow, but it's also safe.

Re:He obviously doesn't get it (4, Insightful)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269903)

And Java is a better choice for embedded systems? Obviously native code is best, but you can't deny using languages like Java or C# on embedded systems -- the demand is obviously there. And .NET is bloated and produces "extremely bloated and slow programs"? By all accounts I've read, between .NET and Java, .NET is the one with the performance advantage (and a significant one at that).

Re:He obviously doesn't get it (4, Insightful)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269775)

You don't get it :)
He understands all these points well. But he doesn't think it's a good thing because then everyone - even on Linux, even on embedded devices - will use .NET and whenever Microsoft feels like it (i.e. when Mono/dotGNU really have a market share) they can enfore their patents and - whooops, Mono/dotGnu have vanished.

Why not support Java then? (5, Insightful)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269880)

It's a more established framework and a lot more cross-platform.

You obviously don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269924)

"the potential to extend things in your direction instead of Microsoft's"

Well actually no. If that's the point of the whole exercise, why start with the .NET framework and C# as a start point?

The point of Mono et al is to get .NET onto Linux boxes for portability. Portability == compatibility. Compatibility != extending things in your direction!

Portability in Mono's case is following MS to the tee, enabling people to write platform-portable code, nothing less. Funnily enough, Java already has that ground covered, so unless Mono's core aim is running .NET code across platforms, the Mono project becomes a futile waste of time...

grrr. (2, Insightful)

iMMersE (226214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269586)

Someone should tell him that there are other processor architectures than just x86, processors that aren't supported by MS ...

Re:grrr. (3, Insightful)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269683)

And that's why you use Java instead of .Net.

Re:grrr. (2, Insightful)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269794)

But Java isn't available on all platforms either... which is why there are alternatives to Sun's Java. .NET is roughly equivalent to Java, but its promise is greater, IMO. C# is, in many ways, a better language than Java itself is, with many flexibilities Java still doesn't have. Of course.... some might not consider that "good", but that's the other great thing about .NET -- it's little more than a bytecode and an API. There are many languages that can compile into IL, allowing for greater flexibility.

I personally very much like .NET, but I also very much want it to be cross-platform like Java.

Re:grrr. (4, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269843)

C# is an ECMA standard. Sun has refused to bring java before a standards body.

I don't care, you might not care, but for FREE/Open Source zealots it matters.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269590)

5th post!

Mono and dotGNU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269603)

"...they have no practical use, and exist only with the patronage of Microsoft. "

Sure. Just like strong encryptions was tarriffed. That worked out so well.

To intimidate m$ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269607)

Look over here, we can do m$ stuff on linux and you can't do anything about it, hah! Okay, that might sound a bit childish, but who is going to use this stuff?

I've always thought the gnome people have been totally distracted by mono and neglected the linux desktop.

bright people doing what they like for free ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269610)

... doesnt always mean it makes sense from a resource point of view or from "the big picture". But that is the price with people giving up their own time.

I, myself, am happy to have the chance to sample some of this work for free. Who am I to judge since I'm not paying?

Sounds defeatist to me. (3, Interesting)

richardoz (529837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269622)

Neil wants to give up implementing .NET for MONO and dotGNU because neither project will have all the features. I think that it is likely that Novell or ?? may pick up the pace..

Re:Sounds defeatist to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269717)

Novell will pick up the pace once it has time to stabilize everything that it has purchased, develop a roadmap, and its customers ask for it.

If Novell offers C#, groupware, and single-signon via AD, I'll buy a server. And I'll buy it from IBM for putting the smack down on SCO. My wallet might be misplaced, but my loyalty isn't.

Re:Sounds defeatist to me. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269733)

There's a difference between defeatism and realism. There will NEVER be an open source .NET implementation that is on par with Microsoft's. The open source community can't even make a relatively simple desktop after 10+ years. That's freaking pathetic.

Not always about defeating MS (1)

senzafine (630873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269908)

There ARE reasons to develop projects on a non-microsoft platform...other than defeating microsoft's monopoly. An alternative to .NET doesn't have to be about that. It's about choices and flexibility. Mono may always (or not) be a few steps behind .NET .... but that by no means makes it useless. .NET and Mono will still have applications best suited for them. Cost, features, security, ect...all play a role and one or both of these technologies will be a good candidate for the job at hand.

First post about hummus! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269625)


Mmm-mmm good.

Nothin' wrong with *that*!

Re:First post about hummus! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269708)

Offtopic? Yes.

Insightful? Damned straight.

Hummus is truly ON TEH SPOKE!!!!1!

Let the mindless bashing begin (4, Insightful)

daviddisco (302106) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269641)

We know that Slashdot posts these kind of articles as bait for the meatheads who think that being against Micro$oft makes everything they say correct. Microsoft bashing is no substitute for thinking. Be free! Think, think!

Re:Let the mindless bashing begin (-1, Flamebait)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269784)

Be free! Think, think!

Ummmmmmmm, I think I'll bash Microsoft.


you do know.. (4, Interesting)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269642)

that C# and IL are an international standard (at least in ECMA's eyes) and MS has absolutely no control over the language right? Not just that there are several other compiler for C#, made by german firms i think.
FYI, basically it boils down to this:
.net = european standards camp
Java = american standards camp, though not fully done yet.

No, I didn't. Where did you find this out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269795)

And don't say /. without a link :)

Re:you do know.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269901)

C# isn't the point. It's just a language, and not even at the heart of things.

This article is about .NET/MONO/dotGNU - frameworks. Why is the parent "interesting?" instead of "Offtopic"?

Re:you do know.. (1)

meadowsp (54223) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269916)

It's not the language, it's the libraries that are important and which microsoft have got control of. At leat with java you've got the JCP [] which is more open about the future of Java than anything coming out of microsoft.

Motivations (5, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269653)

As a .NET developer, frankly, I don't care what the motivations of Mono develoers or dotGnu developers are. Maybe I should be, but I'm not. I'm building an open source project in .NET and I want Linux, BSD and Mac OS X support (the latter two, hopefully with the help of SSCLI), and frankly, whatever other platforms I can include.

I don't want to use Java. First of all, I've never used it to develop software. Second of all, every user interface I've ever seen done with Java stinks. Maybe I've been seeing bad examples, but the windows, buttons, and other contols of the Java apps I've seen have an old fashion look and feel to me and I don't care for it. My personal opinion, but for me, that counts for something.

.NET is a really nice development environment. As much as I don't care for Microsoft, I have to admit that since I adopted C# about a year and a half ago, my production has roughly tripled, maybe more. I've never had ANY technology have that kind of impact on my development before, unless it was the reverse (making me 3 times LESS productive).

So, whatever the motivation of Mono or dotGnu, I simply want to develop my cross-platform C# apps. That's MY motivation, and that's what matters to me.

Re:Motivations (3, Funny)

petabyte (238821) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269711)

I've never had ANY technology have that kind of impact on my development before, unless it was the reverse (making me 3 times LESS productive)

You're talking about slashdot right? :)

Re:Motivations (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269715)

There is a FreeBSD port IIRC ....
Here's the OS X Darwin Port [] .
Btw has a screenshot of Winforms running on OS X .

Re:Motivations (1)

stackdump (553408) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269778)

but the windows, buttons, and other contols of the Java apps I've seen have an old fashion look and feel to me and I don't care for it

"I think the buttons look old", well I guess you could use the same argument for your computer when the keyboard gets worn.

I don't get it?

Re:Motivations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269887)

And you could also use the same argument for not wearing a zootsuit.

He said it was a personal opinion - he's not claiming to be "right".

What don't you get?

The robots turn into buildings. What should they turn into? Something boring, like dinosaurs?

Re:Motivations (5, Informative)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269806)

Concerning Java GUIs: Take a look at SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit). You might be interested in it :-)

Re:Motivations (1)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269862)

Check out the shared source CLI [] .

One reply (4, Insightful)

miguel (7116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269654)

We read with interest the piece from Neil on the purpose of Mono, and
I wanted to clarify a few things, because Mr Neil does not seem to
have looked at the Mono Roadmap, nor tried a recent release, since
code signing (authenticode and strongnames is implemented, remoting is
completed (soap, binary, http, tcp transports) and most of the
side-by-side assemblies work is done, and will be part of 1.0).

The Mono Roadmap ( contains the
release time frames for the various features of Mono and will help him
and other readers understand what exact plans are: no speculation, and
no half-cooked facts.

I am surprised by the motivation to do so little research on our
project given that Mr Neil is the technical director of a company that
sells .NET software; You would think that the use of Mono would help
him reach customers using Linux, using mainframes or MacOS X.

Mono is based on the ECMA 334 and 355 standards. We like the C#
language and its runtime (as does Mr Neil's company) because it
increases our developer productivity, reduces the time to market of
our new products, this despite the fact that we do not implement Code
Access Security, which will only be used in embedded situations, a
segment that we are not ready to address in Mono 1.0.

We want to improve the productivity of developers in Linux, mainframe
and OS X developers by brining this unique platform to other
platforms. Just like Borland, SGI, Sun and IBM provide compilers,
runtimes and tools for other languages, we provide such a piece for

Mr Neil does not seem to understand why bootstrapping a C# compiler is
important, so let me explain this in terms he would understand: it is
important because:

* Using C# to write a C# compiler means that it improves our
development speed.

* To be able to harvest the benefits of productivity of C# on
Unix, we need a bootstrapping system.

* It allows us to write software on Unix without and be
self-sufficient to develop software as opposed to require
a Windows machine to develop software, and another to run it.

* It means that we trust our technology enough and it is solid
to the point that a relatively complex piece of software not
only runs, but is binary-compatible with the Microsoft

Mono's objectives are not "To break Microsoft's monopoly". We do not
define ourselves in this way, there are more important social causes
to fight. We look at the ECMA 334/335 standards as a solid foundation
to improve Linux and bring more software, more quickly to it, and make
the development process more fun.

There is a lot more about this on:

And a few other interviews

Re:One reply (2, Troll)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269785)

Miguel, muchas gracias para tu repuesta...

I find this very enlightening. I had no idea that Mono was intended to be compatible with Mac OS X, and I find that VERY cool. As I posted earlier regarding my own open source project that uses .NET, I want to target as many platforms as possible, and Mono gives me this ability. And on top of it, I get to use C# and the .NET Framework. Despite the company that designed it, it's an excellent language and framework. As Miguel said, it boosts productivity. I have personally witnessed that.

I haven't been following Mono as closely as I'd like because I haven't gotten to the porting yet, but I've been following some of the API development and frankly, I think they've done an excellent job of targetting the most important issues in order. Almost everything I need is already in Mono. Where it isn't there yet, I hope to either contribute code to Mono, or come up with workarounds.

Open Source is more about choices than trying to put a company out of business. Since when was the open source motto "To write software that puts Microsoft out of business?" What sort of noble goal is that? Microsoft should succeed or fail on its own merits. I don't like them very much, and perhaps they're not succeeding on their own merits, but that doesn't mean that the motivation of OSS should be to make them fail.

Re:One reply (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269810)

Miguel, sorry to be OT here, but has Novell donated any coders yet? Money?

Have you had any pressure to make c# for KDE?

Re:One reply (4, Interesting)

miguel (7116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269856)

The Mono team has grown as a result of the Novell
acquisition, from five developers to a team of
fifteen developers.

We are only working on Gtk# support.

Re:One reply (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269827)

Maybe I'm missing something here but how exactly can you get your C# compiler to run under unix when the compiler is written in C# itself? That
means you need an already existing unix C# compiler to compile it! Chicken and egg situation or am I missing something?

Re:One reply (3, Informative)

miguel (7116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269888)

The trick is that C# code is compiled to the
Common Intermediate Language, so you compile in
one platform, and you run in another one. All you
need is a virtual machine running on the target

Re:One reply (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269910)

Last time I looked MS hadn't written one for Solaris, HP-UX, AIX etc.

Re:One reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269854)

My opinion:

- Mono is good because is an alternative to MS $ware
- .Net is bad as it's just been shoved down our throats by MS marketing guys (I'm sure before MS crapped this out we were all sitting here going "How on earth am I going to do this???")
- .Net is just a marketing term. Most underlying technology is old hat.
- The new developmnet environment is a bag of bugs and as usual important usability features have been removed to make space for the hyped up buzzwords of the moment (I've used all versions of VS since 1.0 prerelease)
- CLR is a half baked runtime
- C# looks better than Java, but was it necessary?
- Managed C++ is pure blasphemy.

Mono/MCS does not work on OS X ! .. only mint does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269882)

At least only a half-assed interpreter works on OS X ... DotGNU has a JIT on OS X / PPC ... and it actually builds on a standard OS X box (ie Darwin ports).... and runs winforms and wx.NET there (if the screenshot is not doctored).
And the Mono C# compiler also does not work on OS X !... then wtf ?
We want to support and we already have support are a universe apart for Real users.

Wake up ! Ever heard of ... ? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269892)

Mono is not .net ! If it was, then there could be an interrest.

All your claim about mono : "improving developpement speed", "harvest the benefits of productivity on Unix", "develop software, and another to run it" are nonsense !

In which world are you living ?

These are already facts since years: WE GOT JAVA SINCE ALMOST A DECADE ON MOST OSES!

Linux is the reference platform for Java J2EE AppServers. And Java is available on tens of OSes (i am not speaking about "sub spec", but real full compatible platinium quality tested !).

Java is now fast (see latest bench), efficient, truely portable (both binary AND source) ! So what is your point about mono but MS related FUD !?!

For strategical reason, Mono is dead before caming to live as MS will never let a realword application developped under Windows run on non MS OS ! This is fact and you can not say i am wrong. So forget about Mono, spend your time on Linux and if you need portability then think about Java.

If only we could bump this up to the top... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269906)

This is the most rational response to this article I've read yet on this page. I'd much prefer to see this first thing... Oh well, I suppose Slashdot doesn't have such a thing. Anyways, good response! And I hope you guys keep up the good work, I really enjoy where Mono is right now, and where it's going.

Only ideologues? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269658)

Sure, these projects might be of theoretical or academic use, but only ideologues are going to use them for real work.

As opposed to all those non-ideologues that infest that open-source movement and Slashdot for that matter.

Like it or not, Microsoft make THE BEST developer-centric tools. dotGNU is trying to bring those to the open source set. Nobody is making you use them. This is just another religious augment where anything MS is preordained to be wrong. Lord knows choice is a horrible thing when that choice is not the one approved by the groupthink committee.

You and the Point seem to have passed in the night (4, Interesting)

Valar (167606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269663)

Could it be that we want to run .NET programs under Linux? Or, better than that, that we (linux using programmers) would like to be able to write .NET programs without booting into windows? His points about mono and dotGNU just replicating features already availible in .NET is irrelevant... because they aren't availible on our platforms. Sure, there would be nothing great about windows.forms in X, if we already had a way to do windows.forms stuff in unix. We don't. And his points about microsoft adding all kinds of features to the languages and the .NET library is pretty irrelevant: a) mono is probably going to add those features to the compiler and libraries as soon as possible anyway b) in the state mono is in right now, it is possible to do just about anything you would need to write any possible .NET application c) as long as ms's .NET compiler still generates the same CLI, it would be possible to run the programs in mono (assuming it is something that doesn't have huge chunks of embedded C or anything).

In the end, I feel like I've been ASTed.

Obvious and Sophmoric. Where's Something Original? (2, Interesting)

jake_the_blue_spruce (64738) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269668)

A bit late to be controversial on this. I assume that he also thinks that WINE (which allows windows binaries to be installed and executed as if it was Windows) is also a bad idea, and that the idea of doing everything windows does and more besides is either not feasable or not a good way to attract users. If he believes it is feasible, then I further assume he believes the same thing is true of Microsoft's Embrace and Extend strategy.

The threat of patents makes his a valid view, that has been well elucidated some months ago. I would have preferred if the article had broken new ground, and used all the prior conversations as a jumping off point.

An interesting analysis would be what is thought about Mono's preparation for the threat of patents. They are developing a completely seperate and patent free stack of libraries using GTK#, etc. rather than Windows.Forms, etc., etc. for everything not submitted as royalty free to the standards body. The upcoming MonoDevelop project is a port of SharpDevelop from Microsoft's .NET to the Mono environment in such a way as to be unencumbered from any patents, as a proof of concept, and as a much needed Linux IDE for C#.

As a comparison, he might wish to bring up the GCJ project, which native compiles Java code, and the Gnome Java bindings. (or Eclipse + SWT)

Either effort could stand to attract greater resources. For instance, if Sun + IBM seriously got behind GCJ + Gnome Java bindings, or if Apple got behind Mono.

Anyway, the Register is usually wonderfully edgy, bitingly sarcastic, and controversial. I was very disappointed with this article.

Re:Obvious and Sophmoric. Where's Something Origin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269684)

WINE is a bad idea in the long run. Sure, it may bring people to Linux but they are still using Windows program on Linux. They never break free of the Windows lock box even though there are (in a lot of cases) software that can do what they need natively.

WINE will be a good idea if it ever works properly (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269865)

The day I can get Word up and running on my Linux box WITHOUT it

A) Suddenly dying for no reason

B) Try to use so many uncompleted stub functions it doesn't work properly

C) Can't find x,y,z lib or such and such

D) doesn't lock up completely

is the day I'll think WINE is a useful tool. At the moment its an interesting diversion for a few minutes but as a productivity tool it sucks whole
mountains , never mind rocks.

Author missed benefits of dotGNU (2, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269675)

Their enemies are now working, for free, to extend Microsoft's monopoly onto new platforms.

"Enemies"? "Extending monopoly?"

I think the author has missed one of the points about .NET: it does have some very attractive features that certainly could be useful in any environment, not just Windows. Automatic garbage collection and rock-solid typing are valuable assets. Just-in-time compiling in the runtime environment can provide extremely fast running code. (Not that it always does, but it has the potential in some situations.) These are benefits that there is no reason the GNU community can't share.

There's also another benefit: it's a two-way street. Having dotGNU might provide a roadway for Windows developers to leave the Windows platform.

He has interesting points, and they're worth discussing, but it's way to early to pronounce dotGNU or Mono dead.

letters to the editor (5, Informative)

F2F (11474) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269678)

just now El Reg published some of the angry letters in defence of .GNU: []

not that i'm trying to defend .GNU, just presenting a counterpoint.

lolsex (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269680)

(like why make a C# compiler while Microsoft's is free anyway)


Alternatives are good (3, Interesting)

Yag (537766) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269694)

Kaffe is a free java vm, why they did it? Because now, if you want free java on ipaq, kaffe is a good solution. Also because kaffe is open source so its chanches of porting are better. And sometimes is quite faster then sun vm.

Mozilla when was started it wasn't as good as explorer, or opera, both were free, so, why start another project? Now, a lot of people thinks mozilla is the best browser.

Mono is evil (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269703)

I agree with quite a lot of this article myself. I've never liked Mono or thought it a very good idea. .NET is an OK platform but it exists solely to keep customers locked in to Windows. A quick look at the Longhaul previews show that it will be next to impossible to write Windows software in the future without embracing .NET. Java remains a real and viable threat to Microsoft but Mono is not since you can be sure that, should it ever become any good, Microsoft will start using spurious patents and other nastiest to kill it off. IF they weren't sure they could do this they wouldn't allow it - what otherwise was the point in spending all that money on a MS Java clone in the first place - they're not going to make any money off it directly.

Stop-gap measure (3, Interesting)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269707)

Mono and DotGNU, if nothing else, are good contingency measures if .Net happens to crush Java in the realm of web apps (not likely.) I'm half suprised at the rush to implement forms, as web apps seems to be what .Net was intended for, though the Gnome guys are the ones driving development...

No and Yes (2, Insightful)

swagr (244747) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269737)

Despite the fact that this guy doesn't seem to understand or appreciate Mono and dotGnu acheivements, I still pretty much agree with his conclusions.

Let's look at Java. How many professional/hobby/academic Java developers use Sun's SDK?
How many use Gnu classpath with some other VM? []

Have you ever downloaded an app or library that was developed and tested under SableVM/Gnu-classpath but not Sun's SDK?

He Could Be Right... (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269743)

The article makes very good points. For the most part I actually like C# and it would be nice to be able to take projects I build with Microsoft tools and easily port to Linux or FreeBSD. But that was never my goal. MS makes great tools for supporting Windows Windows Windows, and the developers that use these tools know that. So while I'm sure projects like Mono are great fun (and I love fun), anyone looking to break the MS monopoly with it is just dreaming.

BTW, my main reason for using C# is to write funky little games with managed Direct X. Everyone and his brother uses C++ with all of the inherent disadvantages, but I think C# may have a bright future on the Windows platform.

Register Reader Letters (-1, Redundant)

flaneur (217700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269747)

The Reg has already posted some of the letters they've received in response to this piece [] . Some well-written stuff, the article definitely touched a (useful) nerve...

Here we go again (1, Funny)

powderedj (536460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269757)

If the open source versions of .NET start to struggle, then Microsoft will probably just bail Novell out with $150 million or so like it did Apple.
Come on. I really wish I could recall the exact amount of cash Apple had at the time of this investment, but $150M was sure as hell not an amount to bail the comany out. Apple is dying, the sky is falling, blah blah. Damn them for making reply to this BS.

XBox rules!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269758)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Join the fun!!! []

DotGNU on XBox (was :XBox rules!!) (0, Offtopic)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269808)

Hahahaa... DotGNU Tron on XBox [] ...
It's still an x86 box :)

Running it somewhere other than Windows? (4, Insightful)

Kupek (75469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269759)

While providing freedom of choice might be reason enough to justify a project, practical programmers could be asking: What's the point?

Linux, maybe? Mac OS X? Free BSD? I see getting C# programs to run on other platforms as a practical purpose. Later on in the article he acknowledges that you'd be able to run these programs on Linux, but that's more like a throw away concession he makes. He plays dumb in the beginning, and makes himself look silly.

How is making C# a standard on Windows and Linux going to hurt Microsoft?

I think that the people behind the project have better goals than that - namely, getting a particular tool to work on Linux. People use Linux for a variety of things. It would be nice if C# - just another tool - worked under it. What's the big deal?

There is an obvious practical purpose to getting C# programs to run on Linux. The real question, however, is will the .NET framework on Linux be good enough so that people will actually want to use it? That's a very real question, but it's not the main one he's asking.

Why doesn't anybody complain about WINE? (3, Insightful)

CompSci101 (706779) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269762)

Hey all,

It seems to me a little hypocritical to complain about MONO and dotGNU when there's also WINE out there. What's the point of getting Win32 Apps to run natively under Linux? We'll never keep up with MS adding things to the API...

The point is, the more implementations there are of the CLR for .NET the better. I, for one, am glad to see that the effort is being made and that .NET is not going to become yet ANOTHER MS only technology. If you think Java has merit (and it does), then you can't reasonably believe that .NET has nothing to offer -- they're conceptually the same thing, skewed in slightly different directions. Java is bent more towards security, while .NET is bent more towards flexibility. It makes sense to bring it to Linux: it's useful (really!).

On the flip side, why isn't anybody complaining that there's an abundance of Java VM implementations out there?


Free from MS, but for how long? and can we extend? (5, Interesting)

elwinc (663074) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269764)

Sure, right now there's a version that's free from MS, and probably fairly unencumbered. But for how long? Well, as long as Java is still competitive.

If Sun and Java die, MS will be free to add proprietary bits, and we'll still want a free version.

Also, although there are some nice things in C# (such as being able to work with arbitrary C pointers and data structures returned by C functions), we may want to tweak the design a little, or extend it to work with python or lisp or other languages. The idea of a "glue" language that can call routines written in many languages is very appealing. Sometimes you might want to have one program that can deal with low level data structs like C, handle resolution theorem proving like haskell, and maybe strings like snobol. With a good glue language, yuo could write each routine in its appropriate language, then glue them all together.

relevance? (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269815)

Is .NET even relevant? I will be honest and say I've never touched it or researched it's uses. Is it not just another attempt to grab marketshare back from Java on the Windows platform after J++ or whatever MS's last failed attempt was? I know people use it, and I've actually heard opensource developers say some of it's features are neat, but it seems like it will only fill a small niche. Too much hubbub over a niche market. Then to put Mono in the mix, it feels like a big time sink to try to implement an Opensource/Free version. However if they are doing it to force MS to stick to it's "Standard" in order to make developers lives easier, then I applaud Mono. Mono developers have to feel a bit aprehensive working on something that MS can pull away from at the drop of a hat.


Yesterdays news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269834)

But what is interesting, is their letters page of peoples responses; ml

The point? (1, Funny)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269835)

The point?
" Mono and .GNU "
It's right ^ there.


Useful? (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269836)

Competition is good for the software industry, good for Microsoft in particular (as Adam Smith pointed out, monopoly is a great enemy to good management), and most importantly, good for consumers. It is great for everyone when the open-source movement provides credible competition. At times, however, I do wish that all that passion, energy and skill went into something, well, a bit more

What does he define as useful? I can say, with certainty [] , that Mono was created for very practical and useful reasons.

Another point of view on this (1)

warlockgs (593818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269839)

After RTFA'ing... (or is it R'ingTFA?) The author of this piece seems to be trying to make a case that time spent on dotGNU and Mono is time wasted. I beg to differ, in that we can ALWAYS use another compiler (and/or IDE) for any language. Some compilers optimize for this or that, but if the binary resulting is capable of running, more power to it. I know a few programmers who will use different compilers based on what code they are attempting to compile. Mostly because X compiler does X code better than Y compiler would, and so on. It is always good to have a choice in the marketplace, *even for free software*. That being said, I am fully in favor of using the .NET framework and C#. Why? Because we can recompile it for Windows, for Linux, etc. It makes more sense to write once, compile anywhere. And the flexibility allowed by C# is a lot better than that afforded by C/C++. The time to market is quicker, to boot. Lower time developing = Lower cost of making a program = Cheaper programs, more quickly updated. I am not one that expects software to be free as in beer. But to be free as in speech is a good thing. Microsoft will probably never release a self-bootstrapping compiler, so the efforts of dotGNU and Mono go towards this. This is a niche they can fill quite well. I, for one, welcome our new .NET overlords.

No practical use?!? (1)

tjmsquared (702422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269848)

I fail to understand how making a compiler for a platform that does not currently support .NET (i.e. Linux) has, according to the article, "no practical use". As a developer who works a lot with .NET and C#, I'd love the opportunity to deploy some of my web applications on a Linux server, and I'm looking forward to the time when Mono gets good enough to support it.

I see where he is coming from... (1)

Phil John (576633) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269875)

...(I haven't read the article yet but bear with me), he's probably saying that their time is better spent getting the CLR to work first and then creating the compiler as microsofts compiles it into CLR bytecode already anyway.

This way, they get a kick ass CLR so you can deploy your apps to linux (just not compile there yet) and then they can do the whole compiler thing.

I have to agree (4, Interesting)

Lysol (11150) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269861)

As someone who contributed a little code to gotGnu, I kinda started thinking, what's the point? What is the point of running .Net on a non-M$ OS?

I can see one value, which is it allows those 'stuck' (I don't really believe in that concept, but whatever) on Windows to migrate off it. But in the same line of thought there's also this huge issue which is M$ and they way it trys with all the power of the universe to prevent that. Whether it be licensing tricks or slashed pricing, or plain 'ol FUD - in the end, they'll do whatever's possible to keep people locked in.

And honestly, I have to raise an eyebrow to anything M$. I mean, C# is a specific jab at Java. Java wasn't built to wrestle control away from M$ C++ and their dev tools. So something that is made to ward off something else that, in my book, is a pretty good thing for Internet developers, is pretty sketchy. Not saying Java is the king or anything, but the underlying reason for C# is: we (M$) can't control Java, so screw you, we'll copy and extend, build the concept of a VM (CLR) into our OS, and then woo all those productive ;) Java developers over to a real platform.

Lastly, any Open Source/Free versions of .Net are playing with fire. If Mono or dotGnu were wildly successful, then M$, owning all the patents, copyrights, and trademarks, would pull the legal card and shut them down or just plain not interoperate with them - yes, I know portions of .Net are part of ECMA [] . However, this isn't the days of the 80's or 90's where you could reasonably get away with this stuff and everything under the electronic sun wasn't patented. Nowadays the control and nastiness in the business software world is unparalleled - just look at that guy that patented the concept of 'web stores' for example. So, while my hat is off to all the people who have really busted their ass on Mono and dotGnu, I ultimately feel that it will be a lesson in frustration and disappointment.

And also, for me, there's just something filthy about the M$ development universe. I find their tools are kludgy, bloated, and too foofy. And I don't like having to install five thousand libraries and integrated-this or integrated-that, plus an update here and an update there - I'm not a fan of everything integrated into the OS. Granted, Net Beans can have a huge footprint and I didn't say that it is a great app (don't care for IDEs either), but there's just a something about M$ tools that I just don't and never have liked - this naturally extends all the way through their whole stack. So seeing a HelloWorld VB app running on Linux kinda makes me shutter and just kinda think why? I'm sure the natural answer for some will be - because. Meh..

Tastes like... burning (4, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269871)

Ok, so the article is a bit harsh. I agree with a lot of what he said but he missed one major point and is just plain wrong on a number of things. I don't think Mono is about destroying Microsoft or providing choice. It's about using a nice(*) language like C# on Linux. That statement alone kills his whole argument.

He missed a very important problem though. Performance. I admit that I haven't played with Mono in 6 months or so but last time I tried it the Microsoft runtime/compiler/JIT/whatever was hella faster than Mono. Several times faster.

I'm not sure if the Mono developers will be able to achieve the sophistication required in the compiler and runtime while still doing all the other stuff that needs to be done. Time will tell.

(*) I like C# better than Java. Especially the interface to native DLL's (not perfect but way easier/simple than Java). Plus C# was designed from the beginning to have things that Java only recently got (generics anyone?).

With that said, I still think C/C++ are just as portable, much faster, and don't require stupid memory sucking VM environments. If only we had C++ equivalents to the huge Java and .Net libraries.

Here's the point (2, Informative)

Crackerman111 (201718) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269885)

I selected C# and the .Net platform for my company's product offerings because I only needed to learn the language(s) and the libraries and not some complex deployment procedure (like you do with J2EE). The point is that I would like to be able to host these applications on Linux in the near future. I work for a REAL company that would really like to do this. I'm not some ideologue.

From what I understand, the Mono project pretty much has a complete implementation of both the ASP.Net and ADO.Net libraries, and that will do for the vast majority of web applications. Therefore, I completely disagree with the author's comment that "even if Mono or dotGNU gets 99 percent of the way there, that's not enough." His analysis might be more accurate if your talking about desktop applications, but I don't think his arguments really have any relevance to web apps.

At the very least, Mono and dotGNU will give Java/J2EE a little healthy competition on some different platforms.

The true question: (5, Insightful)

happyDave (155169) | more than 10 years ago | (#8269922)

I think the real point that he's missing is that every project undertaken on Open Source that's a direct response to something that Microsoft is doing is a step in the direction of eliminating barriers to entry [] . Anything that can be done on an Open Source platform that could previously only have been done in a Closed Source environment is a good thing.

GNAA (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8269926)

Props to the GNAA! Fuck you all!
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