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Visual Basic on GNU/Linux

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the but-why-you-might-ask dept.

Programming 383

jeevesbond writes "The Mono Project announced that it has developed a Visual Basic compiler that will enable software developers who use Microsoft Visual Basic to run their applications on any platform that supports Mono, such as Linux, without any code modifications."

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OS X Intel? (5, Interesting)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096382)

I wonder if this will include OS X Intel, which Microsoft claims they simply just absolutely cannot port VB to under any circumstamces ever. That would be pretty funny.

Re:OS X Intel? (4, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096610)

Mono wasn't ported by Microsoft, and I'm guessing that Microsoft will eventually shut down (via legal means) the VB port. While C# is partially an open standard, which is why Mono can create a C# compiler with no issues, VB is completely closed.

I'm not even sure why someone would want to run VB under Linux. C# is a fantastic language, and well suited for any O/S. VB (and VB.NET) is far more Microsoft-specific, and any developers using it run the risk of future Mono compilers not supporting its features after Microsoft has it removed.

Re:OS X Intel? (2, Insightful)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096706)

I believe that the formal specification of a language cannot be patented.
At least, I hope so, in order to believe that there's still some sanity in this world.

Re:OS X Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096922)

um... your missing the point VB isn't being ported to Linux, it's just that now you can compile your VB code to work on Linux.

Re:OS X Intel? (1, Flamebait)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096820)

I know I'll probably lose karma for this... but C# is essentially VB with C++ formatting.

(I will concede that there are a number of things that C# has that VB still doesn't, but there are few differences otherwise.)

Re:OS X Intel? (3, Interesting)

funfail (970288) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096908)

I believe you meant VB.NET when you say "C# is essentially VB with C++ formatting". VB and VB.NET share very little.

Re:OS X Intel? (3, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096920)

You mean VB.NET. It makes sense that VB.NET and C# are essentially the same things considering they transform into the same .NET instructions. I'd apply the logic in reverse: VB.NET is essentially the same thing as C#, just with different formatting.

Re:OS X Intel? (1, Insightful)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097126)

Yes, I did mean VB.NET. And I consider C# a bastardization of both C++ and VB.NET. It was Microsoft's way of telling Java developers, "Hey, we've got an easy to use language with C-style formatting!" In the grand scheme of things, there was no need to create it.

But now, they are essentially forcing people to switch to it by making the XNA toolkit use C# exclusively.

Re:OS X Intel? (4, Insightful)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097360)

In the grand scheme of things, there was no need to create it.

Which is, of course, the reason hundreds of thousands flocked to it when it was created. Right? Heck, they weren't even forced into it. Microsoft simply made the tools available.

I've seen environmentalists view a heavily-trafficked road and declare that building it was completely unnecessary. This seems like some of the same attitude.

Re:OS X Intel? (0, Redundant)

thermostat42 (112272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097230)

By that logic couldn't you say "C and Fortran are essentially the same things considering they transform into the same x86 instructions." . . ?

Ok... Answer me this.... (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097362)

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but tell me this...

Your comment is that "C# is just VB[.net] with curly braces"

Tell me: What would make it NOT just like VB.Net with curly braces?

I mean, it was written by a separate team.
It has a separate compiler (obv)
It has features not found in VB.Net (as you mentioned..)
It has a different name.

Really, the only thing that _is_ similar about them is that they both compile down to MSIL.

I'm just trying to understand your thinking.

And why is this different, than, say, C++ and C, which both compile down to machine code?

Re:OS X Intel? (5, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096978)

I'm not even sure why someone would want to run VB under Linux.

Maybe because the application is already written and the vendor doesn't want to port it? After all, being able to operate with a single code base is generally a nice incentive to avoid creating ports.

Re:OS X Intel? (1)

brewstate (1018558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096766)

If mono and gtk will run on the system then the language will work on the system.

Re:OS X Intel? (5, Informative)

miguel (7116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097008)

Yes, this does run on OSX Intel.

Our compiler and runtime are written entirely in portable CIL code that later gets translated into native code on each platform by the Mono JIT.

I believe you are referring to Microsoft's Visual Basic for applications (which is what Office uses) and which is an older version of the language which they are unable to port on its current shape (their stuff was an older version of the compiler that predated the CIL bytecodes).


Uuuhh.. sure... (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096394)

"With no code changes"? And it works? Call me skeptical, but I'll believe it only after I see it. This seems a bit far fetched, considering how tied to Windows Visual Basic is. I use VB6 daily, and it would be great if that ran smoothly under Linux, but this project only works with "VB 8.0", so I'm curious to hear if this thing actually works.

Re:Uuuhh.. sure... (3, Informative)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096470)

I use VB6 daily, and it would be great if that ran smoothly under Linux

VB (up to 6) and VB.NET are completely different animals. Mono is .NET basically for the rest of us.

Now, there are good reasons why VB6 code can't be migrated to .NET, but in most cases, where the environment allows, move the code over. Outside of WINE, I don't think you'll ever really get legacy VB to work on Linux in any meaningful way.

Re:Uuuhh.. sure... (3, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096500)

Visual Studio is an IDE, and is tied to Windows. Visual Basic 8 is a language tied to .NET. The Windows.Forms group of classes is fairly Windows-specific, but that doesn't mean it can't be implemented on other systems.

Re:Uuuhh.. sure... (1)

Jaseoldboss (650728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097400)

It's "Under heavy development" according to their site. []

Re:Uuuhh.. sure... (1)

mr_sas (682067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096566)

Visual Basic since versions after 6 isn't really that tied to Windows, it's tied to .net. The only windows specific things are things such as the gui code (Windows.Forms, drag and drop event handlers etc) and that part of the framework was already implemented for mono when they did the c# work.

This stuff already works for c# projects and they both just compile down to the same IL byte code.

Re:Uuuhh.. sure... (1)

jackhererUK (992339) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097206)

So long as you code is purely .net it should port with no modifications. If you have used COM interop stuff then it would probably fall over. This applies to any .net stuff that runs on mono, it's got to be pure .net.

More Choice (3, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096408)

I love it. The list of choices is growing and growing. The fact that Mono can do this, and after having struggled with WINE, this is a massive leap.

This will get more .NET developers over to Linux. Then, it will get more .NET developers too look a other ways of doing things.

There are those will decry this as bad, but think about the possibilities.

Re:More Choice (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096546)

Yep. I know that I've done some things on Linux using Mono writing it in C# lately. We use it on Windows and it's easy to go back and forth with C# rather than use different languages on different platforms. And yes, there's Java with its 'write once, debug everywhere' but the stuff I'm talking about started on Windows and some is going towards Linux so it's nice to be able to do that.

Re:More Choice (3, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096592)

> This will get more .NET developers over to Linux.

> Then, it will get more .NET developers too look a other ways of doing things. [sic]

If they need VB on Mono on Linux to look around then it's already too late.

Re:More Choice (2, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096914)

If they have an existing application to port having to do some minimal changes versus rewriting it in another language may make all the difference required for the application be ported and maintained. While I hate VB, there are tons of internal corporate code written in it and having the ability to run it on non-Windows systems is something many people will be interested in.

Re:More Choice (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097340)

Anyone who chose to go with VB.NET did it only within the last few years while there are many real cross-platform options (Python, Java, even C++). No one chose .NET [] and then complained it wasn't cross-platform. It wasn't advertised as cross-platform. It was chosen for Windows-only development and therefore isn't something many people are interested in.

No one is dumb enough to choose a Microsoft technology without assuming it almost certainly means lock-in [] . Today they're simply lucky some of their apps can now be ported to other OSs.

In reality... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097394)

Considering that while VB's a nasty language, there's quite a bit of internal business
applications written in it, without any easier route to get to something other than Windows
with, it is a bar to migration to MacOS, Solaris, or Linux. IF they've done it right and
haven't ran afoul of something MS has patented, this would be one less reason (And one of
the biggies, really) for many businesses to stay with Microsoft with their latest upgrade
cycle. It depends all on how many OCX components they've mixed into the thing to make
their app work in that case- but most of that can be worked around.

Re:More Choice (4, Insightful)

discord5 (798235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096890)

Then, it will get more .NET developers too look a other ways of doing things.

To be honest, I doubt that. I have this feeling this'll make linux more accessible for .NET developers, but the developer will only use it for testing his application while still remaining on his windows machine. There's a guy who's being paid to make VB.NET software, he's not going to look at ruby/python/perl/C#/C++. The fact that he's using VB means that :

  • he doesn't know any of these languages, or prefers VB over them
  • he's been told from someone above him in the corporate foodchain to use VB
  • cross platform portability is not his concern

Don't get me wrong, I think this is positive in a "Oh that's neat" kind of way, but I think we're a long way from bringing all the .NET developers into the linux flock, and a very long way from having them (and their managers) look at other ways of doing things.

Re:More Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097000)

I was very excited when I read this article as well, however, after reviewing the initial story this jumped out at me:

Novell Inc. sponsors Mono, which is an open-source development platform that aims to be compatible with Microsoft's .NET framework. Mono's goal is to enable developers to build Linux and cross-platform applications. Mono's .NET implementation is based on the ECMA standards for C# and the CLI (Common Language Infrastructure).
As much as I'd love to dance with the devil I'm going to pass on this. I'm not touching anything Novell pushes especially with their latest romp in the hay with Microsoft. I don't need Ballmer throwing any chairs at me telling me I'm violating Microsoft patents by using Visual Basic to compile Visual Basic on Linux *gasp*


Patents (4, Informative)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096410)

See also: "Ballmer repeats threats against Linux" thread below.

Re:Patents (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096460)

Yes, I'd imagine this is stuff Novell isn't really allowed to distribute due to being contaminated by idea patents.

I like how this post appeared directly after the Ballmer one, very good juxtapositioning. :)

Re:Patents (2, Informative)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097010)

According to the article, not only does Novell maintain Mono (which was created by Miguel de Icaza, who works at Novell), but Mainsoft (who developed the VB compiler) actually had Microsoft's help in writing it.

So, no, there should not be any problems with the distribution of it.

The only obstacle now, is a good Linux IDE for writing the code.

Re:Patents (1)

adinu79 (860333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097412)

monodevelop has gone a long way since I first started using it a couple of years back.

Try it. (I recommend the SVN version ... much more stable and with a lot of additional features)

Re:Patents (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096532)

As long as they don't use MS code, patents shouldn't be an issue: both standards are documentd.

Re:Patents (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096752)

Is there some reason why you can't patent methods required in a standard?

Re:Patents (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096778)

rephrase, maybe I'm wrong about VB.NET, but isn't the CLR non-patented? I thought MS said that anyone could use it if they wished.

Re:Patents (1)

mr_sas (682067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097296)

the CLR is patented but is available under Reasonable and Non-discriminatory terms (RAND) and royalty free. That's not the same as it being not-patented, though I'm unaware of what is counted as reasonable.

Re:Patents (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097190)

Specifically: Did they implement the ISNOT operator? []

i think (1)

exspecto (513607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096422)

RealBasic [] may have just lost some customers...

Um... (5, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096426)

This is Visual Basic.NET [] , not actual Visual Basic...

If there were a VB6 compiler for Linux, that would be much more interesting to me.


Re:Um... (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096804)

I agree. is more or less C# with a different syntax, so given that Mono had C# working, it is not that surprising or impressive that they were also able to get Still cool though.

Re:Um... (2, Informative)

eric2hill (33085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096888)

RealBASIC [] is cross platform and *very* compatible with existing VB code.

I don't get it (1)

cos(x) (677938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096976)

Since this is about Visual Basic.NET, why did the Mono guys have to develop a new compiler? If .NET is oh-so cross-platform, the bytecode generated by Microsoft's VB.NET compiler should run on Mono's VM without the need for any kind of recompilation.

The only reason I can imagine for Mono having to recompile the source is that their VM is not compatible with the MS one and their compiler is spitting out bytecode that leaves out constructs not supported by the Mono VM. But then, that's clearly a bug in Mono and the whole compiler is just one big workaround...

Of course, having a compiler that will run on systems other than Windows means that development can be shifted to other OSes, but according to the summary and TFA, that is not what the hype is all about - it's about recompiling source so it will run in Mono.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097042)

Microsoft's VB.Net compiler comes with .Net.

If you have a Linux box, you cannot install .Net, so you cannot get a VB.Net compiler. (I don't think they want to say "Now to compile, just go to a friend's Windows box and copy vbc.exe to your mono/bin directory"!)

In order to be a legitimate VB.Net development environment, they had to write their own compiler for it.


Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

miguel (7116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097090)

We have been able to run code compiled with Microsoft Visual Basic for a very long time (1.0 was supported for a few years with the old runtime, and 2.0 has been supported for a few months with our new runtime).

But there were a few problems, ASP.NET for example would requite a compiler on the host to compile VB.NET-based ASP.NET pages. ASP.NET works by translating special commands and tags into your language and mixing your code with the resulting output with a technology called "CodeDOM".

So this particular scenario (ASP.NET with VB) was not supported due to the lack of a compiler.

This also allows Windows developers to do their work on Linux directly without having to use two machines to develop.


Re:Um... (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097062)

Managing to tack a port of VB6 on top of a port of .NET would be interesting indeed.

For an encore performance, we could implement Delphi on top of Java/SWT.

Re:Um... (1)

Doctor Faustus (127273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097336)

Managing to tack a port of VB6 on top of a port of .NET would be interesting indeed.

For an encore performance, we could implement Delphi on top of Java/SWT.

Well, yes, doing it that way would be kinda silly. The point is the summary claimed "Visual Basic on GNU/Linux", and that's not really true. Visual Basic evolved from the original MS Basic for the Altair. VB.Net is just a .Net syntax that kinda looks like BASIC and has a couple of logic quirks added to make porting VB code easier.

Old news - 10 years ago for VB5 (1)

johu (55313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097204)

Almost 10 years ago there was pretty much what you want for VB5. I still have original announce email and even necessary binaries to try it for DOS, SCO, Linux, AIX etc. I can post binaries with readme and sample code if someone is interested. Let me know. opment.system/msg/3a0293334be4ec01 [] []*/http://softworksltd.c om/ []

Terrific (4, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096436)


A) Most VB applications are tightly linked to OS and application-specific libraries.
B) Most applications that do not require those libraries are not written in VB.
C) Anyone versed enough in languages to be using MONO is probably not married to any language--and certainly not VB

So, other than being novel, what's the point?

Re:Terrific (1)

Null Polarity (1045704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096490)

Porting current, probably complicated and difficult to rewrite from scratch, applications written in over to Linux? I'd like to hear how the library support is, though. That seems a bit peculiar to me, but I don't know much about Mono either.

Re:Terrific (4, Informative)

mr_sas (682067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096646)

as long as the libraries are written in .net or are cross platform it is not an issue. Consider that for web apps for example there is not really a need for any libraries in most cases.

Re:Terrific (1)

mr_sas (682067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096616)

A) Is that really true?
C) Why? Consider one team may develop a program and a seperate team may take care of the production side of things, and choose to host the program using Apache's mod_xsp rather than IIS and

That is not so far fetched when you consider it means that I can get open sourced .net apps developed on windows and run them on my linux box.

Re:Terrific (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096770)

That is exactly the issue.

I took a C# application ( 207.jpg) we've just put into production and tried to compile on my SUSE laptop using Mono. Most did work, except for the assemblies which - gasp - are tied into 3rd party COM components.


Funny - when I read "Visual Basic on Linux" I first thought of VB6 and almost dropped my Monster Blue. Now THAT would be cool. Oddly enough, I'm still having to go in and fix VB programs. I don't even have any VB programmers working for me, so I'm stuck doing the dirty work. Just yesterday, I had to fire up VB6 and dig through some spaghetti written in '99 to figure out some issue.

Not Perfect but better. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096934)

A. At least if you need to move an application from Windows to Linux you at least have a fighting chance to meet the the deadline or get it done by budget. Most VB apps are actually just Heavy Duty Access Apps so the bulk of the code is portable, at least the important parts. The parts that do Windows or 3rd party calls are usually some silly little interface inhancement that could be fixed with a Mono 3rd Party Tool or making it yourself.

B. Many apps are written in VB including ones that don't need those libraries. VB is a general porpose programming language just because people snub their nose at it doesn't mean that it is used for things that don't requre those libraries. Many time it is use just because everyone know it to an extent so they make their programs with it to make sure they don't get stuck with a obsure languge in the future.

C. Porting apps would be easier if you can keep the bulk of your code, some people actually like .NET over other languges, Company policy may force VB.

A lot of people are not passionate about what tools they use just as long as the work. with VB working in Mono it is the next step to making cross platform apps. Or at least giving them a fighing chance to port them.

Re:Terrific (5, Interesting)

miguel (7116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096966)

According to our statistics, based on 1,500 applications that have been submitted using the Mono's Migration Analysis, 50% of the VB.NET applications do not depend on the operating system.

From the remaining 50%:

  25% would require a week or so to port (replacing Windows library calls with Linux calls)
  25% would require a month of so to work, and a Linux expert in house
  25% would require a strong commitment to support Linux, and many months of work.
  25% is not even worth attempting.


Re:Terrific (2, Insightful)

cyberjessy (444290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097138)

Reporting live from India:
We still have a _lot_ of customers (like 30-40%) asking us to develop on VB.Net, since they have maintainers who are well-versed in VB. Microsoft has effectively marketed VB.Net as being easier to swallow for VB Programmers. This is true, since VB.Net has constructs which allow the same inefficient VB style coding. But if proper OO practices are being followed, VB.Net is just C# without case-sensitivity.

Mono supporting VB.Net allows these people to target Linux. Mono's C# compiler, BCL(Base Class Lib) and Asp.Net implementation has reached a stage where most projects run _without changes_ on .Net and Mono. Only calls into COM libraries and Windows native DLLs are requiring code rewrites for Linux.

So, I would say - There is a point.

Why...? (-1, Flamebait)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096444)

I remember taking a Visual Basic class in college. Drop objects on a form and define pieces of code that connects the objects. There wasn't any real programming being done. I can't imagine why you would want to run it on Linux. Isn't the command line enough?

Re:Why...? (2, Interesting)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096670)

I remember taking a Visual Basic class in college. Drop objects on a form and define pieces of code that connects the objects. There wasn't any real programming being done. I can't imagine why you would want to run it on Linux. Isn't the command line enough?
It's a language with variables, objects, events, subfunctions, etc. How isn't that programming? And what does that have to do with command line and linux? You do realize linux is full of GUI apps, right?

Re:Why...? (5, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096856)

...Drop objects on a form and define pieces of code that connects the objects. There wasn't any real programming being done....

There was no "real programming?" Why don't you first define what "real programming" is? If in your case, you were defining pieces of code to connect the objects, you were behaving like a newbie - no offense to you.

On the other hand, I have developed more than 22 serious projects using VB and the forms you might have used. I agree VB was not a "wise" platform in many cases, but that was due to my employer's environment.

These projects/systems included cargo handling, hospital management, roster/scheduling in the hospitality world, schools and traffic management environments.

Let me tell you this: To a Joe User VB kicks ass big time as compared to anything in the Linux world. You can decide to be very simple and do forms as you might have done, or you can do some serious work like some of us have done.

The meme is "buttonpushers" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097366)

You're exactly right, this isn't real programming. It's actually useful to recognize this meme of buttonpushing-without-knowing-what-you're-really-d oing as it has become prevalent in the IT industry.

A classic example are Outlook/Exchange admins. They consider themselves IT professionals, but very few of them whom I've met actually understand how the network infrastructure really works. They are, however, convinced that they do. :)

I know of one such guy who is supposedly a name in the Microsoft world, to whom other Exchange admins look up to (he runs a popular website on this stuff). He was actually completely unfamiliar with what port 25 was! He was under the impression that it was "a Linux thing". I tried to explain to him how email actually worked, but he just didn't want to grok it.

He was comfortable with his buttons, and didn't want to progress farther. Of course the IT infrastructure is the usual disaster, always requiring patches and the mailserver always having the usual Exchange problems. You just can't educate people like this that there are better, more reliable ways.

Sorry if this pops some people's bubbles, but buttonpushers aren't programmers nor are they IT professionals.

It's a trap! (0, Redundant)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096458)

Until Novell apologizes for their M$ deal and withdraws from it, it's a trap.

Re:It's a trap! (0, Offtopic)

the1rob (1047478) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096808)

...get an axe!

There goes that idea... (2, Funny)

ThinkTiM (532164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096466)

so which (non-vb-infected) operating system do I switch to now?

VB? VB?!!!! (4, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096480)

Great. That's like saying now you can eat your lobster with a fork made of frozen shit.

Re:VB? VB?!!!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096586)

Lobster? Gross.

Re: Visual Basic on GNU/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096494)

no thanks.

Visual Basic 8.0 only! (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096496)

Don't get excited: This new and improved compiler, which supports Visual Basic 8.0 code, is bundled in Mono 1.2.3. In addition to Visual Basic support, this version includes many bug fixes and an almost complete ASP.NET 2.0 API (application programming interface) implementation. WebParts, however, still isn't completely supported.

Re:Visual Basic 8.0 only! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097254)

I know you are trolling, but to avoid misleading people:
VB 8.0 is the latest version, and is backward compatible with all previous VB.Net versions. As VB9.0 rolls out with Orcas (end 2007) Mono will support that too. So, support isn't that _limited_ as you make it sound.

I for one don't like this idea a bit (4, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096510)

From TFA:
"Novell Inc. sponsors Mono, which is an open-source development platform that aims to be compatible with Microsoft's .NET framework. "

I'm not a fan of bringing Microsoft technology to the Free Software realm, not for purist reasons (although they are at least pertinent) but because, with this Novell-MS agreement in practice, it would not take a lot of effort for Microsoft to find a way to either forbid any non-Novell distros to use the technology or to wait and sue distros that include it (in case there is some patented technology included, mistakenly or purposely, and people know that, at least on U.S., everything is patentable, even the double click).

Furthermore, with Java becoming free as in free will, I don't see how free software benefits by having VB, .Net or any other Microsoft born encumbrance.

Re:I for one don't like this idea a bit (1)

agent dero (680753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096824)

Yes, let's all have our cake and eat it too.

In the "free software realm" why does this not have it's place as well? For that matter, I'd rather not bring Open Office into the free software realm because Microsoft is obviously going to sue everybody for using a quasi-MS-Office clone...

Please tell me how this isn't acceptable, but kaffe [] is? By virtue of your reasoning the entire Mono project is moot since they're obviously in cahoots with Microsoft to forbid non-Novell distros to use their open source system. Mono helps lots of people bring .NET code over to Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X and mobile devices, places Microsoft won't touch, so having VB.NET on that variety of platforms is also a good win for developers and users.

Using Microsoft's likelihood to sue people for any and every reason isn't enough to discredit an interesting project that offers options to developers and users, but then again, I must not get the whole "open source" ideal just yet.

Re:I for one don't like this idea a bit (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096840)

Furthermore, with Java becoming free as in free will, I don't see how free software benefits by having VB, .Net or any other Microsoft born encumbrance.

Maybe I'm the only one who's seen this, but the Java VM on any platform I've seen is dead slow. The GUI is unresponsive and sluggish, and the damned thing leaks like a sieve - not to mention is a memory monster for any app larger than a small utility. .NET (2.0 at least) has been fast and relatively small in-memory. The only crappy thing about it is the size of the runtime.

Re:I for one don't like this idea a bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097004)

You are not the only one, there are some others.
What you have seen are crappy programs, which could have been crappy in whatever language.
Nothing related to java since 1.4, and even less related now.

Re:I for one don't like this idea a bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097056)

Furthermore, with Java becoming free as in free will
Until I can download the entire JDK, compile it and make changes to whatever I want, including the standard class library, I'll remain skeptical. Sun has been saying that they will open source Java for several years now, and we're still not even remotely close to seeing the entire JDK being released under an open source license. They've also backtracked a bit and said that certain parts will remain closed or have to be completely reimplemented by the community.

Java doesn't really matter much to desktop users anyways when you consider the fact that besides Java tools (Eclipse, IDEA etc.) there aren't any decent Java desktop applications. Personally, I think Java and .NET/Mono are all bloated pieces of shit, but at least C# learned a lot from Java's mistakes and is unquestionably a much nicer language with a much better standard library because of it.

basically (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096528)

A full grown stallion's cock, when fully erect, will measure some two to three
feet long. It can be three to six inches thick at the base, to about two inches
thick at the head.

Gambas (1, Informative)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096560)

Interested in Free Open Source High Quality Zero-Hassle Basic on Linux? Try Gambas [] . Honestly now, aside from a nice proof of concept I consider this VB to Mono thing somewhat pointless. There are better Tools for easy GUI RAD.

Re:Gambas (2)

temcat (873475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097140)

Come on mods, how come this is redundant when no one mentioned Gambas here?

Finally! (5, Funny)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096578)

Maybe now we'll see some real development on Linux!

Re:Finally! (1)

roz174 (1065328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097192)

"yay!" to the mono project people... but isnt that a step toward a more user-friendly environment for Linux? i like my Linux mean!

Hooray! (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096622)

All the great VB apps now in the user-friendly environment of Linux! Now maybe they can port Outlook over!

Wow... saying that actually made me vomit a little in the back of my mouth...

ObTag (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096740)

obtag: theendisnigh

Amusing (1)

daenris (892027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096838)

I enjoy that this article comes immediately after the article about Balmer threatening linux vendors to "respect his company's intellectual property"

Does This Mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096868)

. . . I can play that game where the gorillas throw banannas at each other on my Ubuntu box now?

Worrying trend... (2, Interesting)

Eric Pierce (636318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096884)

From TFA: "... this (VB run-time on Linux) was rewritten from scratch from Visual Basic by Mainsoft with some help from Microsoft."

So Microsoft actually provided consulting resources to Novell to make this happen.

Does this not worry anyone? What happens when I compile VB code on Linux via Mono on a non-Microsoft (i.e., non-Novell) supported GNU/Linux platform?

Re:Worrying trend... (4, Informative)

miguel (7116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097198)

Either the quote is wrong, or I had was distracted when I said so.

The runtime was developed entirely by Mainsoft, with some help from us in a few areas. Microsoft was not involved in this process, am sorry for the miss-understanding.

The runtime and compiler were pretty much done before I was aware of any discussions between Novell and Microsoft. The major change since September has been that the compiler became self-hosting on Linux (compiles itself, and compiles its own runtime) and that we have had a chance to go from a research project to a product (of course, we will keep improving it)


Why? (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096902)

Any kind of BASIC -- except, possibly, one of the British dialects such as Spectrum BASIC (would need to get rid of LET, though, now we are no longer using single-key entry) or BBC BASIC (one of the later incarnations with ON ... PROC) -- would be bad enough, but VB? Why?

I 3 VB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096946)

Yes I do. So all you MS hater, bite me!

Visual Basic was/is by far the most productive programming environment for client side UI desktop apps.

Drag/Drop components and fill out event handlers for each is simple, straight forward and effective which is the way I like to work. All client side UI apps should be created that way.

I think the next step for Mono should be a secure runtime (as in *NOT* ActiveX) for all browsers so that you can execute VB apps on the web. Burn in hell freaking XML, XHTML, Javascript, JSON, Ajax, A_Millon_Useless_Web_Framework, etc.

Have a nice day, come again!

Finally... (2, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096952)

a decent language for Linux. Now we will see a huge migration of people over the platform. You might as well shut up shop now Microsoft.

But seriously, I thought everyone hated VB?

What about Qbasic? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096984)

I want to play GORILLA.BAS, dammit.

Re:What about Qbasic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097226)

Open Source to the rescue!!! []

Or just use RealBasic (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097030)

Which is almost identical to VisualBasic, but has compiled on Linux for years and has cross-platform libraries for almost everything it supports and doesn't require Mono.

But, you know, whatever.

Won't work (-1, Redundant)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097320)

VB 8.0 is VB.NET ... unless RealBasic has a .NET stack built into it (which Mono does) it won't cut it.

Yeah but.... (1)

BooRolla (824295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097058)

for how long?

This is a big deal, and should be thought about (5, Insightful)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097166)

Miguel de Icaza appeared on the LUG Radio podcast, and gave a really good description of how this sort of thing fits into a coherent business strategy: []

Basically, the argument goes like this. If you look at what's locking people in to windows now, it's not so much the big stuff -- office apps, browsers, email programs, etc. We have all of that stuff, and most of what we have is pretty terrific.

The stuff that locks people in is small and narrow -- software to do some odd, specific, business related thing. Some app that's tweaked to run scheduling in a dental office, or whatever. My mom has a travel agency, and she uses an app that manages all of her customers, and that's windows specific. I have a friend who installs burglar alarm systems, and he has software that programs alarms, and which only runs under windows.

There isn't one big thing that's locking people in -- it's thousands and thousands of small things. Everyone has something different, but almost everyone has *something*. And a giant chunk of those little things, now, are running under .NET.

The Mono guys have been using an automated tool that looks at what libraries .NET apps use, and they've been trying to pick off the APIs that will give them the most apps running in the real world on linux.

On top of that, they've been working with .NET people who want to make their apps more portable -- which mostly means doing things one way, using some APIs, instead of another, using other APIs. According to Miguel, they're getting a good response from .NET developers, who would like to see their stuff become more portable -- they'd love to see .NET pick up some of that "write once run anywhere" magic that java has. They'd like to not be locked in.

The point that's getting lost in a lot of the fights over Mono and the infamous deal (about which I personally have many misgivings) is that Novell is mounting an incredibly audacious attack on the Desktop, and this sort of thing is a big part of it. They're not satisfied with servers.

I don't know if it will work, and again, every time I read something about Ballmer talking smack about linux, I get nervous about that deal. But at the same time, I sort of love the bigness of what Novell is doing, the audacity of it.

For whatever reason, Novell is doing an incredibly bad job of explaining all of this to us. Which is why I really encourage everyone to grab that podcast episode, linked above, and listen to what Miguel says about mono.

Next week. . . (3, Funny)

mjackson14609 (69635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097178)

. . .porting Microsoft Bob to the Mac.

So is it GNU/Linux or Linux? (0, Redundant)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097252)

Visual Basic on GNU/Linux

jeevesbond writes

"The Mono Project announced that it has developed a Visual Basic compiler that will enable software developers who use Microsoft Visual Basic to run their applications on any platform that supports Mono, such as Linux, without any code modifications."

There are only a few very specific reasons [] why some people say GNU/Linux instead of Linux. If you believe in them strongly enough that you're willing to add those three entire syllables to the name, how on earth can you reconcile that with being indifferent enough to use the more common form "Linux" only a few lines later?

In fact, using them like that implies a certain interchangeability between the two. RMS must be turning in his grave.

I quote Glenn Quagmire (1)

adpe (805723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097300)


Figures don't lie...but... (1)

MaggieL (10193) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097322)

From TFA:
Though often disparaged by developers, Visual Basic remains one of the world's most commonly used programming languages. According to Forrester Research, 37 percent of enterprises use Microsoft Visual Basic.NET for development and maintenance of their in-house applications. What's more, among .NET developers, 59 percent use Visual Basic.NET as their only programming language. Thus, as of 2006, at least 20 percent of all in-house business programs were still being written in Basic, according to the market analyst firm.

Let's see...37% of enterprises use some VB, 59% of .NET programmers use only VB.NET, so therefore 20% of all bespoke software is in VB?

Ghod, I hope the logic in the programs is better than the logic in that deduction.

according to what research? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097324)

FTA: "according to forrester research, 37 percent of all inhouse development uses VB."

Say what? I've never worked in a place where VB was used, let alone the norm.

It may be used in a lot of .com shops, but for the rest of us who work for a living, C is pretty much the norm.


This is unforgivable. (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097354)

Where's the "Crimes Against Humanity" tag when you need it?

I did something like this in uni (1)

CockMonster (886033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097422)

I wrote a compiler that generated JVM classfiles from VB6 source code... well seeing as I only had 4 months to write it, it supported only a subset of VB6 (it's a fucking huge language). Worked pretty good.
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