[Mono-dev] Debugger on Windows

Jonathan Chambers joncham at gmail.com
Wed May 9 08:23:34 EDT 2007

I'm sending a catch all email to try and get some information on being able
to use the mono debugger on windows. I'll give some motivation first (based
on where I work). Generally, people using .Net will work on Windows. They'll
then try their program on mono on Windows to verify that their program runs.
If they have a problem, there is currently two approaches it seems:

1) Add Console.WriteLine's to their program and hopefully track down the
2) Try bringing their app to Linux and debugging there

1 is painful especially when coming from a Visual Studio background. 2
requires the user to have a Linux box or VMWare image handy. They must also
be adept enough to get the environment setup to debug. I think they'll have
to either convert their pdb files to mdb format, or build app on mono. Both
of these is a non-trivial amount of effort for a new mono user (and maybe
even for me ;-)).

So, I'm investigating adding a third option, 3) Debugging mono on Windows.
I'll just ask a couple of questions.

1) What work is needed to get the debugger working on managed code compiled
by mono on windows?
2) Is 1) possible without adding support for native debugging (I assume
adding support for native/mixed mode debugging will take more effort)
3) What about formats? If I am on windows, I have probably compiled by
managed code and my native code in VS (not mono and gcc). The managed code
debugging info can be converted between formats AFAIK, but the unmanaged
would be more difficult assuming that would even be attempted. MS provides
debugging APIs, but I have no clue whether they could be wrapped and adapted
to mono debugger.
4) Exposure I assume would be command line -> some sort of IDE
(Sharpdevelop, MonoDevelop, or just a quick and dirty Winforms UI for
debugging not a full featured IDE) -> the ultimate would be integration into
VS with a "Debug with mono" option.

I'm sure I'll get enough info from those questions to start with. The only
other question I'll ask is, Is this worth the effort? Since I don't know the
effort required, I currently think it's worth it ;-). If it's not I'll
forget the idea and hack on something else.

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