[Mono-dev] Installers

Mike Kestner mkestner at novell.com
Mon May 18 17:30:06 EDT 2009

I am currently working to provide some additional installation
capabilities to support the porting of MD to windows.  This includes
shipping libraries like Mono.Posix, Mono.GetOptions, SharpZipLib, and

We've previously received requests to include Mono.Posix in the Gtk#
for .net installer, as projects designed with the stetic designer in MD
generally contain a Catalog dependency for string translation.  The Gtk#
installer already ships Mono.Cairo.

The above examples indicate that many gtk-sharp applications will likely
contain dependencies drilling down into the mono stack.  Tomboy uses
mono-addins.  MD uses several mono libs.

My inclination is to just merge these additional libraries needed by MD
into the current installer, as opposed to maintaining a separate
installer which applications will need to add to their deployment
instructions.  The current Gtk# for .Net installer weighs in at around
8MB.  These additional libraries currently take up just under 1MB in a
standalone installer, so the addition of them to the current installer
is roughly a 12% increase in download size.

I think the user convenience of being able to download all the mono
stack goodness in one installer outweighs any advantage to be obtained
by carving out subsets of the stack into independent installers.  It's
conceivable we could add additional libraries from the stack in the
future if the demand is high.

Thus, my proposal is that we move to a single "Mono Libraries for .Net"
installer which contains these mono stack libraries, including Gtk#.  I
believe I would probably name the installer mono-libraries.msi and
version it with the major/minor version number of the mono release, and
an installer version to support updating gtk-sharp and mono-addins and
other libraries we might add which don't conform to the mono release

We can probably head off any potential issues related to the
"disappearance" of the Gtk# for .net installer by providing some more
detailed information about the contents of the installer on the
Downloads page, but there may be some inertia out there around the
existing installer name on some application download sites, ie "Download
the latest version of the Gtk# for .Net installer from the mono project
downloads page."

Feedback appreciated.  In particular I'd like to hear from those of you
using the current Gtk# for .net installer or those considering win32
ports in the future.  Which would you prefer, one installer or two?  If
one, should it remain the Gtk# for .net installer for historical
purposes, even containing the infusion of mono tastiness, or do we
rename it to Mono Libraries for .Net?

Mike Kestner <mkestner at novell.com>

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