[Mono-list] Suggestions

Nik Derewianka mono@e-media.com.au
Fri, 25 Mar 2005 17:03:03 +1100


First of all - let me state that i have been lurking here for a good 
while now and can appreciate that a lot of stuff is being done and that 
the following criticisms are intended in a constructive manner, of 
course if i am wrong in any of these then please let me know.  Also, 
these things might already be known and being worked on.


As more end-users (read developers not working on mono) start needing 
the mono runtime to run .net apps/asp.net dev/server setups they are 
going to be coming to the website to get the runtime.  Currently it is 
very mono project oriented with the download section (all that most 
end-users care about) not abundantly clear.  http://mozilla.org/firefox/ 
is a good example of a user oriented site that allows them to get what 
the want quickly and easily.  Maybe even a novell.com/mono url would be 
better if there arent any political/technical hurdles.

Secondly - the downloads page itself:
Unfortunately there is probably not much you can do about all the 
distros, OS detection in the browser and making that the default 
download in a big clear section up the top would be an improvement (dont 
know if you can detect distro version from the browser - but that would 
be even better).

The install sections are not clear - a user has no idea of the 
significance between 1.0.x and 1.1.x, they arent subscribed to the 
lists, the development release sounds like something that should be 
avoided because its in development, but from what i can tell that is 
actually the better one to be using. Or even delineating between Runtime 
and SDK versions if indeed that is what the difference is - the 
difference needs to be spelt out on the pages.

The downloads page is inconsistent.  1.0.6 doesnt have an OSX installer 
(still being built i presumed), yet the 1.1.5 section has an OSX package 
- but its an old version.  Probably best to have all OS listings there 
and have a 'package yet to come' on the right hand side. The windows 
installer in 1.0.6 doesnt say what version it is, and 1.1.5 has a 1.1.4 

RPM's - they might be cool somehow to linux people, but to the rest of 
the world, it is a step backwards.  Anyone of almost any level of 
computing profficiency can download MS .Net (after digging around on 
their poorly layed out site) or Java, double click the installer and 
they are up and running (compared to having to learn rpm on linux) (the 
bitrock installer is great, but the install into non system directories 
is annoying, as well as lack of mod_mono and XSP in the 1.1.4 installer 
IIRC).  The OSX and win32 installers are great.  Can there not be a 
single rpm that just has everything ?? (mono-all.zip doesnt cut it imho).

Consistency: 1.1.4 didnt have mod_mono and xsp on the downloads page, 
now 1.1.5 does (good imho).  The 1.1.5 page still has at the top to 
download them from the 1.0.6 page.

 From http://www.mono-project.com/ASP.NET

"Both are fully functional at this point."

This is somewhat disingenuous.  A .net web developer is going to presume 
that this means it works just like IIS and .Net but on linux with mono 
and apache.

It doesnt work on windows with apache and mono
It doesnt work on OSX with apache and mono
It works on linux - but only if your idea of good systems administration 
includes restarting apache everytime you make a change to your site.

I know there is a bug open about it, i know there is a control panel 
work around.  But really, ASP.Net development with mono is completely 
unuseable for real world situations on any platform.  This is despite 
the fact that most of it is pretty much there waiting to be used.

I am still going to keep on learning and getting more proficient with 
mono etc, but just wanted to highlight some of the difficulties that 
most people will encounter but who will probably not provide any 
feedback to the mono team.