[Mono-list] Microsoft's cross-platform CLR

Miguel de Icaza miguel at ximian.com
Tue Mar 28 14:22:56 EST 2006

Hello Tim,

> It's not exactly competition for Mono (narrower scope) but even so I guess many of us are interested in Microsoft's
> plans for a cross-platform CLR:
> http://www.itwriting.com/wpfe.php

It is a good read, thanks for posting the link.

I was hoping to follow up this week on my blog with a few thoughts on
the subject of WPF and WPF/E.  Anyways, here are some thoughts on it:

* WPF/E and the CLR.

        When I spoke to the folks implementing WPF/E at the PDC about
        six months ago, the plans was to implement a system that would
        run a subset of WPF in a fine-tuned engine written in C++.  The
        extension language was going to be JScript.
        The reported size of the download, and some statements make me
        believe that this might still be the case.  But a few
        high-profile blogs have mentioned that this will be based on the
        I guess we will find out in a few months. 
        In the meantime, my Avalon/WPF criticism still holds:
* WPF in General.

        I still believe that WPF is an over-engineered technology and
        although some of my early criticism of it has been addressed
        (there is now a GUI designer for it) the complexity of it
        An old friend of mine (one of the Evolution architects and
        developers) is now working for a company that builds WPF
        software and he has the same impressions:

        Independently of how WPF/E is implemented, it still seems like
        they are hoping for a slippery slope to happen: developers who
        care about portability will start with WPF/E and will soon run
        into the limitations of it, and applications will be retargetted
        to the "full" WPF.  This decade's "This page requires IE to be
* WPF and Mono.

        The WP* technologies are not yet set in stone: they are still
        changing and as such it does not make much sense for us to start
        implementing those as we do not have the manpower to track a
        moving target.
        Once the dust settles and we have better answers (maybe when
        WPF/E) is released we can start looking at whether we should
        implement it and what it would take to implement WPF.
        We have been making changes in Mono to run on smaller devices,
        by removing features from the C engine.   I have a cunning plan
        to deal with custom class libraries to make Mono tiny (our
        Cecil-based linker project).   
        Visually wise, WPF and WPF/E looks very nice and if someone in
        the open source community decides to implement this (a third
        party, the Mono community or Novell) it would make sense to
        build it on top of Mono.  
        In my opinion it is too early to start.   Although that did not
        stop us from asking Google for funding the implementation of the
        XAML compiler and its foundation.   XAML and xamls were
        implemented by Iain McCoy in record time last summer.

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