[Mono-list] Parallel environments and mono runtime license

noelkennedy nkennedy at rvc.ac.uk
Tue Dec 14 07:07:57 EST 2010

I'm a bit confused about how the LGPL 2.0 license for the mono runtime works. 
I apologise if this question has already been asked somewhere else, but I
couldn't find any unambiguous answers to my specific question.

Would using Parallel Environments on client's installations violate the
terms of the LGPL license?

I'm thinking of developing a mono based application in order to sell it, my
source code would belong to my employer and they won't want it available as
OSS under LGPL or any other OSS licence.

The application would need to be deployed to clients, presumably some of
whom would have preferences/insist on using their preferred linux distro. 
Some of these distros appear to have a fixed 'bundled' version of mono which
lacks features my program will require. For example, 

 - the most recent version of Ubuntu Natty (11.04): mono version 2.6.7, 
 - or even worse Ubuntu Hardy (8.04 LTS): mono version 1.2.6.  

I want to use mono 2.8 for the superior WCF support, I also want to be able
to guarantee to my customers that my software works, and to do this, I need
to be able to test it against specific versions of the runtime.  I don't
want a distro package update to take down my application because of a
change/incompatibility between the runtime and my app.  In addition to
reduce costs, I want the freedom to be able to test my app only against
certain versions of mono.

I understand that in order to have simultaneous versions of Mono on a box,
you need to use Parallel Environments.  I would not be interested in, or
even use the distro's bundled version of mono, as a clean mono parallel
environment would be used to host my app.  This gives my clients the ability
to update or change their bundled version of mono when ever they like
without affecting the stablility of my app.  Does this intended usage of
Parallel environments trigger the need for a commercial license for the

My clients would be free of course to use the bundled runtime to attempt to
run my program, but this would be at their own risk, and I would not
recommend they do this (simply because I won't have tested it, which doesn't
seem unreasonable)

Am I missing something else that would effectively allow me to make my
application/mono deployments an 'xcopy install' (no pre-requisite
dependencies installed first on the box)?


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